Ohio State Preview

As the big game with Ohio State draws near, here's a preview of some of the key players for the Buckeyes along with offensive and defensive tendencies.

OHIO STATE DEFENSE

16 Craig Krenzel, QB -- A winner, co-MVP of the national champs last year and back in charge this time around. Patient in the pocket, makes good decisions. Will run with the ball, either out of the shotgun on draws or when things break down. Now 17-1 as a starting QB. Will not be the one who beats the Buckeyes.

12 Michael Jenkins, SE -- One of nation's most underrated receivers. Makes tough catches when needed. A real go-to guy. Worked hard on speed and can also put foes away.

77 Rob Sims, LT -- Future star at key pass protection spot. Plays with a nasty streak.

63 Adrien Clarke, LG -- Has lost 30 pounds (now only 330) to add mobility. Coming into his own as a senior.

76 Alex Stepanovich C -- Leader of the line, All-American candidate. Will also play G and T when backup Nick Mangold enters at C. Status for the NC State game is up in the air.

78 Bryce Bishop,RG -- Boasts more career starts than anybody on the squad. Becoming a star in his senior year. Finishes blocks nicely. Has mobility to assist outside.

71 Shane Olivea, RT -- Protects Krenzel's frontside like a blanket. Massive lineman who rarely loses his man.

88 Ben Hartsock, TE -- A glorified lineman. Will make some big catches, particularly on the goal line.

8 Drew Carter, FL -- Big receiver (6-4, 200), but boasts 4.2 40 speed. Just needs to maintain consistency to be a star. Watch him deep. May look to stretch the Wolfpack defense.

28 Maurice Hall, TB -- Smallish at 5-10, 200, but can play the position and make guys miss.

30 Lydell Ross, TB -- Other half of the tandem has added 15 pounds to get up to 225. Mostly a plodder, but has added the power dimension. Was injured in the San Diego State game and his status could be up in the air.

43 Brandon Schnittker, FB -- A glorified lineman. Will rarely touch the ball.

4 Santonio Holmes, FL -- Third receiver (at least until Chris Gamble comes back to offense). Tough to catch in open field.

85 Mike Nugent, K -- Made 24 of 27 FGs a year ago. Has range out to about 52 yards.

Offensive Tendencies -- OSU is hard to pin down. Their bread and butter is the off-tackle play. They love to control the ball and turnovers are hard for opponents to come by. Krenzel not a dynamic thrower by any means. A perfect day would almost be 100 yards from each of the backs and 225 from Krenzel. They are throwing a little more than last year because of Maurice Clarett's absence.

OHIO STATE DEFENSE

75 Simon Fraser, DE -- Junior coming into his own. Reminds some of Raiders' Ted Hendricks with the wingspan (6-6, 265). Plays hard and runs well.

56 Darrion Scott, DT -- Only injuries have stopped him from All-American status. When he plants a QB, they stay planted. Moved inside from end this spring.

54 Tim Anderson, DT -- A plugger and heart and soul guy at the point of attack. Former state champion wrestler. Loves to get his hands dirty. Will quietly help control the line of scrimmage.

93 Will Smith, DE -- Great athlete for a big guy (6-4, 265). Will line up at end, OLB and even MLB. Great pass rushing talent. Hard to contain off edge, but will also drop into coverage. Big play guy.

47 A.J. Hawk, OLB -- Coming into his own as a sophomore. Probably Ohio State's top LB right now. Will be around the ball a lot and makes sure-handed tackles. Proto-type Ohio State LB.

46 Fred Pagac Jr., MLB -- Injuries have held him back from having a big career. Will likely split time with former all-everything prep player Mike D'Andrea, a soph.

44 Robert Reynolds, OLB -- Steady player on last year's title team now moves into key role as defensive leader. Heady player with great range.

37 Dustin Fox, CB -- Made switch from S to CB look easy last year. Usually covers receiver on the boundary side. Will make a pick if a ball is poorly thrown.

7 Chris Gamble, CB -- Maybe the top player in all of college football. Concentrating almost exclusively on defense while weather is warm, but itches to revert to two-way role as soon as possible. Shuts down opponent's top WR with ease. Usually on the field side. Also will see action at FL and PR.

32 Brandon Mitchell, FS -- Redshirt freshman gets call. Heavy hitter.

21 Nate Salley, FS -- Will rotate in with Mitchell, probably better in coverage, also works as nickel back.

4 Will Allen, SS -- Senior finally gets his shot to start. Was nickel back and made several huge picks for the champs last year. Good hitter and tackler, fine in coverage as well.

21 B.J. Sander, P -- Senior finally gets his shot to start, too. Won't be All-American like predecessor Andy Groom, but will be solid nonetheless.

Defensive Tendencies -- Good luck. This has been one of the nation's top defenses against the run and against the score for years and this year's unit is no different. They have filled the holes (most notably LB for Matt Wilhelm and SS for Mike Doss) and have moved on. Dominated strong offensive team in Washington in Week 1, yielding just 7 yards on the ground. Will pressure the passer with strong front four, but will also bring moderate blitzes. LBs maybe most susceptible area, but line covers a lot of mistakes (and blockers). Gamble erases top receiver, so go to Plan B. Philip must use his quick release and accuracy or he could be in for a long day. He should also prepare to be hit a lot (UW's Cody Pickett was hit 20 times).


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