Friday, September 4, 2009

LEE'S HIGH FIVE: OSU vs. NAVY

Saturday should be quite a special day for Ohio State fans.

Not only is it the kickoff to the Ohio State football season, but it is also a day that we can really stand up and give thanks to the men and women who serve and protect our country.

I am hopeful that all Buckeye fans will stand up and cheer when the Midshipmen take the field, because if it weren't for men and women like those in the Naval Academy — as well as the Marines, Air Force and Army — there would be nothing in this country to cheer (or boo for that matter).

Listed below are fives things to watch for in Saturday's opener at the Horseshoe:

1. TRIPLE TROUBLE: Navy is known for their triple-option running attack, in fact, the Midshipmen were the top rushing team in the land last season. With dual-threat quarterback Ricky Dobbs at the helm, along with backs' Shun White (2008: 1,092 yards rushing, 8 TDs) and Eric Kettani (2008: 982 yards rushing, 4 TDs) serving as the other two-thirds of the triple option, the Buckeyes defense will need to be quite sharp and extremely, extremely disciplined.

2. DEEP PASSING: Most OSU fans on hand will be curious to see how much progress OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor has made as a passer from last season to now. Obviously, Pryor is as dangerous as they come with his feet, but his passing mechanics last season were poor and his ability to read the defense and see downfield were not where they needed to be for the Buckeyes to be national contenders.

However, Pryor has busted his tail during the offseason trying to become a more polished passer and it has been evident in camp that he is well on his way. Pryor will need to show that he can see and throw the ball effectively downfield against Navy, because if he doesn't, USC will be lining up nine in the box next Saturday. And if the Bucks can't run against the Trojans, their title hopes will be dashed.

3. YOUNG BUCKS: There will be quite a few true freshman on the field Saturday for the Buckeyes. Running backs' Jaamal Berry and Jordan Hall will surely see their share of touches, as well as receiver Duron Carter, both fullbacks — Zach Boren and Adam Homan — and tight end Reid Fragel. Offensive lineman Marcus Hall and Jack Mewhort may see time as well.

Linebackers' Dorian Bell and Storm Klein, defensive lineman John Simon and defensive back C.J Barnett, should all see some time during the game on defense and special teams.

4. TAURIAN WASHINGTON: I felt coming into last season that if given an opportunity, Taurian Washington could be the next great Buckeyes' receiver. I still feel the same way this year, and with Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline gone to the NFL and Ray Small residing in Tressel's dog house, Washington will definitely get his chance. Washington has the size and speed to be a very dangerous weapon for the Buckeyes offense. Look for him to make big plays downfield Saturday — just like he has in the last two spring games.

5. HALFTIME: John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth will be dotting the 'i' during the halftime performance of "Script Ohio." How awesome is that?