"Urban Meyer" tag

Ohio State Football Recruiting: Breaking Down the Top Target at Each Position

Urban Meyer and Ohio State signed a top-five recruiting class for the third consecutive year last February, but with just two commitments in the fold for 2015, that streak is in serious jeopardy. In recruiting, though, it’s not how you start, but how you finish. The Buckeyes have targeted a number of the country’s top prospects, and with Meyer at the helm, they’re looking to surge. Ohio State has big needs at quarterback and tight end, but Meyer’s wish list spans the entire depth chart. Here’s a look at the Buckeyes’ top recruiting target at each position. Begin Slideshow

Grading Ohio State’s Post-Spring Depth Chart

At Ohio State, most position battles are won or lost in the spring, when the coaches have the time to really evaluate the roster and identify their playmakers. With spring practice in the books, Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes are starting to take shape. While a number of starting spots remain open as the Buckeyes work to replace 10 starters, the top contenders have been identified. Safety Tyvis Powell emerged as a contributor, and he knows where he stands going into summer conditioning, according to Ari Wasserman of The Plain Dealer: The way they treat it here, spring is the opportunity to go earn a position. When summer camp comes around, they pretty much got who they want in. There aren’t too many changes made, so what you see right now is kind of what it is going to be. Of course, there are exceptions. Last year, Joey Bosa and Dontre Wilson arrived in the fall and earned a spot in Ohio State’s two-deep rotation as true freshmen. But the depth chart’s foundation is set in the spring. Here’s a detailed look at each position group after spring practice. Begin Slideshow

Spring Game Shows Ohio State Clearly Addressed It’s Biggest Issue

Following the spring game in Columbus, one thing was quite clear: Ohio State made sure to address its issues with respect to coverage in the back end. The Buckeyes defenders, under co-defensive coordinators Chris Ash and Luke Fickell, have responded to their issues from a season ago and pushed to match patterns, relate to receivers and make plays on the football. Spring games are often difficult to use to make evaluations for a given team. Formats differ, rules vary tremendously and who is active—and to what extent—is always a crap shoot, something Martin Rickman at Sports Illustrated points out in his Buckeyes spring game recap. However, a true shift in mentality is something that is noticeable, regardless of personnel or watered-down play-calling. For Ohio State, little was discovered with respect to the quarterback position. Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett failed to show separation as they battle for the backup job. Expected starting running back Ezekiel Elliott was extremely limited. The defensive side of the ball played four-man fronts almost exclusively. Yet it was clear something was different in the back seven of the Buckeyes’ defense. Prior to the Big Ten championship game, the Buckeyes’ issues with route relations was discussed. The same was mentioned before Urban Meyer’s team took on the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl. Entering spring, the need to work on pass coverage was again noted here. And the Buckeyes went out and addressed that very…

Spring Game Shows Ohio State Clearly Addressed It’s Biggest Issue

Following the spring game in Columbus, one thing was quite clear: Ohio State made sure to address its issues with respect to coverage in the back end. The Buckeyes defenders, under co-defensive coordinators Chris Ash and Luke Fickell, have responded to their issues from a season ago and pushed to match patterns, relate to receivers and make plays on the football. Spring games are often difficult to use to make evaluations for a given team. Formats differ, rules vary tremendously and who is active—and to what extent—is always a crap shoot, something Martin Rickman at Sports Illustrated points out in his Buckeyes spring game recap. However, a true shift in mentality is something that is noticeable, regardless of personnel or watered-down play-calling. For Ohio State, little was discovered with respect to the quarterback position. Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett failed to show separation as they battle for the backup job. Expected starting running back Ezekiel Elliott was extremely limited. The defensive side of the ball played four-man fronts almost exclusively. Yet it was clear something was different in the back seven of the Buckeyes’ defense. Prior to the Big Ten championship game, the Buckeyes’ issues with route relations was discussed. The same was mentioned before Urban Meyer’s team took on the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl. Entering spring, the need to work on pass coverage was again noted here. And the Buckeyes went out and addressed that very…

Ohio State Football: Urban Meyer’s 3 Biggest Concerns Post-Spring Practice

Spring practice is in the books for Ohio State, and with less than five months before the official start of the season, Urban Meyer has the Buckeyes primed for another title run. Still, the Buckeyes are far from a finished product, and Saturday’s spring game revealed a number of issues that need resolved. These three in particular are top concerns for Meyer because they all have the potential to derail Ohio State’s championship run. The Offensive Line In 2013, four senior starters along Ohio State’s offensive line paved the way for one of the most successful offenses in school history. The Buckeyes averaged 308.6 rushing yards per game, which ranked fifth in the country. Meyer needs to replace those four starters, a process that’s only 25 percent complete going into summer conditioning. The Buckeyes’ sole returning starter, Taylor Decker, has made the switch from right tackle to left tackle. Pat Elflein—who played admirably for the suspended Marcus Hall late last season—has secured the right guard spot. The other three openings have yet to be claimed, and that doesn’t sit well with Meyer, according to Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer “The offensive line, we got a lot of work to do,” Meyer said. “We’ve got to really go, we gotta really go from here.” After the defenses piled up five sacks during the spring game without sending a single blitz, that urgency is easy to…

Ohio State Spring Game Proves How Important Braxton Miller Is to Buckeyes

Braxton Miller is still recovering from minor shoulder surgery, which prevented him from strapping on his pads and suiting up for Ohio State’s spring game Saturday afternoon. His absence proved just how important he is to the Buckeyes’ 2014 season and potential title run. Without Miller, Ohio State’s scrimmage featured the top two candidates for the backup spot—redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones and redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett. While Jones has received a lot of praise this spring, he struggled Saturday, completing just 14-of-31 passes for 126 yards. Barrett was a bit better, connecting on 17-of-33 passes for 151 yards. Neither quarterback threw a touchdown or completed a pass longer than 35 yards. Those are disappointing numbers for both signal-callers, who were operating pass-heavy offenses against defenses that didn’t blitz. Urban Meyer was hoping to see more from Jones, who has surged ahead of Barrett for the No. 2 quarterback spot. Finding a safety net for Miller was one of Ohio State’s top priorities this offseason. When Miller sprained his knee against San Diego State early last season, Ohio State turned to backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, who kept the Buckeyes playing at a very high level for three consecutive weeks. That was 11 months after Guiton saved Ohio State’s perfect 2012 season against Purdue. The Buckeyes were in a world of hurt when Miller got knocked out of the game, but Guiton orchestrated one of the most improbable comebacks…

Will Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes Really Get Any Better in 2014?

Following Ohio State’s Big Ten Championship Game loss to Michigan State last December, coach Urban Meyer looked positively inconsolable. The Spartans’ upset ended the Buckeyes’ 24-game win streak and their hopes of competing in the final BCS National Championship Game, and Meyer wasn’t taking it well. An image of the intense head coach perched on a golf cart in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, “enjoying” some Papa John’s pizza, went viral. His mood matched that of Buckeye fans. While some questioned Ohio State’s BCS worthiness, the tandem of quarterback Braxton Miller and bruising tailback Carlos Hyde playing behind a senior-laden offensive line gave Meyer’s bunch a chance to compete with anyone nationally. As Ohio State prepares for Saturday’s spring game, the Buckeyes remain at the top of the Big Ten food chain alongside Michigan State. But those expecting them to take another step forward towards national prominence in 2014 could be in for a rude awakening. The Buckeyes have major questions to answer on both sides of the ball, and while they’ll be among the Big Ten’s best again, expecting them to be better than 2013 could be a very difficult undertaking indeed. Last fall, Ohio State’s offense was fueled by its ground game. Hyde rushed for 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns, and multi-talented quarterback Braxton Miller added 1,068 yards and 12 touchdowns. Miller missed spring practice while…

Ohio State Football: 5 Players to Watch in Ohio State’s Spring Game

After reading more than a month’s worth of updates about spring practice, Ohio State fans will finally get a live look at the Buckeyes when the team takes the field for its annual spring game this Saturday. Urban Meyer is looking to replace key starters such as Carlos Hyde, Ryan Shazier and Bradley Roby. The Buckeyes are also battling through a number of injuries as Braxton Miller, Vonn Bell, Jalin Marshall and Jeff Heuerman all recover from minor surgeries. Needless to say, Buckeyes fans will be seeing a lot of new players in action this weekend. Here are five to watch. Ezekiel Elliott Ohio State needs to replace one of the most productive running backs in school history, but the Buckeyes have a number of very talented ball-carriers. Sophomore Ezekiel Elliott is setting himself apart. After playing sparingly in half of Ohio State’s 14 games last season, Elliott emerged as a legitimate playmaker this spring. The former 4-star prospect has added some weight this offseason, and that has shown up on the field as he has held his own against Ohio State’s biggest linebackers. He still has that same explosiveness, though, so don’t be surprised if he breaks a long run this Saturday. Darron Lee Ohio State’s lost its most reliable defender—Ryan Shazier—to the NFL draft, so Meyer needs to fill a vacant spot at linebacker. Darron Lee, the former 3-star athlete who played quarterback and safety in high school, has added weight and…

Big Ten Football Position Battles 2014: How Ohio State Replaces Ryan Shazier

As spring practice reaches a midpoint and begins to wind down around Big Ten country, now is a perfect time to take a look at some of the position battles that will be critical to winning a Big Ten championship this autumn. To start this series, let’s begin with the defending Leaders Division champion Ohio State and the Buckeyes’ most important hole to fill in 2014. That would be the linebacker slot. Just two years ago, Urban Meyer and his defensive staff decided at midseason to convert fullback Zach Boren to linebacker to fill the gaping hole in the middle of the defense. Last year Ohio State played primarily a nickel defense to avoid having to put a third linebacker on the field for most plays. And now, all-conference star and leader of the defense Ryan Shazier has left for the NFL. Shazier racked up 144 tackles in 2013 to go with 115 in 2012, great numbers even for the playmaking Will (weak-side) linebacker role. That production does not just replace itself, especially when the Buckeyes struggled to find any other consistent performer over the past two seasons. In addition, new defensive coordinator Chris Ash plans to have the Buckeyes play much more of a base defense with three linebackers on the field rather than the nickel formation used frequently in the past two seasons. No proven options and three regular spots to fill in the middle of the defense. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. So how will the Buckeyes address this important concern and return to…

Ohio State Football: Week 4 Spring Practice Stock Report

The weather finally broke in Ohio, and for the first time this spring, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes felt the sun on their shoulders as they ran through drills on the outside practice field this week. It was a short-lived experience, though, as extreme winds forced Ohio State back into the confines of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center midway through Tuesday’s practice. Under roof or sunshine, however, the Buckeyes kept grinding through spring drills. Here’s the latest news out of Columbus. Biggest Storylines Another week of practice produced another significant injury to a key starter. It was announced on Tuesday that starting tight end Jeff Heuerman would be out for the remainder of spring practice after suffering a foot sprain and undergoing surgery last week. It was Heuerman’s second injury of the offseason—he broke his nose in a weight-lifting accident in March—but he’s only expected to miss six weeks. Heuerman joins a long list of walking wounded for the Buckeyes. Braxton Miller hasn’t seen a bit of action as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Vonn Bell went down with an MCL sprain during the team’s first spring practice, an injury that sidelined him until the summer. Two weeks later, Ohio State lost Jalin Marshall for the spring after he underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Needless to say, it has been a tough spring on the injury front. On the field, the Buckeyes are working through some dramatic changes defensively. Meyer brought…

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