"Twenty years removed from that magical run, Ezekiel Elliott has an opportunity to dethrone George as Ohio State's single-season rushing leader."
-David Regimbal, Bleacher Report
This year's Ohio State squad broke or tied an astonishing 74 team records en route to a national championship. Bleacher Report's David Regimbal highlights five more that the team could take a run at in 2015. Perhaps the most coveted of these is the single-season rushing record by a Buckeye player. Given the school's propensity to churn out fantastic backs -- Archie Griffin's name might ring a bell -- attaining the rushing record is no small feat. Eddie George is currently the clubhouse leader, with 1,927 yards on the ground in 1995.
Regimbal, along with many Buckeye fans, thinks Ezekiel Elliott has a legitimate chance to surpass that mark. Elliott rushed for over 1,400 yards this year,and racked up breakout performances in two of the toughest games imaginable, facing the stout defenses of Wisconsin and Alabama. If Elliott averages 129 yards per game, he'll have the record in hand. That hardly seems out of reach, given the eviscerating runs that he racked up in 2014.
Other records within reach for this season's squad include the consecutive 50-point game streak, total offensive yards in a season, total wins in a season (both a school and NCAA record), and the single-season sack record. Joey Bosa was one sack shy of Vernon Gholston's mark of 14 last year, and if his counterpart at the other end of the line (whoever it may be) proves worthy of defensive attention, Bosa might get the leverage he needs to break the record in his final season as a Buckeye.
"The only newcomer to the unit will be at right tackle, where redshirt freshman Jamarco Jones might be at the front of the line when camp opens."
-Austin Ward, ESPN.com
Quarterback notwithstanding, there will be a few interesting position battles for Ohio State when camp rolls around for the 2015 season. The offensive line was one of the biggest success stories of 2014 despite a rocky start, and there is only one opening for next year up for grabs. The Buckeyes redshirted two players during the championship season who could both make a legitimate claim to the open spot: Jamarco Jones and Kyle Trout. Jones has the slightly better rep, but Trout is no slouch at 6'6 and 312 pounds. This could be a really heated competition heading into the fall.
Defensive end is another area with a big question mark. Joey Bosa might be the best end in the country, so one side is in no doubt, but who lines up on the other side is far from assured. Steve Miller filled in admirably this season in the absence of Noah Spence, but he's gone, as is Rashad Frazier, who spelled Miller at times in 2014. The field for that spot seems pretty open at the moment, with guys like Jalyn Holmes, Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, Darius Slade, and Dylan Thompson all in the running. Having Bosa drawing double-teams on the other side of the line will ease some of the transition for whichever young guy steps in.
Cornerback is the third spot with an interesting opening. With the departure of glue guy Doran Grant, there will be a bit of a shakeup in the Buckeye secondary. Eli Apple is going to be the new No. 1, but Gareon Conley (who saw a few plays in big spots in 2014) and Damon Webb, both sophomores, will be in a heated contest to lock up the other side.
"The amount of time on Torrance was ridiculous, but he seemed always to be a natural fit offensively."
-Urban Meyer, via Cleveland.com
Cleveland.com's Ari Wasserman does a good job highlighting just how much is at stake for Ohio State coaches investing in kids during the recruiting process. Torrance Gibson, one of the crown jewels of the 2015 Buckeye class, presented a risk commensurate with his reward: had the tremendous Florida quarterback backed out of his Ohio State commitment and signed elsewhere, the amount of hours down the drain for Urban Meyer's staff would have been astronomical.
The Gibson got infinitely more complicated when the quarterback shakeups in Columbus happened. This was supposed to be Braxton Miller's last year, and Gibson presumably could have taken the reins when Miller left -- one of the main reasons for Gibson's early interest in the Buckeyes. Then Miller got hurt, and Gibson believed he still might benefit from a year under Miller's tutelage as the longtime starter took the offense for one more spin. Then came J.T. Barrett. And Cardale Jones. And a national championship.
All of these factors presumably could have scared off a kid who only ever wanted to be a quarterback, and for a time, it looked like Gibson really was going to sign elsewhere. Last month, Gibson officially visited Auburn and LSU, both of whom presumably could have used his services in the immediate future much more than the Buckeyes. But Gibson decided to honor his original commitment on National Signing Day, meaning all those hours of hard work by Meyer's staff really did pay off.
"Right now I'm trying to meet them more as people, not as position, depth-chart type guys."
-Ohio State QB coach Tim Beck
Tim Beck, Ohio State's new quarterbacks coach, is inheriting an incredibly messy situation. Not something you usually hear when a title-winning quarterback is returning to the team, but such is the embarrassment of riches at Ohio State that there's a legitimate controversy over who will start at the position in 2015. The Buckeyes' quarterback Hydra is certainly formidable, but only one of them can start.
For now, though, Beck is taking a less-panicky approach than what one might expect. "Before I could really coach them and reach them, I've got to get to know them," is how Beck described his process to ESPN's Austin Ward. The particulars of the situation also give him some time to figure things out -- Miller's throwing shoulder is far from 100%, ditto for J.T. Barrett's ankle. For now, Cardale Jones is the only guy who can go full-speed, and that settles things in the interim, if not in the long term.
Beck describes the situation as a "good problem to have," and that's going to be our best descriptor going forward. Whatever the resolution, it seems like Ohio State's new QB coach is approaching things in the healthiest way possible.
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