Offensive Depth Chart Taking Shape
By Rob Ogden
After last week’s open practice, only a few question marks remained on the offensive depth chart. Most of those questions were answered Sunday at media day.
Here’s a rundown of what we learned.
What we know: Last year’s starter, Carlos Hyde, is suspended for at least the first three games of the season.
Photo by Dan Harker
What we learned: Jordan Hall will be used as the first-string guy while Hyde serves his suspension.
Despite coach Urban Meyer saying that Hall is the Buckeyes’ best option at the hybrid position, running backs coach Stan Drayton made it clear Hall will be the guy getting the first-team repetitions until Hyde’s suspension is up.
Behind Hall, Drayton said junior Rod Smith will serve as the primary backup. While Hyde misses time, expect Hall to split time between running back and at H, with Smith and others rotating in at running back as well.
We might not be entirely sure where Hall will line up until the Buckeye offense trots onto the field on Aug. 31. At this point, even Hall isn’t quite sure.
“I don’t know where I’m gonna be at, to be honest right now,” he said. “I spent a lot of time trying to learn everything at the H position as much as I could.
“The first two days of camp I was with the receivers the whole time and these last few days I’ve been with the running backs. I never know.”
The big question is where freshman speedster Dontre Wilson fits in. Meyer said it might not be at the H, where some had presumed.
Photo by Dan Harker
“I’m not sure his skill set is perfect for the H, as far as receiver. But it could be,” Meyer said. “He’s a running back. He also has a unique skill set where he’s extremely dynamic and fast, and we all know what that means in the game of football, especially in an offense where you try to create space.”
Wilson said the coaches had not given him any indication of where he might line up most.
Whether it’s Hall, Wilson or someone else, the hybrid position will be utilized this year, Meyer said.
“That whole part of the offense didn't exist last year,” he said. “You’ll see a different style of offense this year.”
Wilson is just one piece in a crowded backfield. Besides Hyde, Hall, Smith and Wilson, sophomore Bri’onte Dunn and freshmen Ezekiel Elliott and Warren Ball are all looking for playing time.
But that’s just how the coaches like it.
“We have some depth. That’s a good thing. That’s the best form of motivation,” Meyer said.
“The competition in my group right now is incredible,” Drayton said. “Who’s going to be the most explosive on a consistent basis. That’s what it’s coming down to right now, which is great problem to have.”
The top two guys at receiver have never been in question. They’re senior Corey Brown and junior Devin Smith.
Photo by Dan Harker
Meyer made it clear that the third guy on the depth chart is junior Evan Spencer.
“Evan Spencer’s having his best camp,” Meyer said. “He’s a much different player than he was a year ago.”
Meyer specifically noted Spencer’s speed as one of his biggest improvements.
A year ago, Spencer was fourth on the team in receptions, catching 12 passes for a total of 136 yards.
It was almost a foregone conclusion, but now it’s official: Taylor Decker will be the starting right tackle.
Meyer made that clear on Sunday.
“Taylor Decker has solidified himself as the starting candidate,” he said. “If we were to play tomorrow, he’s the starting right tackle.”
Meyer also addressed a few other issues with the line.
Left guard Andrew Norwell, who was dealing with plantar fasciitis in his foot, was expected to be good to go sometime early this week.
Meyer said the same for center Corey Linsley, who was still feeling the effects of a sore foot from spring.
Projected Offensive Two-Deep
SPLIT END (X)
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