COLUMBUS, Ohio - Later today, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and members of the 2012 Buckeyes will meet with members of the media as a part of the team's annual media day. With this being our first opportunity to talk to many players on this year's roster, we at Buckeye Grove are taking a look at some of the top storylines that will be discussed with the Buckeyes.
It hasn't taken more than a week of fall camp for the Buckeyes to realize that Meyer will be running a different type of program than the previous Ohio State regime. Whether it's the rigorous 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. workdays or practices being held away from the traditional site of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the first-year Buckeyes' coach has aimed to give his players a training camp similar to the ones that are held in the NFL.
How the players respond and whether their new lifestyle will payoff in the long run remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to hear the Buckeyes' reactions to what has certainly been a change-of-pace from previous Ohio State fall camps.
Earning their stripes
One difference in Meyer's camp that's already been noticeable has been the black stripe that's been attached to each Ohio State freshman's helmet. Rather than walking in and inheriting the traditional scarlet and gray stripe, the OSU newcomers have been forced to earn them through their play.
Thus far, defensive back Devan Bogard has been the only freshman to "officially" become a Buckeye under Meyer, but with the freshmen expected to be available to the media, we'll get to hear exactly what it takes to earn that stripe and who else is coming close to joining Bogard on the OSU roster.
After a 2011 season that saw the Buckeyes rank 115th in the nation in passing yards, many are wondering how quarterback Braxton Miller is developing in Meyer's spread offense. Meyer, Miller, and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman have all had positive things to say about the progress of the Ohio State passing game, but this afternoon will provide the media with our first opportunity to speak to the Buckeyes' receivers.
How Corey Brown, Devin Smith, Evan Spencer, Michael Thomas, Chris Fields and other receivers speak of the passing game will certainly be telling.
With running back Jordan Hall expected to miss at least the Buckeyes' first two games of the season, one of the main objectives in fall camp for the Ohio State coaching staff has been to find a replacement for Hall at the 'pivot' running back-wide receiver hybrid position.
So far in camp, we've seen Brown and tight end Jake Stoneburner attempt to fill the void left by Hall, and Meyer has also mentioned that he'd like to give freshman defensive back Najee Murray a chance to play the position. This afternoon, we'll be able to ask who's been succeeding in the role and if any other candidates have emerged to play the pivot position in Meyer's offense.
While many positions seem to be set on the Ohio State two-deep less than a month before its season-opener against Miami (OH), there a few ongoing position battles happening in Columbus.
Senior Reid Fragel is battling with freshman Taylor Decker for the right to start at right tackle, while cornerbacks Travis Howard and Doran Grant are each vying for the right to start opposite Bradley Roby. Positions are also open at wide receiver and on the defensive line, and this afternoon should provide us with an opportunity to hear from players and coaches about who has the advantage in each battle.