The obvious change will be at quarterback — a race between senior Joe Bauserman and freshman Braxton Miller — but who is set to be on the receiving end is just as big of a dilemma for the Buckeyes.
Sophomore wideout Corey "Philly" Brown believes it's totally reasonable for there to be skeptics on the new-look passing game.
"We have all youth at receiver, so for people to say we're going to be down at the wideout group is understandable," Brown said. "We don't have a lot of experience at those positions, but we're going to be ready."
The graduation of last year's leading receiver Dane Sanzenbacher and the five-game suspension of senior DeVier Posey, has left Brown as the most experienced of the returning wideouts. As a freshman, Brown caught eight passes for 105 yards and one touchdown.
Brown put together an impressive practice on Tuesday. The Philadelphia-native caught a pretty 55-yard deep ball down the right sideline from Bauserman and made a few nice catches over the middle. Brown said he's been preparing for the added attention that he's set to see from opposing defenses this season by working every day with the quarterbacks.
"We were working on routes, running, conditioning and all that stuff to help our team get ready for camp," Brown said.
Set to lineup next to Brown is redshirt freshman Verlon Reed, with redshirt sophomore Chris Fields in the slot. Both Reed and Fields have looked very sharp in camp, while freshmen Devin Smith and Evan Spencer are also expected to contribute. Between the top-five receivers eligible for the start of the season, the group has combined for 11 catches, 127 yards and one score.
Brown, who stands at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, said receivers coach Stan Drayton has brought a new attitude to the position that wasn't there during his freshman season.
"Coach Drayton is more of a down-to-earth person," Brown said. "He's out there with us running around, chasing us down the field screaming."
Drayton has preached to his group of young receivers that yards after the catch will be very important in the offensive scheme, Brown said. The former Florida Gators assistant is also having his position study NFL film on some of the best in football, including Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
"(Drayton) is trying to make us explosive players after the catch," Brown said.
REASON FOR CELEBRATION ... As sophomore kicker Drew Basil lined up a 49-yard field goal to end the practice session, the defense called a timeout to ice the Chillicothe native.
It seemed like a pretty harmless jab at kicker until it was made to believe Basil had a lot of pressure on his right foot: Make the field goal and the offense gets to ride the bus back to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center while the defense takes the walk.
Just the opposite happened.
Lining up again, this time with the entire team screaming from the sidelines, Basil had more than enough leg, but the ball bounced off the left iron. The defense stormed the field in celebration and then stormed the buses to head home.
HAYES GAINS TIME ... Freshman defensive end Kenny Hayes put on a stellar performance for the second-team defense this afternoon. Hayes, at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, has a real chance to get on the field with Solomon Thomas serving a five-game suspension.
The Whitmer (Toledo) product forced the only turnover on the day when Miller dropped back and was chased to the left and stripped by Hayes. On the next dropback, Hayes arrived in the backfield again by sacking Miller.
SECONDARY LOOKING SET ... The defensive backfield seems to be taking shape as the team gets near the end of fall camp. With junior Travis Howard set to man the left corner, sophomore Dominic Clarke ran with the first-team on the right side. Redshirt sophomore C.J. Barnett and redshirt junior Orhian Johnson are penned in at the two safety spots, while sophomore Christian Bryant took all of the nickel snaps at the star, while an injured Tyler Moeller continues to be sidelined.