Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
“We’ll help them with the excuses,” said Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer after the team’s Tuesday practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. It was the team’s third practice of the spring and its first in full pads, but according to Meyer, it was “not a great day.”
“First day back from spring break, full pads for the first day. It didn’t feel like a top-5 practice so we just need to get back and have one Thursday,” Meyer said.
A number of developments will be facing the Buckeyes when they take to the field for their next practice.
New injury for Jordan Hall
Rising redshirt senior running back Jordan Hall sat out Tuesday’s practice with what Meyer called a “slight tug on the hamstring.” Meyer said Hall could have practiced but sat out for precautionary reasons.
“He could probably practice at 80 percent,” Meyer said. “I held him out today because I want to get him someplace higher.”
After sitting out the majority of last season with a torn PCL, Hall was granted a medical redshirt that will allow him to play this fall. The running back said he is excited to have another opportunity to play in the spread system and feels he can help the offense.
“We have a lot of playmakers on offense and I just think I can be another one,” Hall said. “I just want to be another person the defense has to prepare for and I’m looking forward to that.”
Hall, who is expected to be a versatile, hybrid-type player, might give the Buckeyes an advantage out on the edge. He said he is not sure what he will be doing in the position, but likened it to what he played in high school.
“I played a little bit of slot in high school, so it’s kind of coming back,” Hall said. “It’s just different going against a college defense instead of a high school defense.”
Offense operated at “60 percent” in 2012
Running backs coach Stan Drayton coached with Meyer at Florida and said he has seen a spread offense operating at its full potential. Drayton said, though, that OSU’s 2012 offense operated at “about 60 percent” of its potential, but he expects improvement in the 2013 season with the addition of Hall.
“When you sit there and study our film, you see safeties sitting there at eight yards because (rising senior running back) Carlos Hyde and (rising junior quarterback) Braxton Miller are in the backfield,” Drayton said. “The moment we are able to pose a pass threat and get that balance in our offense we are hoping it to be very explosive.”
Hyde taking OSU team motto to heart
The Buckeyes’ 2013 season motto is “The Chase,” intended to reflect their pursuit, in part, of a conference and national championship. Hyde said the idea of “The Chase” is something he takes to heart.
“‘The Chase’ means a lot. It’s not just one thing,” Hyde said. “I want to be the first running back under coach Meyer with 1,000 yards, I want to hold that crystal ball. I want it all.”
Drayton said Hyde became more of a team player as last season went on.
“Carlos matured, and it became more than just about him,” Drayton said. “That was the difference in his burst onto the football field last year. It is definitely the direct reason he had the success that he had.”
Running back depth pushing Hyde
On National Signing Day, Drayton told his running backs that his goal was to find players better than them. He said he made the comment with the intention of making the running backs work harder than they did last year.
“I want to see them compete,” Drayton said. “I’m trying to create the best competitive environment in one single group in the country and I think we are getting close to that, I really do.”
Drayton added that Hyde will not be receiving special treatment, despite being the starting running back last year.
“Carlos Hyde needs to know that nothing is going to be given to him, and he knows that,” Drayton said. “That’s why he is out here practicing his butt off, because he knows everyone is coming after him. He can’t relax.”
The Buckeyes are set to hold their fourth spring practice Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.