"I feel like I have to be a lot more vocal. I'm more of a quiet, laid-back guy. I think I've done a pretty good job of talking more and expressing my feelings to the players a lot more about the importance of this season, and about what we went through last year to get where we got."
With the adversity Ohio State faced even before the 2014 season began with the injury to Braxton Miller, it was hard to imagine the team winning a national championship. Luckily for Urban Meyer his team had a strong core of seniors to help step up and be the vocal leaders to lead the team through the loss of two quarterbacks to hoist the trophy in Dallas in January. Now with seniors like Michael Bennett, Doran Grant, and Curtis Grant having moved on, the Buckeyes will need a new group of seniors to fill the void and push a team that comes into the season with expectations of repeating as national champions.
The unit who will be looked on to set the tone for the Buckeyes on and off the field is the offensive line, which will feature three seniors starting, and four of the five starters from last year's team coming back. Taylor Decker already has some experience in being the leader of "The Slobs" as he was the only returning starter heading into last season. While the group got off to a shaky start early last season, the offensive line did its best work when it counted most. While the rest of the offense isn't very senior-heavy, aside from Braxton Miller, they do have plenty of guys who are capable of being vocal leaders. With the departure of Devin Smith, Michael Thomas is now the leader of the wide receivers, while Ezekiel Elliott is undoubtedly the one who will keep the running backs in line.
On defense the Buckeyes will look towards defensive tackle Adolphus Washington and linebacker Joshua Perry to be the leaders of the front-seven. Both Washington and Perry had some great examples to watch under last year as Michael Bennett and Curtis Grant were a couple of the leaders on the defense. Not only did Grant provide some mentoring to Perry, but he also helped in the early development of up-and-coming linebacker Raekwon McMillan in his first year in Columbus. With the early suspension of Joey Bosa, the defensive line will need Washington to step up even more as a vocal leader, especially as they head into the tough environment that they will face in then season opener against Virginia Tech.
"Individual tickets to the opener at Virginia Tech are sold out. The only way to get tickets through the Hokies' ticket off is to purchase a $350 season ticket. That's a lot of money, but not so much when you consider your cheapest option on secondary seller StubHub.com is $285."
With the traditions and mystique, there is nothing quite like seeing a Buckeye game at Ohio Stadium, But sometimes it's fun to expand your horizons and hit the road to follow the team in a setting you've never been to before. This year provides five opportunities to see Ohio State on the road (not counting possible Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff games). Want to cap off Labor Day weekend by watching the Buckeyes try and extract some revenge when they take on Virginia Tech in Blacksburg? Be prepared to pay a pretty penny to do so. With many billing this as the biggest home game in Virginia Tech school history, tickets for the tilt are pretty much starting at around $300 and going up from there.
This year the Buckeyes will head to Ann Arbor to play Michigan in the latest edition of "The Game" but as always tickets are already very hard to acquire for the historic rivalry. Tickets are already sold out for the first matchup between Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh, so Ohio State fans wanting to watch the game in person will have to rely on the secondary markets.
The rest of the road schedule should find tickets a little easier to acquire, though. Usually when Ohio State heads to Indiana there is a huge Buckeye contingent that follow, and this year sounds no different, with tickets still available to the October 3rd contest for as cheap as $65. The Illinois game in Champaign usually also sees a heavy Buckeye crowd. Tickets for the November 14th game don't go on-sale until August 27th.
Finally, with this being the first time Ohio State is traveling to Piscataway since Rutgers joined the Big Ten, Scarlet Knight officials have a plan in place to try and entice people to buy Rutgers' season tickets instead of just a single-game ticket to the game with the Buckeyes. Tickets for the contest with Ohio State range from $175 to $550, while some season tickets are being sold for just a little over $300. Honestly though whether it be at home or on the road, there is no bad place to watch the Buckeyes.
"The lower numbers are the ones that sell."
Currently on the website for Ohio State's official store you can find #15, #12, and #5 football jerseys. It doesn't take a rocket scientists to figure out who those jerseys belong to, even though their name isn't on the back. Soon though, how the school sells football jerseys will change. With how the O'Bannon case has rocked the college landscape, already leading to the series of NCAA Football and Basketball video games being stopped, many schools are changing how they sell jerseys to the public.
This year Ohio State will only sell #1 and #15 football jerseys. Many would assume they chose #15 because of Ezekiel Elliott, but in fact #15 jerseys will be available for the last two digits of the year 2015. Next year #1 and #16 jerseys will be available for sale, a lucky coincidence for Ohio State since J.T. Barrett's number is 16. By comparison, Michigan will have #1, #16 (since this year's seniors are the class of 2016) and #4 (Jim Harbaugh's number while he played at the school) available for sale. Other schools aren't changing their policy on jersey sales. After feedback from players found they liked seeing jerseys with their number on it, USC decided to not to change their policy, and even have their players sign name-likeness permission forms. With jerseys sales only making up about 5% of college apparel sales, there isn't a right or wrong policy on how to sell jerseys, some schools are just being a little more cautious with how the O'Bannon case has changed the landscape when it comes to the use of the likeness of college athletes.
"I still have to give the trophy to Ted. [Corey Brown] is right behind him. Then I might have to say [safety] Colin Jones might be there."
Many Buckeye fans remember back to when Ted Ginn Jr. was making a name for himself with his electrifying speed while playing at Ohio State. Even though he is now 30 years old, it doesn't sound as if Ginn Jr. has lost a step. Now in his second stint with the Carolina Panthers, Ginn Jr. has the support of fellow Buckeye alum Kurt Coleman when asked who is the fastest member on the Panthers roster. Coleman not only tabs Ginn Jr. as the fastest member of the Panthers, but also adds fellow Buckeye Corey Brown as the next fastest on the roster.
The speed has benefitted Ginn Jr. so far in camp, as he is catching more deep passes than any of the other Panther receivers. The hope is the speed can help Ginn Jr. find some more of the magic he had with the Panthers in 2013, when he caught 36 passes for 556 and five touchdowns. The yardage Ginn Jr. racked up during the season was the only eclipsed in his career by the 790 yards he accumulated with the Dolphins in his sophomore season in the NFL in 2008, while the five touchdown catches were a career high. Tight end Greg Olson is excited about the possibility of Ginn Jr. and Brown stretching the field to open up the middle of the field for him in the passing game. With both Ginn Jr. and Brown as receiving options, the Panthers should be a fun team for fans wanting to keep tabs on Buckeye alums to keep track of this year.
STICK TO SPORTS:
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