Players On The Spot: OSU Vs. San Diego State

With the Buckeyes expected to roll, a number of young guys should get a look against San Diego State.

As Ohio State prepares to host San Diego State today at Ohio Stadium, most believe the Buckeyes should roll.

After all, the Aztecs will start a neophyte at quarterback against OSU's stellar defense. If he makes one or more first-quarter mistakes, the issue could be settled rather quickly.

But we would never assume a blowout win, would we? After all, the Buckeyes struggled to beat SDSU just two short years ago in the very same venue.

But the smart money is on OSU carrying over the momentum gained in the opening win over Washington and winning comfortably. At least it sounds good in premise.

With that in mind, a number of OSU players could find themselves on the spot today, possibly getting more playing time than they've ever had before. Here is a position-by-position look at some of the guys you might get to see, especially if things get out of hand:

* Quarterback -- Everybody is waiting for the wraps to come off Justin Zwick and Troy Smith. Today could be the day when the bullets are really flying for these two. The murmurs will go up when and if one enters before the other.

* Tailback -- Yes, Maurice Hall and Lydell Ross are household names. But I would think each will get a chance to push for a 100-yard game in hopes of building confidence in the running game as the Buckeyes prep for N.C. State next week.

* Wide Receiver -- Yes, Drew Carter is a senior. But he is still waiting to have that breakout game. Today could be the day. Same pretty much applies to redshirts Roy Hall and Santonio Holmes, who should each get plenty of snaps.

* Tight End -- Louis Irizarry came to Ohio State to make things happen. He may get his first real chance to do that today. I liked what I saw in preseason camp. The sky could be endless for this guy.

* Offensive Linemen -- They want the senior-laden starting unit to get some work in. Maybe they'll go a whole half. But if the score gets unwieldy, OSU will not waste time emptying the bench here. After all, the so-called next wave needs game experience. That applies, most notably, to sophomore Adam Olds and redshirts Tim Schafer, R.J. Coleman, Doug Datish and T.J. Downing.

* Defensive Linemen -- Likewise, there a ton of young defensive linemen to keep an eye on as this one wears on. Soph Mike Kudla has at least played a little bit. But I think the coaches want to see how redshirts Jay Richardson, Joel Penton and Quinn Pitcock and true freshman David Patterson hold up under pressure.

* Linebackers -- This could be the game where sophs Mike D'Andrea and Bobby Carpenter get a chance to show their wares. I see neither one of them getting an early hook.

* Secondary -- Redshirt Brandon Mitchell may play a little while longer than a starter normally would, especially if SDSU is still throwing the ball. I think we may also get a solid look at true freshmen Ashton Youboty and Donte Whitner here as well.

These are some of the guys I am sure you will want to dial in on if this game gets lopsided. They are, in many cases and after all, the future of Ohio State football. I expect a full report after the game on the Bucknuts message board (VBG).

Enjoy the game!


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