Ohio State Football: Previewing the 3 Biggest Position Battles in Fall Practice

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IJuly 29, 2013

Ohio State Football: Previewing the 3 Biggest Position Battles in Fall Practice

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    Fall camp is one week away for the Ohio State Buckeyes as they hope to win their first official Big Ten Championship in four years.

    Urban Meyer's second fall camp should be very intriguing for all sorts of reasons, including replacing nine starters on the field.

    The camp will give several young stars an opportunity to break out and make a name for themselves by winning a starting job come Aug. 31.

    Three position battles in particular are going to be very interesting to watch throughout the fall camp.

    Here is a look at those battles and who is battling for those jobs.

Right Tackle

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    Ohio State returns four starters from an offensive line that is among the best in the Big Ten.

    The only vacancy up front is at right tackle, where sophomore Taylor Decker may be the most likely person to fill that role.

    But junior Chase Farris pushed Decker throughout the spring and could prolong the competition if Decker doesn't emerge as a standout up front.

    Decker should be the guy to win the job, but don't be surprised either if this battle rages on through the early stages of camp.

Outside Linebacker

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    Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant are going to be two of the starters in the much-maligned linebacking corps for the Buckeyes, who only have six scholarship linebackers this season.

    Because it has only six scholarship linebackers, including two true freshmen, OSU may be in a nickel more often. But the Buckeyes are still looking for a third linebacker.

    Sophomores Josh Perry and Camren Williams are battling for that third spot, but freshmen Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell should give them a little push in practice.

    Perry seems to have the edge after playing well at times toward the end of his freshman season. If he keeps it up in fall camp, he should be the guy to get the starting job.


Running Back (Pending Length of Carlos Hyde's Suspension)

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    Carlos Hyde's suspension could be a major wild card this season because we won't know how long he will be out of the lineup.

    In his absence, however, the Buckeyes have an abundance of backs who have proved they can play at the college level. The fact that Urban Meyer's offense is about having multiple backs will mean even though only one player will be the No. 1 guy, those who have earned carries will get carries.

    Jordan Hall is back, but he may be in more of a slotback role instead of a traditional role which Hyde held for most of last season.

    Rod Smith and Bri'Onte Dunn are similar to Hyde in size and could battle for the right to take those carries in his absence.

    Those two will likely get most of the carries, although freshmen Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott shouldn't be overlooked.


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