Ohio State Football

Ohio State Football: Urban Meyer's 3 Biggest Concerns Post-Spring Practice

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 29:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
David RegimbalFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2014

Spring practice is in the books for Ohio State, and with less than five months before the official start of the season, Urban Meyer has the Buckeyes primed for another title run.

Still, the Buckeyes are far from a finished product, and Saturday's spring game revealed a number of issues that need resolved.

These three in particular are top concerns for Meyer because they all have the potential to derail Ohio State's championship run.

 

The Offensive Line

In 2013, four senior starters along Ohio State's offensive line paved the way for one of the most successful offenses in school history. The Buckeyes averaged 308.6 rushing yards per game, which ranked fifth in the country.

Meyer needs to replace those four starters, a process that's only 25 percent complete going into summer conditioning.

The Buckeyes' sole returning starter, Taylor Decker, has made the switch from right tackle to left tackle. Pat Elfleinwho played admirably for the suspended Marcus Hall late last season—has secured the right guard spot.

Taylor Decker is the only returning starter for Ohio State's offensive line.
Taylor Decker is the only returning starter for Ohio State's offensive line.J Pat Carter

The other three openings have yet to be claimed, and that doesn't sit well with Meyer, according to Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer

“The offensive line, we got a lot of work to do,” Meyer said. “We've got to really go, we gotta really go from here.”

After the defenses piled up five sacks during the spring game without sending a single blitz, that urgency is easy to understand. 

 

Clarity at Wide Receiver

When Urban Meyer arrived at Ohio State, he described Ohio State's wide receiver corps as a "clown show." 

After three recruiting cycles in Columbus, Meyer has stockpiled a host of playmakers for the perimeter. The only challenge now is identifying who can contribute.

Of course, that's not entirely true as Dontre Wilson—the blazing sophomore from DeSoto, Texas—already snagged the starting H-back spot earlier this spring. Devin Smith has brought his track speed to the field as a starter for the last two seasons, something he's expected to do again in 2014.

Johnnie Dixon will play as a freshman.
Johnnie Dixon will play as a freshman.Jay LaPrete

Beyond that, though, is uncertainty.

Corey Brown was Ohio State's top receiver the last two years, and replacing his production is a tall order. Meyer is turning to a number of players such as Michael Thomas, Corey Smith and Johnnie Dixon to pick up the slack, but as the Buckeyes finished up spring drills, the unit has offered more questions than answers. 

 

The Backup Quarterback

Cardale Jones has seized the No. 2 quarterback spot.
Cardale Jones has seized the No. 2 quarterback spot.Jay LaPrete

With Braxton Miller recovering from shoulder surgery, Meyer got a long look at redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones and redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett this spring.

It was a pivotal stretch for the Buckeyes, who must replace longtime backup Kenny Guiton. The cool-headed signal-caller saved Ohio State on multiple occasions, and with Miller's injury history, identifying a new safety net was a top priority.

Jones has surged ahead of Barrett, but neither looked impressive during Ohio State's spring game. Jones completed 14-of-31 passes for 126 yards, while Barrett was marginally better, connecting on 17 of his 33 passes for 151 yards.

Neither threw a touchdown pass in a scrimmage that featured 24 total points.

Even though Jones had a poor outing, Meyer won't let that soil what had been a promising spring.

The spring game showed that neither Jones or Barrett are close to operating at the level Guiton did as a reserve. The Buckeyes will need both to improve before the start of the 2014 season.

 

Unless otherwise noted, stats via Ohio State's official website.

David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. 
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices