Ohio State Football: 5 Questions for the Buckeyes as OSU Opens Fall Camp
The Ohio State football season doesn't kick off for another 28 days, but the Buckeyes officially put their offseason to rest on Sunday with the start of fall camp.
Ohio State returns a lot of experience to an explosive offense that averaged 37.2 points per game last year, but the defense needs to find seven new starters.
What challenges will Urban Meyer look to overcome in his second year with the Buckeyes?
Here are five storylines to watch as Ohio State opens fall camp.
How Will the Recent Legal Trouble Affect the Team?
Meyer couldn't have asked for a worse start to the season.
Because of the legal trouble Carlos Hyde, Bradley Roby, Marcus Baugh and Tim Gardner found themselves in recently, Meyer not only has to deal with the impact of losing two starters in Hyde and Roby for varying amounts of time, but also has to keep the team focused through this enormous distraction.
After finishing last season undefeated, the Buckeyes have been pegged as one of the country's few national title contenders. If the off-field drama lingers in the players' minds, though, Ohio State's title run could be halted in a hurry.
Has Braxton Miller Progressed Any Further as a Passer?
Miller worked with notable quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. on his passing game before spring camp, and that work paid off as the junior signal-caller showcased improved mechanics during the Buckeyes' spring game.
Miller is still far off from being the best fundamental quarterback in the country, which is what Meyer wants him to be. It's hard to imagine Miller achieving that status during an offseason that prohibits contact with coaches, but he has shown a willingness to improve on his own.
Will Curtis Grant Settle into the MLB Position?
With the talented linebackers Meyer has brought to Columbus over the last two years, this season will likely be Grant's last chance to take hold of a starting spot.
Now in his junior year, Grant, a former 5-star recruit, was expected to take over the middle linebacker position following Andrew Sweat's departure in 2012. That never materialized, unfortunately, as Grant struggled with the mental aspect of the game.
After losing his spot to converted fullback Zach Boren, Grant admitted he thought about leaving Ohio State, according to The News-Herald.
To his credit, Grant battled for and officially earned,the starting middle linebacker spot this spring. The challenge for Grant will be keeping it.
How Will the Freshmen Fit In?
The nation's No. 2-ranked recruiting class reported to campus at the beginning of June and has been working with strength coach Mickey Marotti in preparation for fall camp.
The young guys will finally be able to strap on some pads and show what they can bring to the field this week. Which first-year players will impress the coaching staff enough to see some early playing time?
Four-star prospects Dontre Wilson, James Clark and Jalin Marshall all have a good chance to play on offense, while 5-star safety Vonn Bell could see action as Ohio State's fifth defensive back in obvious passing situations.
Will the Defensive Line Be Ready to Go?
Ohio State is replacing all four of its starters along the defensive line after losing John Simon, Johnathan Hankins, Garrett Goebel and Nathan Williams to either the NFL draft or graduation.
Meyer has called on a pair of sophomores in Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington to come off the edge. Both are former 5-star prospects who played well as backups last year, but Meyer needs them to elevate their game as they take on starting roles.
Ohio State has more experience inside with juniors Michael Bennet and Joel Hale slated to start. Bennett brings a lot of talent to the interior and Hale has emerged as the leader of the group.
All four, though, have big shoes to fill.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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