Improving from a 6-7 season in just one year not only usually takes a new coach, it takes an influx of talent.
Fortunately for the Ohio State Buckeyes, they have both.
Urban Meyer brings his winning ways to Columbus, which will be integral for Ohio State to return to its winning ways, but more importantly, there are many freshmen ready to play a huge role.
Michael Thomas, WR
In 2011, Ohio State's leading pass-catcher had 14 receptions. In the 2012 Spring Game, freshman Michael Thomas had 12.
Now, that game is hardly a perfect indication of what to expect in the regular season, but it's an encouraging sign nonetheless. Plus, it sounds as though Thomas has the right attitude regarding that outburst (via ESPN):
"I still want to remain humble," Thomas said. "It was just a spring game, you know, still have 12 more games against different teams, different competition. So I feel like that was a great opportunity for me, but I feel like I could always do better. I feel like there’s room for improvement, and if I keep working, I feel like I can keep everything going.
Thomas likely won't have a starting spot from Day 1, but in Urban Meyer's spread offense, he'll have plenty of opportunities to thrive as a playmaker. You know, as long as someone can get him the ball.
Noah Spence, DE
The fourth-best true freshman in the country—according to ESPN—is obviously a special talent.
Much like Thomas, Spence won't having a starting job in Week 1, although in this case, it's because Ohio State's defensive line is already stacked. But the true freshman is just too dangerous to keep off the field.
Most notably, he is an excellent speed rusher off the edge, something that Ohio State, even with its abundance of skill on the D-line, often lacks. Spence should be in the game on all passing downs, with his main goal being to find and destroy the QB.
Don't be surprised if this young stud, who could start for a lot of other Big Ten schools, racks up a lot of sacks this season.
Taylor Decker, RT
Which freshman will make the biggest impact in 2012?
The right tackle position is a two-man race right now between senior Reid Fragel and Decker, a true freshman.
There's no guarantee Decker will win out the battle, but the big man out of Butler High School, according to most reports, seems further along in his progression than most freshmen are by this point. The 3-star recruit will undoubtedly have a terrific career at this pace, but it appears he has a good chance of getting that started very early.
According to Rivals, Decker would join Joe Lukens, Korey Stringer and Orlando Pace as other notable Ohio State linemen to start as true freshmen. I guess that's a list he would want to be on.