Final countdown: Impact player No. 2
August, 30, 2012
By Austin Ward | ESPN.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Training camp is over and game preparations have begun. The torture of the offseason is nearly over, and Ohio State's first game under Urban Meyer is closing in. Leading up to the opener against Miami (Ohio), BuckeyeNation will count down the 10 players who figure to have the biggest impact on Meyer's first campaign, closing in on the top spot with the most valuable defensive player.
- POSITION: Defensive end
- BASICS: The tireless, fanatical workout machine will enter his senior season with 263 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame, which would likely still allow him to take a few snaps on the interior if needed. That probably won't be necessary given the depth the Buckeyes have up front -- and how much they're expecting from Simon on the edge.
- BY THE NUMBERS: Simon's statistical progression over his career is remarkable. Forget gradually improving, when it comes to tackles for a loss, he's essentially doubled them every year after starting with four as a freshman. The math isn't perfect since he improved from 8.5 as a sophomore to 16 last season, and it's going to be tough to keep up that sort of pace this fall. But it does provide yet another example of his nonstop pursuit of improvement.
- OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPACT: Simon may set the tone with his leadership and commitment, and his production certainly helps as well. But with plenty of support from his teammates on a deep, talented line, Simon doesn't exactly have to carry the load all on his own -- which could allow him to have an even bigger impact in the opposing backfield. Garrett Goebel will occupy blockers in the middle, Johnathan Hankins creates his own issues for offensive lineman at tackle and Michael Bennett can wreak havoc on the other end, so teams can't just focus attention on Simon. And that could create more than a few headaches for coaches and quarterbacks in the Big Ten.
- HE SAID IT: "It’s a tremendous honor to be a captain, especially being voted by your teammates. That means a lot. Proud of all the captains we’ve got, we have a great group of guys and it’s our job to lead well and be responsible this year. It's a great honor to be voted by teammates two years in a row. It definitely means a lot to me, to even be a one-time captain is an amazing opportunity and it’s our job to just go make the most of it." -- Simon on becoming just the seventh two-time captain in Ohio State history
Drive Through: One-On-One With Collins
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State