Most Important Buckeyes: No. 15
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS — For a guy who has never rushed for more than 90 yards in a game in three seasons as a Buckeye, tailback Jordan Hall sure has quite the amount of expectations staring him in the face in 2012.
Those expectations don't just come from Urban Meyer's plans for the senior in his offensive attack, but also from Hall's ability to make things happen when the ball is in his hands.
Long thought to be an answer in a slot role as well as at tailback, with Meyer's offense in town, this could be the year that everything comes together for Hall.
What Makes Him Important
Even if Jordan Hall never ran the ball or caught it, he would still be one of the twenty most important players for what he brings to the return game.
Photo by Jim Davidson
In the last two seasons he has had an 85-yard kickoff return and a 90-yard kickoff return. He also had a 70-yard punt return in 2010, so he can obviously make an impact without the Buckeye offense ever having the ball.
However, it's his versatility on offense that people are anxious to see. A foot injury during the summer currently has Hall rehabbing in hopes of being back on the field by week three, and it's obvious that Urban Meyer is hopeful as well.
"I’ve been in this long enough, he’s the kind of warrior who will come back rather quickly if he can," Meyer said of Hall.
"I was really anxious, we actually started the mental part of it this summer, studying some plays and working with (quarterback) Braxton Miller, so that was a shock."
What makes Hall important is that Meyer has deemed him worthy of a heavy workload.
Jordan Hall gets some
one-on-one instruction from Urban Meyer
Photo by Jim Davidson
What Can Be Expected Of Him
With his foot injury, it remains to be seen how soon he will be thrust into the return game, but rest assured that he will eventually be there.
Hall catches the ball consistently and has a knack for making the first man miss. He doesn't necessarily have the speed to take it the distance, but he's obviously no stranger to getting it most of the way there.
On offense, expect Hall to get the ball from every angle. Handoffs, jet sweeps, screen passes, shovel passes, wheel routes, over the middle out of the backfield, etc.
Urban Meyer wants every inch of the field to be defended, and Hall can force that into play. Matchups against linebackers won't work, and he won't be afraid to go back to any well that keeps producing.
What Would the Buckeyes Do Without Him
Well, we're going to find out.
"We're not exactly loaded at that position right now, the offensive skill, but some guys have to step up and play," Meyer said after Hall's injury.
"Who's going to take his place? I don't know. We're not loaded at that spot. I'm hoping maybe (Corey) 'Philly' Brown continues to improve, but he got banged up in the spring. That’s one of our dilemmas right now."
The fact that Hall's absence is termed a “dilemma,” tells you how important Urban Meyer thinks he is.
While Hall is fully expected to be back before conference play, if he was to miss the season the Buckeyes would have to look at a variety of players to fill his void.
They would be fine when it comes to carrying the ball, but Hall's ability to make people miss in space would be missed in the passing game. There really is nobody that can do what he can do, and still take a hit in the process.
Bottom line, if there was no Jordan Hall this year, we would have to wait another year before seeing everything that Urban Meyer wants his offense to do.
And we haven't even talked about what the Buckeyes would do in the return game.
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