The Ohio State University Football Preview 2014 Edition

This season I was approached by to do a preview of The Ohio State Buckeyes 2014 football team. I was honored and excited, now that it is done I wanted to share it with our MotSaG readers. Please visit to see the previews of the other Big Ten teams and see our predictions of how the Big Ten teams will finish. Hope you enjoy and would love your feedback.

The Ohio State Buckeyes

Last Season: 12-2
Last Years Bowl: Orange Bowl lost to Clemson
By: Shannon Sommers/@smsommers84/

Coach: Urban Meyer
Record at institution (years): 24-2 (2)
Overall record: 128-25

Position Preview:

Braxton Miller (6’2,215) Senior. Heisman trophy candidate, Athlon Preseason Third Team All American, on the Walter Camp Award watchlist. A dual threat quarterback who sometimes makes some amazing, video game like, moves to evade tacklers when he hits the open field. Having improved some from last season with his run first mentality, Braxton needs to trust in himself and improve his accuracy this season which might be a tall task. Miller will be playing behind only one returning lineman from last season however to make that next step, this is where his leadership skills must kick in. Braxton has all the tools and the coaching staff to allow him to be the best quarterback in the nation this season, coming back for his senior season showed he is ready to take that step and light up the Big Ten.

Grade: A

Here’s where it gets a little dicey for the Buckeyes and honestly I think I’m being conservative. Last season Carlos Hyde destroyed everyone and everything in his path to become Urban Meyer’s first 1k rusher ever. Who steps up and fills that role? Ezekiel Elliott or Bri’onte Dunn? Dunn should be the favorite for being in the program for 2 years already although he was redshirted last season and has been a disappointment, which has really brought out the drive in him and at the Spring Game he looked like he had some toughness finally. Elliott looked good last season as a true freshman and he really wants to be the leading back. Those are the two bruising backs, I haven’t even mentioned true freshman and speedster Curtis Samuel.

Grade: B

This group is going to be interesting to watch this season. Seniors Devon Smith, Evan Spencer and sophomore speedster Dontre Wilson will be the leaders of this unit. Meyer went out and recruited some nice talent like Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin. The tight ends are some of the best in senior Jeff Heuerman and junior Nick Vannett, just wish they were just used more frequently. Adding height and speed is what was needed for this group, its here now to develop.

Grade: B

Offensive Line:
The O-Line comes in with some question marks. Only one returning starter and a graduate transfer from Alabama. Senior Taylor Decker and graduate transfer Chad Linsey are going to lead the way and help develop the talent that Urban has recruited. Studs like Jamarco Jones (6’5,315), Marcelys Jones (6’4,340), Demetrius Knox (6’4,285), Kyle Trout (6’6,300) and Brady Taylor (6’5,290). They are very big and quick, The Wall of Scarlet and Gray, will be able to make big holes and protect Miller when needed. Plus practicing against one of the best defensive lines daily will speed up their learning curve.

Grade: C

Defensive Line:
This unit is going to be one of the much talked about and highly rated in the nation. Senior Michael Bennett (6’2,288), junior Adolpus Washington(6,44,288), junior Noah Spence (6’3,252) and sophomore Joey Bosa (6’5,285) combined for 24 sacks and 43 tackles for loss last season. There has been some turnover on the D-line this offseason for various reasons although joining the group are two studs in Dylan Thompson (6’5,270) and Jayln Holmes (6’5,240). Spence is suspended for the first two games of the season still there is some depth there albeit slim depth.

Grade: A

The loss of Ryan Shazier the leading tackler is going to sting nevertheless junior Joshua Perry showed he will be able to step in and play the weak side, replacing Shazier. Sophomore Darron Lee is the leading candidate for the strong side spot. Senior Curtis Grant who has underachieved is needing to have his breakout season or risk losing his spot to true freshman Raekwon McMillan. Also in the mix for major playing time is freshman Chris Worley and sophomore Trey Johnson. Playing behind that defensive line is an advantage for the young squad that will hopefully improve on being 9th in the nation against the run.

Grade: B

Defensive Backs:
This will be the only time I thank Bret Bielema in my life. Former Wisconsin and Arkansas Defensive backs coach Chris Ash joined the Buckeyes staff. #karma For Buckeye fans what this means is they will now see man press coverage. DB’s at the line of scrimmage instead of the dreaded zone from last year. Buckeyes lost a lot of talent last season in their secondary which is ironic on how they were getting torched but they have senior Doran Grant and junior Tyvis Powell as leaders returning. There is a stable of young speedy talent like sophomores Vonn Bell, Cam Burrows, and freshmen Eli Apple, Marshon Lattimore, Damon Webb, Erick Smith, Malik Hooker. This group is going to be exciting to watch grow with Ash coaching them.

Grade: C

Special Teams:
In order to play for Coach Meyer you have to play special teams. The Buckeyes have some serious speed either covering downfield or returning kicks. Sophomore Cam Johnston might be one of the best punters in the league. That is if he has a chance to punt, averaging 3.5 punts per game, 44 yards per punt. They have a freshman for a kicker Sean Nuernberger which for Ohio State is fine only attempting ten field goals last season.

Grade: A

Urban Meyer’s highlighted two National Championships speaks for itself. Even Meyer’s most vocal critics must concede that he is raising the bar in the Big Ten. Chris Ash joined the team as CO-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs coach. Former Penn State Assistant coach Larry Johnson has joined Ohio State as an Assistant and Defensive Line coach replacing Mike Vrable who joined the Houston Texans coaching staff. The mad scientist behind the exploding Buckeye offense is Tom Herman.

Grade: A

Best Case Scenario for 2014:
The Buckeyes win the Big Ten Championship game and head to the College Football Playoffs. Two wins later Ohio State brings the National Title back to Columbus. The year topped off by Braxton Miller winning the Heisman Tropy and Michael Bennett winning the Branko Nagurski Award.

Worst Case Scenario for 2014:
After a successful regular season it’s deja vu all over again as the team loses the Bug Ten Championship game and miss out on the first ever playoffs.

2014 Statistical Leaders
Braxton Miller 255 162 63.5 24 7 158.1
Kenny Guiton 109 75 68.8 14 2 165.2

Carlos Hyde 208 1521 7.3 15 55
Braxton Miller 171 1068 6.2 12 70
Jordon Hall 81 536 6.6 8 49
Kenny Guiton 40 330 8.3 5 44
Ezekeil Elliott 30 262 8.7 1 26

Philly Brown 63 771 12,2 10 58
Devin Smith 44 660 15.0 8 90
Jeff Heuermann 26 466 17.9 4 57
Evan Spencer 22 216 9.8 3 25
Dontre Wilson 22 210 9.5 2 32
Chris Fields 16 193 12.1 6 47
Carlos Hyde 16 147 9.2 3 25
Nick Vannett 8 80 10.0 1 16

Ryan Shazier 144 7 23.5 –
C.J. Barnett 84 – 5 4
Bradley Roby 69 – 2 3
Joshua Perry 64 1 2 –
Doran Grant 58 – 2 3
Corey Brown 55 – 1 –
Curtis Grant 52 2 3.5 –
Noah Spence 50 7.5 14 –
Tyvis Powell 48 – 1 1
Joey Bosa 44 7.5 13.5 –
Michael Bennett 42 7.0 11.5 –
Adolphus Washington 36 2.0 4 –

Drew Basil 77-79 97.5% 9-10 90% 45 104
Kyle Clinton 3-3 100% — – – 3

Cameron Johnston 49 2156 44 40.8

Stadium Name: Ohio Stadium, The Horseshoe, The Shoe

Capacity: 104,581

Attendance Last Year: 104,933 average

Unique about the Stadium/Tailgating/Gameday experience:
The Shoe is one of the most historic and largest stadiums in the nation, fans show up 5 hours before kickoff to start tailgating. There is The Best Damn Band in The Land, Script Ohio, so many more unique things that are Ohio State that you must experience when going to a game in Columbus. An experience like none other.

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