Noah Brown Versatility

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Last updated: 02/23/2014 1:45 AM
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Noah Brown's Versatility Will Keep Teams Guessing, Including OSU For Now
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you watch incoming freshman Noah Brown on the football field, you will see a 6-foot-2 225-pound athlete excelling wherever he lines up.

You might see him line up at tailback and think that he could be one heck of a college running back. Then, one play later, you could see him line up at wide receiver and believe that you are watching a future star at the position.

Or, on the snap after that, you could see him line up in the slot, and either take a handoff or shake a defender on a pass route and wonder where exactly do you play a receiver who is as big as a linebacker and as tough a runner as a brutish tailback?

In layman's term, this is known as "a good problem to have", and the Noah Brown problem now belongs to Ohio State receivers coach Zach Smith.

Much has been said of Urban Meyer's offense and the impact that such a hybrid player could have at Ohio State, and while the OSU coaches have an idea of what Brown could do for them, they need to see it on the practice field first.

"I think he's a big physical receiver that can run," Zach Smith said of the incoming freshman from New Jersey.

"What we do with him will depend a lot on what he does when he gets here. You never really know what you have until they get here. We're really excited about him."

Smith doesn't know exactly what Brown will be able to handle right away, but he does know that with his versatility, it shouldn't be difficult to find an area where he can succeed.

For a player like Brown who has many different skills, it shouldn't then come as a surprise that he would be drawn to a program that has many different areas where his skills could be used.

"I chose Ohio State because it was really the jack-of-all-trades," Brown told the Newark Star-Ledger when he signed with Ohio State.

"They have a high level of education, a high level of football, a winning tradition and a chance for me to better my game, both as a player and as a student."

Brown considers Ohio State a jack-of-all-trades, and OSU sees Brown in a very similar way, which is what they love about him.

"He is a big, good-looking, talented dude," Smith said.

"So when he gets here, if he is what he is, then we'll be able to do a lot of things. He provides a lot of flexibility for us."

For his immediate future, that flexibility is Brown's best asset. The more things a freshman can do for a team, the more he'll be on the field. If he can handle the load he is given, then he could have a pretty fair-sized role in 2014.

Like most players, Brown isn't coming to Ohio State to sit and watch. He has his sights set on playing, or at the very least preparing to play.

"I think it would be foolish for any athlete to come in and not think that they're going to play," he told the Star-Ledger.

"You're recruited for a reason, so to not want to compete for a starting spot from the beginning is foolish in my opinion. I'm going to prepare myself for a starting position. I [will] better myself as a player and be prepared if my name gets called."

That is exactly the mindset that Urban Meyer wants his players to have, and Brown's versatility will only help his chances of seeing the field.

A starting role would be too much to ask of a true freshman, but if that freshman is flexible enough to do several things, then his coaches won't hesitate to ask him to do more.

The key for Brown, however, will be to continue improving his entire game, because while a jack-of-all-trades is nice, a master of none isn't what Zach Smith will be looking for.

The Noah Brown problem won't arrive in Columbus until this summer, and until he does, all the Buckeyes will have is ideas of how to use him.

Once they do get him on the field, however, then the problem will belong to the defense.

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