Boren Not Worried About Future Role

Some have worried Ohio State fullback Zach Boren could become a forgotten man in Urban Meyer's spread offense, but the player himself is not concerned about that. He is ready to play whatever role the new staff asks after Gator Bowl preparations are complete.

This month Zach Boren is approaching his football career like he might an isolation block. Once he takes care of what is right in front of him, he'll worry about what comes next.

In this case, it is not an opposing linebacker Boren is looking to take care of but a trip to Jacksonville, Fla., for the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2. When that is over, the senior-to-be says he will start to ponder what his role will be in new head coach Urban Meyer's offense next season.

"I haven't really thought much about it," he said. "I want to concentrate on the Gator Bowl. We're putting in different stuff for that. Hopefully we do some different things here and there for the Gator Bowl. But I haven't thought about that one bit, and I'm excited for spring ball to see what they have in store."

The 6-0, 252-pound Pickerington, Ohio, native will enter 2012 as one of the most experienced players on the team – he has already played 38 games with 31 starts – but his traditional fullback spot is not featured as much in Meyer's spread attack as it is in the multiple pro-style offense the old coaching staff favored in his first three seasons.

No matter, says Boren, who is still forming an opinion of the changes going on around him as the Buckeyes prepare to take on Florida then transition to a new era under a new coach.

"I mean I don't know to tell you the truth," he said when asked his first thought on the hiring of Meyer. "It's one of those things where you just take everything in and kind of wait for him to come introduce himself then when he talks to you a couple times you get a real picture in your mind of what it's all about.

"Obviously I was excited. He's one of the best coaches in college football."

The term "spread offense" has become ubiquitous in the past half decade or so, but college football is full of variations of the style of attack. Some coaches spread to pass while others do so to run, and they all do it a bit differently anywhere you look.

Meyer remains a proponent of the power running game on which he grew up in the Midwest but prefers to use formations to keep teams from crowding the line of scrimmage with a mass of bodies.

Boren might not be lining up with a tailback directly behind him as often as he did the past three years, but he can figure to be somewhere on the field helping clear a path for the ball carrier, whether that's quarterback Braxton Miller or one of a variety of talented tailbacks on the Ohio State roster.

He has some experience with that already as the old staff used him as a wing or H-back at times. Boren also flanked the quarterback at times in a version of the pistol formation and was part of a two-back shotgun set.

"I feel comfortable doing whatever," he said. "If they came and told me I need to put on 30 pounds and play center, I'd be, ‘All right, let's do it.' I don't care. Whatever I'm out there doing I'll be happy doing."

A move to the offensive line seems all but ruled out at this point, but an expanded role could be in the offing. Meyer has never been shy about spreading the ball around, and Boren has proven to be a capable receiver in the past with 19 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown.

Someone even suggested Meyer might use him as a direct-snap, short-yardage battering ram a la Florida star quarterback Tim Tebow and others. That drew a laugh but not a dismissal from Boren, who made reference to the jump pass Tebow made famous during the Gators' run to the national championship his freshman season in 2006.

"I can do that, you know, a little lefty (throw)," Boren said with a smile. "That's you guys' (in the media) pitch for me."

He will not be the only member of his family getting to know a new coaching staff next season. Boren will be joined by his little brother, Jacoby, when winter workouts start in January.

The youngest Boren brother also has other things on his mind than what is in store with a new coaching staff.

"I think he's more collecting his thoughts because he's going to be here in two weeks," Zach Boren said of his 6-2, 273-pound brother, a three-star offensive lineman. "I think he's trying to get away from Mom and Dad a little bit. He's asked about what it's like being out on your own, but that's something he's got to grow and learn for himself. He's excited."

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