QB Troy Smith

2005 Statistics

Coach: Jim Tressel
50-13, 5 years
2005 Record: 10-2
at Penn State LOST 10-17
at Indiana WON 41-10
at Minnesota WON 45-31
at Michigan WON 25-21
vs. Notre Dame WON 34-20

2005 Final Rankings
AP-4, Coaches-4, BCS-4

2006 Outlook

There are many things that make this campaign already galvanized – a rematch with Texas in their second tilt means all eyes are on the Buckeyes right away. We know much about the offense, but the defense is the wildcard that will make-or-break any efforts. It plays out pretty simply – if the D gels fast and is strong in those first few games, it could be a (national championship) banner year. IF not, the BCS is still likely in Tressel’s crosshairs, but he will have to outscore (via shootout) foes, which is not the same kinds of annihilations we have seen in the past two years.

One of the keys to ruling for 60-minutes will be opening up the offensive playbook early and often. Tressel seems to be from the Bill Cowher (Super Bowl champ Steelers coach) school of thinking – get comfortably ahead, but then shut the offense down so as not to play your hand of what exactly the arsenal has in it. (As in the past) It allows for OSU’s foes to the often stage slow-but-steady comebacks, one’s that were quashed then by their superior LBs/defense. Without that last variable, Tressel & Co. should keep their momentum going, regardless. With so much ball-handling talent and the many ways they line these guys up, it is a no-brainer that offensive momentum will get them where they want to go and that the team’s prototype of the past few years likely won’t. Ginn actually didn’t live up to his entire hype, and with Holmes gone, he and Pittman will have many chance to get into open space and go.

Then there is second-team all-American (NC.net) Troy Smith, who will become a Heisman frontrunner with Ginn. This guy touches every snap, and has the ability to do it himself – ala Vince Young – to the point where he (and therefore the offense) should be unstoppable.

Penn State, (at) Iowa and Bowling Green follow Texas, so, as stated, it is written already what has to be done, and right off, too. The Wolverines come into the Horseshoe (please, this year, can the Buckeye faithful not boo the UM band before the game even starts?) But moreover, Northwestern (away) the week prior look like a possible trap game. Yes, special teams will still be good enough to pull it off if needed, but if that is the case too often, we will see some extra losses. And if that happens, make sure to get on (cousin) Dan about it. But Tressel has done more with less (2003), so let’s get out there.

Projected 2006 record: 11-1
QB - 5 DL - 3.5
RB - 4 LB - 3.5
WR - 4.5 DB - 3
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Troy Smith, 237-149-4, 2282 yds., 16 TD

Rushing: Antonio Pittman, 243 att., 1331 yds., 7 TD

Receiving: Ted Ginn, 51 rec., 803 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Troy Smith, 11 TD, 66 pts.

Punting: A.J. Trapasso, 43 punts, 40.4 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Malcolm Jenkins, 37 tot., 23 solo

Sacks: David Patterson, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Brandon Mitchell, 1 for 57 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff Returns: Ted Ginn, 18 ret., 29.6 avg., 1 TD

Punt Returns:
Ted Ginn, 25 ret., 10.0 avg., 1 TD


WR/PR/KR Ted Ginn
OFFENSE: Brandon Schnittker-FB, Ryan Hamby-TE, Rob Sims-OG, Nick Mangold-C, Josh Huston-K, Santonio Holmes-WR (NFL)
DEFENSE: Marcus Green-DT, Mike Kudla-DE, Bobby Carpenter-SLB, Anthony Schlegel-MLB, A.J. Hawk-WLB, Tyler Everett-CB, Nate Salley-FS, Ashton Youboty-CB (NFL), Donte Whitner-SS (NFL)

Basically, the main reason this team is ranked so high and feared by so many is because of Troy Smith. Smith has the combination of arm strength and foot speed that scares any foe. Extremely accurate when needed (five INTs, 62.9 % complete) or able to throw it away for another chance, Smith has the ability to improvise while controlling both the field and the play call as he makes the most yardage with whatever develops. If he scrambles, don’t miss it. He is “Vince Young Good”, just ask Notre Dame. This past season, Smith got his mental edge. He will be a force that only the best defenses will be able to stop. And there is no solace if he is injured. Justin Zwick, the guy who from whom Smith fought and took the starting job late in 2004, is still there, awaiting his chance(s). Zwick is not as mobile (who is?), though he has the feet to escape and make a play when needed that way, too. Zwick had a 72.4 completion percentage last campaign, for he will also stand in the pocket and take the hit in order to make his throws work. This QB duo is likely the nation’s best, and opponents are wiser if they try to control/limit this position, not stop it completely. Todd Boeckman has the pedigree to step up if needed, but his real game experience would cause the entire offense to simplify.

Running Back
Here, things open up for junior Antonio Pittman due to Smith’s running ability. Testimonial to that fact is how Pittman lost only 29 yards on 243 carries (while gaining 1360). The Akron native is compact enough to punish would be tacklers and fast enough to escape around the corner, too. Breakaway speed (4.45 in the 40) isn’t quite there, but he will still break a few big ones due to the distraction of Smith and Ginn. Maurice Wells didn’t reach nearly his potential in his chances. Wells may be displaced by incoming hulkster Chris Wells. Stan White, a converted-FB, will continue to make room for whoever needs it, and that is all. This unit will again produce and allow for a 24th (or higher) national ranking.

Here is another area OSU is superior. We’ll start with Heisman candidate Ted Ginn, Jr. and his multiple abilities. His first three steps are amazing, let alone his ability to get open and the YAC he produces. The few knocks are that he isn’t real big and he drops some easy ones. Otherwise, don’t be surprised at the roles/capacities he plays – Ginn will be lined up all over the field, including vacant areas not utilized by other teams. Junior Tony Gonzales has a faster 40-time than Ginn (4.37 vs. 4.4), and he proved his worth versus ND at critical times. A strong downfield blocker, Gonzales will become a major force as their No.2 WR. SE Roy Hall proved he knows how to use his size (6’3, 240) to the Buckeye’s advantage. Albert Dukes looks ready to break out of his reserve mold. State will use these guys creatively – they just have to know what to do when Smith starts to make his unplanned magic.

Tight End
Marcel Frost was already the preferred snarler in OSU’s two-TE sets, and now he becomes the starter. Frost is a strong presence on the line, so he has little-to-no dropoff. Rory Nicol is primed to break out. The Pittsburgher has 4.75 40-speed and size, so his dual-capacity will make defenses guess why he might be on the field. Two newbies and several vets mean a strong unit.

Offensive Line
There are enough returning starters (three) who are upperclassmen to build a quality line as good as last year’s. Doug Datish has adjusted well to being Smith’s blindside protection, but could be moved to the middle to replace Mangold. Fellow-senior T.J. Downing will anchor the rebuilding of the interior in his second year as a starter. Kirk Barton and Alex Boone have both started at tackle, so we feel good about foes’ edge rushers being handled again (18 sacks allowed in ’05, but don’t forget Smith’s prowess.) Steve Rehring as LT will be good – he was No.2 there last year, and this mobile interior guy is ready. With only a few big-time prospects left on the roster, OSU looks vulnerable here if the injury bug hits them hard. This is a group that has to be mobile with so many offensive variables, and this crew moves well to make any/all play calls possible.

Unless you live under a rock, you likely know the potential this offense possesses. The Buckeyes don’t set NCAA marks for yards; it is their balance that gets you. The best part of their O is how creatively they line these guys up. It all starts with the many abilities of Smith in their unique spread approach. You’ll find scorcher Ginn, Jr. just about anywhere, including areas most teams consider no-man’s-land. Watching foes decide what to do when OSU really looks unconventional this way is amusing, especially when the results are tallied. Zwick under center is actually a change of pace that is effective, so State sacrifices little production-wise if he is in. Coordinator Jim Bollman, who came in with Tressel the same year, also oversees the line’s development, so expect this somewhat revamped area to work well, as long as the beef stays healthy. Look for WR Gonzales to easily be what Holmes was, with even more speed. Few will stop this offense…trying to control it is their only hope(s). Just ask Notre Dame.


RB Antonio Pittman


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Troy Smith-Sr (6-1, 215) Justin Zwick-Sr (6-4, 225)
FB Stan White-Sr (6-2, 242) Dionte Johnson-Jr (6-0, 234)
TB Antonio Pittman-Jr (5-11, 195) Chris Wells-Fr (6-2, 225)
Erik Haw-So (6-1, 212)
WR Anthony Gonzalez-Jr (6-0, 195) Roy Hall-Sr (6-3, 240)
WR Ted Ginn-Jr (6-0, 180) Brian Robiskie-So (6-3, 195)
TE Rory Nicol-So (6-5, 250) Marcel Frost-Jr (6-5, 255)
OT Alex Boone-So (6-8, 325) Tim Schafer-Sr (6-5, 290)
OG Steve Rehring-So (6-8, 329) Jon Skinner-So (6-5, 300)
C Doug Datish-Sr (6-5, 295) Jim Cordle-Fr (6-4, 280)
OG T.J. Downing-Sr (6-4, 305) Ben Person-So (6-4, 315)
OT Kirk Barton-Jr (6-4, 310) Doug Ebner-So (6-4, 285)
K Aaron Pettrey-Fr (6-1, 195) Ryan Pretorius-So (5-10, 190)



Defensive Line
Three seniors return to form the line around, but we seem to feel that, without any other truly experienced front seven – let alone no quality reserves on the DL itself – State’s No.1 ranking against the rush will be a far gone memory (as will allowing a stellar 2.35 yards per carry). Seniors Jay Richardson and David Patterson will be the venerable ones around which this line is built. Both are statistically less than those who left, so stepping up is an understatement for what is needed. Glenville’s Robert Rose, rated best DE in this year’s recruiting class (Rivals.com), joins the trio of four-star recruits from last class to bolster the outside (’05 class standout seems to be Lawrence Wilson, who may start). Inside, Quinn Pitcock will be the first piece of the puzzle. His speed is deceiving as he occupies two hats on most running plays, or else. Sophomore Todd Denlinger is joined by RS classmate Nadar Abdallah and Sian Cotton to form promise on the inside. This is a talented group that can still achieve strong results, just not the same kind of results as last year right off.

No starting experience here means more bad news for State. Marcus Freeman was the second-team SAM behind departed Carpenter and is a major force (ran 4x100 and threw shotput/discus in prep). Mr. Football (defense, state of Minnesota) saw lots of action, too, and is the first scholarship player from “Gopherland” since 1933 (team captain Sid Gillman). Both of these guys will be household names in Columbus soon. RS frosh Brandon Smith seems like a run-stopping specialist, and Curtis Terry saw limited action but seems primed with speed for coverage. Mike D’Andrea is the wildcard – he has missed much over the past few campaigns (ACL got him a redshirt). But D’Andrea (rated No.1 LB by Scout.com as a frosh) is that seasoned vet that would be the inspiration and rallying point of the entire D. Moreover, this area was the glue of 2005’s smashmouth-11, and with these new starters, it will be a struggle til we see this unit superior again and/or synching with the other defensive areas.

Defensive Back
Only sophomore nickel back Malcolm Jenkins returns, so the back seven is pretty much fresh. That means there will be less from the LBs on underneath coverage(s), necessarily. Jenkins has a full tank – in prep, he won state title in 400 meters while placing third in the 200. His sprint speed is a bit slower (4.43 in the 40), but this is good stuff around which to build, so pen him in at corner. The competition for the other starting spot looks to be between ex-WR Andre Amos, but Brandon Underwood looks strong, and senior Mike Roberts and Nick Patterson add well-sized experience to the dime packages. 6’3” Brandon Mitchell at one of the safety spots (free) seems likely, and he is another state champ (Georgia) in the 400 for maximum speed for the whole 60 minutes. Soph Jamario O’Neal was the No.3 CB coming in last year, and his positioning at the other safety spot signals the “ballhawking” this group will need to employ to make up for their (initial) lack of cohesion. Only six INTs last year meant lots of reps to stop foes, so hopefully this year these guys can get themselves (and the D) off the field faster. Overall, this is a stacked group that will be exposed early by the Longhorns if their house isn’t yet right.

The group will take a step backwards as too many departures dictate such. But don’t think that there won’t be some naïve swagger due to all of the talent. What we know most is that the LBs are gone and this area was the key/glue for the last three years. There is speed galore in the back-seven, so coverage shouldn’t be the main problem. Run stopping was phenomenal, but the front seven will be challenged because the best stuffers are gone. Still, it should be a strength by season’s end. Teams like this seem so vulnerable when turnover is this excessive. But then we always look back and wonder why we didn’t see the quality coming when it arises so quickly. The Buckeyes seem to define this reality, and we will see the level they rise to be the pivot for how far the entire team goes. See where we have them, and deduce for yourself.


DT Quinn Pitcock


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Lawrence Wilson-So (6-6, 270) Vernon Gholston-So (6-4, 260)
DT David Patterson-Sr (6-3, 285) Todd Denlinger-Fr (6-3, 280)
DT Quinn Pitcock-Sr (6-3, 295) Joel Penton-Sr (6-5, 290)
DE Jay Richardson-Sr (6-6, 276) Alex Barrow-So (6-5, 275)
LB James Laurinaitis-So (6-3, 244) Curtis Terry-Jr (6-2, 234)
LB Marcus Freeman-So (6-2, 242) Austin Spitler-Fr (6-3, 242)
LB John Kerr-Sr (6-1, 233) Ross Homan-Fr (6-1, 237)
CB Antonio Smith-Sr (5-9, 195) Donald Washington-Fr (6-1, 195)
Brandon Underwood-So (6-2, 180)
CB Malcolm Jenkins-So (6-1, 202) Mike Roberts-Sr (5-11, 185)
Andre Amos-Fr (6-1, 180)
SS Jamario O'Neal-So (6-1, 190) Anderson Russell-Fr (6-0, 190)
FS Nick Patterson-So (6-2, 210) Brandon Mitchell-Sr (6-3, 205)
P A.J. Trapasso-So (6-1, 220) John Thoma-Fr (6-1, 190)




We feel 27-year old South African-based kicker Ryan Pretorius (ex-Rugby star) has the huge foot Tressel will choose. Jonathan Skeete has been reinstated (drug trafficking) after completing his off-field requirements, so there is competition and/or a backup, which only bodes well for Buckeye fans.

A.J. Trapasso will be back to assure at least 40% of his boots are either fair caught or inside the 20. The net game ranked 13th in ’05, and with so many hungry DBs and LBs competing, it should be fun to watch OSU cover here and on kicks.

Return Game
DO NOT LOOK AWAY WHEN OHIO STATE IS RECEIVING A PUNT!!! Ginn and Gonzales are the best tandem returners in the nation. Heck, we got Ginn as our first-team all-American here, and Gonzales has faster sprint times. If you like wide-open field running, you’ll be making a huge mistake if you get up during a kick if the Buckeyes are returning.