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Where is Ray Small on the depth chart? // Photo via Ron Pradetto
Drew Thurman (10:57 pm)

It has been a crazy Monday for me, but even more crazy for the Buckeyes. On a day that I thought would be an average Monday, there were some very notable things that happened...

Depth Chart Released:  Today we finally got our first look at what the Buckeyes will look like this Saturday when they play Navy. I first noticed the offensive line situation, most notably that Andrew Miller was named the starter over J.B. Shugarts. I have been vocal about saying that I don't think he is the answer there, but we will see if I will eat my words. What surprised me more though was the fact that three freshmen find themselves in the two deep (C Jack Mewort, RT Marcus Hall, LG Corey Linsley). I am both excited and worried seeing this. I am excited because we obviously have some future studs, but it sure makes you wonder yet again why the Buckeyes aren't helping offensive linemen progress.

I found it interesting that Ray Small is listed as the starter at punt returner, but third string at wideout. There are finally some serious athletes there, so who knows if he will ever dig himself out of this hole! Finally, it is important to note that Zach Boren finds himself a top the depth chart at fullback and Tony Jackson is backing up Brian Rolle. Boren is a pleasant surprise, while Tony Jackson is a head scratcher for sure!  
 
 
The Buckeyes picked up their 12th commitment in the 2010 class on Saturday when Tyrone Williams let the staff know he will be a Buckeye. The Shaw High School product has grown and put on weight, and is listed at 6-7 215 pounds. He also has been timed at a 4.5 in the forty. You have to love a player with that much size and speed! 

Last season he had 402 yards and 11 touchdowns in 5 games before sustaining an injury to his knee. That didn't deter teams from offering though, because Williams chose the Buckeyes over Michigan State, Cinncinnati, Kansas, and West Virginia. He started the season out right this last Friday, bringing in five catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.
 
 
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Is this finally the year Andre Amos stays healthy? // Photo via pictopia.com
Drew Thurman (7:03 pm)

If someone asked you who the difference makers for the Buckeyes are going to be in 2009, I am guessing your response would be pretty predictable. The guys that instantly come to mind are Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron, Chimdi Chekwa, Brian Rolle, Kurt Coleman, Cameron Heyward, and so on. The success of this team is just as dependant on the question marks and less known players though. So let me suggest a few of the unlikely difference makers who could help define the success of the Buckeyes this upcoming season:

Taurian Washington: If you follow this blog at all you know that I have been pretty hard on Ray Small. In fact, a few weeks back I contended that I think he is an incredibly overrated as a wideout. I am optimistically holding my breath that he will redeem himself in his senior year, but the facts are that Small is a much better return man than wide receiver. That is why I name Washington an unlikely difference maker.

After watching him the last few seasons in person, I really don't think he is ever going to be a phenomenal route runner or an overly physical wideout. Luckily for the Buckeyes they already have those areas covered with guys like Posey, Carter, and Sanzenbacher. What the Buckeyes need, as they did a season ago, is a burner who can go and get the long ball. I think this is where Washington will find his niche in the offense, and if he performs like he did in the past two spring games, the Buckeyes will find the missing link in the passing game.  
 
 
Drew Thurman (5:05 pm)

About a month back we interviewed the guys from WeWantTheLion.net about some of things going on over in Happy Valley. So they decided to return the favor as they previewed what Ohio State will look like this season. So head over to check out what I had to say, and also the predictions they give our Buckeye squad!

Link: http://wewantthelion.net/2009-articles/august-2009/2009-big11ten-preview-ohio-state.html
 
 
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The Block O Table is an open forum of discussion between Buckeye blogs and fans. This edition discusses some of the tough issues surrounding Fall Camp and the upcoming season. Check out Our Honor Defend for other responses and a recap. (Photo via theozone.net // Responses via Drew)

1) Reports keep coming up of what seem like absurd sack margins.  Some people say the right side of the line in particular is really struggling with pass protection.  The line in general apparently is.  The left side of the line is in chaos, we hear.  Boren’s injury opened the door for a walk-on (Andrew Moses) and a never-quite-was (Connor Smith) on first team left guard.  Highly-touted Mike Adams began camp in a position where he almost had to implode in order to lose his spot.  He’s now rotating on the third team.  Are you close to pushing the panic button?

Honestly, I am extremely disappointed in the reports of our offensive line play. No offense to Rehring or Boone, but I thought our line would upgrade this season despite losing some experience. It really isn't comforting that Pryor's backside is going to be protected by a starter decided at the last second before the season starts. I personally chalk it up to continual bad coaching on the offensive line, because the staff has recruited too many studs to see such little production produced. With that said, I don't want to take anything away from how talented the defensive line is. They should be causing this same kind of havoc on every team they go up against.  
 
 
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Roderick Smith will run over or past all defenders! // Photo via Scout.com
Drew Thurman (10:09 am)

Last night, Buckeye running back commit Roderick Smith and Ft. Wayne Harding played cross town rival Wayne. Smith didn't disappoint either, and showed all watchers why he is one of the top running back prospects in the country. He had 26 carries for 271 yards, and scored all four touchdowns for Harding in the game. Those would prove crucial as they squeaked one out 26-21. I personally think Smith is the most complete running back the Buckeyes have brought in since Beanie, and I can't wait to see him in scarlet and gray. If this is any sign of the future, there is a lot to smile about!  
 
 
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By the way, there was a third RB recruit in 09! // Photo via theozone.net
Drew Thurman (12:48 pm)

The running back situation for Ohio State has been well documented over the last few months, and there is a lot to be excited about. Even though the Buckeyes lost Beanie, who carried the team at times, there are a whole host of names that could contribute. Boom Herron proved he was a serious runner as Beanie's apprentice last season, Brandon Saine is finally healed and is starting to become a baller, Jermil Martin is making the shift to become a short yardage option, and star recruit Jamaal Berry has the tools to become a playing making machine.
 
There is one name I forgetting though, as have most Buckeyes fans. As Lee Corso would say, "not so fast my friend." That name will appear on the back of the No. 29 jersey this season, and will belong to freshman Jordan Hall.

Many fans have written off Hall, mainly because he has been overshadowed by Berry and Hyde, who both also came in with the 2009 class. Both have had their issues though, and Hyde is still fighting just to get enrolled for the second semester. Hall's size has also been something that many have questioned, but at 5-10 190 pounds he mirrors the size of starter Boom Herron. So do we any other reasons to doubt Hall?   
 
 
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One of the new back-lit signs // Photo via Ohiostatebuckeyes.com
Thanks to a nice 3 million dollar investment by IMG, the Buckeyes will be making some upgrades to Ohio Stadium. They will have two 340 foot LED boards running along each side of the stadium, and an upgraded LED scoreboard on the north side of the stadium. Add to that some new back-lit signs for each retired number on the west side of the new scoreboard, and signage for the national championships on the other side. Sounds like it will be very sharp, and I can't wait to see it when the Buckeyes play USC in the Shoe at night. 

Sources: ohiostatebuckeyes.com // theozone.net  
 
 
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There are plenty of talented fresh faces in 2009 // Via Bucknuts.com
Family Feud is a feature where Dave and Drew throw their opinions in on various Buckeye football subjects, which most of the time are quite opposite. This edition takes a look at some of the hot topics surrounding the Buckeyes as they enter fall camp:

1) Rolle is getting the reps at MLB while Spitler has been bumped over to SLB. Do you feel this is best situation for the linebacking core? 

Dave: Let me say that this one baffles me completely.  You have a guy with good size in Spitler, who seems like the prototypical "fill the hole" middle linebacker, but who doesn't possess great speed.  Then you have a guy in Rolle who is a bit small by Big Ten standerds but who has excellent speed and delivers a wicked hit.  Logic tells you that Spitler is a middle linebacker and Rolle a perfect candidate to play outside, and slip into pass coverage when needed.  I think Fickell is one of our best position coaches, so I'm sure there is a reason for this experiment, but I will be surprised if they come out in this alignment come September. 

Drew: I am personally hoping that this move is because Spitler is a senior, and they want to give him reps first. I will say too, that on paper this move would not be nearly as perplexing if Homan was not on the other side. Homan and Spitler together are not quick enough to play the spread, and the Buckeyes will be abused sideline to sideline if this move sticks. In my opinion both Homan and Spitler look like middle linebackers, but I am not obviously in practice with them everyday. Hopefully Fickell goes another direction because the Buckeyes have too much athletic depth to settle for playing "seniority." I have feeling this will all work out for the good though.

2) Reports are that Stoneburner has maybe put on too much weight, and doesn't look fluid in his movements. Has the staff messed with Stoneburner a little too much?

Drew: Well I have feared his transition to tight end since the beginning. Everyone knows that playing TE for the Buckeyes is pretty much to be another tackle blocking for the running game. It's great moving Stoneburner over if you actually use his size and speed for mismatches in the passing game, but it is obvious the plan is to bulk him up for blocking. I really feel this is a shame, and is a complete waste of such a talented young man. Some players never handle the extra weight (*cough* Robert Rose *cough*), and it sounds like that might be true for Stoneburner.  

Dave: I guess I have been drinking the Buckeye flavored coolade, because I was initially excited by this move, thinking it would get one more good athelete on the field.  My mind went back to Kellen Winslow Jr., and I imagined Stoneburner isolated on a linebacker catching passes across the middle of the field.  However, the recent pictures of Jake show a guy who has added quite a bit of weight and now I wonder if he has lost speed and agility.  If so it is a shame, because guys his size with speed and soft hands are rare.   You are right about Rose.  His weight gain negatively affected his athleticism and I hope the same thing doesn't happen with Stoneburner.  He is too skilled to simply turn him into a glorified offensive lineman.
 
 
Drew Thurman (5:27 pm)

One of Nike's newest creations, the "Blazer Hi" model is inspired by the helmets of Ohio State. Not only is the color of the shoe scarlet and gray, but it also has stickers that resemble the Buckeye helmet stickers. These shoes are incredibly hard to find though, and are only available at select retailers. I know some of you might think this is something random to have for a post, but I had to show some of the sickest Buckeye shoes available. Just another thing Ohio State football has inspired!   
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