Northwestern's depth chart for Ohio State is out, and there's a notable name at the top of the running back depth chart: Venric Mark. After being listed as an OR starter for games against Western Michigan and Maine, he is now listed as the team's sole starter at tailback.
What does that actually mean? Well, we don't know. He was listed as the starter against Syracuse and didn't play. He was listed as the OR starter in those other two games and didn't play. What we know is that we can't derive much from depth charts.
Pat Fitzgerald had this to say:
Pat Fitzgerald says if Venric Mark has a good week in practice, he'll be available in some capacity. Feels good about Mark's progress.— Rittenberg/Bennett (@ESPN_BigTen) September 30, 2013
My instinct tells me that Mark has had a month off and should be ready to go in some capacity. But this all has been frustrating: we've never officially heard what Mark's injury is, we've never been given a timeframe for his return, and we probably won't know if he's playing on Saturday until, you know, Saturday.
And with OHIO STATE on the schedule, that's worrisome. Treyvon Green's been a solid fill-in, but we all know that Venric Mark gives Northwestern's offense its best hope, especially when paired next to Kain Colter. The offense did appear lacking against WMU and Maine, games NU should have blown open early, and Mark's dynamite speed should have done that. The prospect of the team that looked lackluster offensively in those games taking the field against an extremely talented OSU defense is not a fun prospect.
Northwestern can win football games without Venric Mark. They've already won three of them! But asking them to compete against Ohio State without the guy we all pretty much agreed was the team's best player in the offseason might be a tall order, and we have no idea if they'll have to.
Mark is also now listed as the co-starter at punt returner and kick returner. I still say we can derive more information from his Drake tweet.
Elsewhere on the depth chart, Jaylen Prater is no longer listed as a co-backup with Timmy Vernon at MLB -- he was listed as injured for Maine, hope he gets better but not a huge issue. Defensive tackle Sean McEvilly is supposedly "day-to-day," which is a problem: his absence was a big part of why Maine was able to move the ball up the middle so easily.
A full look at the depth chart: h5>OFFENSE
(Sr.)||13 Trevor Siemian (Jr.)|
|RB||5(Sr.||32 Treyvon Green (Jr.)(Sr.) or 22|
|WR-X||6 Tony Jones (Jr.)||21 Kyle Prater (So.)|
(Sr.)||12 Cermak Bland (So)|
|WR-Z||17 Rashad Lawrence (Sr.)||19 Cameron Dickerson (So.)|
|WR-H||14(Jr.)||82 Andrew Scanlan (Fr.)|
|LG||53(So.)||73 Adam DePietro (Fr.)|
|C||65 Brandon Vitabile (Jr.)||57 Matt Frazier (So.)|
|RG||64 Ian Park (Fr.)||65 Hayden Baker (Jr.)|
|FIRST TEAM||SECOND TEAM|
|DT||67(Jr.)||90 C.J. Robbins (So.)|
|DT||99 Chance Carter(Jr.)||92(Sr.)|
|DE||94(So.) OR||98 Deonte Gibson (So.)|
|SLB||45(Jr.)||42 Joseph Jones (Fr.)|
|MLB||46 Damien Proby (Sr.)||50 Timmy Vernon (Sr.|
|WLB||44(Jr.)||55 Drew Smith (So.)|
|CB||23(So.)||27 Matthew Harris (Fr.)|
|S||24 Ibraheim Campbell (Jr.)||16 Davion Fleming (Sr.) or 26 Terrance Brown (Fr.)|
|CB||2 Dwight White (Fr.)||13(Jr.)|
|FIRST TEAM||SECOND TEAM|
|K (FG)||37 Jeff Budzien (Sr.)|
|KO||37 Jeff Budzien (Sr.)|
(Jr.) OR||5 Venric Mark (Sr.)|
(Sr.) OR||8 Stephen Buckley (Fr.) OR 27 Matthew Harris (Fr.)
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