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)
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.
OSU's receivers are explosive and experienced. Depth at every position.
Quarterback: Troy Smith
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.