Part one reviewed the least concerning areas for Ohio State after the conclusion of spring practice. This article will focus upon the top five concerning areas for Ohio State, heading into summer workouts. Have any position groups changed from before spring practice? Let us review...
5. Defensive Back: One of the biggest changes, after spring practice. Previously ranked as the third most concerning area, I would lower this area after spring practice. Even though there are two open positions at cornerback and safety, my reasoning for feeling better about the defensive backfield lies in the more aggressive approach that was evident during the spring game. Instead of playing off the wide receivers, Ohio State's defensive backs were pressing right from the line of scrimmage. Throw in the dominant Ohio State defensive line that figures to continually pressure opposing quarterbacks, and it would seem likely that the defensive backs will be in a great position to excel, despite their inexperience.
4. Wide Receiver: Another position group that moved, and this actually increased in concern following spring practice. Talent is on the roster, yet it was evident in the following comments by Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer following the spring game where his thoughts were about his wide receivers after the spring game ~ "We're not where we need to be. I think we're better that we were two years ago, and I'm hoping we're a better notch than we were last year. We got a ways to go...Receiver, I can't name you one that's going to start. Which is concerning, but it's comforting to know I can name about six that have the ability. Those would be Devin Smith, Johnnie Dixon, Michael Thomas, I think Jalin Marshall, before he got hurt he was having a great spring, Dontre Wilson and Evan Spencer; we have some depth there.". Keep an eye and ear open for news about this position group over the summer workouts and fall camp.
3. Linebacker: A position group that has improved since before the spring practices, yet remains in the same area of concern. While rising junior Joshua Perry has earned a starting outside linebacker position, battles for the other two spots remain between rising senior Curtis Grant and true freshman Raekwon McMillan for the middle linebacker job, and Darron Lee and Chris Worley are both in the mix at the walkout linebacker spot. Considering Ohio State opens up the 2014 season at Navy, a triple option attack, it will be crucial for Ohio State's linebackers to play disciplined; will that be possible with such inexperience at this position?
2. Backup Quarterback: Another position group that has been elevated since spring practice began, and it truly has less to do with the spring game than the reality of the situation. Rising redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones has emerged as the top backup quarterback, with rising redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett third string. While Coach Meyer seemed pleased with Jones' development over the course of the spring practices, it must be asked - is Jones truly ready to lead Ohio State if rising senior Braxton Miller is injured this upcoming season?
1. Offensive Line: The biggest concern I had heading into spring practice, and nothing has changed since spring football concluded. In the words of Coach Meyer, "Offensive line, we've got to really go, we gotta really go from here. I saw Jamarco Jones, Demetrius Knox is coming in, Brady Taylor. Those are three bodies that are going to be coming in in June and I look them right in the eye and said "You're not red shirting; you're playing," and that's hard for an offensive lineman, so we're gonna -- that's an area that we have got to get back to where we -- maybe not where we were, but close...On offense you got Pat Elflein and our left tackle, Taylor Decker, and everyone else is wide open, no other spots taken.". My first thoughts, as I read those comments? Be grateful that Ohio State was able to retain offensive line coach Ed Warriner.
Thomas Edison once stated, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.". Ohio State fans can rest easy knowing that the Ohio State coaching staff and players will seize these opportunities to work over the coming summer months.