First Day of Fall Camp: 40 Things to Watch For
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It is finally here, Buckeye fans.
The countdown clocks finally read “0 days” as Ohio State opens camp with the first of 29 fall practices. That means 29 practices to find a starting quarterback and 29 practices to get this team ready to play on opening day without a handful of its best players.
We give you 40 things to watch for this fall to get ready for the season-opener against Akron on Sept. 3:
1. What the offense will look like in the post-Jim Tressel, post-Terelle Pryor era.
2. Joe Bauserman’s ability to move the offense, or lack there of.
3. How much Braxton Miller has expanded his knowledge of the passing game since the spring.
4. Which of the other two quarterbacks—Taylor Graham or Kenny Guiton—will make a serious push for the starting spot.
5. How often Miller gets to work with the first-team offense early in camp.
6. Where they choose to use Jordan Hall offensively.
7. Which tailback(s) get the bulk of the carries with the first-team offense knowing Boom Herron cannot play until week six.
8. How the staff choose to handle guys like Herron and DeVier Posey, who are used to taking all their reps with the first group.
9. What Rod Smith and Jaamal Berry can do when they finally get to run behind the first group of offensive line.
10. How they fair finally going up against Ohio State’s first-team defense.
11. Where Carlos Hyde fits and what type of shape he is in at the start of fall camp.
12. How much the staff plans to use Jake Stoneburner as a wide receiver knowing that Posey is suspended for five games.
13. Whether Reid Fragel is ready to jump back in the mix after his recent trip to the hospital for a staph infection.
14. How much Jeff Heuerman has progressed from the spring and what role he will play behind Stoneburner and Fragel.
15. Whether Philly Brown is ready to take the next step by adding dependable hands to his amazing speed.
16. Which of the other receivers step up in Posey’s absence.
17. If freshmen Devin Smith and Evan Spencer will put the pressure on some of the more veteran receivers like Chris Fields and Verlon Reed.
18. What role T.Y. Williams can have on an offense desperate for playmakers.
19. Which of the freshmen offensive linemen are ready to contribute right away.
20. Which of the veteran offensive linemen are going to slide into the spots vacated by Justin Boren, Bryant Browning and Mike Adams, who will miss the first five games of the season.
21. How much of a leadership role will seniors like Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts take offensively.
22. How far ahead the defensive line will be considering the guys they have coming back and the talent they brought in.
23. If Garrett Goebel can lock down the nose tackle spot, allowing Johnathan Hankins to slide over and play the 3-technique like Jim Heacock and the staff would prefer.
24. Which young player will step up to play behind Nathan Williams at the Leo position while Solomon Thomas is suspended.
25. If any of the freshmen are good enough to crack the rotation on the defensive line.
26. Whether the Buckeyes will be hurting at linebacker after all the attrition they have faced since last season.
27. How much Heacock and the staff decide to use the Sam linebacker position now that they have a healthy Tyler Moeller playing the Star.
28. Whether this is finally the year where Etienne Sabino locks down a starting role on the defense.
29. How good Curtis Grant can’t be from the moment his feet hit the ground.
30. What kind of impact Mike Vrabel can have as a first-time coach.
31. Whether Moeller is completely recovered from the head and pectoral injuries that have cost him the bulk of his playing career.
32. Where Christian Bryant will find a home and how the Buckeyes will get him on the field.
33. Who will step up to claim the starting corner spot across from Travis Howard.
34. What kind of impact Doran Grant can have as a freshman at the cornerback position.
35. Whether Orhian Johnson can take the next step and avoid having his starting job taken by one of the talented youngsters behind him.
36. How ready C.J. Barnett will be coming off the knee injury that derailed a promising 2010 season.
37. If Corey Brown can overcome his injury and return to any semblance of the kid who was a 5-star prospect as a high school senior.
38. How much Drew Basil has improved as kicker from his freshman to sophomore season.
39. The legend that is Bryce Haynes.
40. Luke Fickell being in charge of his very first practices in the post-Tressel era at Ohio State.
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