2015 Ohio State Spring Football Questions: Pressure Is On, & Wanted, At Open Defensive End Spot

On March 10th, Ohio State began spring practice, and had fifteen spring football practices available before the conclusion of spring practice on April 18th in Ohio Stadium. Over the next few weeks, I will rank the top ten questions facing Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff as the Buckeyes retake the football field after concluding the 2014 season as the national champions.

These articles will be submitted from areas of lowest concern to highest concern. While Ohio State returns the overwhelming majority of its 2014 team, and welcomes in a highly-touted recruiting class, it will be important for Coach Meyer to convey to his team that complacency within the player ranks could derail any hopes of the Buckeyes repeating as national champions in 2015.

Ten practices in, with five practices remaining, including the April 18th spring game. Opportunities to make positive impressions upon the coaching staff regarding the depth chart are becoming scarce.

Earlier in the series, my questions and focus was upon emerging players at backup positions, a clear testament to Ohio State’s depth across the board. The remaining articles will focus upon position areas where Ohio State has lost a player(s) to graduation or eligibility, which is why I have ranked these position groups higher in terms of importance.

2. Defensive End

Key Players/Contributors Lost: Noah Spence (transfer); Steve Miller (eligibility); Rashad Frazier (eligibility)

Key Players/Contributors Returning: Joey Bosa (Junior), Sam Hubbard (Redshirt Freshman), Jalyn Holmes (Sophomore), Tyquan Lewis (Redshirt Sophomore), Darius Slade (Redshirt Freshman), Jashon Cornell (Freshman)

Defensive End was a challenge for Ohio State throughout the 2014 season. Noah Spence was originally suspended for the 2014 Orange Bowl and the first two games of the 2014 season, but Spence’s suspension became permanent after an additional failed drug test. Spence transferred to FCS Eastern Kentucky after the 2014 season.

Steve Miller and Rashad Frazier both manned the vacant defensive end position throughout the 2014 season. While neither were the type of pass rusher that Noah Spence had been for the Buckeyes, both were needed in Ohio State’s march to the 2014 national championship. Steve Miller established himself forever in Buckeye lore with this key play in the 2015 Sugar Bowl versus Alabama…

While Steve Miller was instrumental in the 2015 Sugar Bowl victory, something needs to be stated that will reflect why I have ranked defensive end as a concern heading into the 2015 season. Watch this play earlier in the same 2015 Sugar Bowl game, and you will see why defensive end should be a focal point of interest…

Now keep in mind that not many teams on Ohio State’s 2015 schedule have an offensive line as stout as Alabama’s, and that Steve Miller did make a crucial play later in the 2015 Sugar Bowl that helped to prove the difference against the Crimson Tide. On the other hand, Joey Bosa has established himself at the one defensive end spot, and will be the target of double-team blocks, or possibly triple-team blocks, this season. Ohio State needs someone to consistently apply pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, as well as be a consistent force versus the run. Who will emerge at the open defensive end spot opposite Joey Bosa?

Based upon comments, it certainly seems that Tyquan Lewis has the momentum to start opposite of Joey Bosa.

Besides Tyquan Lewis, other players in the mix…

Will the open defensive end spot be claimed by the conclusion of the 2015 spring practices? Possibly, but for certain, Ohio State’s coaches and fans will be hoping for consistent pressure from any and all of the players who will be occupying that position throughout the 2015 season.

Grading 2014 Ohio State Football, At The Bye

While I agree with Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer that having a bye week at this point in the season is not necessarily wanted or welcomed by the coaches, players, or fans, it does provide an opportunity to assess how Ohio State is doing after the first third of the season. (Technically, Ohio State was at the 1/3 point after the Cincinnati game, but this bye weekend gives me a chance to evaluate the team, without an opponent to preview against.) Let us begin with the various position groups:

Quarterbacks: A solid ‘B’, but could rise to an ‘A’ by the conclusion of the season. Redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett was unenviably thrown into the starting position when projected starter Braxton Miller’s shoulder injury was season-ending. Barrett struggled immensely against Virginia Tech in week two, but has had three straight sterling performances versus Kent State, Cincinnati, and Maryland. Will Barrett be able to continue his strong play as Ohio State continues B1G competition for the remainder of the season? Cardale Jones has played sparingly as a backup so far this season.

Running Backs: B+. Ezekiel Elliott has seized the starting position, and looks to be in the Carlos Hyde mold of being able to wear an opposing defense down. Senior Rod Smith figures to be a complimentary player for the remainder of his Ohio State career. Coach Meyer has praised Bri’onte Dunn as being worthy of more playing time. True freshman Curtis Samuel is presently battling an ankle injury. The coaching staff seems to have concluded that Dontre Wilson is best used as a perimeter player running the ball; the same for Jalin Marshall. Warren Ball has battled injuries this season, and gets little playing time.

Wide Receivers: B-. This position group is kind of a mixed bag. The talent is there, but has not established itself on a consistent basis. Michael Thomas, Corey Smith, Evan Spencer, Devin Smith, Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson – all play, yet none have seized the starting positions with a commanding performance. Senior TE Jeff Heuerman has battled injuries, but may have turned the corner. Nick Vannett has also played capably this season.

Offensive Line: B+. Considering where this group started, how the players were being mixed in and out of the lineup, with inconsistent results…This offensive line may be the most pleasant surprise on the team. Losing four starters, and moving the only returning starter with Taylor Decker to left tackle, meant the offensive line was completely unsettled and incohesive. The offensive line is only going to get better by the season’s end. Senior Darryl Baldwin has been singled out by Coach Meyer for his continuing development at right tackle. Jacoby Boren has taken a firm grasp of the starting center position.

Defensive Line: B-. Joey Bosa is staring down a first team All-American selection after this season. The suspension of Noah Spence has hurt Ohio State’s pass rush. Michael Bennett, Adolphus Washington, and the combo of Steve Miller/Rashad Frazier have played well, but have not been nearly as dominant as expected by the fan base. An opportunity to dominate the opposition looms when the Buckeyes travel to Penn State on October 25th.

Linebackers: B. True freshman Raekwon McMillan may have clinched the starting middle linebacker position by the season’s end. Darron Lee was the player of the game in the season opener versus Navy. Joshua Perry has been relatively quiet on the playmaking front. Will this group be able to step up with physical rushing opponents such as Michigan State and Minnesota on the horizon?

Secondary: C. A true work in progress. While improving, this is the weak area of the team. How much of it is scheme, and how much of it is personnel? Eli Apple may have turned a corner, no pun intended, with his performance at Maryland last weekend. This position group may improve with better performances at Penn State and Indiana.

Special Teams Units: B+. True freshman Sean Nuernberger has been better after two missed field goals against Virginia Tech in the second game of the season. Will Nuernberger be able to come through if needed to make a game winner? Cameron Johnston is quietly reliable at the punting position. Coach Meyer stresses the importance of special teams as being a gateway to playing time, and the coverage units have been solid.

Conclusion: If 2014 Ohio State football were a stock, this would be a solid buy acquisition. Ohio State should be 7-1 heading up to East Lansing, MI, for what should be a B1G East Division elimination game. “Should be” does not mean “will be”, especially after Virginia Tech came into Ohio Stadium and defeated the Buckeyes in week two of the season. If Ohio State can defeat a very good Michigan State team in front of a national television audience, it is not far-fetched for Ohio State to possibly emerge as a playoff participant.

3 Areas Of Focus For Cincinnati @ Ohio State

Every Ohio State fan can vividly recall how close the University of Cincinnati came to upsetting the Buckeyes in Paul Brown Stadium in 2002. I am willing to guess that many Buckeye fans have either forgotten, or have decided to ignore, that Cincinnati gave Ohio State a good game in 1999 in Ohio Stadium as well (Ohio State 34-20). Of course, Ohio State had easier games in Ohio Stadium versus Cincinnati in 2004 (27-6), and in 2006 (37-7), both times with current Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio facing former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel.

With a 6pm EST kickoff on The Big Ten Network, Tommy Tuberville will lead his undefeated Cincinnati team into Ohio Stadium to face the Buckeyes, led by Tuberville’s former SEC nemesis, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. Before presuming Ohio State should be able to easily dispatch Cincinnati, Buckeye fans would be wise to remember that Meyer’s Florida teams lost to Tuberville’s Auburn teams in both 2006 (Auburn 27, Florida 17) and 2007 (Auburn 20, Florida 17).

My points are no matter who the coaches are for Cincinnati or Ohio State, and no matter if the game is in Cincinnati or Columbus, this game should prove to be a battle. This is as close to an in-state rivalry that Ohio State can, or will, develop. Of all the Ohio colleges that Ohio State schedules, Cincinnati will traditionally have the most talent, and the best chance, of defeating Ohio State. Below are three critical areas I will be focusing upon when Cincinnati @ Ohio State kicks off at 6pm on the Big Ten Network:

1. Has Ohio State Settled Its Offensive Line? – A major reason why Ohio State was defeated at home by Virginia Tech was because Ohio State’s inexperienced offensive line had difficulties with the Bear front the Hokies repeatedly used. While LT Taylor Decker and RT Darryl Baldwin seem to be set at their respective positions, the interior positions are still in flux. Considering Coach Tuberville’s experience as a defensive coordinator (Arkansas State, Miami (FL), Texas A&M), look for Cincinnati to do what they can to stymie and stump Ohio State’s offensive line throughout this contest. Cincinnati may not be able to play a Bear front, but Coach Tuberville probably has some ideas on how to confuse and challenge Ohio State’s offensive line Saturday evening.

2. Can Ohio State Establish Its Running Game? – I have stated this before, and will state again that Ohio State truly misses the power running game of Carlos Hyde. Ohio State has been trying to establish its running game with Ezekiel Elliott and Curtis Samuel, but it has not been easy or smooth. Considering Cincinnati has a high-powered passing game, an effective strategy Ohio State could use would rely upon its running game to keep the Buckeye defense on the sidelines, and control the clock. Will Ohio State be able to run the ball when it wants to, or needs to, versus Cincinnati on Saturday evening?

3. Will Ohio State’s Defensive Line Emerge? – [Warning! Shameless Self-Promotion Rapidly Approaching!] On the most recent podcast, I mentioned how Ohio State’s defensive line has not been nearly as dominant as I expected this season. While Joey Bosa has played well, and Noah Spence is suspended indefinitely, can Ohio State develop a pass rush to harass Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel on Saturday evening?

Those three areas are going to be on my mind when the Cincinnati @ Ohio State commences Saturday evening. If Ohio State is to maintain its winning streak versus Cincinnati, Buckeye fans can hope the answers will develop in Ohio State’s favor.

Top 3 Players To Impact The Defense (Guest Post)

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As the Buckeye season gets closer, anything less then winning the Big Ten Championship and a trip to the College Football Playoff, will be a disappointment. Last season there were plenty of could have, should have moments but one of the biggest in my opinion was the defense, namely the pass defense which Urban Meyer obviously was not happy with either. But with the addition of Chris Ash this season, hopefully it will be new and improved.

Even with two undefeated seasons, Coach Meyer still doesn’t have a conference title or a bowl game win under his belt. I think this is the season for all of that to happen though and helping to get that done this season will be Michael Bennett at defensive tackle. At 6’2”, 288 pounds, Bennett will be the offensive lineman’s worst nightmare. He had 42 tackles last season with 11 of them for a loss and seven sacks. He also is a huge team leader. Bennett up the middle will drive offensive coordinators crazy trying to find a way around him. Ohio State should have one of the best defensive seven in the Big Ten this year.


Another big contributor this year on defense will be Joey Bosa. Bosa was a freshman phenom last year, stepping up for the graduated John Simon. He stepped in immediately and made an impact with 44 tackles, 13.5 for a loss and 7.5 sacks. He has the strength and that killer instinct the Buckeyes need. Quite simply, he is a freak!

The last of my top three impact players on defense is Noah Spence. Although he will have to sit out the first two games for a failed drug test last year that also included him missing the Orange Bowl game, he will still make a huge impact on defense. Speed is Noah’s threat on opposing quarterbacks. He will play a big role this year and definitely be a playmaker.

I think the defensive line will be the strength of the Buckeyes this season outside of Braxton Miller. The pressure will be on them, the rest of the team and coaching staff to go all the way.

Buckeyes Have No Time For Senioritis Against Indiana

Senior Day in Ohio Stadium is always a special occasion. Eighteen seniors, including Buckeye stalwarts such as Carlos Hyde, Corey “Philly” Brown, Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Marcus Hall, and C.J. Barnett will be introduced for recognition by the fans, their respective families, teammates, and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, in their final game as a Buckeye in Ohio Stadium. What may be an emotional moment for all could involve Christian Bryant, who was lost to injury near the end of the Ohio State/Wisconsin game on September 28th.

Senioritis is something that seems to afflict most students as they wind down their academic careers. Unfortunately for Ohio State fans and players, senioritis has been an issue in Ohio Stadium in recent seasons:

In 2011, Penn State defeated Ohio State 20-14 in the last home game at Ohio Stadium. This was the first post-Joe Paterno victory for Penn State, and one of many losses for the Buckeyes in the ill-fated 2011 season.

In 2007, Illinois defeated # 1 ranked Ohio State, 28-21. While Ohio State recovered nicely to earn a BCS Championship Bid after this defeat, it still marked a bitter ending for seniors such as Kirk Barton and Alex Boone.

Other areas of concern for Ohio State for this game stem from the fact that Ohio State suffered defensive lapses in their 60-35 victory over Illinois last week. Factor in how Indiana took Ohio State down to the wire last season, and one can understand why Ohio State cannot overlook Indiana in this upcoming contest.

Coach Meyer, a graduate assistant on the 1987 Ohio State coaching staff that suffered through what former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce termed “the darkest day in Ohio State football” in a bitter home loss to Indiana in 1987, will keep his team focused upon the task at hand. I have every confidence in Coach Meyer relating these facts to his team before Saturday’s kickoff…

Below are some areas I will focus upon throughout the game…

Ohio State’s Focus Upon The Running Game: Indiana may be an offensive threat, but is poor by any definition defensively. A key way to keep Indiana’s dangerous offense off the field is for Ohio State to control the clock by relying upon its dominant running game.

Carlos Hyde is on the doorstep of a 1000 yard rushing season for Coach Meyer. Hyde should have his 1000 yards for this season by the end of the first quarter, based upon Indiana’s defensive status.

Once Ohio State has a comfortable lead, it would be advantageous for Ohio State to use other running backs such as Jordan Hall, Rod Smith, Ezekiel Elliott, and Warren Ball in the second half to finish off Indiana. Like Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall is also a senior playing in his final game in Ohio Stadium. It would be a fitting conclusion to Hall’s Buckeye career if Hall had an opportunity to score at least one more time in front of the Ohio Stadium crowd.

Will Dontre Wilson Be Involved In The Game Plan? Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman acknowledged earlier this week that Wilson needs to be more involved in the offensive attack, yet wonders how to do that without Ohio State’s other offensive weapons such as Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, and Corey “Philly” Brown suffering as a result. Perhaps once the Ohio State running game has taken control of the game, Wilson may be factored into the contest.

Can Ohio State’s Pass Defense Slow Down Indiana? Illinois scored 35 points on Ohio State, the most points surrendured by Ohio State this season. Indiana, led by players such as Nate Sudfeld, Tre Roberson, Stephen Houston, Cody Latimer, and one-time Ohio State recruit and former Cleveland Glenville star Shane Wynn, can score on anyone. A case in point – Indiana was able to score 28 points on Michigan State, and Michigan State is arguably the toughest defense in the nation.

Secondary players such as Bradley Roby, Doran Grant, Armani Reeves, Tyvis Powell, and the aforementioned C.J. Barnett will all need to show up big in what promises to be an Indiana aerial assault. What would truly help would be if Noah Spence, Joey Bosa, and Michael Bennett can contribute with a pass rush to throw off the timing of the Indiana passing attack.

Has Ohio State Figured Out Its Special Teams Coverage Units? Shane Wynn is capable of taking a punt back for a touchdown, as V’Angelo Bentley of Illinois (another Cleveland Glenville alum, like Wynn) did last week against Ohio State. Has Coach Meyer figured out what went wrong against Illinois, and will it be fixed against Indiana?

No time for senioritis in Ohio Stadium on Saturday. Ohio State wants to send its eighteen senior players off with a victory in their last game in Ohio Stadium. It will bear watching to see how Ohio State handles the offensive challenges Indiana will bring to this game.

Ill At Ease When Playing At Illinois

Ohio State travels to Champaign, Illinois, for a 12pm EST kickoff against the University of Illinois. While Ohio State is a considerable favorite to win this game easily, it may be worthwhile for Ohio State fans to remember that trips to Champaign have not always been the easiest or enjoyable of contests.

Perhaps someone can ask Craig Krenzel, the quarterback of Ohio State’s 2002 national championship team, what it was like to rally Ohio State to victory over an Illinois team that had a losing record. Krenzel escaped from what appeared to be a certain sack by Illinois to pick up a key first down on a broken quarterback scramble late in the game.

How about the 2006 game? Ohio State, ranked # 1, defeated Illinois 17-10 in a game that was anything but easy.

2008 was a classic Tresselball contest, as Ohio State defeated Illinois 30-20, behind the running game of Chris Wells and Terrelle Pryor. Even in victory, this was not easy, even as Ohio State had revenge on their collective minds, after the crushing 2007 upset at the hands of Illinois in Ohio Stadium.

Remember how the 2010 unfolded, with Terrelle Pryor returning to the game after sustaining a leg injury? 24-13 did not seem that comfortable at the time. (Yes, I know, this game has been vacated. Please do not remind me.)

And in 2011, somewhere Coach Woody Hayes was smiling, as Ohio State defeated Illinois 17-7, throwing four passes, completing one to Jake Stoneburner. It was this game that ushered in the end of the Ron Zook era (or error?) at Illinois, as Illinois has lost every B1G contest since that game.

The average score of these games at Illinois? Ohio State 22, Illinois 13.

Do I believe Ohio State will win this game on Saturday in Champaign, IL? Yes, I do. I will also be happy when the game is over, and Ohio State has left Champaign, IL, with a victory well in hand. On to what I expect to see when Ohio State takes the field against Illinois…

Ohio State enters this game leading the B1G in scoring offense (48.2 pts/game), total offense (530.9 yards/game), and rushing offense (301.1 yards/game). Illinois ranks eleventh in the B1G in total defense, giving up 482.7 yards per game. Illinois ranks last in the B1G in rushing defense, giving up 239.6 yards per game on the ground. In other words, Ohio State should be able to do what they want, when they want to, offensively.

Illinois is led by senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. Scheelhaase commands a pass-heavy offense that ranks second in the B1G, averaging 288.9 yards per game. Look for Ohio State’s pass rush, led by Noah Spence, to apply pressure early and often on Scheelhaase.

As mentioned above, Ohio State should be able to control this game from the onset. Senior running back Carlos Hyde, with 701 yards rushing for the year, should get ample opportunity, in the first half at least, to pad his statistics to become Coach Urban Meyer’s first 1000 yard rusher. Illinois’ Memorial Stadium is notorious for wreaking havoc on opposing teams’ passing games; look for Coach Meyer to emphasize Ohio State’s strong running game throughout this game.

A small statistic that may bear watching – Illinois leads the B1G in onside kick attempts at two, having been successful with one recovery. Considering how heavy a favorite Ohio State is in this game, it would not be surprising if Illinois pulled out all the stops to try and make a game of it with the Buckeyes.

Prediction: Ohio State comes out revved up, knowing that style points do matter in their quest for the BCS Championship. Carlos Hyde should go for at least 150 yards before earning a well-deserved rest for the majority of the second half. The same for quarterback Braxton Miller, who has shown tremendous development in the passing game this season. Too much offense by the Buckeyes against an overmatched Illinois defense adds to the chorus of Illinois fans who are displeased with the direction Tim Beckman is taking this program. I will call it Ohio State 56, Illinois 14.

2013 Ohio State @ Purdue: Exercise, & Exorcism, Are Buckeye Goals

Congratulations to Ohio State on winning its twentieth straight game, against a well-coached Penn State team, 63-14. I believed Ohio State would win, but I certainly did not expect such a dominating victory. For a team in need of an impressive victory in the eyes of the voters, Ohio State delivered with a strong statement to the national television audience. On a side note – as someone who watched with complete dismay in 1994 as Penn State dismantled Ohio State 63-14, I found this to be deliciously delayed payback, as Ohio State put 63 points on Penn State.

Up next for Ohio State? A trip to West Lafayette, Indiana, and a 12pm EST kickoff against the Purdue Boilermakers, televised by Big Ten Network. While a casual Ohio State fan may look at Purdue and chalk this game up as an easy win, it will not take long for Coach Urban Meyer to get the Buckeyes focused upon what lies ahead.

Ohio State fans certainly can recall how the Buckeyes have lost the last two trips to West Lafayette, in 2011 and in 2009. As a matter of fact, Ohio State lost at Purdue in 2004, as the Troy Smith era was just beginning, and who can forget how Ohio State pulled out this victory in 2002 to keep its national championship dreams alive?

To put it in perspective, Ohio State’s last victory at Purdue was this 23-7 victory in 2007. I am guessing Coach Meyer and the coaching staff will gladly take a comparable victory over Purdue.

Considering Halloween takes place a few days before, and how Ohio State has struggled in West Lafayette over the past several visits, an exorcism might be on the Ohio State coaching wish list. Other items I will be watching?

Can Ohio State Come Out Strong Two Weeks In A Row? – Ohio State attacked Penn State at the onset of the game, taking a 28-0 lead before Penn State even knew what hit them. Conversely, Ohio State struggled out of the game against Iowa the week before. Can Ohio State maintain its aggressive style of play at Purdue?

Play The Backups Considerably – Holding a dominant lead in the third quarter allowed Coach Meyer and the coaching staff to play backups such as Kenny Guiton, Jordan Hall, and Ezekiel Elliott. Above all else, I would hope to see the backup offensive line play the entire second half, if possible. In 2014, Ohio State loses four starters along the offensive line; the Purdue game could be an excellent opportunity to get these players valuable game-time experience.

Rest The Starters For The Stretch Run – Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, Devin Smith, Noah Spence, Ryan Shazier, etc., are all playing well. Once and if a commanding lead has been established, I am hoping the coaching staff gets the starters out of the game. Not only am I concerned about getting the backups valuable game-time experience, I want to see the starters fresh for the remaining games @ Illinois, Indiana, and @ That Team Up North. Avoiding injuries are key this time of the season, as Ohio State gears up for the final conference contests.

Ohio State has won twenty straight games. To win twenty-one, exercising its starters and backups may allow the Ohio State coaching staff to exorcise the demons of games past at Purdue.

Players to Watch Week 3: California Golden Bears

Our Buckeyes get their first big test of the year, as they take a trip out to California, this Saturday.  Here are a few players to keep your eyes on this weekend, from both teams.


Jared Goff, QB #16- The Golden Bears have implemented a new air raid offense, this past off-season, under their new coach, Sonny Dykes.  Dykes is using his four star, true freshman, quarterback Goff in his new system, and Goff has picked it up fairly quickly.  I decided to scout out the new Golden Bear offense, as they took on Northwestern, two weekends ago.  Goff looked good through most of the game, despite having a couple of unfortunate turnovers.  He had very good velocity on his throws, and was pretty accurate as well.  He looked comfortable in the pocket, showing good balance on his drop, and moving fluidly, in order to get a clean throwing lane.  When Goff has time, he’s a surgeon playing quarterback.  The Cal game-plan assists the freshman, by helping him get in to an early rhythm.  The coaches give him quick routes, that allow him to get the ball out of his hands, and to his play-makers.  Goff has racked up 930 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions, in his first two starts.  Two of those interceptions were more unlucky, than bad reads by the quarterback.  If the Buckeye secondary take the freshman quarterback lightly, they will quickly learn he can burn them, and will make this game much more difficult than it has to be, for the Buckeyes.

Brendan Bigelow, RB #5-  Bigelow will split time in the backfield, however Buckeye fans will remember what he did to this defense, last year.  Bigelow made the Sportscenter Top Ten, last season, when he faced the Ohio State defense, as he ripped off an electrifying 81 yard touchdown run, that can be seen below.  Bigelow this year has 34 attempts, for 140 yards, and no touchdowns.  Despite those underwhelming stats, Bigelow is always a threat to take one to the house.

Ohio State

Braxton Miller- Miller is day to day with an MCL sprain, but Meyer said, in his weekly teleconference, that Miller is on pace to start against California.  While this is good news for Buckeye Nation, I will be looking to see how Miller moves on his knee.  Whether it be his movement in the pocket, or while he runs and makes cuts, it might take Miller a few series to get used to having traffic around his knee.  I think Miller will come out slow, but once his adrenaline kicks in, I expect Miller to have a good day against this pores Cal defense, and maybe get his Heisman campaign back on track against a Pac-12 opponent.

Tyvis Powell-  This is the first week that Powell is going to be really tested, in the pass game, at the star position.  The star position, in this defense, has several responsibilities, one of those is to be a screen-pass buster.  If Powell can effectively work through his blocks, and find his way to the receiver, that will nullify an important part of the Cal offense.

Noah Spence-  Cal will bring in their air raid offense, but if our secondary can get up on Cal’s receivers, and jam them at the line, which will prevent the short throws, Cal will be forced in to longer drops.  This will provide Spence an opportunity to pin his ears back, and get after Goff.  Cal’s offensive line has given up, an alarming, nine sacks in two games this season.  Five of those sacks, came last week against Portland State.  Look for Spence, and other members of the defensive line, to be in the backfield, putting pressure on Goff.