NevadaBuck: OSU's Projected Starting Lineup

NevadaBuck is back with his latest column. Today, he delves into a projected starting lineup for Ohio State in 2006. He looks at this year's team position by position and shares his thoughts on who you might expect to see this fall. As a reminder, NevadaBuck's next Chat will be Fri., April 21, at 1 p.m. That is the day before the OSU spring game.

Nevada's crystal ball ...

I thought I would take a crack at predicting the starting lineups for OSU in the fall. There is still a lot of football to be played in the spring, and ultimately it will be the fall that tells the tale (Remember Old Grannie Nevada's saying, "You can't win a job in the spring, but you sure can lose one".....) But I don't want to wait!!! So without further fanfare:

Offense (A lot easier than the defense)

Tackles: Kirk Barton and Alex Boone

Guards: T.J. Downing and Steve Rehring

Center: Doug Datish

This offensive line will be massive, experienced and nasty. They will be the best in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country.

Receivers: Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez, and Roy Hall-Brian Robiskie(they are a "coupled" entry for you horse racing fans!!)

OSU's receivers are explosive and experienced. Depth at every position.

Quarterback: Troy Smith

Tailback: Antonio Pittman (with a large dose of Chris Wells added in)

Fullback: Stan White Jr. and Dionte Johnson

Look for Maurice Wells and Eric Haw to get thrown in the mix as well. Best stable of running backs in some time. Justin Zwick wins at least one game off the bench.

This offense averages at least 40-plus points per game, and hits Jim Tressel's stated goals of 250 yards passing and 200 yards rushing. They will be top 10 in every statistical category in the country.

Now for the defense:

Line:

Ends: Vernon Gholston and Lawrence Wilson

Tackles: Quinn Pitcock and David Patterson

This should be a better pass rush than we have had the last couple of years as both of these ends can get after the QB. Alex Barrow pushes for time and Jay Richardson also has a big year as a backup, but these are the guys that lead us. Pitcock and Patterson inside dominate all that oppose them.

Linebackers: Larry Grant, James Lauranaitis and Marcus Freeman

This group will be speedier than last years epic collection. But there will be a big drop off in production early, as you can't replace game experience. By the end of the year they will be formidable -- but they will struggle early.

Defensive Backs

Corners: Malcolm Jenkins and Andre Amos

Safeties: Brandon Mitchell and Jamario O'Neal

This will be the real weak point of the defense early (even though I believe that Mitchell is an upgrade over Nate Salley). If Amos can lock down and O'Neal can learn on the fly, then we win easily early. If not, then every game will be a struggle until they figure it out.

Specialists

Kicker: Ryan Pretorious (I like the old guys)

Punter: A.J. Trapasso

This is my look at the starters. The other guys that are "making noise" right now are in no particular order: Anderson Russell (big mover), Kurt Coleman, Ross Homan, Donald Washington and Antonio Smith. Progress is slow and steady on Ben Person, Kyle Mitchum and Jon Skinner -- they will all see action this year.

I will give a game by game prediction in my next column, but will leave you with a pretty interesting comment made to me by someone "in the know."

When I asked him about the "new guys" in camp (Homan, Coleman and Wells), he said the following: "Homan and Coleman will have trees in Buckeye Grove, but Chris Wells is going to be in stained glass on the rotunda."

Join NevadaBuck for his next Chat session on Fri., April 21, at 1 p.m. Eastern – the day before the Scarlet and Gray Game.


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