Ohio State football: 5 things to know as Buckeyes begin spring practice


Ohio State football: 5 things to know as Buckeyes begin spring practice

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Ohio State’s Robert Landers, center, runs during a Fiesta Bowl practice at Notre Dame Prep Academy on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz. David Jablonski/Staff

Ohio State begins spring practice Tuesday for the sixth time under coach Urban Meyer.

The Buckeyes will begin on-field work for the 2017 season with a large group of newcomers trying to figure out where to go and a decent-sized cast of familiar faces no doubt hoping to get the bad taste of the Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson out of their mouths.

Here are five things to know as the Buckeyes get started:

1. This week is really just an appetizer.

While it will be nice to get a state of the team update from Meyer on Tuesday, his team only has two practices scheduled this week. Then they will be off for spring break.

Bonus: Thursday’s practice includes interviews with J.T. Barrett, new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and new quarterbacks coach Ryan Day, among others.

From March 21-April 14, the Buckeyes have 12 practices scheduled. The spring game is April 15. 

2. Ohio State won’t be as young as last year. Probably.

After returning only six starters combined on offense and defense in 2016, Meyer welcomes back 15 this year.

That again includes Barrett at quarterback, who will have a familiar face at running back (Mike Weber), tight end (Marcus Baugh) and in four of five starting positions on the offensive line.

On defense, stalwart middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan is gone, as are both starting cornerbacks. But a deep defensive line rotation (including Robert Landers of Wayne) returns to give Meyer’s team a strong foundation to build on. 

3. Whattaya mean, “Probably?”

Well, there could be a lot of new faces getting a lot of playing time anyway. That includes the members of the highly rated recruiting class who enrolled early and can take part in spring ball.

The secondary and the receiving corps will be almost entirely new (safety Damon Webb and receiver Parris Campbell are exceptions).

You can expect some competition at positions that might seem settled now, too, as Meyer loves to keep things lively and avoid complacency.

4. Or maybe not.

This team will have more experience than last year’s as Meyer’s long-standing claim he doesn’t like to redshirt came true more so last fall than it often has since he came to Columbus.

Eleven true freshmen played last season along with 18 redshirt freshmen, so the group won’t be as green as it could be.

Elite prospects such as receivers Binjimin Victor and Austin Mack, H-back Demario McCall, defensive lineman Nick Bosa at least already know what it’s like to take the field in front of 100,000-plus fans. 

5. What about the newcomers?

Josh Myers of Miamisburg is among the nine early enrollees. A five-star offensive lineman, he could play his way into the two-deep (true freshman Michael Jordan started last season), but the place to watch for newcomers is in the secondary.

Landof10 projects Jeffrey Okudah, Shaun Wade and Isaiah Pryor all to make the two-deep with junior-college transfer Kendall Sheffield joining them as well.

Also enrolling early: quarterback Tate Martell, running back J.K. Dobbins, defensive back Marcus Williamson, linebacker Baron Browning and athlete Brendan White. 

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