June 27, 2011

Five to look out for: Offense

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - After losing just about everything that gave the Ohio State football team its identity in 2010 offensively, the Buckeyes should look a lot differently in the fall.

After the resignation of Jim Tressel - the key figure in developing Ohio State's offensive philosophy - and unexpectedly losing star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State is in need of some new faces to make plays in 2011.

While the Buckeyes have key names back, three of those names will serve five-game suspensions to kick off next season in DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, and Dan Herron.

Though we thought we learned quite a bit during spring practice sessions, Ohio State's fall camp will determine who sees the field and what the Buckeyes will lean on for offensive identity.

While there's still plenty to learn, there are new faces that could go a long way in making the transition easier for the Buckeyes as it transitions into a new era. Check out those five offensive players below:

  • Devin Smith, WR - Though Ohio State welcomes back Posey, perhaps one of the best receivers in the Big Ten, Smith comes into his freshman year when the Buckeyes are in dying need of some help at his position. Though he wasn't necessarily the most coveted player in the most recent recruiting class, Smith has proven that he makes plays every time he steps on the field. In Ohio's triumph in the latest Big 33 game, Smith caught three passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. That big play ability, which was mentioned on national signing day, could have him on the field this fall.

  • Verlon Reed, WR - Coming to Ohio State Reed was promised he'd get a crack at quarterback. Though Reed never saw that shot with Pryor ahead of him on the depth chart, the conversion to wide receiver has seemingly treated him well. Reed has yet to make an impact, but was mentioned several times as a player that made huge strides this spring. Reed, who caught a touchdown pass in the spring game, was a playmaker in high school and his incredible athletic ability has helped him make a transition to another position. If spring was any indication, Reed could be more than a "dark horse" for playing time in the fall.

  • Braxton Miller, QB - Even before Pryor's decision to leave Ohio State with a year of eligibility remaining, Miller was the talk of spring. Most thought he was the best fit to fill in for the first five games of next season, particularly after his performance in the spring game proved that his ability to extend plays with his legs was the best thing for the offense. Miller was the gem of Ohio State's recruiting class and with the Buckeyes hoping to look toward the future, there's a good chance Miller will be the one lining up under center in his freshman year.

  • Jaamal Berry, RB - Ohio State will likely be a run-first team in the fall and the Buckeyes have a nice stable of running backs hoping to get a chance to carry the ball. However, of all the backs this spring it was Berry that showed the most explosiveness. Already proving to be a big-play threat for Ohio State when getting time in regular season games a year ago, Berry hits the holes hard, has quick and aggressive moves, and his vision is on point. Though the running back position may be the hardest for a player to separate himself at, Berry did a good job of standing out in the spring.

  • Jordan Hall, RB - Rumors swirled that Hall had been moved to wide receiver, but it was recently confirmed that's not the case. However, Hall will be used in a variety of different ways that extend past just taking hand offs. In the spring Hall was split out wide, was on the receiving end of screens, and is an option in the slot. Though Hall may still be lining up in the backfield, his explosiveness will be taken advantage of all over the field. We don't know what it will look like, but this seems to be Hall's year to break out.

    Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.


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