Ohio State has released the (un)official depth chart for Saturday’s game against Illinois, and there isn’t much in the way of changes from last week.
That doesn’t mean the depth chart below is entirely accurate, however.
Minutes prior to kickoff against Michigan State, OSU sent out a release stating that linebackers Jerome Baker and Dante Booker would be held out due to injuries. Urban Meyer said on Monday that Baker has been cleared and is probable, but Booker is still questionable.
Meyer also said after the game and in the days following that he liked what he saw from Chris Worley at outside linebacker with Tuf Borland in the middle.
Speaking with the media on Tuesday, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was non-committal on what the lineup would look like on Saturday, but admitted that Worley’s versatility allows them to play him anywhere at any time.
For his part, Worley said that he’s practicing all over and would welcome an opportunity to play at the Sam linebacker spot as well, which is the position he played last year but hasn’t yet played at this year.
My expectation is for Borland to be in the middle, flanked by Worley and Baker/Malik Harrison.
The situation with Jerome Baker and Malik Harrison is an interesting one. The coaches don’t seem to have any doubt that Baker is one of the top three linebackers on the team — and he is when he’s disciplined. When he’s undisciplined, however, he makes this Ohio State defense much more vulnerable than it should be.
So will Worley stick at Baker’s Will spot and move Baker to Booker’s Sam spot, which is also where Harrison plays? I have no idea. I do expect the linebackers to continue to be utilized situationally, like they do when Harrison has come in for Booker on passing downs in the past.
As has been the situation for most of the season, J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber continue to be listed as ORs, and after last week, that’s for good reason. Weber was the first running back in seven years to bust an 80-yard run against a Mark Dantonio defense. He looked like a No. 1 running back, so I would not be surprised to see him with another 10 or so touches this week.
One thing that I am interested to watch this week is the backup quarterback position. Dwayne Haskins has been the backup all year long thanks to Joe Burrow’s broken hand. This will likely be the last chance for either quarterback to see the field — and almost certainly the last chance for both of them to play.
That means this could be the last time we see either of them on the field before they begin competing to be the starter next year.
Urban Meyer says game action is much more important than practice reps, but is there anything that Burrow can do in a game like this to even things out with Haskins? Or will he just have to wait until camp begins to make his case?