Ohio State Football: What Jordan Hall's Return Means to the Buckeye Offense

Tim BielikSenior Analyst ISeptember 14, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02:  Jordan Hall #7 of Ohio State Buckeyes during warmups at the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl against the Florida Gators at EverBank Field on January 2, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

It turns out that despite Carlos Hyde's MCL injury, which will keep him out of he next couple of games, Ohio State won't be in such a bind at the running back position after all.

Senior back Jordan Hall is set to make his season debut on Saturday against Cal if all things go well, coach Urban Meyer said on Wednesday.

Meyer will start either Hall or freshman Bri'Onte Dunn against the Bears' aggressive 46, or Bear—aptly named, of course—defense depending on how Hall looks in the pregame warmup.

Hall and Dunn are both going to play, but the former might get fewer carries since he has been limited in workouts for a few months.

More than anything, Hall's return gives Ohio State the type of running back that better fits his offense: lighter, quicker and more elusive.

Don't ever confuse Hall with either Chris Rainey or Jeff Demps, the go-to backs Meyer had at the tail-end of his Florida career who were each game-breakers with world-class speed.

But what Hall brings is something neither Hyde or Dunn has: the quickness to provide a burst out of the backfield like Braxton Miller can.

That changeup alone gives a true perimeter running element to the read-option game Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman have created.

Hall also gives Ohio State a true passing option in the backfield, opening up a screen game if that's the option they choose to take. Hyde and Dunn, to this point, have not proven to be viable options in the passing game yet.

Whether or not the screen is in the playbook for this week, it will reveal itself soon, especially given Cal's tendency to be extremely aggressive.

Hall is likely not going to be at 100 percent this Saturday, and might not be until the Nebraska game given that he has missed basically all of fall camp recovering from the torn tendon in his foot.

But his presence and skills as a shifty runner provide a new dimension to the running game which has been pretty good so far. And it also should help reduce the load on Miller, who ran 27 times in last Saturday's 31-16 win over UCF.

OSU doesn't have an explosive, speedy runner, but Hall is the closest thing they have to one.

He may get some limited work only on Saturday, but his presence alone will improve the offense which will only continue to grow in the weeks to come.


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