OSU Q&A: Part 2

Part 2 of Badger Nation's Q&A with Bucknuts.com writer/publisher Kirk Larrabee, as our coverage of "Ohio State Week" continues.

BN: Last season, particularly because of shaky pass protection from the offensive line, OSU ran the ball 70 percent of the time. Do you expect that to change this season?

Larrabee: All indications are we'll see (quarterback Craig)Krenzel throw more. Those who have followed Coach (Jim) Tressel for years have an "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude, but everything the coaches have said suggests that they will likely open up the offense a bit. The quality of the receivers have a lot to do with that. I don't think though that anyone expects Krenzel to go out and be this year's Carson Palmer. People who assume that he cannot pass might be in for a surprise, but at the same time, this team is still going to run the ball quite a bit. I would expect Craig to put up numbers a bit higher than in 2002, but I think most OSU fans are past wanting to see the Buckeyes spread it out and throw it around. The wins and losses are all that counts.

BN: Do you anticipate that the rotation between the tailbacks will be the same as last year, with Clarett and Lydell Ross both returning?

Larrabee: I think it will be similar to last season. There will be an effort to get Lydell Ross and Maurice Hall carries, and I don't really expect the percentage of carries Lydell gets to drop off much if at all.

BN: With Michael Jenkins and Chris Gamble returning, should we expect things to be status quo with the receiving corps, or will there be some new talent making an impact on that unit?

Larrabee: There are a few new faces to watch for in the receiving corps. Jenkins, of course, is going to return as the primary target. Gamble was a starter there last year, but he appears to be more of a cornerback now than a WR, so just how much time he gets at WR remains to be seen.

At WR, there is depth and talent. I like senior Drew Carter, who has the physical tools the NFL looks for in a big time receiver (he's tall, big, very fast (clocked in the 4.2s last year, and athletic). He just needs more looks and needs to take advantage of them when he gets them.

The man everyone is talking about though is redshirt freshman Santonio Holmes. Holmes is a smaller WR who has drawn comparisons to Santana Moss. Even though OSU had every receiver last year that they have this year including Chris Vance, I heard that there was at least a little consideration of taking the redshirt off Holmes because he was that good. This is a guy who they most likely feel must see the field, so I expect him to get his chances. He's regarded as a future star.

Also watch for undersized but electric junior Bam Childress; he's gotten a few looks in games in the past and hasn't been able to cash in much, but he has always been a dominant practice player and had an explosive spring game performance. I also have to throw in a plug for redshirt freshman Roy Hall; he's a future star. He may have to wait a little longer to get a chance, but he's a big target with great ability. Finally, watch for true freshman TE Louis Irizarry, who might be good enough to see the field right away as a pass-catching threat despite the fact that OSU brings back their top two TEs.

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