Ohio State football team begins looking for leaders
TribLIVE Sports Videos
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Most of the most notable players from a team that went 12-0 last season are back for Ohio State in 2013.
Yet when spring practice begins Tuesday, second-year coach Urban Meyer will still be searching for leaders.
The players who set the pace for last year's perfect record weren't necessarily the stars. Defensive end John Simon was, but more of them were like Zach Boren, who split time between linebacker and fullback. They took ownership of the Buckeyes and helped erase the memories of a seven-loss season in 2011.
“That's a huge void,” Meyer said after the season about the departing seniors. “We're in the evaluation phase of who can fill those roles. Make no doubt about it now, that that was a huge part of a successful season.”
So even though the Buckeyes welcome back Sports Illustrated cover boy Braxton Miller, a junior quarterback already trumpeted as a Heisman Trophy contender, along with running back Carlos Hyde, linebacker Ryan Shazier and cornerback Bradley Roby, Meyer will be wondering what players will pick up the slack in the leadership department.
Because only four of the players listed on the two-deep offensive depth chart for the season-ending win against Michigan was a senior, it stands to reason that the offense will be ahead of the defense.
The only losses are TE Jake Stoneburner, RT Reid Fragel and FBs Boren and Adam Homan.
That leaves plenty of quality players on that side of the ball: Miller, Hyde, receivers Corey Brown and Devin Smith and linemen Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsley and Marcus Hall.
The defensive line has holes. Simon, Garrett Goebel and Nathan Williams, three vocal leaders, were seniors who have moved on. On top of that, Johnathan Hankins elected to give up his final year of eligibility to jump into the NFL Draft. Roby could have done that, too, but decided to return, along with safeties Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett.
“You have the two safeties back now, and you have Roby. So that's three out of four (spots in the secondary) that's stable — where our D-line is not stable, and our linebacker position is not stable,” Meyer said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Steelers’ tarnished Bell rings true
- Tomlin gives suggestion Steelers won’t be shy about going for 2
- UPMC offering buyouts to 3,500 employees in cost-cutting move
- Pirates win 5th straight as offense continues to click in win over Marlins
- Police question resident in Latrobe apartment house fire
- Vandals ruin Ligonier Township farmers’ garden
- Pirates notebook: Struggling Polanco held out of starting lineup
- Soccer officials arrested in Zurich; World Cup votes probed
- Pittsburgh shortens the party for Chesney fans
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison open for larger role
- Duquesne University to raise minimum wage floor