September worries and the Ohio State Buckeyes

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By far, of all the messages in my inbox this spring, the majority pertains to USC’s upcoming visit to Columbus Ohio to face the Buckeyes in September. Most concerns stem from the recent loss of personnel, especially on the defensive side of the ball, ultimately leading to thoughts of a possible early season schedule blemish. But although the NFL draft made it difficult to ignore the loss of 11 of the empire’s significant contributors, Ohio State is also a program that took roster hits at key positions.

It may now seem like forever ago, but during the spring of 2008, USC was in the recovery stage, after losing defenders Sedrick Ellis, Keith Rivers, Thomas Williams, and Lawrence Jackson to the NFL draft. The offense also suffered the losses of John David Booty, Chauncey Washington, Fred Davis, Chilo Rachel, Sam Baker and Drew Radovich. Meanwhile, in another part of the country, Ohio State was returning a team that appeared in the National Championship game twice in two seasons. Among those on the roster, were several that chose to forfeit NFL dollars for another opportunity to compete and win a national title in their final year of collegiate eligibility.

That clash between reload and reassert ended with an embarrassing 35-3 Trojans victory in Los Angeles. And now in the spring of 2009, we have the Trojans again reloading, including a second change of quarterback in as many years, and the replacement of an entire starting unit of linebackers. But in Columbus, it’s no longer a reassertion campaign, after losing James Laurinaitis, Marcus Freeman, Alex Boone, Malcolm Jenkins, Brian Robiskie and Chris Wells. If the OSU difference between winning and losing last year’s contest was the absence of Beanie Wells (according to some media sources and many Ohio State fans), then the absence of 6 major contributors should give even less to fear…correct?

More important than the players on each roster are the guys leading them. Pete Carroll has made a name for himself by clobbering opponents in high profile games. In contrast, Jim Tressel has developed a reputation for being clobbered in the same. Tressel’s claim to fame was the upset victory over a very talented Miami team to win the National Championship in 2002, along with his continued dominance over rival Michigan. Miami’s Larry Coker and Michigan’s Lloyd Carr have since been run out of their respective towns and away from coaching sidelines, leaving the sweater vest with no one to kick around.

Last year, what appeared more obvious than the talent on the field was the Buckeyes’ poor preparation and lack of a game plan that would allow them to compete with the Trojans. Despite the number or returning Ohio State stars, it was a lopsided affair, and proved to be one of Carroll’s easiest victories of the season. These 2009 Buckeyes are still very talented, and the change of venue will present a great advantage. But until Jim Tressel is able to pick through the minds of Pete Carroll and his staff, there’s isn’t much to worry about. The trips to Oregon and Cal may be more concerning.

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~ by Anthony on May 20, 2009.

One Response to “September worries and the Ohio State Buckeyes”

  1. Its the hardest thing being a Trojan and living an hour from Columbus, the mood has been set here in Ohio for an dominate game by the Buckeyes being that everyone in this state is a Buckeye fan from birth. They hate the Trojans with more passion than Michigan simply because the Trojans reload a take care of business every year with different players that compete every down and finish like no other team in college.

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