Anderson Russell, SS - A three-year starter at free safety entering the season, Russell lost his starting job after the Buckeyes’ season-opening 31-27 win over Navy. Russell was beaten deep a couple of times in that closer-than-expected match-up, and he’s been replaced by Jermale Hines for the last three games. But when Indiana and Ohio State line up this weekend, Russell will likely be back in the starting lineup along with Hines. That’s because the team’s normal starting free strong safety, captain Kurt Coleman has been suspended for the Indiana game for a helmet-to-helmet hit in Saturday’s 30-0 win over Illinois. In the game’s closing minute Coleman led with his helmet on a late hit of Illini back-up quarterback Eddie McGee, and the Big Ten suspended Coleman for one game on Monday. As a three-year starter Russell isn’t lacking in experience, but his early September benching might have him lacking in confidence. Expect Indiana to see if it can throw over Russell as well with the play-action pass.
Dexter Larimore, DT - The Buckeyes’ sixth-leading tackler with 16 stops on the season, Larimore is a Merrillville, Ind., product who gave Indiana serious consideration before opting to go to Columbus four years ago when the Buckeyes came through with a scholarship offer. While he’s yet to emerge as a star on the Buckeyes’ defensive unit he has been a solid contributor over the years. He’s been part of the Buckeyes’ rotation at defensive tackle as both a redshirt freshman and sophomore before becoming a full-time starter this season. Larimore is a high-energy, physical player in the trenches who will test youngsters Justin Pagan and Will Matte. He’ll also have plenty of motivation as he gets his first chance to play at Indiana as a member of the Buckeyes.
Dan Herron, RB – if there’s one thing Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel has proven over the years it’s that he’ll keep things as simple as opponents allow him offensively. With that in mind, the first thing Indiana needs to do defensively is show it can keep starting tailback Dan “Boom” Herron and his back-up, Brandon Saine, from having tbeir ways with them. The 5’10”, 191-pound Herron has taken over the starting tailback job vacated by Chris “Beanie” Wells, who left early for the NFL last spring. Herron is still looking for his first 100-yard game of his career, and Indiana can ill-afford to be his first victim. If Indiana is successful in slowing down Herron there remain plenty of concerns (most notably versatile quarterback Terelle Pryor), but the Hoosiers need to make Ohio State doing something other than simply hand the ball off to the tailback and watch them chew up yardage and the clock.
Brian Rolle, MLB – Ohio State has had plenty of big name linebackers during the last decade, players such as Andy Katzenmoyer, Na’il Diggs, Matt Wilhelm, A.J. Hawk and most recently Jim Laurinaitis. The Buckeyes entered the ’09 season without a household name among its stable of linebackers, but that could be getting ready to change thanks to the play of Rolle. The 5’11”, 221-pound junior spent his first two seasons contributing primarily on special teams, but he’s now anchoring a defense that has recorded back-to-back shutouts. Rolle leads the team with 33 tackles, and he returned an interception 39 yards to set up a score last week against Illinois. On top of that, Rolle also had a huge 99-yard interception return for a defensive two-point conversion against Navy on a play when the Midshipmen were going for a two-point conversion to potentially tie OSU in the opener. Rolle has had at least eight tackles in each game and will be someone to keep an eye on.
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday – Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction