Yes. I know. Both OSU and MSU will be "fine" and we are not going to predict big steps back (although it could happen).
I am just curious who you think is the bigger loss?
1. When Meyer lost Mullen, his Florida teams fell off soon thereafter.
2. Meyer has a proven track record of picking good coordinators (but not 100%).
3. OSU relied heavily on offense this year, but has solid talent coming back on defense.
4. OSU had more talent than MSU, so it might be able to mask any small step back made by a coaching change.
5. Herman has figured out a way to put tons of points up with a 3rd string QB.
1. Narduzzi has been Dantonio's DC for 11 seasons.
2. There is no history that Dantonio has been able to effectively replace a defensive co-ordinator.
3. Dantonio was a DC, himself, for OSU's national title team. Does that translate today?
4. Narduzzi's best defenses all came with Max Bullough on the field. Before and after Bullough, they were very good, but not dominant.
5. MSU did not rely on its defense as much as OSU relied on its offense this year.
Personally, I think the loss of Narduzzi is more likely to affect MSU than the loss of Herman at OSU. The main reason: Meyer has proven that his offenses can be elite with various coordinators. Dantonio has not proven that. Plus, it appears that Dantonio relied heavily on Narduzzi and they were "tight." He is the only DC to ever serve for Dantonio. It is harder to replace that (on and off the field) than it is a young guy who is hired by a coaching legend.
But, who knows.
NOTE: This is used from the 2014 Depth Chart, and therefore as 2014 eligibility. Therefore, SRs below are mostly gone (unless redshirt), JRs will become SRs in 2015, SO will be JRs, etc.
QB: Gardner SR, Morris SO, (Speight FR)
RB: Green SO, Isaac SO, (Smith SO, Johnson SO)
FB: Kerridge SO, Houma SO
X: Funchess JR, Darboh SO (Ways FR)
Z: Chesson SO, Canteen FR (Harris FR, Jones SO)
F: Norfleet JR, Dever SO
TE: Butt SO, Williams JR (Heitzman JR)
H: Hill FR, Bunting FR
LT: Cole FR, Magnuson SO
LG: Glasgow JR, Magnuson SO
C: Miller JR, Kugler FR
RG: Kalis SO, Bosch SO
RT: Braden SO, LTT FR
DE: Clark SR, Ojemudia JR
DE: Beyer SR, Charlton SO
DT: Henry SO, Godin SO, (Wormley SO, Hurst FR)
NT: Glasgow SO, Mone FR, (Pipkins JR)
SAM: Ross JR, RJS JR
MIKE: Ryan SR, Morgan SR
WILL: Bolden JR, Gedeon SO
BCB: Taylor SR, Peppers FR
FCB: Lewis SO, Countess JR
NB: Peppers FR, Hollowell SR
SS: Hill SO, Clark SO
FS: Wilson JR, Thomas SO
P: Hagerup SR, Wile SR (Allen SO)
K: Wile SR, Allen SO
So lots of returning pieces next year.
At QB, DG is obviously a pretty big loss. Morris has some experience, but is still raw in his reads (from my POV, he's typically late, which forces him to have to force balls into tighter windows; I think Harbaughs WCO will be better for his timing though and likely help him). Speight is a big body QB that fits the WCO mold as well, but obviously is a complete unknown. Scary position, hope should be to get average play from it (which, given the B1G, should be reachable).
At RB, the depth is solid. Green made some progress last year, and he should be full go by fall. Hopefully a new RB coach will be able to reach him a bit better. Flashes still, but you can see what made him a highly sought after RB at times, though probably not the 5-star he was. Isaac likely has the most upside with his combo of strength and speed, it'll be interesting to see if he can be a go-to RB. Smith may be relegated to a short yardage back, though I think he could make a hell of a FB in the BJ Askew mold.
Kerridge may be the best FB Michigan has had since Dudley. Underappreicated hands, while he fights the ball in the air a bit, he seems to make catches. Houma is more of a move guy that can be used at H or FB. Shallman provides an unknown with pretty good ceiling for the position.
TE is a solid group. Butt is one of the better all-around TEs in the B1G, and should be utilized more in Harbaughs system than Nuss's. Hill showed promising flashes before being hurt, and while his in line blocking was inconsistent, he showed he wasn't afraid to pop people, and should have a bright future. Bunting provides a real receiving threat as well, and Williams has (too) slowly started making improvements as a blocker.
It's my belief that these WRs fit better for a system they were recruited for: the WCO that Harbaugh runs. Losing Funchess hurts, as he would have been a really good fit in this system as well. As is, I expect Darboh to take a bit of a leap as he fits a bit better. Chesson will work to strength the field a bit more as he gets healthier. Depth isn't an issue, but experience is. The young guys have talent, but will be very raw. Who will step up?
I fully expect the OL to take a jump, and expect them to be a top half OL next year. OSU and MSU are probably still in better places, but we're entering a third year of experience for most of these guys. They'll have one of the best OL coaches in the country. They improved quite a bit last year. Expect them to now get better at run blocking, and be a top 3 or 4 OL in the B1G.
DL: Losing Clark and Beyer hurts. I like Mario, think he's a good player, but not quite Clark (think he's holding a bit too much weight). Charlton flashes an ability to be great, but doesn't have the consistency Beyer did. Depth here is scary. Not knowing what the defense will be yet, in an Over front they'll be forced to play Poggi (more of a run stopper), Strobel (more of a run stopper), or Marshall (raw, but high upside). Can't afford to face long drives with lack of depth at DE.
The DT position is as stacked as there is in the B1G. Absolutely no concerns there, and you may see Michigan do what I said MSU may do and flex a DT out to DE to stop the run (especially if they go to an Under front or a 3-4).
LB is still solid. Morgan and Bolden should be one of the better LB pair in the B1G, and Ross is solid as a flex LB or an ILB. I like Gedeon as a hell-wrecker on passing downs and a good backup at any time. Concerned a bit about '16 with this group though, need another ILB in the '15 recruiting class pretty bad IMO.
Lewis should start getting recognition from outside the Michigan fanbase next year. It's hard to say what's going on with Countess, but I have a feeling confidence hurt him a lot last year after the ND game. Another year of seasoning for man coverage and perhaps more mix of zone coverage should make him at worst a solid CB. Peppers will be back as a FR, and I still like him at NB in 5 DB situations because of all the threats he brings. Solid top 3, more worry below that, though there are bodies.
Safety is an interesting position. I still think Wilson is a solid player, but needs to get better in run/pass conflict situations. Still likely better served as a FS. Clark, Thomas, and Hill all showed some flashes, I think with Hill as the best of the bunch. But they were all very inconsistent as well, particularly Thomas. Man coverage is not a strength for this group. Think there is talent there, but needs to be improved.
Copy and Paste from the OSU Depth Chart post. Someone asked for it, so I put it together, but I thought it could also bring out enough discussion to warrent it's own thread. These are B1G East opponents, so I do believe it is relevant to this board.
QB: Cook JR, O'Connor SO
RB: Langford SR, Hill SR (Williams SO, London FR)
FB: Pendleton JR
TE: Price SO, Gleichert SR, (Lyles SO)
LT: Conklin SO, Finley FR
LG: Jackson SR, Kruse SR
C: Allen JR, Allen FR
RG: Kruse SR, Clark JR
RT: Clark JR, Kieler SO
X: Lippet SR, Troup JR
Z: Mumpery SR, Burbridge JR
F: Shelton SO, Kings JR
DE: Calhoun JR, Cooper FR
DE: Rush SR, Jones So
DT: Thomas JR, Know JR
NT: Heath JR, McDowell FR
Star: Harris JR, Hicks SR
MIKE: Jones SR, Bullough SO,
SAM: Davis JR, Frey FR
FC: Hicks SO, Colquhoun JR
BC: Waynes JR, Cox SO, Edmondson SO
FC: Drummond SR, Cox SO,
SS: Williamson JR, Nicholson FR
K: Geiger SO
P: Sadler SR
I think Langford will be a pretty decent loss for MSU. He does a lot of little things really well. Williams is a good back, but I think he tops off at sort of a Green level. They are supposedly high London as well, so watch for him to get carries next year.
Lippett is a big loss, there is no getting around that. He was Cook's security blanket and is a very good WR. Mumphery was consistent as well. Burbridge, Madaris, Kings, and Arnett are still a group of good athletes though, they just need to do the detailed things better (Burbridge looked good in their bowl game). Troup is a legit walk-on too, that will play.
Gleichert was a great blocking TE, but Price is one of the better all-around TEs in the B1G. Lyles is raw but skilled.
They'll likely get back Conklin and Allen on the OL, two All-American types. I expect the younger Allen to slide in at OG, where he played a bit this year, and should be solid. They're relying on former JUCO to fill in at the other spot most likely, so we'll see.
I don't expect Calhoun to go pro, but it's probably about 50/50. Depth at DE is scarce, and losing Rush is a big loss regardless of what people say. They have some bodies behind them, but if they loss Calhoun they will be very young and very raw at DE next year, and will likely get pushed around a bit. Cooper and Sweat have potential, but it's still potential. If they loss both starting DEs, expect them to play with a quasi-DT at DE to be more stout against the run.
They have great depth on the interior and get some FR to start contributing as well. They should improve at DT.
Hicks was basically their Nickel LB at the STAR postion. Powell will move from Safety to fill that role. Jones will be a bit of a loss, I liked Bullough better at SAM, but this won't be a huge drop off. Reschke can't seem to stay healthy, which hurts his development.
CB is a huge concern. Waynes looks like he has one foot out the door. They started Lippett because the other guys weren't performing. Typically they move the better CB to the boundary, but they don't really have a better CB right now. Cox is a better safety than CB, Hicks has some talent but needs to vastly improve his footwork.
Safety has some issues as well. I really like what I saw out of a young guy in Nicholson, so I think he'll be a factor. Wouldn't be surprised if Williamson and Nicholson both start and Cox is the BCB. But depth at all the DB positions is a bit scary for them, which isn't good in that defense. It'll be interesting if their scheme changes at all with losing Narduzzi and the lack of proven bodies on the back end, though I kind of doubt it.
Overall, I really expect them to be just about the same caliber team next year. If they lose Cook and Calhoun, then they should expect a drop off, but right now, I'd predict top 10-15 for MSU in 2015.
Looking over OSU's depth chart it is pretty scary to think what they will be next year - this was actually the year they were supposed to be a "year away". Here is a Rivals 2 deep and who will be lost bolded - not many. 10 players out of 44. For QB I just assumed Barrett and Jones stay and Braxton leaves; who knows how it all sorts out, maybe Jones transfers to Miss State or similar; he needs to find a similar offense. Doesn't matter, at this point their 5th WR throws better than most teams QBs.
I don't know how many early entry candidates they have - Washington at DT looks like the obvious one. Only areas that take any real hits are WRs and 1 DE spot.
3 of their top 6 LB are FR or RS FR - 3 of their 4 safeties are underclassmen, etc
Class is for 2014, so add a year for 2015
- Barrett RS FR, Jones RS SO
- Elliott SO, Samuel FR
- Thomas RS SO, Smith SR, Spencer SR, Smith RS JR, Marshall RS FR, Brown FR
- Heuerman SR, Vannett JR
- Decker JR, Jones FR, Baldwin RS SR, Farris RS JR
- Price RS FR, Hale SR, Elflein RS SO, Farris RS JR
- Boren JR, Elflein RS SO
- Miller SR, Frazier, RS SR, Bosa SO, Lewis RS FR
- Washington JR, Munger RS FR, Bennett SR, Schutt JR
- Lee RS FR, Worley RS FR, Perry JR, Williams JR, Grant SR, McMillan FR
- Grant SR, Reeves JR, Apple RS FR, Conley RS FR
- Bell SO, Burrows SO, Powell RS SO, Tanner RS JR
Senior losses - Devin Smith WR, Evan Spencer WR, Jeff Heuerman TE, Darryl Baldwin OT, Joel Hale OT, Steve Miller DE, Rashad Frazier DE, Michael Bennett DT, Curtis Grant LB, Doran Grant CB
Defensive starters - 1 DT, 1 DE, 1 LB, 1 CB
Offensive starters - TE, 1 WR, 1 OT
Ohio State beats #1 Alabama and knocks the SEC out of the National Championship for the first time in a decade.
Michigan State knocks off #5 Baylor, in Baylor's own back yard.
Michigan makes a big national splash by hiring Jim Harbaugh away from the NFL.
Penn State is off sanctions and responded by winning it's bowl game.
The Big Ten East has become a hot storyline in college football. We finally have the first-class coaching to go with our first-class stadiums, fan support, and media markets.
The future looks bright. There are some epic battles ahead that will capture the entire nation's attention. It's an exciting place to be, for fans and recruits.