"There might be no taller order than trying to replace Joey Bosa on Ohio State's defensive line, and it appears filling it might require dipping into a completely different position."
- Austin Ward, ESPN
Perhaps the biggest decision Urban Meyer is weighing right now isn't the one you would expect. Sure, Ohio State hasn't named a starter for the season, but that's hardly Urban Meyer's biggest problem. He's currently trying to find a way to make things work in Joey Bosa's absence for the first game of the season against Virginia Tech. Of course the Buckeyes have backups to Bosa that came to Ohio State to play defensive end, but the prospect of having Joshua Perry fill that void doesn't seem so farfetched.
Ward notes one of the reasons Meyer is intrigued by the possibility of throwing Perry in the mix is because of his experience. While that experience comes at a different position, Perry boasts a 6'4", 254 pound frame that would be ample to fill the role. "He's one of those guys, he puts the team and the unit above himself and he'll do whatever we need him to do. He has great versatility, so that could be one of our options," said defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. In the case that Perry does replace Bosa on the line, it would leave a vacancy at linebacker that would not be able to be filled with experience. Sophomore Dante Booker has reportedly generated a lot of conversation early on in camp for the Buckeyes. Perry even referred to Booker as a "freak of nature" who "needs to be on the field." No matter what they decide to do, it's clear the Buckeyes have extremely talented guys waiting to be the next man up.
"When you see how big they are, it's kind of exciting. They showed up the first day in pads and were ready to go. They weren't intimidated in the environment, (going against) a very good defensive line ... They have pretty high football IQs, it's not like they didn't understand what's going on. I think they all have the whole package."
- Ed Warinner, via Bill Landis, cleveland.com
After the 2015 season, the Buckeyes could lose up to four starters on their offensive line. Typically this is a huge cause for concern, but after a 2015 recruiting class, the Buckeyes have something to look forward to in the future. As Landis mentions, three of the linemen are 6'7" or taller, including Branden Bowen, Kevin Feder and Isaiah Prince. The group also includes 6-foot-6 Grant Schmidt and 6-foot-4 Matthew Burrell, both weighing in at 300 pounds apiece.
This week, Isaiah Prince was the first player to lose his black stripe. Hopefully that is a sign of the promise that this offensive line could show in the future. The development of the line will be in the hands of Ed Warinner, who has been co-offensive coordinator the past few seasons, and has already developed offensive lines that have set records at Ohio State, most notably in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. With not only the size, but the talent that these young men possess, alongside the coaching of Warinner, Ohio State could be sitting nice for at least another three years moving forward.
"Michigan matched Ohio State's partnership with LeBron James the only way it could -- by associating itself with the greatest basketball player who ever lived. Michael Jordan's brand is unparalleled, even by James. That is going to have an impact on the Buckeyes."
- Ari Wasserman, Northeast Ohio Media Group, cleveland.com
Jordan Brand announced Thursday that the Michigan Wolverines would be the first college football team to be uniformed in its gear, and using their logo. As Wasserman notes, Michigan agreed to an 11-year, $169 million deal with Nike that begins this time next year, and runs through 2027 with a school option for 2031. Wasserman believes the move should be a concern of the Buckeyes, which, I'm not quite certain of.
Sure, Michigan being the first team outfitted in Jordan Brand is big for them. But Ohio State is also backed by Nike, and it also doesn't hurt having the world's most popular athlete supporting your university. Young recruits are often absorbed in the culture that is Michael Jordan and his sneakers. The key for Michigan will be exactly what cleats will be available to players. If it is the plain-jane cleats that do not resemble an actual sneaker that Jordan wore, it doesn't do them much good. The signature Jordan retros are what catch eyes. Regardless, when you're Ohio State, you're winning national championships, you're outfitted by Nike, and you have LeBron James on your side, you don't have much to be concerned about.
"Because of some fortuitous circumstances, I think it will be a lot less noticeable than it would have been if Herman left after the 2013 season. Ohio State's quarterback this year will be a proven one, which always makes the transition easier. But more importantly than that, the person with the final say on all things offense never left."
- Ryan Ginn, BuckeyeSports.com
Ohio State will go into the 2015 season with the coaching staff looking slightly different than it did last year. Tom Herman, former quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator will be in his first season as the head coach of the Houston Cougars. But as Ryan Ginn notes, Herman was a piece in the Urban Meyer offense, who has the final say on that side of the ball.
Tom Herman is a great coach, there is no mistaking that. Expectations are high for him at Houston for his three years of service in Columbus. But all Urban Meyer coached teams have not been reliant on assistants. Meyer has been able to supplement his offense over the years with great assistants, but at the end of the day, Meyer is the man in Columbus, and will always undoubtedly be able to replace any piece in his coaching staff with someone who would be more than capable of handling whatever position it is that Meyer feels that needs to be tended to.
Most were concerned with the loss of Herman's ability to recruit the state of Texas, but as Jeff Svobada notes, Herman's replacement Tim Beck is just as capable of recruiting the state, and has worked with co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner.
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