For Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes, spring break is officially over.
The Buckeyes returned to the field for their second week of spring practice, and the coaching staff is working through a rash of injuries in preparation of the 2014 season.
Here's the top news, updates and storylines from Week 2 of Ohio State's spring drills.
News from the Week
The Buckeyes entered the week down two starters—quarterback Braxton Miller and safety Vonn Bell—both of whom are recovering from surgery.
Another Buckeye joined the group when it was announced that Jalin Marshall—the redshirt freshman and former 4-star athlete—suffered a torn meniscus that will require surgery.
Report: Jalin Marshall suffers torn meniscus, will have surgery on Friday and miss 4-6 weeks. http://t.co/315y7tgFwT— Eleven Warriors (@11W) March 19, 2014
According to Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch, Meyer said that Marshall was looking like "a completely different football player" this year. The Buckeyes need improved play from the wide receiver position this year, and losing Marshall, who was one of the early stars this spring, is a big blow.
In other news, Ohio State had a unique visitor this week. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano dropped in to observe the Buckeyes defense.
Observer at Ohio State practice today, Greg Schiano, former Rutgers and Tampa Bay head coach, sizing up OSU defense. pic.twitter.com/m0xzhC1JJk— Tim May (@TIM_MAYsports) March 20, 2014
Ohio State's defense was shaky last season, but it crumbled late. The Buckeyes gave up an average of 38 points in their final three games, and it's clear that Meyer is looking to get all the help he can get to turn things around.
The all-important battle for the backup quarterback spot is heating up. Redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones and redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett are the top contenders, and with Miller out, they're getting plenty of work.
Meyer provided an update on the position battle following Tuesday's practice.
Urban Meyer calls Cardale Jones "a changed guy." He's running with first-team. Meyer added JT Barrett had good day today. #Buckeyes— Dave Biddle (@davebiddle) March 18, 2014
The starting running back spot is up for grabs, and while sophomore Ezekiel Elliott is expected to take over, Meyer said a couple other guys are challenging for playing time, according to Dave Biddle of Bucknuts.
“I think maybe from last year, [Elliott] earned it from what he did last year. But Rod Smith is coming really hard and Bri’onte (Dunn) had a really good day today. So, no, he’s not the one yet. Hasn’t earned it yet.”
With the number of talented running backs in Ohio State's backfield, this position battle could last well into fall camp.
The biggest non-injury-related storyline from Week 2 was an extension of a Week 1 development.
A pair of freshmen linebackers—Darron Lee (redshirt) and Raekwon McMillan—continue to impress the coaching staff despite their lack of experience.
While Lee hasn't mastered the the defense yet, Meyer took time to praise him for the effort he's shown through two weeks, according to the Bucknuts article.
The guy that has stepped up, the guy that is playing 4-6 seconds, is a kid named Darron Lee. I have no idea what he’s doing and he probably has no idea what he’s doing, but I don’t care. I want to make sure that culture is out there. You’re not being graded on whether the kid knows what he’s doing right now. Where you are being graded on is as a unit leader. And as a coach, it’s whether you think a kid will play as hard as he absolutely can.
He also made note of McMillan, who is showing poise beyond his years.
“Raekwon is doing pretty good,” Meyer said, via the Bucknuts article. “He’s a very mature player. He’s a guy that’s got some awareness to him.”