Stadium: Autzen Stadium (54,000)
Coach: Chip Kelly (1st year at Oregon and overall, 10-2)
2008 Record: 10-3 (Defeated Oklahoma State in Holiday Bowl, 42-31)
2009 Record: 10-2
Base Offense: Spread
Base Defense: 4-3
Letterman: Returning - 49; Lost - 20
Returning Starters: Offense - 4, Defense - 5, Specialists - 1
Returning Stars: QB Jeremiah Masoli; DE Will Tukuafu
- Ann Curry: Anchor, The Today Show
- Steve Prefontaine, long distance runner
- Norm Van Brocklin, Hall of Fame quaterback
- David Ogden Stiers, actor of MASH fame
- Norv Turner, Head Coach, San Diego Chargers
- Mary Decker, long distance runner
- Mark Few, head basketball coach, Gonzaga
- Peter Jacobson, pro golfer
- John Madden, former football coach and TV color commentator
Cheerleading Scouting Report:
After a slow start out of the gate, the Ducks have become one of the hottest teams in college football. Their quick paced brand of offense combined with the explosive talent of Masoli and James, have made the Ducks a media favorite this year. Everyone enjoys seeing a team that can put up points, and Oregon can definitely do that.
Drew Thurman (11:57 pm)
There has been a lot made of the matchup between Oregon's offense and Ohio State's defense, but unfortunately that leaves out many other storylines in the Rose Bowl. One of those that is important to watch is the progression of Terrelle Pryor. Most college football fans will be watching Masoli closely on the other side of the ball, but Pryor has the potential to grab all the press clips when the clock hits zero. In fact, I think it is time for Pryor to show that he has taken the next step forward for the Buckeyes. Fans have waited for his coming out party and the Rose Bowl will provide the national exposure for him to have a breakout moment, much like what Troy Smith and Vince Young experienced.
Pryor has taken a ton of criticism this season for his decision making and leadership, and many in the media have been disappointed in his progress as a quarterback. It's hard to blame them. He has had his fair share of turnovers, struggled to show consistency as a passer, and has worn his emotions on his sleeve for everyone to see. Not hard to understand why Masoli has been the focus, and Pryor has been a mere backstory.
There is reason for hope though.
Dave Thurman (8:57 am)
We continue to look at Ohio State's prospects for 2010 by analyzing each position group. In part one we discussed the offense and kicker, so in this segment we'll consider the defense and the rest of the special teams.
DL: Most fans felt like the 2009 defensive line would be a strength for this team, and the big guys didn't disappoint. Led by Cameron Heyward and Thad Gibson, this unit rotated about 9 guys, allowing players to stay fresh, and there is no doubt the back seven benefited from the play of the line.
Next year's d-line will be missing a bunch of guys as Doug Worthington, Todd Denlinger, Lawrence Wilson, and Robert Rose have all used up their eligibility. In addition there are reports that Gibson and/or Heyward may turn pro. The smart money right now is on Gibson opting for the NFL with Heyward staying for his final season. Regardless, there are a bunch of spots to fill. On the positive side Dexter Larimore (DT), John Simon (DT), and Nathan Williams (DE) have established themselves, while others like Garrett Goebel (DT) and Solomon Thomas (DE) have been able to at least get their feet wet. If Heyward returns it would be a huge plus, as he would start at end with Williams, and Larimore and Simon would start at tackle.
Outside of Goebel and Thomas depth is a question mark. Keith Wells has talent at DE but it isn't certain if he will be back and eligible. Other possibilities at end are Melvin Fellows (who redshirted due to injury), Jonathan Newsome who played a little as a true freshmen, and a number of recruits in the class of '10. At tackle, Adam Bellamy redshirted, and the Bucks are hoping to add Shariff Floyd to this year's class and he might be good enough to warrant playing time immediately.
2010 prediction: If Heyward returns the line will be very good, though weaker than '09. If he opts for the big bucks, OSU could be in trouble here.
Merry Christmas from Dave and Drew here at The Silver Bullet! We hope today is filled with family, food, football, and a little Christmas Vacation!
David Thurman (9:43 am)
Winston Churchill said, "The farther back you look the further forward you are likely to see." As 2009 comes to a close let's look back at the past season to help us get a glimpse of what 2010 holds for the Bucks. We'll do this by analyzing each position group:
QB: Needless to say this position wasn't as good in 2009 as most OSU fans envisioned. Considering that Pryor is a true sophomore it seems most of us were looking through Scarlet and Gray glasses when we dreamed of a Big Ten MVP season from him. Of course the media made the same mistake! It did seem that he progressed as a leader this year, and began to cut down on turnovers, particularly after the disaster at West Lafayette. Pryor still needs to work on mechanics, and improve his completion percentage, but that should happen if: 1) He gets good coaching; and, 2) He continues to dedicate himself.
As for backups, there is a feeling that Kenny Guiton might supplant Joe Bauserman as the number two guy, and certainly his skills more closely resemble those of TP. Still, the Bucks are in trouble if Pryor goes down next year. Incoming freshmen Taylor Graham and Verlon Reed will obviously not be ready for action.
2010 prediction: Marked improvement if Pryor remains healthy
RB: What started off as a liability came on to be a strength this season, when Herron and Saine were both finally healthy and running behind an improved line. Neither of the two is Beanie Wells, but they both bring some unique talents to the table, and both return for 2010. In addition Jordan Hall was a pleasant surprise and shows the ability to be a fine back at OSU. If that's not enough, the uber talented Jamaal Berry was unable to play and redshirted, but the coaches love his skills and hope to get him on the field in 2010. And, with bigger backs Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith coming aboard next year this may be the deepest Buckeye backfield ever. And I didn't even mention Jermil Martin who looked like a hardnosed runner when he got the chance. If there is any negative it may be that there still isn't one Eddie George or Beanie Wells to be the bell cow.
Fullback should be better, too, as Zach Boren and Adam Homan learned on the job, and improved as the year went on. Boren may even become a stud.
2010 prediction: Marked improvement. This should go from a "B" backfield to a solid "A"!
Drew Thurman (11:10 pm)
The matchup everyone is anticipating in the Rose Bowl is Oregon's offense versus the Buckeye defense. The Ohio State defense has shut opponents down all season long, and comes into the game the 5th ranked defense in the country. The Ducks on the other side are averaging 424.7 yards and 37.7 points per game. While the Buckeye defense shouldn't be disrespected by anyone for what they have done this season (and they have been on many Oregon websites), fans do have to be honest in saying this team has not faced an offense like that of the Ducks.
Rather than spend tons of time talking about what either team has previously accomplished this season though, I want to take a look at what the defense needs to do to slow down the Oregon offense. It starts by understanding exactly what they do.
Chip Kelly and the Ducks, like all users of the spread offense, like to use the whole field to their advantage. That way they stretch the defenders out, and put pressure on each individual. What makes Oregon tougher to defend is their execution of the read option. This is a run first option, like that of Florida, which will throw tons of different looks at the defense.
Drew Thurman (6:21 pm)
I was enjoying a nice breakfast when I happened upon Lisa Horne's Top 10 storylines of bowl season
to read this about Ohio State:"The Buckeyes are in a BCS bowl for the fifth consecutive season. They are also facing: A. the usual six-week layoff after their last regular-season game and B. a team riddled with speed. Will we hear the travel and rust excuses if they lose? The bigger question is whether the Buckeyes will completely open the playbook when facing speed, or will Jim Tressel talk up again the most important part of the game -- punting? Tressel is a class act, but a loss here might cause the Senator to be impeached by the scarlet and gray faithful."
Needless to say, my Frosted Flakes haven't sat well since reading this. Horne exaggerates the relationship between Tressel and Buckeye Nation greatly, and even worse, she just has to throw the "speed" jab at the Buckeyes. Not only is that argument incredibly cliché, as is the rest of her article, but quite frankly it is pretty negligent. You have to wonder if these self proclaimed college football experts actually watch the games.
Now I realize that Ohio State has brought some of the criticism on themselves with their recent big game blunders, but you would think that the analysts would be able to pinpoint the real problem(s) for the Buckeyes. I think talking about speed is a cop out for Horne and the media, and the reality is that speed hasn't been the real issue. Anyone who has watched the Buckeyes full body of work this decade knows that.
Drew Thurman (2:56 pm)
It's exciting to hear that the Big Ten has opened itself up to expanding, and why wouldn't they? Not only is the conference an afterthought the last few weeks of the regular season, but the 18 million people that watched the SEC Championship or 12.7 million for the Big 12 Championship this year could be watching the Big Ten too. The conference is already the richest in the sport today, so why not take things to the next level?
Of course all of this talk about expansion means that the media has jumped on the idea of the Irish finally joining the conference. I mean it sounds like a great marriage right? The Irish have been irrelevant since 1993, as Kirk Herbstreit so nicely reminded everyone a few weeks back, and well we all know the Big Ten is hurting in perception points. So the two finally coming together could have both parties headed in the right direction.
Well, they don't see it that way in South Bend. Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick had this to say to the Chicago Tribune:
"Our strong preference is to remain the way we are. Independence is a big part of the tradition of the program and our identity. We'd sure like to try to maintain it."
So yes, that is another rejection from the Irish, just like back in 1999. This time it has a little bit less sting though, especially because they are in worse shape than they were 10 years ago. Don't get wrong, Kelly has the capability of turning things around in South Bend, but I still think it is the Irish that need the Big Ten. Not the other way around!
The Buckeyes haven't pulled in a commitment since early in September, but the long dead period ended today. QB Verlon Reed (6-2 185) jumped at the offer the staff extended, especially after what was a great visit to Columbus this last weekend. Reed wasn't an expected addition to class a few weeks ago, and may be overlooked by some fans. He is an athlete though, and will make the transition to wideout or defensive back if quarterback doesn't work out. He makes 15 in the class of 2010, since Carlos Hyde will join this class after a year at prep school. Source: http://bucknuts.com/index.php/Football-Recruiting-Article/reed-says-yes-to-buckeyes/menu-id-1346.html
Adam Rittenberg in his newest blog post is saying that sources are claiming that DE Robert Rose and WR Duron Carter will indeed miss the Rose Bowl due to acedemic issues. Rumors had been circulating all week that this might be the case, and the latest reports from Rittenberg at ESPN and The Plain Dealer seem to make this accurate.This is not great news as the Buckeyes look ahead to Jan. 1st, because even though neither have been a huge factor this season, both have had their moments of contribution.