Spring Practice Observations: April 18

As quickly as spring came for Urban Meyer, it is coming to an end even quicker. His Ohio State football team took the practice field Wednesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, now only three days removed from the annual spring game and the culmination of spring practice. The BSB crew was in attendance - get observations inside.

As quickly as spring came for Urban Meyer, it is coming to an end even quicker. His Ohio State football team took the practice field Wednesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, now only three days removed from the annual spring game and the culmination of spring practice.

It was the final media availability before Saturday's spring game and the BuckeyeSports.com crew was in attendance to take a look. Here are some thoughts from the latest spring practice:

  • Meyer still wants to see more plays being made – One of the major concerns for Meyer since taking the job was the perceived lack of playmaking ability Ohio State possessed at the skill positions. Though he has had nice things to say about guys like Jake Stoneburner and Philly Brown, he reiterated his disappointment in his team's lack of game-changers. While we've seen some big plays out of an array of different guys, there hasn't been the emergence of one player that is going to be the go-to in this offense. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing – sometimes variety is a plus – but Meyer said it will be a pass-happy spring game because he wants to see guys make plays.

  • Jordan Hall used properly – Every time I think about Hall taking a handoff on an off-tackle play at the goal line like he did so many times in the practices I watched a year ago, I cringe. It's not that Hall can't take balls out of the I-Formation and make plays, but there are so many things he does more effective than that. The staff has really made an emphasis in getting Hall the ball in a variety of ways, whether it is off a toss or as a wide receiver. When utilized properly, Hall is one of the most dangerous weapons on the team. Could he be the dynamic playmaker Meyer is looking for? Only time will tell – but if he continues to be used like this, he'll have a chance.

  • Devin Smith strikes me as a big playmaker in waiting – The thing we always used to hear about Smith before he stepped onto the field at Ohio State was that every time he touches the ball. We saw glimpses of that during his freshman season, but I often wondered why he wasn't on the field more. The more I watch him – and his connection with quarterback Braxton Miller – the more I feel he's going to be a real stud before he leaves Ohio State. It's hard to say how he projects into this year's offense, but I think he'll be one of OSU's top three receivers and could have the most touchdown catches of anyone on the team. Gut feeling – but big plays just find Smith.

  • Carlos Hyde will be the featured back – We already discussed Hall and what his role in the offense could be, but when it comes to traditional Ohio State featured running backs, I think that job is for Hyde. How many times will he carry the ball a game remains to be seen, especially if Meyer wants to spread the wealth a little bit, but I think the over/under on yardage for him this year is 750. Hyde's having an impressive spring and his combination of size and speed makes him an ideal piece to the Buckeyes' offensive puzzle. The main thing to remember with Hyde is this – he'll only be given the opportunities to touch the ball if he proves he's more dangerous than the other guys. With Brown, Hall, Jake Stoneburner and Smith all vying for their share of touches, that won't be easy.

  • Marcus Hall looked better, will be counted on – It seems like forever when Marcus Hall was a freshman stepping in for some crucial game time on the offensive line. He looked very impressive then and it resulted in many people calling him one of the top OSU linemen of the future. But after his year focusing on academics, it looks as if he's poised to really make a difference on this year's offensive line. In Wednesday's practice he seemed very active and I rarely saw him get beat. Given Marcus Hall's role on this year's time, I think the success of the offensive line is contingent on how well he develops. His latest practice was a step in the right direction.

  • Etienne Sabino looks quicker, more aggressive – The linebacker position is quite thin for the Buckeyes, but they have a veteran in Sabino that they're really counting on. While there have been struggles with Sabino in the past – mainly with thinking and reacting well to reading offenses – he's really looked quick in the time I've spent watching him. Now that he is an upperclassman, he's had plenty of time to learn the game and become a leader. The athleticism and quickness never was a doubt – it will be interesting if he can put everything together for a fantastic season. We all know Ohio State is counting on that.

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