Opposition Danger Men: Ohio State

Now that spring practice is in the rearview mirror, and that summer is quickly appearing on the horizon, it is time to turn our eyes to the fall.

We will eventually get around to full previews of all the Mids opponents in 2014, but before that we are going to take a closer look at a couple of difference makers who Navy will come up against each week when the season gets started. These are the guys that the coaches must game plan for if the 2014 Navy football season is going to be a success.

Ohio State

Offense: QB – Braxton Miller

The Ohio State offense last fall ran almost entirely through the work of running back Carlos Hyde and quarterback Braxton Miller. With Hyde gone to the NFL, and a couple of backs looking to get rotation time in his place, the emphasis will be squarely on Miller to get the Buckeyes back on track.

Ohio State, remember, had won 24 straight games before losing the final two of last season and derailing any potential National Title controversy in the process. Miller will have to be at his electric and evasive best this fall, extending plays with his lateral movement, as the offensive line returns just one starter. Miller also missed the entire spring due to shoulder surgery, so it will be interesting to watch what happens in fall camp to see if he still has the arm strength and accuracy to go along with the God given talent in his legs.

Defense – DC – Chris Ash

For everything that was right about the Ohio State offense last year they were often let down by a suspect (read bad) defense. The Buckeyes ranked 83rd in the country in pass efficiency defense and allowed 20 passing scores in conference games. All that was with the help of first team All-Big Ten cornerback Bradley Roby who has now graduated to play on Sundays.

Head coach Urban Meyer knows full well that you cannot win a National Championship with that kind of defense. That is why the biggest improvement on the unit this season will come not from a player, but from the hiring of co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash. Ash has already switched the defense from a zone first scheme to one which uses a physical man-to-man style. This change in technique has also led to a change in attitude as the Buckeyes looked far more mentally prepared and key into the game all spring. Ash's scheme will ask much more of the back seven, but with a unit up front that will be one of the best in the nation this fall many think that the Ohio State defense will be up for the challenge.

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