Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/8/13
It’s that time of year, folks! Ohio State Football is BACK! The Buckeyes have hit the ground running this week, opening practices to get ready for a follow up of last years undefeated season. It’s been a hectic off-season (to say the least) for Head Coach Urban Meyer. But even with the busy months of June and July behind him, Meyer still has some questions to answer about his team and the program going forward into 2013. How will the loss of Carlos Hyde affect the start of the season? The Buckeyes are a better team with star RB Carlos Hyde in the backfield. There is absolutely no questioning that. On the flip side, the Buckeyes aren’t a bad team without him. Losing Hyde for 3 games will undoubtedly affect the dynamic of the team, but let’s take a closer look at the games he’ll be missing. In true Buckeye fashion, the first three games are, how should we say, winnable. The home opener against Buffalo is a cake walk, making game two against San Diego State a brownie walk, which leads to game three at Cal, which could be potentially difficult (key word: potentially). Now you might ask who will fill his spot? It seems as if that player could be true-freshman RB Dontre Wilson. Wilson, a former Oregon commit before abandoning ship after the departure of Chip Kelly, has been wow-ing coaches and players alike. Wilson has been clocked at 4.36 s in the 40-yard dash, showing off his “electric speed” and setting himself up for a Percy Harvin-esque roll in Urban Meyer’s offense. If you’re worried about Wilson, don’t be. He’s got Braxton Miller impressed, that’s for sure. “I was like, ‘Who is the guy from Oregon? He must be fast.’ Oregon puts a lot of fast guys out there. So I watched his highlights and I was like, ‘Wow.’ [He's] got something special.” Can Braxton Miller step up and duplicate 2012? With just three weeks until the opening game, and on top of the catastrophe that is Johnny Football, Braxton Miller is now the favorite to take home the Heisman trophy. As if defending an undefeated season in 2012 wasn’t enough, now Miller has to handle the Heisman hype. Last season Miller tallied 3,000 plus yards of total offense, on top of 28 touchdowns. Scary thought, the Buckeye offense only got better. Miller’s clearly excited about Dontre Wilson, then again, who wouldn’t be? It’s gotta be nice to have a receiver you can’t overthrow. Miller still has Devin Smith and Corey “Philly” Brown to throw to, and is now more familiar and comfortable leading the team and the high-powered offense. His first two years were good, but now, it’s time for Miller to be great. Who will step up on the defensive end of the ball? The Buckeyes are faced with a major challenge of replacing four starters on their defensive line.  Ohio State lost their big four of John Simon, Johnathan Hankins, Garrett Goebel and Nathan Williams to either the NFL draft or graduation. Who’s going to step up in the trenches? Coach Meyer is relying on two former 5-star prospects Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence. The sophomore tandem will be playing at end, both making their first appearances as starters for the Buckeyes. Up front and in the middle, the junior combination of Michael Bennett and Joel Hale are expected to start the season. Hale, the ring leader of the defensive line, faces the most pressure going into the season. However, they all have one thing in common: it’ll be tough to fill the shoes of the 2012 line. Are the Buckeyes championship ready? Plain and Simple: yes. The Buckeyes are going to be better on offense, no question. The defense will be good, as long as the line can win the battle up front. The B1G Ten is less than stellar (to be nice) and Ohio State should be able to cruise through their schedule, leading up to the biggest game of any year, in Ann Arbor against The Team Up North (M*chigan). The Buckeyes come into the season ranked No. 2 behind the two-time defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide. However, the argument can be made for the Buckeyes to be No. 1. With returning players like Miller, Hyde (eventually), and Brown on offense, in addition to Shazier and Roby on defense, Ohio State will be a force to be reckoned with in the 2013 season.To answer the question, I guess we just have to wait and see. And now for the fifth and final burning question… Zach Boren lays devastating hit on Devin Gardner Will the Buckeyes beat The Team Up North? Of course they will. OH…IO!
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