Ohio State's offense took a little bit of a hit before the Buckeyes even assembled for their fall camp.
Senior running back Jordan Hall suffered a serious cut on his right foot which required surgery, meaning he will likely be out until at least Week 3 against Cal.
Hall was expected to be the top running back on the roster and the key skill player of Urban Meyer's power spread running game, sharing the zone read responsibilities with quarterback Braxton Miller.
Ohio State's remaining backs—Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith, Bri'Onte Dunn and Warren Ball—are more power-oriented backs while Hall is the shifty back, using elusive moves to get into space.
That isn't to say that the other backs on the roster aren't good, because fans saw last season that Carlos Hyde can be a pretty good football player.
Hyde is comparable in some ways to a faster LeGarrette Blount in the new offense, with great size and deceptive speed.
He isn't just a bowling ball, as he can run with the best of them as well. While that sounds like Beanie Wells, Hyde just doesn't have the elusiveness that Wells had, although Hyde is more willing to use his body.
Smith has some similar skills as well, but will need to prove he can hold on to the football, as his fumbles kept him off the field for most of 2011.
Dunn and Ball are each talented backs who had great high school careers, although not much is expected because of the experience ahead of them and this being their first foray into college football.
The importance of Hall to the offense was going to be significant because the Meyer offense is still a run-oriented offense, even though it will be very high-tempo.
Miller is expected to be the focal point of the offense, with Hall expected to be the first option.
With that option out for most of the first month of the season at a minimum, Ohio State will have to look elsewhere to find that dynamic option.
Unfortunately, that's the downside of Ohio State lacking the explosive skill players that Meyer's offense needs to have, in order to be most effective.
Miller is a fantastic runner in open space as he showed last year, and will be counted on as a main running option more than just a scrambler.
He needs some help, and that's where Hall and Hyde come in as a good one-two punch this year.
With Hall out, that puts a lot more pressure on Miller to be the elusive runner with Hyde still being the hammer.
Hall's return will add another much-needed dimension to the running game. Luckily for Ohio State, their running game is still a mystery because of how new the offensive system is.
That can work well for Ohio State in the short term before other teams, including Central Florida on Sept. 8, which is going to be a more difficult game than most people think, figure out what the offense looks like.
Hall might return sometime around the end of September or beginning of October to help add juice to the running game.
His pass-catching ability is very good as well, and can only help the Buckeyes out whenever he comes back from injury.
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