Offense to get reinforcements

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Last updated: 10/03/2011 10:25 AM

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Football
Buckeyes Anxious to Get Reinforcements This Week
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Think experience doesn’t matter? Go back and watch Saturday’s game against Michigan State again.

Even when the Spartans were showing a corner blitz, freshman quarterback Braxton Miller did not have the tools at his disposal to make the necessary adjustments Ohio State needed.

“It didn’t seem like we were running many check plays off the wrist band and I’m not sure he can signal receivers as far as changing routes,” center Michael Brewster said after the team’s 10-7 home loss.

“We’ve got some young guys out there who are learning on the run.”

They were definitely on the run this week, especially Miller, who looked particularly lost against Mark Dantonio’s relentless pass-rush Saturday. The true freshman from Wayne High School passed for only 56 yards despite the fact Michigan State was persistently stacking the box with eight or nine defenders.

“We have to air it out a little bit to get some guys out of the box, and have better protection,” Brewster said.

“Hopefully you’ll see a little bit more experienced team going into next week.”

Luke Fickell and his staff turned the offense over to fifth-year senior Joe Bauserman in the fourth quarter. It resulted in Ohio State’s only touchdown of the game—a 33-yard pass to freshman Evan Spencer—but not before Bauserman was sacked five times in one quarter.

This week, however, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The Buckeyes will finally get some reinforcements back this week as veterans DeVier Posey, Boom Herron, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas return from their five-game suspensions.

“That’s going to make a big difference,” sophomore defensive back Christian Bryant said.

“It will add more experience to the team. All those guys are seniors; they know exactly what they’re doing. They practice hard and they have good work habits. Everything’s going to turn around.”

Bryant is obviously optimistic about the impact those four players can have on this team, and for good reason. Herron was the team’s leading rusher last season with over 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Posey was second on the team in receiving with 53 catches for 848 yards and seven touchdowns, while Adams was a first-team all-Big Ten performer in his inaugural season at Ohio State’s starting left tackle.

“(Andrew) Norwell’s been doing a hell of a job, especially for his first year starting,” Brewster said of OSU’s sophomore left tackle.

“Mike’s going to come back and Mike’s a hell of a player as well. He’s going to add a lot to the group.”

Chances are, they all will. That includes Thomas, who was one of the heroes of the Sugar Bowl win with his last-minute interception of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.

“We definitely could use those guys right now,” sophomore tailback Carlos Hyde said.

“We could use everybody, even our injured guys. We need everybody right now to be a part of the team.”

Along with the four suspended players, the Buckeyes have also been without two key starters because of injury. Sophomore receiver Corey “Philly” Brown missed the last three games with an ankle injury and senior defensive end Nathan Williams has not played since the opener because of a knee injury.

The timetable for Williams’ return is still unknown, but Brown could be back on the field this week at Nebraska.  

“Everything I’ve heard from him is that he’s eager and anxious to get back this week,” Brewster said.

Brown and Posey were going to be Ohio State’s top two receivers this fall, but the Buckeyes have had to rely on Chris Fields and a bunch of freshmen and sophomores instead.

Devin Smith and Verlon Reed have made a few plays in their absence, but Brewster believes that Posey and Brown will have a huge impact on Ohio State’s passing game.

“We’ve got some young guys out there right now and I’m sure they’re giving their best effort, but it will be awesome to get DeVier back and get Philly back,” he said.

“Philly’s a burner, he’ll get down the field and DeVier is one of the best in college. Adding those guys into the mix is going to help out a lot.”

That’s good, because this team needs a lot of help right now. They have the 111th-ranked passing offense in the country and currently rank 108 out of 120 in total offense and scoring offense.

“Guys aren’t sulking at all,” Bryant said.

“We have to stay up because we know what we have ahead of us. We know our whole team is going to come back to us next week and we just have to prepare for next week. 

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