Ohio State 2010: Preseason Jitters


This Thursday, at about 7:15 p.m. on September 2, the 2010 Ohio State Football Buckeyes will rush from the depths of Ohio Stadium and onto the Horseshoes’s FieldTurf for their opening game battle against the Marshall Thundering Herd. For the faithful, there will be goose bumps. For the rest of the college football community (and the Ohio faithful too), there will be a torrential downpour of expectations for the Buckeyes to play up to. And for many Ohio State fans, that’s a little scary.

Hans Hetrick

The expectations, Ohio State’s preseason #2 ranking and Terrelle Pryor’s Heisman Trophy hype, while lofty, are legit. Pryor possesses Heisman-level talent, and he is blessed with a stellar supporting cast. Four lineman return from an offensive line that gelled into a steady, powerful unit during the last 6 games of 2009. Pryor’s receivers, DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher, are eerily reminiscent of 2006’s potent deep threat Ted Ginn Jr., and precision possession man, Anthony Gonzalez. At running back, Brandon Saine and “Boom” Heron grew into seasoned college veterans last year. And don’t forget the maraschino cherry in the sloe gin fizz, Pryor’s new toy, a  frighteningly athletic 6-5 tight end named Jake Stoneburner.

On defense the song remains the same—an uber-talented group of linebackers, a game-changing defensive tackle in Cameron Heyward, and two defensive backs on the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list (a list of the 35 best defensive backs in the nation).

So why be so uptight about a few preseason accolades?

2007 Florida—2008 LSU—2008 USC

Since Jim Tressel grabbed the reins nine years ago, OSU fans have had nothing but pride in their step—except for those three soul-crushing games. No one can argue against the quality of Coach Tressel’s program. He recruits good kids, and he teaches them how to be good men. 99.6% of the time, Ohio State football players represent the university and the fans with humility and honor.

But those three games hang on the collective consciousness of the Buckeye nation like a jailbird uncle. Not only did the Buckeyes fall to more talented teams, they had their pants pulled down and their asses spanked scarlet. The memories still sting within the hearts of the faithful. They’ll sting until Coach Tressel can conjure up some voodoo and win another national championship. Until then, we’ll continue praying that the no-good bum gene has been stricken from the pool.

Unfortunately, we the pragmatic of the Buckeye nation are fully aware of the degree of talent, of the Herculean effort,  and the number of fortuitous bounces and turns of fate that must occur to simply get to a National Championship game, let alone win it. We have after all seen our share. Even last year’s Alabama team, the team that man-handled Florida and pounded Texas into a brisket, needed a last second miracle blocked field goal against Tennessee. And if the preseason polls are prophetic and the Buckeyes somehow reach the Fiesta Bowl, and big bad Alabama is waiting in Arizona at the BCS Championship Game, can the Buckeyes reach deep down in the face of a ruthless empire and trade punches for 60 minutes?

Can Terrelle Pryor muster up enough poise and grit and heart to execute the impossible play in the middle of the storm? It happened once eight years ago. Remember? Did you believe that could happen? I didn’t. Now that’s a memory that can take a lot of pain away.


  1. paulmbanks says

    “into a brisket”?? that’s always a fun word to say. and it conjures up great imagery. wouldn’t be awesome if Jake Stoneburner was on the same team at the same time with former Notre Dame LB Michael Stonebreaker?

    Or what if former Indiana WR Amaru Stoner played on the same team with former Michigan State QB Jeff Smoker?

  2. hanshetrick says

    Love the brisket. I do always think of Stonebreaker when I hear Stoneburner.
    Wonder what their ancestors did for a living. Cool names. Hard work.

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