Ohio State Buckeyes: Buckeyes 2012 in review

Year in review: Ups, downs for specialists 

December, 7, 2012
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, wrapping up today by rewinding to look at the kicking game and a group of special-teams contributors that were stretched by injury during a roller coaster campaign.

SPECIAL TEAMS
[+] EnlargeCorey Brown
Jim Rinaldi/Icon SMIReceiver Corey "Philly" Brown became the playmaker that Urban Meyer was looking for on special teams.

  • Most valuable player: Roles on special teams just aren't handed out under Urban Meyer, though that doesn't change the fact they're valuable proving grounds for players looking to make an impression, as the Ohio State coach is so heavily involved with the kicking game. It also doesn't just apply to younger players, since it was junior Corey "Philly" Brown's explosive contributions on punt return that seemingly helped his role on offense expand as the season progressed and the Buckeyes gained even more confidence in his ability to make something happen with the football in his hands. Meyer had been somewhat critical of Brown's ability to make defenders miss early in the season, but his 76-yard punt return against Nebraska helped seal a blowout victory and signaled that the wide receiver was turning a corner as a playmaker.

Year in review: DBs lend a big hand 

December, 6, 2012
12/06/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, continuing today by looking back at the playmakers in the secondary who made a habit of breaking up passes and nabbing interceptions on the way to a perfect season.

[+] EnlargeBradley Roby
Kirk Irwin/Getty ImagesOhio State redshirt sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby could be a high draft pick if he leaves school early.
DEFENSIVE BACKS

  • Most valuable player: Christian Bryant might have been underrated for the contributions he made at safety, somewhat quietly going about his business and offering a reliable presence in the backend. Travis Howard played the finest, most consistent football of his career and tied for the Big Ten lead with four interceptions. But it was redshirt sophomore Bradley Roby who was the indispensable member of the secondary, transforming himself from a talented but easily distracted cover guy into an elite competitor over the last 12 months -- and developing into a potential high-round draft pick in the process.

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Year in review: Wild ride for linebackers 

December, 5, 2012
12/05/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, continuing today by looking back at an up-and-down season for the guys at the second level of the defense, a group that took off after a surprising midseason addition.

LINEBACKERS
[+] EnlargeRyan Shazier
David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty ImagesRyan Shazier was the Buckeyes' most valuable and productive linebacker as a sophomore.

  • Most valuable player: There's not any question that Ryan Shazier was the most outstanding player at linebacker, and his numbers and various contributions might well give him a case that he was the one defender the Buckeyes couldn't live without. And while Zach Boren didn't play a full season at the position, didn't have anywhere near as much statistical production and still looked more like a fullback for a couple weeks after moving over to the defensive side of the ball, the senior's willingness to make the transition stands out by itself as invaluable to the team dynamic. But on top of that, the way he willed it into a success to stabilize a position that was already thin before getting wiped out by injuries will go down in Ohio State lore.

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Year in review: Veterans anchor DL 

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, continuing today by rewinding to break down a defensive line that had high expectations at the beginning of the year and was starting to live up to them by the end.

DEFENSIVE LINE
[+] EnlargeJohn Simon
Greg Bartram/US PresswireOhio State defensive end John Simon had 14.5 tackles for loss in 2012 as a senior.

  • Most valuable player: The final season with the program might not have been as prolific individually as expected for John Simon, but good luck getting the two-time captain and team-first senior to complain about his numbers after helping the Buckeyes go undefeated. Simon was hampered by injuries all season long and perhaps had to carry more of the workload than Ohio State initially planned due to a roster that didn't have quite as much depth as initially thought, but he still led the Big Ten in sacks and provided invaluable leadership to help set the tone for future teams under coach Urban Meyer.

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Year in review: OL paves road to 12-0 

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, continuing today by rewinding to look at the big guys up front who opened huge holes for the rushing attack and helped keep Braxton Miller upright for the passing game.

Reid Fragel
AP Photo/Chris BernacchiReid Fragel solidified the Ohio State offensive line by emerging as a solid right tackle.
OFFENSIVE LINE

  • Most valuable player: The Buckeyes were blessed with good health across the line all season, which gave all five starters every possible chance to build a case as the standout performer for the unit. It might not even be fair to single out just one, but considering the uncertainty at right tackle dating to spring practice and the way Reid Fragel developed to not only lock down a job but excel at it, the senior gets the edge for providing the final puzzle piece in the trenches. Jack Mewhort was a monster on the other side of the line and Corey Linsley was reliable as the anchor at center, but Fragel's transition from tight end was absolutely critical for the high-powered spread offense.

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Year in review: TEs offer steady play 

November, 30, 2012
11/30/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, continuing today by rewinding to look at the physical blockers who doubled as extra weapons in the passing game for the high-powered spread attack.

[+] EnlargeJeff Heuerman
Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesBuckeyes sophomore tight end Jeff Heuerman had eight catches for 94 yards and one touchdown.
TIGHT ENDS

  • Most valuable player: The conversion of the projected starter at the position left more work for the two guys left over at tight end, and both of them were able to step up and make a mark. The receiving statistics are essentially a dead heat, and each did some notable work to help the rushing attack get rolling -- but the slight edge goes to Jeff Heuerman over Nick Vannett. Heuerman drew some of the highest praise of the season when coach Urban Meyer identified him as one of the best blockers he's ever had at tight end, and while Vannett's emergence was just as critical, it's the sophomore who gets the nod this season.

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Year in review: Steady progress for WRs 

November, 29, 2012
11/29/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, continuing today by rewinding to look at the improvements made by the targets in the passing game and a few memorable entries on the highlight reel.

[+] EnlargeCorey Brown
AP Photo/Jay LaPreteCorey "Philly" Brown was explosive on offense and led the Buckeyes with 60 catches for 669 yards.
WIDE RECEIVERS

  • Most valuable player: The production was steady from start to finish, even if Corey "Philly" Brown could have perhaps provided more yardage with all of his catches in the early stages of the season and saved himself from some good-natured jokes from coach Urban Meyer about making a tackler miss. The junior had the last laugh down the stretch, extending receptions by juking defenders and using his speed to pull away for longer gains than he was contributing during the first month of the season. He was at his best on special teams, though, busting loose for a pair of important punt returns for touchdowns that complemented his team-high 60 grabs on offense.

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Year in review: RBs thrive in tough spot 

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, continuing today by rewinding to look at the explosive play in the backfield and the emergence of a rusher who refused to go down easily.

[+] EnlargeCarlos Hyde
Pat Lovell/US PresswireCarlos Hyde would have likely been the Buckeyes' second 1,000-yard rusher if Ohio State had a bowl game.
RUNNING BACKS

  • Most valuable player: Thrust into the starting role thanks to a freak injury over the summer, Carlos Hyde didn't disappoint early in the season. After dealing with his own minor issue (a sprained knee) in September, Hyde again had to battle back and wait for a chance to make an impact for Ohio State's rushing attack. When Jordan Hall went down again with another injury, Hyde was ready to make the most of another crack at the first-team job and he never looked back. His physical style was complemented by underrated speed, and Hyde was a monster once the Buckeyes got near the goal line while ringing up 17 total touchdowns.

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Year in review: QB play leads Buckeyes 

November, 27, 2012
11/27/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A position-by-position look at a perfect season for Ohio State, starting today by rewinding to look at the dynamic play from the guy taking the snaps and looking at some numbers that will go down in the school record books.

QUARTERBACK
[+] EnlargeBraxton Miller
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireBraxton Miller had more than 3,000 yards of total offense and became a Heisman Trophy candidate in 2012.

  • Most valuable player: The starter at the most important position on the field and a spot that is occupied full-time by one guy makes this a bit obvious, but Braxton Miller was clearly the man most responsible on the field for what the Buckeyes accomplished in 12 games. The future for the sophomore figures to be even brighter, and there was nothing wrong with a year that included 3,310 yards of offense and 28 total touchdowns.

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