• Coach: Bill Conley, second season (2-8 record at school)

• Last season: 2-8, 2-8 (fifth, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division)

Talent pool

Senior quarterback Jeremy Fudge had a fine 2010 season, but he is being challenged by redshirt freshmen Mark Miller and Jon Ballard. Senior tailback Mike Noffsinger led the team in rushing last year, but Conley said four other players are capable of starting. Offensive linemen Zach Cook of Watkins Memorial, Tyler White, Andrew Carpenter and Jake Brandt of Bexley return. The defense boasts linemen Eli Kovach and Joe Richter, linebacker Kevin Guthrie Jr. of Gahanna and safety Eisen Hardy of Pickerington Central. Kicker Chris Vortkamp converted 11 of 16 field goal attempts in 2010.

Exclamation points

Fudge was a true double threat in passing for 752 yards and running for 522 in six games. Noffsinger ran for 794 yards and three touchdowns and fumbled only twice. Mark Nichols of Newark Catholic should play a lot more after running for 195 yards. Brandon Robinson (37 catches), Tyler Maddox (36) and Tyler Purcell (31) return at receiver, but they might have to split playing time with newcomers Casey Williams, Brandon Ojikutu and Jason Jean-Louis. Hardy is a playmaker. He had 65 tackles, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions and broke up four passes in 2010.

Question marks

Can Ohio Dominican take a giant step on defense? The Panthers gave up 28 points or more in seven games and 35 or more four times last season. They ranked 11th among 14 teams in the conference in total defense (397.7 yards allowed per game). The weakest phase was against the run with an average of 192.2 yards allowed (13th).

Outlook

The Panthers have been picked to finish fourth among seven teams in the GLIAC South. That would be a step up from 2010 for a team that is in its second year in NCAA Division II. Conley made his mark at Ohio State as an ace recruiter. This is his second recruiting class so the fruits of his labor should start to kick in.