Commentary

Wells is still a concern; Georgia must be careful

Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench examines Week 3 story lines, including OSU's Chris Wells' status, Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen's second shot at Michigan and a possible Georgia upset.

Updated: September 12, 2008, 4:27 PM ET
By Steve Muench | Scouts Inc.
Here's a quick look at some of the biggest story lines Scouts Inc. is watching in Week 3:

[+] EnlargeChris Wells
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireBuckeyes fans are hoping Chris Wells can play versus USC.
• The Collision at the Coliseum between No. 5 Ohio State and No. 1 USC is one of the most anticipated games of the season, let alone this weekend, and the status of Ohio State RB Chris "Beanie" Wells should have Buckeyes fans on edge. The news has changed all week. After reports stating Wells would likely return from a toe injury that forced him to miss the Ohio game, he was then listed as doubtful and now he's a game-time decision. Considering the implications of this game, we expect him to play if at all possible. But in the event that he can't go, the Buckeyes are going to have a much harder time quieting criticisms about their ability to beat opponents with superior team speed. Wells is a downhill runner who does his best work between the tackles and one of the best ways to neutralize a fast defense is too run right at it. The Trojans' linebacker corps, headlined by 260-pound ILB Rey Maualuga and 255-pound SLB Brian Cushing, clearly has great size to complement its speed. However DT Fili Moala might have been the most overrated defensive line prospect heading into the season and he will be working against a tough Ohio State interior offensive line. Buckeyes Gs Steve Rehring and Ben Person are both maulers capable of creating seams between the tackles and we expect both to play better than they did a week ago.

The problem is backup RBs Daniel Herron, Maurice Wells and Brandon Saine aren't as strong as Beanie Wells and they don't hit the hole as hard. So if Beanie Wells doesn't play, the talented USC linebackers will have slightly more time to get to the ball carrier and an easier time bringing him to the ground. In addition, the Buckeyes may try to offset the absence of Beanie Wells by running quarterback keepers with their big, strong true freshman QB Terrelle Pryor in short-yardage situations. But, the absence of Wells would make it easier for the Trojans to zero in on Pryor in these situations.
Steve Muench played four years of Division I-AA football before joining Scouts Inc. in 2002. He has evaluated both NFL and college players for Scouts Inc., but his current focus is on the NFL draft.

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