This is the second in my Things series.
THINGS I THINK:
1. He offensive line will be better than we think. Even with the absence of Isaac Seumalo, the offensive line is working from a very talented base. Most of them just need time together and time on the field. PSU will try and disrupt the Beavers up front, but if they can establish themselves as a physical group that is going to be aggressive and violent in their attack, I think they can really give OSU an edge it was missing last year.
People are not really talking about him, but Gavin Andrews is poised for a huge break out season. He is the guy that everyone wants to go against in practice because he is such a physical force, has a big nasty streak and at 6’5″ and 340 is a mountain of a man that can really get into those defensive ends and impose his will on them if he uses his technique.
We will probably really feel his presence on fly sweeps, where he is going to be a punishing edge blocker. I also think that as the season goes forward, if Stanton can reclaim his spot, an interior of Harlow, Mitchell, Bays, Weinreich and potentially Isaac to pick from gives OSU some punishing interior linemen. We can lament last year all we want, but I really cannot imagine wanting to go against those guys play in and play out. Weinreich is a mountain and a very physical player, and he may be the odd man out. There is a ton of talent and a ton of nasty to work with there.
2. That we are not going to recognize our secondary this year. Whenever you have an improved front seven, which OSU will most certainly have this year, you see a ripple effect. If quarterbacks cannot just sit back and throw the ball, or if the defenders chasing down the QB are coming un-blocked because you have multiple players requiring double teams it gets harder to be pinpoint accurate.
The other side of these events is that if the run game appears to be handled decently by your front seven, you free up the safeties and corners to focus on the pass. This is a huge asset and cannot be overstated. The single worst aspect of OSU’s defense last year, was that they needed all hands on deck to stop the run. Many people are negative towards Ty Zimmerman, but he is a great player that was forced to cover the run equally to the pass. This forced a lot of breakdowns like the USC and UW games. It forced him to run with the receiver while constantly keeping his eyes in the backfield.
A strong front seven in any defense makes corners look like they are all world and helps safeties become intimidating forces in the backfield, patrolling the wide open field looking for receivers to hit and balls to break on and intercept. When Murphy and Zimmerman were able to keep the field in front of them and ignore the run, they were more than impressive. See the WSU and Cal games. When they had to be an integral part of the pass defense, they were often out of position and sometimes grasping at straws while they tried to maintain two positions at once. I suspect if the defensive line can play like I think it can, that our secondary will be vastly improved.