Hall Could Return To Offensive Plan Vs. NU

Against Wisconsin, Ohio State reverted to its offensive plan of a year ago, which was a heavy diet of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde. That left Jordan Hall out of the game plan, but the coaches said the senior running back should be back this weekend vs. Northwestern.

Don't be surprised if one of the early plays during Ohio State's prime-time game Saturday at Northwestern in a battle of unbeatens is designed for Buckeyes' senior running back Jordan Hall.

After all, the coaches owe him.

Or, at least that's the way head coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman apparently see it as both were almost apologetic about not getting Hall enough touches in the 31-24 win against Wisconsin.

Hall had one rush for 5 yards and no receptions as senior running back Carlos Hyde, in his second game after a three-game suspension to open the season, carried 17 times for 85 yards and junior quarterback Braxton Miller added another 83 on 22 runs.

"(Hall) deserves to be more involved in that game," Meyer said immediately after the win against the Badgers ran OSU's record to 5-0.

Two days later Meyer expounded on his thoughts at his weekly press conference that Hyde's performance made it difficult to call Hall's number more often, especially because Hall is not as much a bruising north-south runner as his teammate.

"We knew it was going to be very hard to run in there the way they play their defensive line," Meyer said. "They play them in those 4i (techniques) and they are very good against the rush. Those are our top two backs, and we are working on that now. So I want to make sure we get Jordan Hall involved."

Herman said the idea was to get Hyde more carries than the five he had in his season debut the previous game Sept. 21 against Florida A&M but not at the expense of Hall.

"The plan was to increase Carlos' (involvement). There's no doubt about that," Herman said. "I don't think if we had gone into the game, ‘Hey, Jordan Hall's only going to get one carry' that will be intended.

"We didn't plan for that and by that happening that's our fault, my fault for that happening. As you go through the course of the game he's not exactly standing there saying, ‘Put me in, coach.' "

As it turned out, Hyde was the go-to runner in the second half when the Buckeyes built a 31-14 lead and went more conservative by trying to chew up the clock.

"You kind of fall back into this habit … and then you look up at the end of the day and he's got one carry," Herman said of Hall. "You say, ‘You know what? We've got to do a better job next time making sure that we chart as many plays as we can and how many times he's touching the football,' because he's good enough and deserved that and we failed him a little bit there."

Amends may be coming as Hall was listed as the starting running back in the depth chart released Tuesday for the Northwestern (4-0) game. While that may or may not mean a whole lot, the staff has been known to reward players who show exemplary behavior.

Meyer after the Buckeyes' 52-34 win at California on Sept. 14 raved about the blocking job done by junior wide receiver Evan Spencer and said he deserved more balls thrown his way than the one catch for 2 yards he had. The same for junior tight end Jeff Heuerman (no receptions).

The next game against Florida A&M the Buckeyes opened with a toss to Heuerman and he added three more catches for 43 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Kenny Guiton.

Meanwhile, Spencer caught two of Guiton's school-record six TDs and finished with four catches for 50 yards in the 76-0 win.

That game also marked the start of Hall's diminished role upon Hyde's return. Hall was the Buckeyes' leading rusher through three games with 402 yards on 64 totes (6.3 average) and six touchdowns.

But partially because the game was such a blowout (55-0 at halftime), Hall had only four carries for a net of 20 yards although he did have scoring runs of 3 and 18 yards.

"Jordan Hall deserved more carries than he got, but you just can't do that," because of the score, Meyer said afterward.

If Hall is a bigger part of the offense Saturday he can credit his positive attitude while riding the bench for being a factor. "The kid, the young man that goes to class that lives right, practices hard, that does it right, that's real hard for me because I get really close with these players, all our coaches do, and you just want to do right by him," Meyer said of Hall.

Senior left tackle Jack Mewhort has been impressed by the manner in which Hall has handled the situation.

"I don't know specifically what he's feeling but he's doing a great job of showing us he is managing it well," he said. "Obviously he's great athlete, we've seen that the last couple of weeks by doing the stuff he does on the field.

"I know he'll get going. He'll keep working hard. He'll do everything he can to help this team win. That's the great thing about Jordan so I'm not worried about him doing any of that negative stuff in the locker room because he's a great guy, He's Jordan."

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