With spring graduation just around the corner, it’s more than just Ohio State seniors preparing for the next chapter in their life.
Buckeye football coach Urban Meyer must replace eight starters from the national title team, and while it’s only April, he said Monday that the holes are already being filled.
“A lot of guys get the mentality, ‘Well I’m going to go win the spot in August.’ The spot in August is already done and we’re trying to go win a football game,” Meyer said. “Things happen in August, but that’s not the time to go get the spot.”
Among the positions that have been filled, Meyer said redshirt-senior offensive lineman Chase Farris has locked down the right tackle position, “if he continues to progress.”
The Buckeyes also have two wide receiver positions to fill after the departures of Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, and Meyer said one particular receiver has caught his eye.
“Noah Brown has solidified (a spot). If he just takes care of a little more business in the classroom, then I was going to announce him as one of the starting three or four,” Meyer said.
Brown played sparingly as a true freshman, making just one catch for nine yards against Illinois and one carry for a loss of four in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama.
Among the others who could be joining Brown, Meyer said redshirt-sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall, junior H-back Dontre Wilson and running back turned H-back Curtis Samuel are players that he expects to make an impact in 2015.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Buckeyes must fill the voids left by defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Steve Miller to go along with graduating seniors Doran Grant and Curtis Grant at cornerback and linebacker, respectively.
Meyer mentioned three players along the defensive line who are candidates to replace the outgoing seniors, but added two of them are currently battling injuries.
“(Senior) Tommy Schutt has got the lead (at defensive tackle). (Redshirt-senior) Joel Hale was right in the middle of that thing, too, before he got hurt,” Meyer said. “(Redshirt-sophomore) defensive end Tyquan (Lewis) has the upper edge. He has also had an injury.”
Meyer said Hale sustained a calf tear while Lewis suffered a shoulder injury, adding he expects both to miss about four weeks.
But for the healthy players of the group, Meyer said Schutt has stood out.
“He’s had a good spring, his best spring since he’s been here. He has cut weight, and has done a very nice job,” Meyer said. “As of right now, him and (senior) Adolphus (Washington) would be starting inside. I am not ready to say (Schutt) is the guy yet.”
Meyer said sophomore linebacker Raekwon McMillan and redshirt-sophomore cornerback Eli Apple have had a good spring, as likely replacements for Curtis Grant and Doran Grant.
But what about the seemingly never-ending OSU quarterback carousel?
“I don’t know who our quarterback is going to be,” Meyer said before adding that redshirt-junior Cardale Jones and redshirt-freshman Stephen Collier will be the two signal-callers who will play in the Spring Game.
The annual team exhibition is set for 1:30 on Saturday in Ohio Stadium.