August 6, 2011

Fall Camp: Pressing Questions



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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State football players report to fall camp this weekend, marking it just hours before the practice for the 2011 season officially begins.



Though the summer was filled with off-the-field issues, there may be just as many unknowns heading into fall camp on the field.



We'll likely get all the answers we're looking for in the next month before Ohio State's season begins, but BuckeyeGrove.com outlines some of the most pressing story lines heading into fall camp.



  • Who will play quarterback? This was a pressing question heading into spring practice, too, but now all the marbles are on the line with the opener just a matter of weeks away. Senior Joe Bauserman spent most of the spring repping with the first team at quarterback and freshman Braxton Miller was with the fourth team. Ironically enough, fans seem to want that to be directly opposite. Miller had an impressive spring game and Bauserman wasn't exactly as good as he probably would've liked to be, but everything can change in the coming weeks. Don't forgot Kenny Guiton and Taylor Graham as part of the battle, but all eyes will be on Miller as Ohio State starts a new era of football.



  • How will the running back position shake up? This could be the most interesting position battle on the team. With Dan Herron suspended for five games to kick off the season, the Buckeyes have to turn to one of the other backs to carry the load. The tricky part is all of them seem to be very good while sporting their own individual features. With all being different, it's possible the coaching staff will shake things up and split the carries, but one of the other backs could emerge. Could it be Jaamal Berry, who seemed to be the most explosive, or will one of the other backs step forward? We're close to finding out.



  • How will the suspended players rep? Head coach Luke Fickell said in Chicago that the suspended players will have to earn their spots back, but that doesn't quite explain how they will rep in the fall. Will guys like DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, and Herron run scout team repetitions only, or will Fickell and the staff have them taking valuable reps at times to keep them fresh for week six?



  • Will a wide receiver emerge? If there was one position that seemed weak in the spring, it was wide receiver. Though Posey is likely one of the best options in college football at the position, he won't be in the mix for the first five weeks of the season. There's a lot of young talent at the position, but nobody really seemed to step up and grab a hold of the battle in the spring. You have newcomers Devin Smith and Evan Spencer who just joined the team mixed with guys like Corey Brown, Verlon Reed, and T.Y. Williams. All of them will be looking to make a statement for playing time. The Buckeyes sorely need consistency from at least three of them.



  • Will the Aug. 12 hearing be a distraction? The infamous date that's been set aside for Ohio State's meeting with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions falls right in the midst of fall camp. Though the NCAA likely won't hand out a decision about whether or not the program will face further sanctions, that day has a big significance on the future of Ohio State football. Will the Buckeyes be able to continue to focus on football with their fate hanging in the balance that day?



  • Will the offensive line have enough depth? One of the weakest positions Ohio State had in the spring was the offensive line from a depth standpoint. The team welcomes in new scholarship faces like Chris Carter on the offensive line in the last month, but will the Buckeyes have enough talent to field a 2-deep? That wasn't the case in the spring, which could be an ongoing issue for the team. There are position battles at a few spots - namely left tackle, left guard, and right guard - but how competitive will those positions be without a ton of faces that are ready to take the field right away?



  • Who is going to win the other cornerback spot? Travis Howard stepped up big in the spring and asserted himself as one of the best defensive backs on the team, which will likely be enough for him to hold one of the starting cornerback spots in the fall. The other cornerback, however, is still up for grabs. Dominic Clarke will likely start the fall with the first team, but can he hold of guys like Dionte Allen, Christian Bryant, and Bradley Roby?



  • Will any freshmen work into the mix? Ohio State welcomed a ton of talent in Tressel's last recruiting class - all of which properly introduced themselves at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center this week. Will the stud recruits get a chance to find themselves in the mix early or will Ohio State continue to go with a veteran-laden lineup early in the season? One thing's for sure - everyone is looking forward to seeing how Miller and Curtis Grant take the field Monday.



  • Does Fickell seem to fit in his new role? It's hard to imagine that Fickell wouldn't fit into his new role as the head coach, but it will be the first time in his career where it is his responsibility to oversee the whole operation. Even though he was named the interim head coach before spring practice, he admitted he was still concentrated on the linebackers with Tressel running the show. It's his responsibility now to manage the whole system. How will the fall camp be run under his supervision and how will the staff gel with their new leader?





    Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.








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