"Jeff Heuerman is still not 100-percent, hope by B1G season he is 100-percent per Urban Meyer."
-Kevin Noon, BuckeyeGrove.com
The Ohio State offense might still be trying to adjust to the loss of Braxton Miller, but they also have a starter that isn't quite at full health yet. Urban Meyer said on his call-in show on Thursday that tight end Jeff Heuerman isn't yet at 100% after offseason foot surgery, but he was hoping that Heuerman would be recovered fully by the start of Big Ten season. Heuerman was listed as the starter on the Ohio State depth chart earlier this week, but with Nick Vannett close behind, more of the junior could be seen out on the field this week, and in the following two non-conference games.
In the season opener against Navy, Vannett saw more snaps than Heuerman, but Heuerman was ahead in that count before Vannett took all of the snaps in the final drive. Heuerman might be the better offensive weapon, but Vannett has a bit more upside when it comes to blocking, which the Buckeyes could need more against the pressure that Virginia Tech will likely throw at them. With a month still to go before Big Ten play starts (and a bye week set for after next week's game against Kent State) it'll be interesting to see just how much Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman use Heuerman this week and going forward as he works to get back to full health.
"The deficiency along Ohio State's offensive line presents an amazing opportunity for Tech to force big momentum-swinging plays on defense, provided that Foster's defense can stop the Buckeye read-option game and put Ohio State into long down and distance situations."
In Ohio State's season opener against Navy the offensive line play, especially in the first half, left a lot to be desired. The offensive line of the Buckeyes will have to show considerable improvement on Saturday night if they want to have success against the aggressiveness that Bud Foster defenses are known for. Should Virginia Tech be able to get through the line and force Barrett out of the pocket, Buckeye fans could see more instances like in the Navy game where Barrett threw a ill-advised interception in the redzone.
So what can Buckeye fans expect to see out of the Virginia Tech defense in terms of pressure? Virginia Tech blog thekeyplay.com broke down the different types of pressure that the Hokies brought against William & Mary in the season opener, and just how that could translate against the Buckeyes. Yearly Bud Foster's unit is one of the top defenses in the country, and this year is no different. Barrett and the Buckeyes have a tough task in front of them in terms of cracking the Virginia Tech defense, but the first step in doing that is being able to keep the redshirt freshman quarterback upright and clean.
"I just like to compete. No matter who has how many stars ... I don't care about that. I'm just going to come here and compete. Coach Meyer recruited me because he knows I'm a competitor."
-Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee
Just after halftime Navy was driving down the field against the Buckeyes and looking to go up 14-6. Then in just one play redshirt freshman linebacker Darron Lee scooped up a Joey Bosa forced fumble and took it 61 yards to give the Buckeyes a 13-7 lead on the Midshipmen. It was a very welcome sight for a linebacking unit that aside from Ryan Shazier has been criticized over the last few years. With Shazier gone there are a number of players that are trying to restore order to a unit that has been heralded in the past. One of those linebackers that has made his mark early in the season is the New Albany graduate.
The road for Lee to have such early success at linebacker for the Buckeye wasn't quite as easy as it would have seemed. While playing his high school football at New Albany, Lee primarily played quarterback and safety. Before enrolling at Ohio State, Lee weighed less than 200 pounds. After taking a redshirt last season, Lee has bulked up considerably and joins potential playmakers like Curtis Grant and Josh Perry at linebacker. While he still might be growing into his skill set at linebacker, Lee is showing he has made great strides, and above all else he is a tremendous competitor, which head coach Urban Meyer loves.
"The Women's Final Four is the NCAA's marquee women's sporting event for America. And it will be a destination-defining moment for Columbus."
-Bruce Wimbish, Greater Columbus Sports Commission
While Columbus is trying to lure the 2016 Democratic National Convention to town, it isn't the only big name event that the capital city has their eyes on. Columbus has made the first cut of cities in finding locations for the 2017 through 2020 Women's Final Four. Twelve cities had been in the running to be hosts, but that number has been almost cut in half, with seven cities still alive.
Tuesday will see collegiate basketball leaders taking a 24-hour tour of the city to assess the viability of holding the championship in Columbus. If selected to host in one of the four years that are up for grabs, the event could bring 18 to 20 million dollars into the area in terms of revenue. A key to the bid by Columbus could be the usage of the Columbus Convention Center, which could be heavily used should Columbus be selected as a site. The next step in the selection process is the cutdown to four possible sites, and many think that Columbus will be able to survive that cut.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Coming in from out of town for the VT/OSU game? Martin Rickman of si.com has you covered on a few places to eat while in Columbus.
- No surprise that the fried bologna sandwich the Cleveland Browns are offering at games this year looks absolutely gross.
- The Columbus Clippers defeated Durham 9-4 in Game 1 of the International League Governors' Cup semifinals. Game 2 takes place tonight at Huntington Park.
- Just by looking at the mugshot photo you'll be able to guess what this Fayetteville, Arkansas woman is charged with stealing. Woo Pig Sooie!
- See? Beer is good for you! So drink up because SCIENCE said so
- While the Ron Swanson "pyramid of greatness" is in a class by itself, these Andy Dwyer motivational posters are pretty great.