Dave Thurman (4:11 pm)

One thing is certain as Ohio State prepares for the 2010 season: there is big-time depth in the offensive backfield.  I have never seen as many quality backs on one team as the Buckeyes boast this year.  While there may not be one superstar, there are a lot of bodies to trot out on the field.  Let's take a look at each, consider what we might expect from them this season, and then for fun, compare them to an Ohio State runner from the past.

-Brandon Saine: Now a senior, Brandon has progressed nicely, featuring a package of good size and great speed.  He is not a particularly instinctive runner, but has made strides in regard to running style, no longer dancing around behind the line of scrimmage like he used to.  The bonus is that Saine is an excellent receiver.  If he and the line stay healthy I look for him to have a big year, possibly approaching the 1000 yard mark. 

Compares to: Maybe Robert Smith because of his speed, though Smith was more of a long strider.

-Daniel "Boom" Herron: Neither big nor fast, Boom makes up for those deficiencies through determination, hitting the hole with a purpose.  He does all the little things well, and the coaching staff loves him, especially near the goal line.  Although there is plenty of competetion this year, I still look for Boom to get his carries and have a solid season.

Compares to: His build reminds me of Vince Workman but I think Vince was faster.  Honestly, his running style, dare I say it, is a lot like Mike Hart.

-Jordan Hall: A pleasant surprise as a freshman, Hall looked great this spring, and will earn playing time.  He is quick and shifty, and may be the most instinctive runner the Buckeyes have.  He can catch the ball out of the backfield, and should return some kicks this year as well.  Jordan will have an impact one way or the other.

Compares to: Pepe Pearson, another smallish back who wasn't jet fast but was quick and smart.
Drew Thurman (3:02 pm)

The news has been pretty slow this week, after what has proven to be an exciting spring. There are a few things that have caught my eye or ticked me off though...

1) Ohio State recruit, Braxton Miller, is going to get a chance to show what he is made of on ESPN. Right of the gate Miller and the guys from Wayne High School play Moeller and McKinley in weeks one and two. The game against Moeller is part of the annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown, while the McKinley game is part of Herbstreit Varsity Football Series at Ohio Stadium. If Braxton wasn't in the limelight enough already, he will have lots of talk surrounding his play in both games.

2) Everyone is looking to break the pipeline between Ohio State and Cleveland Glenville High School. Outside of a few prospects giving the Buckeyes the cold shoulder, the staff has pretty much gotten who they have wanted there. The latest attempt has Michigan and Michigan State chasing QB Cardale Jones. Jones has yet to get an OSU offer, thanks to the aforementioned Braxton Miller, but this is story is still noteworthy. Both the Wolverines and Spartans are hoping this is a way to break in with the Tarblooders, and hopefully steal some of the talent from the Buckeyes. Obviously, there is nothing to worry about with Rodriguez, but Dantonio has proven his recruiting pull the last few years. In fact, the Buckeyes are battling the Spartans for several other prospects in Ohio currently.

3) Cameron Heyward is getting lots of love in the mock drafts for 2011. SI's latest mock draft has Heyward going fourth to the Detriot Lions, while McShay at has him fifth to the Browns. I thought Heyward really didn't get the respect he should of last season, and it is nice to see some experts noticing his dominance. 

4) I have made it clear that I already sick of expansion talk, but this topic is only going to gain more momentum over the next few months. The latest chapter in this story is that the SEC is looking at expanding if others do. As many have predicted, this will be a battle that will have all the major conferences trying to outdo each other. SEC commissioner Mike Silve said this:

"We've always been known to be a creative league, be on the cutting edge," Slive said. "We're not going to allow ourselves in any way, shape or form, to be anything less than what we are now."

In other words, get ready for a war when the Big Ten expands. When the dust settles, college football will have a much different look and feel.
Drew Thurman (9:08 pm)

Earlier this morning I talked about the possibility of Jeff Heuerman becoming the next Buckeye commitment in 2011, and this evening that became a reality. Heuerman is a tight end at Barron Collier in Naples, Florida, currently listed at 6-5 240 pounds. His offer list included Rutgers, Kansas, Tennessee, Michigan, Purdue, West Virginia, and South Carolina.

This commitment came on the heels of his visit to Columbus for the spring game. This is what he had to say:

“I just knew,” Heuerman said. “When I got off (Ohio State's) campus, I just knew I wanted to be a Buckeye. There's really no sense waiting. When you know something you know it, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger.”

This was a big commitment for the Buckeyes, who needed a tight end desperately. After coming up short in the 2010 class, it was the biggest position of need in 2011. Nick Vannett and Ben Koyack are both still on the board, and the Buckeyes could easily grab one of them.

Source: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/apr/26/barron-collier-tight-end-jeff-heuerman-ohio-state/
Heuerman is high on OSU after Saturday (Photo via marconews.com)
Drew Thurman (11:03 am)

The Buckeyes have started the 2011 recruiting class with some major momentum. Nine prospects have already committed, and the Buckeyes have done a great job thus far of locking down the state of Ohio. With a good start in place, the Spring Game on Saturday gave the staff (and fans) a good idea of where the Buckeyes stand with other important pieces.

The most vital of those pieces is at tight end. After coming up empty in 2010, tight end talk will surround this class. The staff is going after a few different guys, a few of which were present on Saturday. The first was Nick Vannett, a 6-6 230 pound prospect from Westerville, Ohio. This was an important visit from Vannett, who was expected to attend Notre Dame's spring game instead. Luckily he showed up on a day where Pryor and the staff did a great job of utilizing Jake Stoneburner. Vannett was impressed, which makes you wonder what kind of tight ends the Buckeyes could pull in if they threw to them once in awhile.

The other tight end visitor was was Jeff Heuerman (6-5, 240) from Naples, Florida. Heuerman had been on a Midwest swing visiting schools like Michigan and Notre Dame, and Ohio State was the last stop on the road trip. His trip went well enough to name the Buckeyes the leader at this point. In fact, it would not surprising if he was the next commitment in this class. If that does indeed happen, it will be interesting to see what happens to Vannett and blue-chipper Ben Koyack, who has narrowed his list to OSU and Notre Dame.
Pryor leads Scarlet to a first quarter score
Dave Thurman (9:32 pm)

Ohio State 10, Air Force 6.  In case you checked in just to get the score of the riveting lacrosse game, you can happily go back to browsing the net.  As for the rest of us, let's move ahead and diagnose the pigskin action that took place at Ohio Stadium today.

On a day when both teams sported pink numbers in support of the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, there was a lot to be pleased about.  Here are a few of the things that stood out to me, and you'll notice that there are more positives than negatives.

-Kenny Guiton got game - The youngster from Texas showed good poise and a strong arm.  There is a reason he was drafted ahead of Joe Bauserman.  He is clearly the second best quarterback on the roster, and looks to have a bright future.

-Taurian Washington is the new Bam Childress - Another huge spring for Mr. Washington, who might be ready to actually contribute this fall.

-Defense is still king - Even with some rules in place to limit the blitzes and make the defense play vanilla, it was still obvious that this squad will ride the defense again in 2010. 

-Jake Stoneburner is the real deal - Not only can Jake get open, but he can catch the ball, and should be a legitimate threat this season.  Pryor seemed to look for him repeatedly in the quarter he played.
Yesterday, the Big Ten announced kickoff times and TV plans for 12 different games. As one would expect, the Buckeyes are the front runner for prime-time games. Here are the Ohio State games that were released:

Sept. 2: Marshall at Ohio State, Big Ten Network, 7:30 p.m. ET
Sept. 11: Miami (FL) at Ohio State, ESPN, 3:40 p.m. ET
Oct. 16: Ohio State at Wisconsin, ESPN or ESPN 2, 7:15 p.m. ET
Oct. 30: Ohio State at Minnesota, ABC or ESPN or ESPN 2, 8 p.m. ET

Without even including the Iowa, Penn State, or Michigan games, it's easy to see that the Buckeyes are going to have a tough schedule ahead of them. Besides the battle with Miami (FL) of Sept. 11th, the Buckeyes will have a hostile environment awaiting them in Camp Randall Stadium on Oct. 16th.

Source: http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/11802/big-ten-reveals-three-more-primetime-games
Dave Thurman (8:19 pm)

The annual draft for the Scarlet and Gray Game is in the books, and as always there were a few choices that caused me to sit up and take notice and some others that caused me to scratch my head.  Here is my quick analysis by position and then a predicition for Saturday's contest.

Quarterback: Guiton going ahead of Bauserman was a mild surprise, though probably good news for the future.  The fact that Terrelle Pryor was the very first player taken was expected by most everyone.  In fact the only other logical choice would have been for Scarlet to open at wide receiver and take DeVier Posey.

Tailback: I can't believe that Jermil Martin went before Jamaal Berry who had a pretty good spring.  Maybe Scarlet wanted a big, short yardage back since Gray already had Carlos Hyde.

Fullback: This one was a no-brainer with Boren going first.

Wide Receiver: Went as expected.

Tight End: Walk-on Spencer Smith was taken before Nic DiLillo which got my attention.

Center: No big surprises.

Tackle: I think it is a good sign that Mike Adams went first, as I would have expected Shugarts to go ahead of him.
Jim Delany wants to destroy the SEC! (Photo via ESPN.com)
Drew Thurman (9:44 am)

This weekend we found out that the Big Ten was accelerating the timetable to expand the conference after previously announcing they would take 12 to 18 months. Prior to this latest discovery, the thought of adding another one to five teams seemed like nothing more than a dream, but now it appears that it is a quickly becoming a reality.

If your like me, your already sick of all this expansion talk. It's getting old reading writers and bloggers list potential candidates, and even more annoying is the constant drama going on with Notre Dame. If it wasn't enough that they appear every Saturday on NBC or that the media spends more time talking about their losses than most team's wins, this expansion talk has now put them even more in the spotlight. So, excuse me if I want this expansion stuff to pass quickly.

Unfortunately, it has most likely just begun. Jim Delany and the Big Ten may be opening a can of worms, that could have expansion be a central issue in college football for years to come. As Matt Hinton of Dr. Saturday says, the Big Ten might be starting a conference war.

"Under that timeline, the Big Ten -- and the Pac-10, too, which wants to have its new configuration in place when it goes into negotiations for its new television contracts this summer -- could send the first domino in the great Conference Realignment Wars of 2010 tumbling before the start of the season, a potentially torturous process depending on how many teams the Big Ten decides to poach. By the end of the year, the chaotic march toward the long-envisioned age of the superconference, already responsible for the death of the old Southwest Conference and dozens of other eruptions that have shaped the landscape over the last 40 years, is likely to resume in full force as the SEC mulls its counterattack and the "affected conferences" scramble for their lives." 
Safety Jeremy Cash
Dave Thurman (7:22 PM)

The 2011 class grew by one this weekend with the addition of Plantation, Florida safety Jeremy Cash, long thought to be an OSU lean.

This is a big get for a number of reasons:

1) Ohio State has struggled some in recent classes to sign highly ranked safeties.
2) It is always big to get talent out of Florida and keep that door open for the future.
3) The kid can flat out play as evidenced by his offer list which included Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Michigan, and Nebraska.

Welcome aboard Jeremy!
One of the biggest stories all spring has been the absence of OLB Jonathan Newsome and WR Duron Carter from spring practice. Both have been battling academic issues, and today Newsome was finally able to return to the practice field after being clear academically. Jeff Seeman had this to say:

"Jonathan Newsome was back in uniform for the first time this spring, and was making an impact immediately.  Newsome's return leaves only Duron Carter as the only non-injured player missing from the team."

Apparently, Newsome was running with the second-team defense today at OLB. It's feels great to have him back, and I expect big things in the future from Newsome. Hopefully Carter's issues will soon be resolved as well.