Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Buckeyes aren't going to miss Herron

Five players from the Ohio State football team will miss the first five games of the 2011 season starting this fall.

The one that should be sweating the most should be running back Dan Herron.

A product of Warren Harding, "Boom"  is coming off a junior season in which he ran for 1,155 yards and 16 touchdowns. Until Tattoo-Gate came raining down on the OSU program, Herron was primed for a banner senior season.

Now, by time Herron returns from the five-game suspension he and four other teammates received for selling memorabilia, he might not have a job waiting for him like QB Terrelle Pryor, WR DeVier Posey, OT Mike Adams and DE Solomon Thomas should have.

The Buckeyes have so much talent at the running back position, Herron could be an afterthought - and a step down in talent - by the time the Nebraska game rolls around six games into the season.

While Herron serves his suspension, Jaamal Berry, Jordan Hall, Carlos Hyde and Roderick Smith will all get a shot at running the ball for the Buckeyes. Judging from the inexperience Ohio State will have at quarterback with Pryor on the sideline, the OSU offense is likely going to be a run-first offense anyway.

The guess here is that Berry, who averaged 8.3 yards per carry in spot duty last year, stands a very good chance of emerging as "the man" in Herron's absence. He's got another gear that no one, including Hall, have. His explosiveness could give the Buckeyes a home run-hitter they haven't had in some time.

Then you've got Hall, Beanie Wells clone Smith and Hyde - who is a bit smaller than Smith - hammering away with a more physical approach.

If Berry, Hall, Wells and Smith produce how I expect them to, then what happens when Herron returns? No coach on the planet is more loyal to seniors to Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. But how is he going to turn the reins over to Herron when the running game takes off and carries the team for five weeks without him?

In fairness to Herron, he was in a no-win situation when the Tattoo-Gate came down. He couldn't very well have made himself eligible for the NFL draft. He likely wouldn't have been drafted. He's too small (5-10, 202) and lacks explosive, break-away speed.

That left him with the option of returning for an abbreviated senior year. One which might be spent standing on the sidelines - not just serving his suspension, but also when he is eligible to return.

- John Kampf


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