Ten Story Lines to Watch for the OSU Offense Throughout Fall Camp
By Tony Gerdeman
It may not be fair, but this might be the most anticipated Ohio State offense ever. With a head coach like Urban Meyer, a no-huddle loving offensive coordinator like Tom Herman, and a quarterback to make it all happen like Braxton Miller, there are a ton of possibilities for this offense.
However, before ESPN can label this "The Greatest Offense Ever" (as if they would do such a thing), there are plenty of questions that yet need to be answered.
If Meyer gets this offense where he wants it, then those questions will be answered during fall camp. If the offense is a bit behind where he wants it to be, then many of the questions and concerns will have to be sorted out during the season.
If everything goes as planned, however, then each of these ten storylines will be answered well in advance of the Buckeyes' first kickoff this season.
Photo by Dan Harker
1. Are Braxton Miller's accuracy problems a thing of the past? Miller completed just 54.1% of his passes last season, and had games where he completed just 38.5%, 25%, 45.5%, 44.4% and 41.2% of his passes. Those aren't winning numbers and with a likely quicker passing game this year, he needs to be well into the 60s for a completion percentage. Keep in mind that Urban Meyer hasn't had a starting quarterback complete under 60% of his passes in a season since he was at Bowling Green.
2. How quickly will Jake Stoneburner, Jack Mewhort and Bri'onte Dunn be back in good graces? Given the importance of Stoneburner and Mewhort, and the relatively minor incident that they were involved in, it would be a surprise to see their punishment continue too far into camp. With Jordan Hall's injury, Dunn could possibly be the #2 tailback to start the season.
Photo by Jim Davidson
3. Is Verlon Reed ready? The forgotten man in the Ohio State offense. Reed is a player that can do everything that Meyer wants his receivers to do. He is a tough runner with strong hands who also carried the ball quite a bit as a quarterback in high school. Receivers coach Stan Drayton called him a 4.3 guy after the catch in the spring of 2011.
4. Can Kenny Guiton lead this team if the need arises? Sometimes there is a considerable drop off between the starting quarterback and the backup. When this happens, a coaching staff has to protect their starter above all else. If they are confident in their backup, then they can unleash more of their offense because they aren't as afraid of what might happen to their starter when calling plays. The confidence that the staff has in Guiton will come into play when calling plays for Braxton Miller.
5. Will the freshmen offensive linemen show themselves capable of contributing? Urban Meyer brought in five offensive linemen in the 2012 recruiting class, and he may need at lease a couple of them to be ready to play this season. However, all but Taylor Decker have had various injuries and medical issues to deal with of late, so how they recover and perform will be an interesting situation to watch.
6. How much of this offense can Braxton Miller handle right out of the gate? Everybody knows what an Urban Meyer offense can look like, but the question is how quickly will this Ohio State offense look like that? After all, Braxton Miller is still just a sophomore quarterback who is finally learning the position properly.
7. How will Jordan Hall's absence be handled? Right now there are ideas of how Hall's void will be filled, but until the pads go on and things start moving at the speed that Meyer likes, nothing is really known. Several players will get opportunities to show what they can do, and if Meyer finds himself a couple players capable of doing what he likes, then not only will the Buckeyes have somebody to fill Jordan Hall's shoes, but they'll also have somebody who can play alongside him when he returns.
8. How active will Zach Boren be in this offense? There have been winks and nods regarding Zach Boren's role in this offense, and we caught a glimpse of the possibilities during the spring. Those possibilities will likely continue throughout August. Where might Boren make himself known? Well, let's not forget that Urban Meyer enjoyed the use of a 240-pound battering ram quite a bit while at Florida.
9. Will Urban Meyer be satisfied with the playmakers? Since he arrived in Columbus, Meyer has lamented the lack of playmakers and speed on this Ohio State offense. However, this will be his first real look at the team in its entirety. Will he like what he sees, or will he continue the lamentations?
10. Will any freshmen skill players emerge? Receiver Michael Thomas began the spring as the lowest man on the receiving totem pole in the spring, but by the time the Spring Game rolled around, he was Braxton Miller's go-to guy and very best friend. Will somebody have the same type of rise in August that Thomas had in April?
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