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Preseason Spotlights from Behind Enemy Lines: Ohio State Buckeyes

Nobody in Columbus is expecting to slow down.

Ohio State State v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Maize n Brew teamed up with the Big Ten team sites here at SB Nation for a preview of each of the football programs in the conference to help us look ahead to the 2020 season. Today’s comes in the form of a look at the Ohio State Buckeyes, who host the Michigan Wolverines in the final week of the regular season in Columbus on Dec. 12.

Representing our rivalry friends over at Land-Grant Holy Land is managing editor Tia Johnston, who weighed in on the Buckeyes ahead of the season.

Overview of the 2020 Buckeyes

“This team is expected to be just as good if not better than last year’s, especially with the chip on their shoulder from the Clemson loss. Justin Fields has “improved” and his offensive line is the best Ohio State has ever seen. His receiving unit is also stacked. Trey Sermon will likely not replicate JK Dobbins’ output, but he’s expected to be a productive back. Shaun Wade’s return is a massive plus for an otherwise pretty inexperienced secondary group. There’s a room of veteran defensive ends who they’ll count on to collectively replace the production they lost with Chase Young’s departure. Expectations are incredibly high.”

OSU’s key departures

Chase Young (DE), Jeff Okudah (CB), JK Dobbins (RB), Damon Arnette (CB), Jordan Fuller (S)

OSU’s key returnees

Justin Fields (QB), Shaun Wade (CB), Wyatt Davis (G), Chris Olave (WR), Zach Harrison (DE)

True freshmen or transfers that could make an instant impact

Trey Sermon (RB), Julian Fleming (WR), Gee Scott Jr. (WR), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR)— “Obviously all three WRs won’t make an “instant” impact but the hype surrounding them is pretty much equal.”

What’s your team’s biggest strength?

“Offensive line, QB, schedule (lol)”

What’s your team’s biggest weakness?

“The OSU secondary is young and inexperienced aside from Wade. Also, an Injury-prone running back group. Master Teague is coming off an achilles injury that he endured during the team’s first spring practice. Coaches have said he is more or less back to 100 percent headed into the first game. Just hoping he doesn’t tweak anything during the season.”

How does your fanbase feel about your coach and his staff?

“I have yet to hear or read a single negative tweet, article, comment about Ryan Day or anyone on his coaching staff. He has proved to be just as good (if not better) of a coach than Urban Meyer and I’m not just basing that on production. The culture and brotherhood he’s managed to build in the just under 2 years he’s been Ohio State’s head coach, and the fact that players like Justin Fields, Shaun Wade, Wyatt Davis (who could all opt out right now and be round 1 draft picks) are staying back for one more year as Buckeyes, tells you the kind of coach Ryan Day is.”

Who is your team’s MVP this season and why?

“Justin Fields - Heisman candidate and incredible team leader”

Predict your team’s record, its best win, and a potential surprise loss

“9-0, Best win — Penn State/Michigan, potential surprise loss — Michigan State

Thanks to Land-Grant Holy Land for helping us preview the team ahead of the season. We wish their team nothing but the pain and misfortune that Michigan fans have felt for the last number of years in this rivalry!

That does it for our preseason look at the team’s on Michigan’s schedule. We wrap things up on Friday with a look at the rest of the Big Ten.