Hey all! Along with my Browns React articles, I will also be writing about the Buckeyes during their 2014 season on TripleThreatPodcast!
Well, I pretty much had to throw out my original draft of the Buckeyes season after the devastating season ending shoulder injury to Braxton Miller. In his place for this season (and perhaps the next 2-3) is J.T. Barrett, a freshman from Wichita Falls, Texas. J.T. red shirted last year for the Buckeyes and did not play a down. During his senior year at Rider High School in 2012, J.T. passed for 784 yards and 5 touchdowns while rushing for 569 yards and 7 touchdowns before going down with an injury in the fifth game. In other words, J.T. has not taken a snap in a game for nearly 2 years. However, he has received glowing reviews from the Buckeyes staff and worked with the first team during spring games as well as training camp.
J.T. will have some weapons to throw to on offense, including Devon Smith and Jeff Heurman. Returning running back Ezekiel Elliot will provide some explosion in the backfield should help J.T. as well. That said, he will also have an offensive line that only has 1 returning starter from last year. With Barrett and so many new starters on the o-line, it’s going to be a very bumpy start to the Buckeyes season offensively.
Last year, the Buckeyes defense looked very shaky at times, especially during the Big 10 Championship and Orange Bowl, where Sammy Watkins had a field day against a very inexperienced secondary that did not have Bradley Roby. Returning defensive ends Joey Bosa (after his 2 game suspension) and Noah Spence should lead a very nasty front 4 but new starters abound throughout the defense. Middle linebacker Curtis Grant could be pushed out of playing time by the nations number 1 linebacker prospect Raekwon McMillian. Cornerback Doran Grant will lead the secondary, starting opposite new starter Gareon Conley, who was a red shirt freshman last year.
Biggest season question: How long will it take for Barrett and the offense to click starting? The Navy game next weekend in Baltimore may be a bigger challenge than originally thought.
Biggest season question, Part 2: Can the defense, with its own question marks, be good enough to carry some of the weight left by an offense that could have issues to start the season?
Prediction: The Ohio State Buckeyes, with all of the uncertainty, still have a chance of going 10-2 this year. The good news is that by the Michigan game in November, the offense might be on all cylinders to perhaps win the Big 10 East title. However, it won’t be easy for them to win the Big 10 Championship in Indianapolis. Urban Meyer gets the best out of players, especially on offense. Let’s see if he can work some magic with J.T. Barrett.
No matter what happens, it’s great to have Buckeyes football back!