Ohio State Spring Football Practice Preview: 3 Storylines To Watch

    Ohio State spring football practice preview for 2017. The Buckeys are coming off an appearance in the College Football Playoff and are looking to make it back despite some key losses.

    March 1, 2017

    Ohio State spring football practice preview for 2017. The Buckeyes are coming off an appearance in the College Football Playoff and looking to make it back despite some key losses.

    Urban Meyer reloads rather than rebuild, something he proved last season as Ohio State made a run to the College Football Playoff despite a host of newcomers and little-used players stepping into bigger roles. It’ll be much of the same in 2017 with the Buckeyes losing a number of players to the NFL and graduation.

    Ohio State also had some staff turnover this offseason. Meyer brought in former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson as his new offensive coordinator following the demotion of Ed Warinner and his subsequent departure to Minnesota. Greg Schiano now will be the sole defensive coordinator after Luke Fickell left to take the head coaching job at Cincinnati.

    Here are three other storylines to watch as Ohio State’s spring football practice starts Tuesday.

    Ohio State Spring Football Practice Storylines

    1. The Departed

    Ohio State’s secondary was gutted when Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley all declared early for the NFL Draft, along with linebacker Raekwon McMillian. Two of the Buckeyes’ top offensive threats also are gone with Curtis Samuel and Noah Brown pursuing NFL dreams. It won’t be easy replacing that level of talent from a defense that dominated more often than note, and find someone else like Samuel who can total over 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns offensively presents yet another challenge.

    But if Meyer has made one thing clear, it’s that he always has someone waiting to take another player’s spot. Mike Weber, a 1,000-yard rusher as a freshman, will get help in the backfield from Demario McCall, while K.J. Hill and Austin Mack should provide solid targets in the passing game. Replacing that many great players in the secondary will be the toughest part, but safety Jordan Fuller appears ready to lock down at his position.

    2. Kevin Wilson’s offense

    New Ohio State offensive coordinataor Kevin Wilson. Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

    The Buckeyes led the Big Ten in total yards per game last season, but the offense was basically non-existent and had a season-high three turnovers in the 31-0 loss to Clemson in the CFP. Meyer didn’t take his first-ever shutout as a head coach lightly, bringing in Wilson, who has an offensive mind Meyer has admired for quite some time.

    Wilson turned around Indiana’s program before his unexpected mutual resignation prior to the Hoosiers bowl game last season, leading an often dangerous offense with far less talent than he will be working with at Ohio State. Indiana finished third in the Big Ten in yards per game last year.

    3. J.T. Barrett is back

    Wilson called Barrett “the best quarterback in college football” back on Oct. 8, when Barrett threw for only 93 yards but ran for 137 in Ohio State’s 38-17 win over Indiana. Now Wilson has the chance to help Barrett become even better.

    Barrett decided to return for his redshirt senior season despite winning the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football as the Big Ten’s top player. He was a Heisman Trophy candidate as a redshirt freshman before being injured prior to the Big Ten championship game, when Cardale Jones took over and led the Buckeyes to the national title. Barrett and Jones split time in 2015, and Barrett shined again at times last year. His up-and-down career at Ohio State now ends under Wilson, who will tailor to Barrett’s strengths and has total confidence in the talented quarterback.

    Ohio State’s spring football practice concludes on Saturday, April 15 with its annual spring scrimmage.

    MORE: Big Ten Football Predictions, Storylines For 2017


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