Hall Out, Bennett in Question for Week 2
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their team’s new offense in all its glory will have to wait at least another week.
Photo by Jim Davidson
OSU head coach Urban Meyer was hoping he would have senior tailback Jordan Hall available, if necessary, for the Buckeyes’ week-two bout with Central Florida, but it turns out that won’t be the case.
“I don't think he's available this week,” Meyer said Monday of Hall, who missed the season-opener with a foot injury.
“I'll know more today. He's got the look on his face like he's dying to get out there, so I think he might practice this week, but I'll let you know.”
The Buckeyes got 82 yards and a touchdown out of Carlos Hyde in Saturday’s 56-10 win over Miami (Ohio). They also got touchdown runs from Bri’onte Dunn and Zach Boren, but the absence of Hall limits some of the things Meyer would like to do offensively.
One of the things Hall does extremely well is think on the go, at least according to his coaches. Ohio State fans got a glimpse of what Hall could do in an abnormal offense when he gave the Buckeyes mini-spark at Miami last season.
That was the last time he was really being talked about as a dangerous playmaker, but Meyer and his staff have big expectations for Hall once he gets back on the field. He injured his foot (and toe) back in early July, with a recovery time of 10 weeks.
That would put him right around this week or next, but it’s all about Hall and when he feels comfortable exploding off that foot. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them hold him back until closer to the start of the Big Ten schedule at the end of this month.
Bennett’s Status in Limbo
Photo by Dan Harker
One player who was expected to play in the opener last week was defensive lineman Michael Bennett. The sophomore out of Centerville earned a starting spot on the defensive line this offseason, but he missed a good chunk of fall camp with a groin injury.
The staff was being cautious with him all the way up until game time Saturday, but it’s the kind of injury that can flair back up at a moment’s notice.
“Bennett was ready to go and reinjured his groin in pregame,” Meyer said Monday.
“So I don't know. We need him too. We need him in the rotation.”
Ohio State’s defensive line coach Mike Vrabel said he wasn’t sure what Bennett’s status would be for Saturday’s game against UCF, but it sounds like he is highly questionable at this point. Which means the Buckeyes would have to look at some other options again this week.
“The young defensive linemen did a good job,” Meyer said.
“We played 14 true freshmen. Usually D‑line men don't play as a true freshman, but that is the confidence we have in those guys.”
Meyer and the Buckeyes signed four defensive linemen in the class of 2012, along with five linebackers. Seven of those nine rookies in the front seven got in the game Saturday, either on defense or on special teams.
Meyer named Jamal Marcus as one of his premier standouts on coverage team in the opener – along with Christian Bryant and Adam Griffin – but it was also a memorable debut for the three guys who managed to crack the rotation on the defensive front.
“Tommy Schutt played, Adolphus Washington had a sack and played,” Meyer said.
“Noah (Spence) played and had a sack. (Se’Von) Pittman did not play, but that's unusual to have three true freshmen defensive linemen play, and they played well.”
Vrabel said they would have probably played Spence more than they did, but with Miami’s quick passing attack, they wanted someone at the Leo spot who could do more dropping into coverage and less pure pass-rushing.
For that, Vrabel and defensive coordinator Luke Fickell on fifth-year senior Nathan Williams, who played about 30 snaps in his first game back from microfracture surgery.
Bellamy Unlikely to Return
One reason Washington and Schutt were able to get so much playing time Saturday was the absence of junior defensive lineman Adam Bellamy. The Aurora product abruptly left the team during the middle of fall camp and never returned.
Vrabel had left the door open for a possible welcome back party if Bellamy ever decided to return to the Buckeyes, but it sounds like that door may be closing – if it hasn’t already.
“It was personal. Nothing with Ohio State, nothing with football, nothing with academics, he just lost his love of the game of football and didn't want to play anymore,” Meyer said Monday.
“A year ago went through a very similar – he's a great kid. I love his family, good people. We wish him well. Nothing happened, he just didn't want to play football anymore.”
According to Meyer, the Buckeyes don’t expect Bellamy to change his mind at any point this season.
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