• Coach: Joe Loth, ninth season (46-35 record at school)

• Last season: 6-4, 5-4 (tie, fourth, Ohio Athletic Conference)

Talent pool

The Cardinals return 18 starters and 53 lettermen in all. The offense is stacked with quarterback Austin Schlosser of Jonathan Alder, receivers Steve Kuzyk and Trey Fairchild of Dublin Coffman, tight end Gabe Shively of Gahanna and offensive linemen Kenny Collmar, Kevin Murphy, Nick Houk of West Jefferson and Jon Smith of Big Walnut. The defensive line should be stout with Will Brown of Hilliard Davidson, Joe Whitehead of DeSales and Patrick Seesholtz of Fairfield Union. Linebacker Shane Centers was third on the team in tackles with 51 in 2010. Three starters return in the secondary, including second-team all-conference cornerback Anthony Korpieski of Olentangy.

Exclamation points

Schlosser should be one of the best quarterbacks in the conference. He threw for 1,715 yards and 14 touchdowns. Kuzyk and Fairchild caught 45 and 39 passes, respectively. Loth thinks the defensive line could be the team's strongest unit. It was a big part in the Cardinals giving up an average of 3.1 yards per rush in 2010. Korpieski is a candidate for first-team all-conference coming off a season in which he had 45 tackles and seven interceptions.

Question marks

It will be difficult to replace Colton Coy, a battering ram of a tailback who set a school rushing record with 1,102 yards last season. Loth thinks Cody Green, a junior from Northland, is a good start. Green is more of a breakaway threat than Coy. Dominic Jones, who won the Lee Tressel Award as the top defensive back in the conference, is gone. He was the epitome of a shutdown cornerback and also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns.

Outlook

Otterbein has been picked to finish fourth in the conference. The keys are staying healthy and coming through the first three weeks of October against John Carroll, Baldwin-Wallace and Capital.