Ex-Jeannette RB Hall wants larger role at Ohio State
COLUMBUS — Admittedly, Jordan Hall isn't particularly patient. There, too, is no pretense that he's willing to wait his turn.
The Jeannette High product is anxious to prove he's got what it takes to be second-ranked Ohio State's feature back. He figures he's been an understudy long enough, yet he enthusiastically settles for mop-up duty behind Brandon Saine.
So far, Hall has taken advantage of most every opportunity allotted him this season.
The 5-9, 195-pound sophomore tailback nearly returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Miami. But his electrifying return energized the Buckeyes, who spotted the Hurricanes a touchdown before cruising to victory.
Then, last Saturday, Hall tossed a touchdown pass to his former high school teammate, quarterback Terrelle Pryor, as the Buckeyes routed Eastern Michigan to keep pace with top-ranked Alabama.
In the fourth quarter, Hall caught a 17-yard scoring pass from backup quarterback Joe Bauserman for his second-career touchdown to cap one of his most productive outings as a Buckeye.
"I want to leave the impression that I can make plays," Hall said. "I think I'll get more carries than I did last year because I'm really gaining in confidence.
"It's taken a while to learn the playbook. Right now, I'm playing the game faster because I understand my assignments more."
Hall is hoping for a more expansive role when the Buckeyes open the Big Ten season today at Illinois.
If nothing else, Hall is looking to take some pressure off Pryor, who leads OSU in rushing with 269 yards.
Hall, though, knows it won't be easy getting more playing time on a team making a legitimate run at its first national championship since capturing the title with a double-overtime win over Miami in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
"There's always someone you have to prove something to," said Hall, averaging 27.8 on kickoff returns and 7.1 returning punts. "You have haters everywhere. So you do what you can to block that out."
Hall has quickly become a fan favorite at the Shoe. Even though he's only fifth in rushing (72 yards), he's third in all-purpose yards with 311.
Coach Jim Tressel is searching for ways to get Hall more involved in an already potent offense.
"He figures into all of our plans," Tressel told reporters during his weekly press conference. "The flow of the game usually dictates what we're going to do from that standpoint.
"We like to use Brandon at some semi-receiver kind of things, so the more you do that, the more Jordan could maybe play some pure tailback."
Tressel and offensive coordinator Jim Bollman are also considering putting Hall out on the flank. It's a move that could further strengthen the most explosive offense in the Big Ten.
"I have a lot of confidence in (Hall)," Pryor said. "I think he's gaining even more confidence in himself."