Ohio State Football: Week 3 Spring Practice Stock Report
Week 3 of spring practice is in the books for Urban Meyer and Ohio State.
With the spring game nearing, the coaching staff is getting a good feel for the roster and who's ready to contribute.
Here's what went down with the Buckeyes this week.
The playmakers are starting to emerge.
When Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman met with media Tuesday, they spoke highly of a deep group of wide receivers.
That's good news for Ohio State, which has to replace Corey Brown, its leading receiver from the last two seasons, and Chris Fields, who ranked third on the team with six touchdowns in 2013.
An even bigger factor is the loss of running back Carlos Hyde and four senior starters along the offensive line. According to Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer, Meyer said that it's pivotal for the Buckeyes' playmakers to step up.
As bad as we want an offensive line like we had last year, it's going to take a while to develop that. I think at some point, because we recruited well and our line coach, that'll happen. But it'll be a little different. We're going to have to lean on maybe some perimeter ways of getting first downs, whereas last year, when you rush for 300-plus yards a game, it's because that line is so good.
We have some other weapons. It will be a different little taste to it, though, than we had last year.
When asked which receivers were standing out so far, Meyer listed Devin Smith, Mike Thomas, Corey Smith and freshman Johnnie Dixon.
On the other side of the ball, the Buckeyes' new coaches—co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash and defensive line coach Larry Johnson—are settling in.
Ohio State's defense has loads of talent, but getting the unit to execute the schemes at a high level is a top priority. Meyer told Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports that he has been heavily involved in the Buckeyes' defensive remake.
Overhaul. Overhaul. Overhaul it. A little bit like when we came here and we overhauled the offense …What Chris Ash is able to do, we're overhauling it entirely. Some things will look the same, but there's a reason why our kids didn't play very fast last year, and it's not because of the players. We're overhauling everything, the terminology, the way we practice, the way we coach. It's going pretty good. No resistance, no egos, really good people.
Johnson, who left Penn State to replace Mike Vrabel, likes this depth along the defensive line.
Larry Johnson wants to rotate 8 or 9 guys on the OSU d-line this season. He's got the horses, probably deepest position on roster,— Austin Ward (@AWardESPN) March 27, 2014
If the new coaches can get Ohio State's defense to play at the level the offense has reached, the Buckeyes would be a serious national title contender.
Ohio State is replacing 80 percent of its offensive line, but one of the openings has officially been filled.
On Tuesday, Meyer announced that Pat Elflein had earned the starting spot at right guard.
Urban Meyer: "Pat Elflein has earned himself a starting spot. He’s a starting offensive lineman at Ohio State."— Ryan Ginn (@RyanGinnBSB) March 26, 2014
Another hole was filled when Meyer named Dontre Wilson the starting H-back, replacing Brown. According to Dave Biddle of Bucknuts, wide receivers coach Zach Smith said Wilson was the only player in his unit playing fully to his expectations.
But one of the most important position battles isn't even for a starting spot. The Buckeyes are looking to identify a backup quarterback to replace Kenny Guiton, who spelled Braxton Miller in a number of key moments over the last two seasons.
Herman provided this quick update on the battle between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett.
Now Tom Herman is at podium. "I think it's telling that after six practices, Cardale Jones is still getting reps w the 1s" at QB.— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) March 25, 2014
Barrett still has time to make up some ground and impress the coaching staff, but if he wants to keep pace in this race, he'll need to make a move soon.
All stats via NCAA.com.
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