Hall Playing Important Role

Junior tailback Maurice Hall says he's not The Man (yet) despite Clarett's absence and Ross' injury.

It is official now -- Maurice Hall and Lydell Ross do not have the specter of a possible Maurice Clarett return later this season hanging over their heads.

It is also clear that if the Buckeyes are going to move the football on the ground this season, it will be Hall and Ross who will carry the mail.

And, as OSU plans to host N.C. State Saturday, Hall may be the team's only viable option at tailback. Ross' status remains unclear after he played only sparingly a week ago due to a foot problem.

The 5-10, 200-pound Hall, a product of Columbus Brookhaven, has totaled 149 yards on 34 carries with one touchdown in OSU's first two games. Hall was asked if he considered himself to be The Man in OSU‘s running game.

"I'm just trying to help the team," Hall said with a smile. "I'm not The Man -- I'm definitely not The Man, not yet at least. I'm really just trying to help the team win games. We just have to continue to prepare and get ready for N.C. State."

If Ross continues to be limited, Hall may have a chance to approach his single-game career high of 93 yards, set last year against Minnesota. N.C. State's young defensive front may be an area the Buckeyes will try to exploit.

"I have looked at them," Hall said. "They gave up 200 yards rushing against Wake Forest. They still have a great defense. They run a lot of blitzes and stunts with their defensive linemen. We can't go in there and think that because Wake Forest did a great job against them that it will be easy for us."

Hall reached a career high last Saturday with 19 carries in the win over San Diego State. He said he enjoyed being the feature back.

"I feel all right," Hall said. "I don't feel as bad as I thought I was going to feel. I felt like I can take the ball and I can handle it."

Hall ripped off a 33-yard run in the game against SDSU, a taste of the big play potential he can bring. But the Buckeyes only managed 120 yards rushing against a team the Buckeyes were supposed to defeat easily.

"Last week, we weren't on the same page at times," Hall said. "There were plays where the line was clicking and the backs weren't. It all comes with being comfortable and getting experience.

"We have to step it up, running the ball and passing the ball. We need to get better each week."

OSU usually does not conduct a regular practice on Monday of game weeks. But, in the wake of the lackluster showing against SDSU, the Buckeyes went full-go on Monday.

"I think that got everybody's attention," Hall said. "We usually watch a little film, then we lift and run. I think that sent a message that we need to be focused on this team. This is a great team we're playing. We have to know our assignments so when we get out there we'll be ready."

Hall discussed the apparent resolution of the Clarett situation.

"I think everybody is focused on what we need to do each week as a team," he said. "You always want your teammate to be there. It‘s sad not to see him around, but hopefully everything will work out."

And, while nobody wants to prosper on the demise of others, Hall understands he has an entire team depending on him to come through.

"I just have to take advantage of opportunities," he said. "Right now, I have an opportunity to play. When I get in there, I have to make sure I'm ready.

"I'm starting to get more comfortable each time I get to carry the ball. The more you get the ball, the more in sync you get with the offense and the linemen and with what the defense is doing."

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