Ohio State Football: Top Headlines from the First 2 Days of Spring Practice

Cory McCuneContributor IIIMarch 7, 2013

Ohio State Football: Top Headlines from the First 2 Days of Spring Practice

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    Ohio State's football team kicked off spring practice Tuesday and were at in again Thursday inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

    The Buckeyes won't practice again until March 19, after the university's spring break.

    The team wasn't in pads this week, so whatever was learned during these two days of practice could quickly change when hitting becomes involved. 

    However, there were a few notes of interest that came out from the two practices—most of that information on Tuesday because Thursday's practice was not open to the public.

    Braxton Miller's improved (improving) mechanics were a topic of conversation and Bradley Roby is still an All-American-caliber cornerback, but neither of those things made this list.

New Numbers

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    There will be several new faces—and familiar faces with new numbers—at the 2013 spring game.

    First off, the freshmen that enrolled early have been assigned their numbers for the 2013 season: Eli Apple (13), Tracy Sprinkle (93), Cameron Burrows (16), J.T. Barrett (16), Tyquan Lewis (59) and walk-on William Houston (32).

    Also some familiar faces will be wearing different jersey numbers in 2013.

    Devin Smith has switched to No. 9. Likewise, fellow special-teamer Adam Griffin has switched from No. 9 to No. 11.

    Despite talk that Rod Smith and Jordan Hall would switch numbers, that did not happen—at least not yet. Hall remains No. 7 and Smith remains No. 2.

Curtis Grant Leads the Position Battle at Linebacker

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    Ryan Shazier is a known commodity at the linebacker position. Shazier is going to fly around from his weak-side spot and crush ball-carriers.

    However, Shazier is the only experienced linebacker on the team.

    Curtis Grant started the first three games of the 2012 season at middle linebacker, but was benched after that.

    Rising sophomores Joshua Perry, Camren Williams, Luke Roberts and David Perkins have a chance this spring to distance themselves from the incoming freshmen and earn playing time.

    The report out Tuesday was that Perkins and Grant were with the first team, but co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell says there's still an ongoing battle.

The Fifth Offensive Lineman

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    Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsley and Marcus Hall will all be back on the Buckeyes' offensive line. The question is, who will join them?

    As expected, Taylor Decker was the right tackle with the first-team offensive line Tuesday. The rising sophomore battled Reid Fragel for the position last season.

    However, Chase Farris is also getting a look with the first team. This battle could continue well into the late summer, as the battle for the right tackle spot did last year.

The Backfield Is Loaded with Big Backs

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    I guess this isn't news, but looking through Ohio State's updated roster it's hard to miss the fact that the Buckeyes' backfield has to be one of the biggest in the country.

    All four of Ohio State's running backs are listed to be at least 6-feet tall and more than 220 pounds. Carlos Hyde is the heaviest at 242 pounds, but Rod Smith isn't much smaller at 238. The other two, Bri'onte Dunn and Warren Ball, are both listed at 222.

    But it's not just the running backs. Braxton Miller is a solid-built QB at 215 pounds, but is smaller than two of his three backups. Cardale Jones is listed at 6'5'' and 241 pounds, while freshman J.T. Barrett is listed at 6'1'', 230, although Barrett's weight may have something to do with his knee injury.

    As if all of that beef behind a experienced offensive line isn't enough, walk-on fullback William Houston is listed at 264 pounds. 

Jordan Hall Is Back and (Possibly) Better Than Ever

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    A healthy Jordan Hall could really make a difference for Ohio State's offense in 2013.

    Reports from Tuesday's practice were all positive about Hall's ability to be that playmaker Ohio State lacked besides Braxton Miller.

    Hall, who has always been used as a running back at Ohio State, is only 5'8'', 197 pounds and is not cut out to be a downhill runner like the rest of the Buckeyes' running backs.

    That's why Urban Meyer has moved Hall to the hybrid position that will allow Hall to catch passes as well as get some carries.

    Hall is the only player on the team's spring roster that is listed as a "HB." It will be interesting to see whether that is just an oversight or if Jalin Marshall or Dontre Wilson will have the same distinction when they join the team.

Tyvis Powell Has 'Star' Power

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    The "star" has been the name for the Buckeyes' nickelback for several seasons, but it seems like the position is taking a new shape.

    The position started when the Buckeyes stopped playing a third cornerback in the nickel defense and started playing a hybrid linebacker/safety in the position. Players like Jermale Hines and Tyler Moeller performed well in this role.

    However, in the past two seasons the Buckeyes have gone smaller at the position. In 2011 Christian Bryant played the "star." Then in 2012 Orhian Johnson played the position.

    Now in the first practice of 2013, Tyvis Powell has come out of nowhere to grab the spot as the first-team "star."

    At 6'3'', it's no surprise that Powell has moved away from the cornerback position. But that he is the "star" on the first day of practice is, especially with last year's backup, Corey Brown, still on the roster.

    Whether Powell keeps the starting role will be interesting. Devan Bogard is recovering from an injury and Vonn Bell isn't on campus yet, but being there on day one is a good sign for him.