Hall's Injury Could Carry More Weight Than Just Two Games
By Tony Gerdeman
With Saturday's announcement by Ohio State that senior running back Jordan Hall had cut his foot to such severity that it required surgery and would knock him "out of commission for approximately ten weeks", people immediately turned to what the Buckeyes would do in Hall's absence.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Who would play the much talked about "Pivot" position that Percy Harvin made so effective? People wondered if a single running back could do everything that Hall was going to be asked to do. Would a receiver need to be employed as well?
These were all questions that were right to be asked, because in Urban Meyer's offense, the pivot is a pretty important piece. But don't let how this affects Ohio State blur the fact that you should feel worse for Jordan Hall than you do for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State will be fine without Hall, especially if he only misses the two games that the proposed ten-week recovery would include. They will find other players to use, and it's not like they have to force a square peg into a round hole. If they don't have anybody who can do what Hall does, then they will simply do something else.
Instead, feel bad for Jordan Hall. He was about to become one of the key cogs in an Urban Meyer offense, and now he'll have to try and hit the ground running after the season has already started.
Was one spring enough to get Hall comfortable with the offense? Granted, it was a pretty intensive spring for him. I watched all three quarterbacks working just with Hall on passing plays during a practice this spring. Everybody else was on the other side of the field doing their own thing, and he was busy running routes out of an imaginary backfield.
Jordan Hall was going to get the ball this year, and he was going to get it early. Now, he won't get it as much, and he won't get it as soon. If his rehab does in fact last ten weeks, then he will have to be worked in slowly. The staff won't know how much they can count on him until they actually see him in action.
Hall was about to be Urban Meyer's pivot. Talk about winning the lottery in life. It's the equivalent of a football jackpot, like being Joe Montana's top target. Everybody was about to know his name, and the fact that he was high school teammates with Terrelle Pryor would never have to be the first thing mentioned about him again.
This is Jordan Hall's senior season. It will be his final year of wearing the Scarlet and Gray. It's his audition for the NFL, and it will likely begin in street clothes.
Don't feel bad for Ohio State, because Ohio State still gets to play. Feel bad for the integral piece of the puzzle who will have to sit by and watch as others try to do his job.
That also doesn't mean that the Buckeyes won't be negatively affected by this, because they will. There is no single player that can do what the coaches were planning on having Jordan Hall do.
Can other running backs catch the ball? Sure, but can they make the proper instant cuts in congestion like Hall? No.
Other running backs will likely have to get the ball in the flats, whereas Hall could work in front of the linebackers like a slot receiver.
This will definitely be an adjustment for the coaches to find the right pieces to the puzzle, and then once Hall gets back, they'll have to turn to an entirely different puzzle. And then once he is full go, they'll finally get to the offense that they had been planning on running since April.
How long will that take? October?
Jordan Hall comes into this season as a running back who has rushed for just 817 yards in three seasons, averaging a nudge under 4.5 yards per carry in his career. His best game came against New Mexico State in his freshman year when he rushed for 90 yards. And if we're honest, his 21 career receptions shouldn't get anybody all that excited either.
It's not what he's done that people are pointing towards, it's what he could do in Meyer's offense that rightfully intrigues people.
Now all of that gets put on hold.
Yeah, right now it looks like it will just be two games, but fall practice starts in less than five weeks, and Hall is likely to miss all of it.
That is time that he will never be able to get back. Experience that he will never get to experience.
Jordan Hall will eventually recover from the injury, but recovering from the time lost will be the true measure of how far he has come.
If he can step right in and be the player that the staff wants him to be, then his recovery could not have gone better, regardless of how long his foot takes to heal.
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