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Football: Urban Meyer’s press conference reveals Browning injury, Campbell at H-back and more

OSU coach Urban Meyer is interviewed during media day on Dec. 29. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo Editor

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer announced that freshman linebacker Baron Browning underwent shoulder surgery and will miss a couple months, which included the rest of spring practice.

He said Browning should be back to 100 percent by June, which would make him ready for fall camp.

Tuesday was Meyer’s first time speaking to the media in three weeks. Here are three takeaways from the press conference.

Injuries

Including Browning’s shoulder, the Buckeyes are currently dealing with three other injuries and an academic issue.

Meyer said redshirt sophomore defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton broke his foot a couple practices ago and will be “full speed soon.”

Sophomore running back Antonio Williams and sophomore defensive end Jonathon Cooper are both sidelined with hamstring injuries. Cooper was seen jogging on the sideline with redshirt senior tight end Marcus Baugh who underwent offseason shoulder surgery. Williams was not seen at practice.

Redshirt freshman tight end Kierre Hawkins is “taking care of some academic stuff,” Meyer said.

Cooper and Hamilton were in the second-string rotation on the defensive line in spring practice. Hamilton played in all 13 games and had 2.5 tackles for loss, while Cooper played in six.

Running back depth chart

It appears freshman running back J.K. Dobbins has taken advantage of Williams’ injury and has made the most of his decision to enrol early at OSU. Meyer said Dobbins is the No. 2 running back right now, behind starter redshirt sophomore Mike Weber. Meyer added that Dobbins and sophomore Demario McCall are battling for the second spot on the depth chart at running back.

Dobbins — listed at 5-foot-10, 208 pound — joined a youthful running back group, with every player having three years of eligibility left. But it seems that it hasn’t taken long for the Texas native to impress his position coach Tony Alford, Meyer and the rest of the offensive staff.

Meyer even said that Weber is being pushed quite a bit by Dobbins.

“The best thing that can happen is competition and we didn’t have much last year at that position.”

Wide receivers making strides

Last season, the wide receiver position was perhaps the most underwhelming position on the field for the Buckeyes. Already this spring, Meyer has seen great improvements, saying he’s somewhat impressed with the development of the group.

“I put Parris (Campbell) No. 1,” he said. “I put K.J. (Hill) and Terry McLaurin either (No.) 2 slash (No.) 3. I put Ben Victor — he’s as talented as any I have ever coached — and then Austin Mack. Johnnie Dixon is having a good spring. Brendon White is actually making good plays for us. And Eric Glover-Williams, we just got to get everything in order. He’s real skinny. We just got to develop him because he’s got talent.”

Campbell and Hill were primarily working out of the slot, playing as the inside receiver, in the hour time frame the media was allowed to watch at Tuesday’s practice. Meyer said that the plan for now is to play Campbell as the H-back, filling in for the departed Curtis Samuel.

Other notes:

  • Meyer called the 10 early enrollees “maybe the best group that we’ve had come in.”
  • Junior college transfer cornerback Kendall Sheffield had his black stripe removed. He was practicing against the first-string receivers in 7-on-7 drills on Tuesday.
  • Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Matt Burrell has been practicing with the first team. Redshirt junior Demetrius Knox is also practicing with first team.
  • Justin Hilliard went back to practicing with the linebackers after undergoing shoulder surgery in late September.

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