The kick off to the 2010 Ohio State Buckeyes season is just a week away. That’s right, Ohio State takes on Marshall next Thursday, September 2nd, at the Shoe. With the first game so close at hand, there are a few housekeeping issues that needed to be taken care of.
First, the captains had to be named. Yesterday, the team announced that there would be 6 captains instead of the usual 4. The 6 lucky individuals selected to lead this team were Brandon Saine, Dane Sanzenbacher, Bryant Browning, Ross Homan, Brian Rolle, and Cam Heyward. The names listed there aren’t really surprises. Some had speculated that maybe Terrelle Pryor would get the nod at captain, but Jim Tressel has long stated his preference for seniors to be captains. The biggest surprise was the decision to go with 6 captains.
This is only the 2nd time in OSU history that they have had 6 captains. This speaks volumes to the caliber of this senior class. With the exception of maybe Cam Heyward, none of the seniors are big names on the national stage, but this is a tough, even level senior class and there were simply too many quality options to be captain to limit them to just 4. In a season in which the Buckeyes are expected to make a push for their 2nd National Championship under head coach Jim Tressel, it’s tough to put a quota on the value of having this kind of senior leadership.
Beyond just the captains, OSU also needed to figure out their depth chart. There were a couple positional battles, including LT (Mike Adams vs Andy Miller), SAM LB (Andrew Sweat vs Etienne Sabino), and SS (Orhian Johnson vs CJ Barnett). Today, OSU announced the winners of those battles when they released their full depth chart. The starters are:
Yes, I realize there are 12 starters listed on defense, but for those who are unfamiliar with defensive coordinator Jim Heacock’s system, the Star position is a hybrid LB/Safety position that he will frequently use depending on the opponents’ formations/tendencies.
2 of the 3 positional battles may have been decided by injury, as Andy Miller’s elbow inflammation allowed Mike Adams to win by default, and the surprise of seeing CJ Barnett listed as the starting SS is similarly likely due to injury to Orhian Johnson who has battled injuries all camp.
The strongside linebacker job, though, was won flat out by Andrew Sweat. Etienne Sabino was the more highly touted recruit and a guy many thought was going to be the next great OSU linebacker, but Sweat’s name kept coming up all offseason as a guy who was consistently impressing. Evidently the work paid off and he is now the starting SAM. As a result, Sabino is not even listed as the backup SAM (Jon Newsome). Instead, Sabino will back up Rolle at MLB and will likely be groomed as Rolle’s replacement when the senior moves on after this season.
I wouldn’t be surprised if once Orhian Johnson returns to health we don’t see him take over at SS and CJ Barnett slide into the Star position should Tyler Moeller struggle with the new position. Moeller, originally a LB, was lost for the season last summer when he took a punch in a Florida club while on family vacation and suffered severe brain injuries. Now healthy and fit to return to full football activities, Moeller has been moved to the Star position, which will surely be an adjustment from the position he is accustomed to playing.
This is shaping up to be one of the deepest Ohio State teams of recent memory and one of the more senior laden teams. The schedule lines up relatively favorably for the Buckeyes as well, putting them in good position to make a serious run at their 6th consecutive Big Ten title and another shot at the National Championship. With most of the housekeeping issues now taken care of, the Buckeyes just have one week to wait before they take to the field and try to live up to the lofty expectations.