Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, February 23, 2015
Urban Meyer has the hottest program in America. He?s coming off a 14-1 national championship season and still hasn?t lost a Big Ten regular-season game (24-0). Overall, Meyer is 38-3 in three stunningly spectacular seasons in Columbus.
And, the Buckeyes figure to keep on rolling in 2015 with the bulk of last year?s talent back. But, even mighty Ohio State has work to do this spring.
Here are three key areas to watch.
1. Sort the quarterbacks. The Buckeyes have an overload at quarterback with Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller. It?s an embarrassment of riches. How will this all work out? Jones was the postseason hero, leading Ohio State to wins in the Big Ten championship game, Sugar Bowl and national title tilt in his first three career starts; Barrett was the regular-season wunderkind, record-setter and first-team All-Big Ten signal-caller; Miller is a two-time Big Ten MVP. Not much figures to be decided in the spring with Barrett (ankle) and Miller (shoulder) coming off season-ending injuries. OSU has to find a way to keep everyone happy between now and August. Will the dynamic of new co-offensive coordinator Tim Beck have an impact?
2. Find some wideouts. The unit took some hits with the departures of Evan Spencer, a heady leader, and Devin Smith, who paced the squad with 931 yards receiving (28.2 ypc and 12 touchdowns). Michael Thomas is a good starting point to build around, along with versatile guys such as Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson. Thomas led OSU with 54 catches for 799 yards and nine TDs last year; Marshall was No. 2 with 38 receptions for 499 yards and six touchdowns. Who else will emerge?
3. Fine-tune the d-line. The Buckeyes lost a great one in tackle Michael Bennett, who had 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks last season en route to earning consensus second-team All-Big Ten honors. And steady end Steve Miller is gone. Tommy Schutt may emerge on the interior. Donovan Munger, Chris Carter and Michael Hill are others in the mix. The staff has some options at the end spot opposite Joey Bosa, including Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes.
OHIO STATE SPRING INFO
Record: 14-1 overall; 8-0 Big Ten (Beat Oregon in championship game)
Spring ball starts: March 10
Spring game: April 18
Key players gone: OT Darryl Baldwin; DT Michael Bennett; LB Curtis Grant; CB Doran Grant; TE Jeff Heuerman; DE Steve Miller; WR Devin Smith; WR Evan Spencer
Key players back: CB Eli Apple; QB J.T. Barrett; S Vonn Bell; C Jacoby Boren; DE Joey Bosa; OT Taylor Decker; G Pat Elflein; RB Ezekiel Elliott; P Cameron Johnston; QB Cardale Jones; LB Darron Lee; WR Jalin Marshall; QB Braxton Miller; K Sean Nuernberger; LB Joshua Perry; S Tyvis Powell; G Billy Price; WR Michael Thomas; TE Nick Vannett; DT Adolphus Washington
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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