Pac-12: DeVier Posey

Colorado's visit to OSU no longer imposing

May, 31, 2011
5/31/11
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Ohio State just suffered through the worst Memorial Day in program history. You can read about the details here -- coach Jim Tressel resigning and further grounds for major NCAA sanctions -- but that's not our focus on the Pac-12 blog.

Our focus, of course, is what it means for the Pac-12. And that is two things.

First, briefly, it's a good bet the conference champion will not be facing Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. The loss of Tressel and a handful of player suspensions almost certainly will be too much to overcome to win the Big Ten.

Second, Colorado's visit to Columbus on Sept. 24, which once looked like a get-paid-for-a-pounding matchup, now looks winnable.

The Buckeyes, who will be led by interim coach Luke Fickell, at the very least will not have quarterback Terrelle Pryor, leading rusher Daniel "Boom" Herron, No. 2 wide receiver DeVier Posey, All-Big Ten offensive tackle Mike Adams and backup defensive end Solomon Thomas

The Buckeyes already were replacing several key players on defense: end Cameron Heyward, linebackers Ross Homan and Brian Rolle and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa. Still, the general feeling was the depth was there to keep winning.

But the plot might thicken, according to a Sports Illustrated report that alleges at least 28 players traded memorabilia or autographs for money and tattoos since 2002. Nine are on the current roster, including two returning starters on the defensive line, tackle John Simon and end Nathan Williams, as well as other players in the mix on the depth chart.

If these players are found to also have violated rules against receiving extra benefits, it's likely they, too, won't play against Colorado. Ohio State probably won't wait for the NCAA to hand out suspensions. It will try to be proactive, falling on its sword with hopes that will soften the eventual penalties.

There's depth, and then there's playing what amounts to a second unit against the Buffaloes, who welcome back 14 starters from a team that went 5-7 and was good enough to beat Georgia and Kansas State.

Colorado's first five games go like this: Hawaii, California, Colorado State, Ohio State and Washington State.

We are not ready to term this a prediction, Buffaloes fans, but it no longer is completely absurd to dream of heading to Stanford on Oct. 8 with a 5-0 record.

Blogger debate: USC-Ohio State

September, 10, 2009
9/10/09
9:30
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AP Photo
Quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor and Matt Barkley will be the focal point for Saturday's Ohio State-USC throwdown.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg and Ted Miller


All eyes will be on Columbus this weekend as No. 3 USC visits No. 8 Ohio State (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET). Before the two teams lock horns on the banks of the Olentangy River, we debated several key questions heading into the mega matchup.

Adam Rittenberg: Ted, I look at this USC defense and don't see a glaring weakness. Still, several mobile quarterbacks [Vince Young, Dennis Dixon] have hurt the Trojans in the past. How do you expect USC to defend Terrelle Pryor and does Pryor give the Buckeyes a fighting chance in this game?

Ted Miller: I think Pryor gives the Buckeyes a fighting chance because he can make something out of nothing when a play breaks down -- and the USC defense is good at breaking down plays. While USC fans would debate you on the health of their defense vs. Vince Young, the fact is the Trojans learned from that game that you need to account for an athletic quarterback -- you can't just run your base defense and expect gap control and rush lanes to take care of things. There surely will be some sort of spying, whether with one guy or a shift of guys. On the plus side for USC, this is a really fast defense. It's much faster at linebacker than last year. Malcolm Smith is fast -- his brother is an NFL receiver -- and Michael Morgan is a 4.4 guy. Toss in end Everson Griffen and you've got some guys who can really run on the perimeter of the front-seven. Moreover, middle linebacker Chris Galippo implied to me that this will be more disciplined defense. As extraordinary as Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews and Rey Maualuga were last year, they, at times, freelanced, looking for big plays. That means the Trojans won't be as likely abandon their assigned gaps or let contain break down.

As long as we're talking quarterbacks, what do you think about the poise issue for both guys? USC's Matt Barkley claims he doesn't get nervous. You buy that at the Horseshoe? And how will Pryor react on this big stage?

AR: The Shoe remains the toughest place to play in the Big Ten, getting the slightest of edges against Penn State's Beaver Stadium. Barkley's nerves will be put to the test. It will be extremely loud, especially at the start of the game, and the south end zone addition really makes the decibels rise. I'd imagine USC will go to its strength right away, pound away with those tremendous running backs and athletic offensive line and give Barkley some time to get settled. Everything I've heard about this kid -- from yourself and other observers -- is that he's the real deal. I saw true freshman quarterback Tate Forcier show no nerves last week for Michigan in the Big House, but then again, he was playing at home. Ohio State's defensive line is the strength of the team, and it has to rattle Barkley early for the Buckeyes to have a shot. As for Pryor, he has shown some toughness late in games, particularly against Wisconsin last year. He's certainly more comfortable as a passer, but he can't get away from what makes him special and needs to make plays with his feet. I still haven't seen a team contain Pryor on the move, but he needs the freedom from head coach Jim Tressel and the willingness from within to really cut loose against USC.

Ohio State's defensive line is the team's strongest unit. Same could be said for USC's offensive line. How do you see that matchup shaking out, and will Ohio State need to use speed (Thaddeus Gibson, Cameron Heyward) rather than power to beat the Trojans' front?

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