Skip to main content
Original Issue

22 Ohio State

Urban renewal begins with defense, but the offense remains a bit of a shambles

The Skinny

IT WAS an ugly year in Columbus in the wake of Tresselgate. The Buckeyes had their first losing campaign since 1988 (6--7) while fielding an unwatchable offense that ranked 107th in the nation. New coach Urban Meyer brings his spread offense to Columbus, but don't expect miracles, just steady improvement. With a young and inexperienced unit led by quarterback Braxton Miller, the offense will remain a work in progress. It'll be up to a formidable Buckeyes D, which has eight returning starters, to set the pace. Led by DT Johnathan Hankins and DE John Simon, the line has the talent and depth to emerge as one of the nation's best, certainly equal to the task of handling the conference's top offenses, such as Wisconsin's.

Key Recruit

NOAH SPENCE One of the nation's top high school lineman in 2011, Spence will be a cornerstone for years to come. He possesses freakish speed off the edge and will make an immediate impact for a group that was already the program's greatest strength.

Breakout Player

BRAXTON MILLER The dual-threat sophomore quarterback showed flashes of excellence last year but not nearly enough of them. Still, he has all the tools (speed, quickness and arm strength) needed to blossom into a big-time playmaker in Meyer's high-octane spread.

Final Analysis

THE BUCKEYES aren't eligible to play in the Big Ten championship game or in a bowl in 2012 because of NCAA sanctions. But make no mistake, Meyer will have his team motivated and ready to challenge Wisconsin atop the Big Ten's Leaders Division and reassert itself as a national power—right away. With a light nonconference schedule (the closest matchup to a test is Cal at home on Sept. 15) and eight home games, a 10-win season is within reach. It won't be long before Meyer, who landed one of the top recruiting classes in the country over the winter despite the recent program turbulence, has the Buckeyes back as a juggernaut.


Coach Urban Meyer (1st year)

2011 Record 6--7 (3--5, 4th in Big Ten Leaders)

Final AP Rank NR

Returning Starters Offense 7, Defense 8

2011 STATS

Total Offense (FBS Rank) 318.2 YPG (107)

Rushing Offense 191.2 YPG (27)

Passing Offense 127.0 YPG (115)

Total Defense 323.5 YPG (19)

Rushing Defense 141.5 YPG (50)

Passing Defense 182.0 YPG (14)


Yards per game average of the Buckeyes' passing offense in 2011, which ranked 115th in the nation.



TE Jake Stoneburner

Sr., 6'5", 245 pounds

14 RECs, 193 YDs

RB Jordan Hall

Sr., 5'9", 198 pounds

408 YDs, 4 TDs

WR Corey Brown

Jr., 6'0", 186 pounds

14 RECs, 205 YDs


DT Johnathan Hankins

Jr., 6'3", 317 pounds

67 tackles, 13 sacks

DE John Simon

Sr., 6'2", 260 pounds

53 tackles, 7 sacks

S C.J. Barnett

Jr., 6'1", 202 pounds

75 tackles, 2 INTs

Special Teams

K Drew Basil

Jr., 6'1", 210 pounds

16/19 FGs, 36/37 PATs



Meyer wants his defensive line to be SEC caliber; it's not far off with tanks like Hankins, a.k.a. Big Hank.