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Ohio State football: Media Day preview

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OSU coach Urban Meyer during the spring game on April 16 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Lantern File Photo

OSU coach Urban Meyer during the spring game on April 16 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Lantern File Photo

Coach Urban Meyer has 29 preseason practices to get his Ohio State team ready to compete against top programs in the 2016 campaign. He has those 29 practices to award 16 open starting positions to many players who have yet to contribute much of anything in games.

On Sunday, OSU is set to hold it’s annual media day where players and coaches from all disciplines will be available for questioning. Here are a few storylines going into media day.

Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage

OSU held their first preseason scrimmage on Saturday at Coffey Road Fields following the team’s first two-a-day practice on Friday. Aside from drills, this was the first opportunity for the coaching staff to evaluate the players in a simulated game experience.

“Because we are an inexperienced group and that’s the closest you have to a preseason game, you want to see who really responds when the lights come on,” said associate head coach and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.

Schiano mentioned junior Damon Webb and redshirt sophomore Malik Hooker as two guys ahead of the others “but not by much.” The intrasquad scrimmage may have given a better scope on the talent at the safety position as well as every other open spot.

“You see a guy who really looks good but then under the game situation when they’re out there by themselves and they have to deal with a lot of different variables, can they handle it and stay focused?” Schiano said. “That’s what I’m looking for.”

The August heat in Ohio can be brutal—not to mention running around in shoulder pads and a helmet—which makes the competition for those spots even tougher. But that’s the mentality Meyer and his coaching staff are trying to breed.

“Our camp isn’t easy,” redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett said. “The main thing is grind it out. The hard times we have in camp right now are going to help us down the season.”

Position battles gain clarity

After the first day of camp on Aug. 7, Meyer said that in a week and around practices 12 and 13 are when he hopes to begin narrowing down jobs and announce starters.

Sunday marks one week and eight practices completed for the Buckeyes, so there could be a few steps made toward finalizing a depth chart.

“Next week we would like to start narrowing it,” Meyer said last week. “We have an idea of who’s going to play, but we have a lot of good players. By next week I’d like to give it to guys who earned it—announce them as starters.”

Meyer said he likes to make a big deal out of announcing starters for the players and their families who he calls to inform them that their sons are going to be starters.

Some of the closest battles are at safety, cornerback, right tackle and left guard.

First chance to talk to four position groups

The offensive line, wide receivers, cornerbacks and running backs all have at lea