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Sunday, April 22, 2012

From The Mind Of Minnich - Observations From The First Spring Game Of The Meyer Era

Before discussing the 2012 Ohio State spring game, let me emphasize one quick point.  I have never been accused at being good at math, but I have a pretty good idea what 81,000 people looks like within Ohio Stadium.  Yesterday's announced 81,000 attendees were closer to 60,000.  I am guessing the Ohio State ticket office was using tickets sold as their figure, not actual attendees.  It was still better than That Team Up North did a week ago, even with the somewhat blustery weather conditions...

Ohio State concluded its first spring practice series under new head coach Urban Meyer.  Ohio State fans were promised by Coach Meyer that the Buckeyes would throw the ball a lot in the spring game, and Coach Meyer was true to his word.  Both starting quarterback Braxton Miller as well as projected backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, Jr. threw the ball throughout the contest.

I sat through the game with my cousin John, as well as my friends Greg, Jim, and Bob.  Some of the questions that came up...

1.  Will Jordan Hall be the Percy Harvin of the Ohio State spread offense?  I read today that Hall has been nursing a sprained foot, which explains why Hall did not participate in the spring game.  Considering the emphasis Coach Meyer placed upon the passing game, it makes me wonder what exotic formations are in store for Jordan Hall this upcoming season.

2.  Was there a reason why Cardale Jones did not play?  I recognize that Miller and Guiton are the top two quarterbacks, but it would seem plausible to use Cardale Jones as well. 

3.  Will Rod Smith be involved in the new offense?  A year ago, Rod Smith was one of the ballyhooed freshmen people were excited to see.  With the arrival of Bri'onte Dunn this spring, Smith has seemingly been pushed aside.  Smith ran well yesterday for about 46 yards and a touchdown, so I will be curious if he will get opportunities come fall.

4.  Where was Jeff Heuerman yesterday?  Jake Stoneburner was limited in participation during the spring game, allowing redshirt freshman Nick Vannett opportunities to showcase his receiving abilities.  Heuerman would seem likely to be a primary target in the offense as well from the tight end position.

5.  Has Michael Thomas emerged at one of the wideout spots?  Thomas was the leading receiver in the spring game with twelve receptions.  Considering Ohio State's leading receivers a year ago had fourteen receptions for the entire season, that is noteworthy in itself.  Thomas did not show to be a burner, but a solid possession receiver in the mold of former Buckeye Michael Jenkins.  I would suggest Ohio State fans refrain from anointing Thomas as a starter, lest they forget how Bam Childress used to be the spring game superstar year after year.

I was especially pleased that Coach Meyer is continuing the tradition of singing "Carmen, Ohio" upon the conclusion of the game in the end zone.  I always enjoyed that under Coach Tressel, and I am happy that Coach Meyer has embraced that tradition.

All things considered, Coach Meyer should be pleased with the conclusion of spring practice.  No major injuries were sustained, and the players can now focus upon summer conditioning before camp resumes in August.  The arrival of several talented freshmen on both sides of the ball, as well as the ongoing development of the offensive unit, should provide Ohio State fans guarded optimism heading into the season opener versus Miami University on September 1st.

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