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Last updated: 03/30/2014 1:05 AM
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Sports
The-Ozone Mailbag: Delving Into the Known and Unknown
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State basketball season has been over for more than a week now, but it's still a very hot topic. With the losses of Amedeo Della Valle and LaQuinton Ross, and now the addition of Temple transfer Anthony Lee, it will probably be a topic for a good while longer.

We have also now begun the back half of Spring Football, so while we know more than we did a few weeks ago, we still don't know it all. That won't stop me from answering your questions like I do, however.

If you've got anything you want included in the next mailbag, you can email me, hit me up on Twitter or ask in the comments below.

After a lackluster year of shooting from the whole basketball team, what will next year look like? Who is going to be the Bucks' go-to guy when Ross leaves? -- Jeff Barns
I expect the shooting to be improved because once you've hit the basement, there's no lower to go. Even if the shooting isn't greatly improved, however, there will be more scorers on hand. For the first time since Jon Diebler was playing, Ohio State should have a shooting guard who is capable of dynamic things. If freshman D'Angelo Russell is the player that I expect him to be, then he and Shannon Scott could form an exciting backcourt. Of course, relying on freshmen shooting guards isn't usually a wise thing to do. Daequan Cook and Diebler are two good examples of that. One major addition will come in the form of Temple transfer Anthony Lee. He can score in the post, which is something that the Buckeyes desperately need. If they can get points in the paint, that will lessen the need for perimeter shooting a little. I do expect every single shooter on the roster to be better equipped to hit shots next season because it's their job to get better. Even losing LaQuinton Ross, this team should have more wing scorers than it did this past season. Who is going to be OSU's go-to guy? I have absolutely no idea. I think if it can maybe be Shannon Scott, then that would be best for everybody. He obviously needs to continue improving for that to happen. It can't, however, just be somebody by default. It's one thing if there is more than one player who is a go-to type, but if there is a question of who it is because nobody is stepping up, then that would be bad.

Can you break down the specific praise that Urban applies to various players in his interviews into a couple of categories?

1. I've seen this with my own two eyes in practice
2. I've heard it from other players
3. Urban is using it as a motivational tool
-- LuthBuck
I like three-part questions because if I don't want to answer some part of them, I can be like, "Sorry man, you asked so many questions I forgot to answer them all." Since the question was asked in three parts, I'll answer it in three parts.

1. I've seen this with my own two eyes in practice.
The answer here is Dontre Wilson. Urban Meyer has said that Wilson is better across the board, and nobody I've talked to has said anything even remotely different. Right now he is the focal point of the offense, but that's because there is no Braxton Miller and they're still splitting reps four ways at running back. He'll drop back down to the #3 option when the season starts, but he's showing that he's ready for a much larger role. Freshman receiver Johnnie Dixon would also be a good fit here because he doesn't look or play like a rookie. Linebacker Darron Lee would also fall under this category.

2. I've heard it from other players.
I'll go with Joshua Perry here. Urban Meyer called him one of the top five most-improved guys on the team. Perry himself has said he's gotten a lot better, and his linebacker teammates have agreed. I haven't seen him make a ton of plays at this point, but then we haven't seen them doing a lot of running the ball in the two-plus practices we've seen. Tyvis Powell would be another one here. I've seen him pick one off, but I've also seen him beaten a couple of times. However, everybody that has seen him -- even the Big Ten Network's Gerry DiNardo on Saturday -- has come away impressed at what Powell is doing right now. Safeties coach Chris Ash is also one of those who has been impressed.

3. Urban is using it as a motivational tool.
I think most of what Meyer says in regards to players can be construed as motivation. I think I could put freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan here, though I'm not sure if Meyer is trying to motivate McMillan or Luke Fickell. I haven't really seen McMillan do much in his snaps, but like I said above, there's a lot of passing. There's much more running during Saturday scrimmages, and for the most part, we don't get to see those.

Who looks like the 4th and 5th best LB's - the ones most likely to see the field first after the starting three? -- @BuckNutB
Truthfully, this is all dependent upon which linebacker goes out. The depth chart from Friday spells it out pretty well. Who is playing the best of the backups? Chris Worley has been solid backing up Darron Lee. I know the staff wants Raekwon McMillan on the field, so he will play early. I'll touch on this more down the road, but something interesting to watch during fall camp will be the competition between Trey Johnson and freshman Kyle Berger in backing up Joshua Perry at the will linebacker spot.

Who will win the safety and cornerback jobs -- @hewlettbuckeye
Speaking only of spring, I'll go with Doran Grant and Armani Reeves at corner, and Tyvis Powell and Cameron Burrows at safety. The safeties are not in doubt, and so far the cornerbacks may not be either. Eli Apple and Gareon Conley have both played well, but neither have snuck past Reeves yet. If you're asking about what happens when they head to Baltimore to face Navy, I'll probably slide Vonn Bell ahead of Burrows. At this point, I have seen nothing to indicate that Reeves will be moving. That could change this coming week, but it would be news if it does.

Barrett vs. Collier. Who has the edge right now? -- @MoeKnowz
J.T. Barrett has the edge because Stephen Collier is repping more with his eyes and his mind than his arm and his feet, which is how things are done with true freshmen under Tom Herman and Urban Meyer at Ohio State.

What kind of impact do you expect Marc Loving, Kam Williams and the freshmen to have with departure of 3-4 players? -- @BigDaddyChrisO
As mentioned above, I expect freshman D'Angelo Russell to start next year for the Buckeyes. I think Kam Williams will come off the bench and play both the one and the two. I still have plenty of faith in Marc Loving, despite the way he played for most of the season. I just like his understanding of what to do with the ball, as well as his overall talent. I think he's in the mix at the four. Temple transfer Anthony Lee will be somewhere. Will he be at the four or five? Personally, I see him at the five and Loving at the four. Keep an eye on freshman Keita Bates-Diop at the four as well. He's only 6-7 or 6-8, but he's got long arms and can shoot. Thad Matta has raved about Jae'sean Tate and his ability to play three or four positions defensively. He could be very similar to David Lighty in that regard. The bottom line is that with the amount of turnover the Buckeyes will have, they have no choice but to get a significant impact from the freshmen, be it good or bad.

Should Gene Smith take his bonus money to help endow scholarships in the title winning sport? -- RandyH

For the purposes of a brief explanation, Randy is talking about Gene Smith's contract, which affords him bonuses for national championships won. Recently he received an $18,000 bonus for wrestler Logan Stieber's national title. I think contract clauses like this, which I doubt are rare, may end up doing more to push players towards unionizing than anything a union can do. There were athletes on Twitter who were pretty resentful of the situation, given that they see no direct monetary benefit from their own feats. The angrier they get, the more they'll be looking for some type of justice. More media outlets will begin putting a price tag on each and every title won by various schools, and once you start putting a price on something, there's no more hiding it. It's a touchy subject because the money has to come from somewhere. Is it coming from the money that would have gone back to the athletes or their sports in some manner? Is this money that keeps new rowing equipment from being purchased this year? Does it mean that the baseball team will have to bus out to Nebraska for the next four years? The money has to come from somewhere, and I doubt it was earmarked as going to the athletic director. I'm not going to fault Gene Smith for having a fantastic contract, but it's not the best public relations move. Of course, using that money to now endow scholarships would be seen as nothing more than guilt-giving, but the programs would still love to have it. I think it's a nice thought, but don't expect any administrator to give money back that their contract stipulates is rightfully theirs.

Perhaps the most important offensive replacement...FG kicker. How are they doing so far? -- Smartwater

Honestly, I haven't watched them at all. I haven't even seen them kick. The only time I noticed Cameron Johnston or Sean Nuernberger was a week or so ago when they were doing bear crawls and pushing giant rubber balls on the ground with their foreheads. Punting isn't worth watching in the WHAC because most of the kicks rattle around in the rafters. We talk to special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs on Thursday, so we'll have an actual kicking update after that.

With Bradley Roby gone, who is gonna lay claim to fastest on the team? -- Pants McPants

Who will lay claim? I'll say Dontre Wilson, Curtis Samuel, Devin Smith, Ezekiel Elliott, and Doran Grant will all claim it. We are supposed to talk to the cornerbacks on Thursday, so this might be a good question for them.

Do you think Chris Ash will be pitted against Luke Fickell in the spring game? -- BuckSchott

This would be an interesting thing to see, but I wonder if they might decide to simply go with offense against defense, that way they can have the entire defensive staff work together and get a dry run on how things are going to work this season. Having two new members, they may want to keep everybody on the same sidelines so that they can continue to grow accustomed to each other and get used to what their roles ar

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