Hall Brings Physical Presence to WR Corps

Ohio State junior Roy Hall might be one of the biggest receivers in the nation at 6-3, 235 pounds. But Hall says he is faster than ever and plans on making an impact this season. We caught up with Hall for his thoughts on his role, the WR corps as a whole and more.

Junior wide receiver Roy Hall knows there is a lot of depth at his position this season. He doesn't mind being the third, or fourth, or possibly fifth receiver on the team. He just wants to play.

"Whatever role I play, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability," Hall said. "I'm not really coming into camp saying, ‘I'm trying to start. I'm trying to do this, I'm trying to do that.' Really, right now is just focusing on getting everyone better as a whole, because that's the only way we are going to be successful.

"You have your headline guys like Ted (Ginn) and ‘Tone (Santonio Holmes) and that's fine if I'm the sleeper. People aren't going to expect me to do any damage, but they've got another thing coming."

Hall obviously does not lack confidence. He says he's ready to be a key ingredient in the Buckeyes' run for the roses.

"I always speak on my size because that's my strongest point is my physical strength," Hall said. "And I'm a lot faster than I was last year. I'm in great shape. I do a lot of dirty work. Blocking, crack-blocking and things like that. So, I mean, whatever I can do to help the team right now, my ultimate goal is just to get to Pasadena and all that personal ego-type things is in the past for everybody. We're on one page with one ultimate goal."

Like a lot of players, Hall credits Butch Reynolds for his improvement in speed and quickness.

"A few minor changes in running form," Hall said. "Coach Butch Reynolds, bringing him in, I think he's helped a lot of people. It's amazing what an arm tilt, or a leg lift, or raising your toes up – instead of keeping them pointed down – can do for you. So, we're getting a lot done as far as that."

With so much depth at receiver, OSU plans on spreading the ball around. It still won't be the staple of the offense, but Hall expects to see more four-wide sets.

"Yeah, we're doing some things," he said. "We're doing some four-receiver sets. We have to. This year, we're going to utilize our talent the best we can. I don't think we're just going to wait and see what people break out. I think we're going to put people in positions to be successful and it's going to help make us a successful team."

Hall is excited about the WR corps as a whole.

"Yeah, because everybody is going to get an opportunity to play," he said. "You don't have to worry about sitting back, watching, hoping, things of that nature. We've got some veterans. We've got a nice mix of veterans and young guys. We're explosive, very explosive, and we can do a lot of damage."

The 6-3, 235-pound Hall is definitely not your average receiver. But he's comfortable with his weight because his speed has continued to increase.

"I'll probably stay like that through the season," he said. "I don't plan on gaining any more, or losing any more. So, I'm up a little bit. I'm a lot stronger than I was last year. I've just got to use my tools. The coaches know what I can do. I made some plays last year and just trying to keep it rolling that way."

Hall is also a contributor on special teams. He won't be on as many units as last year, but you'll still see him out there on the most important play of the game.

"This year, right now, I'm just doing (punt and punt return/block)," Hall said. "I was on kickoff last year. We've got a lot of defensive guys on kickoff this year, so I backed off of that. But I think it's going to help as far as keeping my body right for us as a group – the receivers on offense. You're running down on kickoff when we've got big defensive linebackers and stuff like that that we can use to do that. It really wouldn't make sense, so like I said, everybody is getting an opportunity to play."

Hall was asked more about the four-wide, shotgun-spread offense. But he reminded everyone that this is still Ohio State. The running game will always come first.

"I don't want anybody to get it twisted," he said. "Antonio Pittman is a great back. I watched him out there at practice and he runs extremely hard. We're probably going to ride his back a lot of the time also.

"But along with that, instead of the traditional two-receiver sets, I think we'll be able to throw four guys out there and still be able to move the ball. The biggest thing in the past with Coach Tress (head coach Jim Tressel) in the past has been, ‘Can we do it?' We have to prove that we can do it – not only in the game – but in practice. In practice we've been trying to do these different formations and use different personnel with four receivers, or three receivers, or whatever. It's working out pretty well, so I think the better you get at doing something in practice the more you'll use it in the game."

Hall wants to be a more physical player this season. He plans on being a great blocker on the outside and downfield.

"I am a receiver, so I'm going to do everything a receiver does," he said. "I'm going to catch the ball, run with it after the catch. But, understand that I'm 235, so you're going to see me lower my shoulders. You're going to see me throw some crack blocks. You're going to see me throw a couple DBs to the ground. You're going to see those types of things from me, that's just what I bring to the table, along with everything else: great route running, great blocking and things like that."

With Ginn out there flying around, everyone needs to be ready to block. He can bust one at any time.

"You just always have to be on your toes," Hall said. "Even if he's going away from you on a play, he might bring it back across the field and you just always have to be aware. But he does it in practice, that's why he can do it and get away with it in a game, because he practices those kind of moves. So, you just have to be on your toes at all times and be ready to throw a big block."

Yes, Ginn and Holmes get most of the publicity, and rightfully so. But don't forget about the likes of Hall, Anthony Gonzalez and Albert Dukes.

"You've got Ted and everybody knows about Ted – he's a Heisman candidate and all that good stuff," Hall said. "But then you forget that you have a Santonio Holmes over here. So, that's a problem right there in itself with just those two guys. And then, Gonzo (Anthony Gonzalez) is probably one of the most-sneakiest receivers that I know of. People don't realize his speed. So, then you've got me out there and I'm just going to leave me alone right now, but you've got some people that can do damage. You have to worry about everybody when you play us."

Ohio State is in the midst of two-a-days. The players are sore, but it goes with the territory.

"It's all mental," Hall said. "Two-a-days wears on you physically – everybody's tired, everybody has aches, bruises and stuff like that. But it's more mental. You've just got to fight through it. Everybody in the country is in camp right now and you have to understand that if you want to get to reach your goal, which for us – since the beginning of last spring – has been to make it to Pasadena, you've just got to fight through it."

When asked about the first few days of hitting, Hall had this to say: "In the trenches is unbelievable. I stood back and watched that. Those guys are in there fighting. It's like a fight every play and you don't really realize it being on the perimeter as a receiver. But those guys are getting it done inside, going back and forth every day. It's incredible in there. They're working."

Many of OSU's receivers credit WR coach Darrell Hazell for improving their games. Hall is no different.

"Coach Hazell is big on playing fast and playing hard at all times," Hall said. "He's also big on fundamentals and I've learned a lot from him in the last few years. A whole lot, as a matter of fact. He transformed a lot of things that I was using in the past into great tools. He forces me to use my size and my quickness and my speed now to my advantage, instead of holding back a little bit. He's a really great coach."

Hazell has the makings of a future head coach.

"I would think anybody that's an assistant coach would like to be a head coach," Hall said. "I think he would be a great coach if he became a head coach. He demands a lot of his players. He's very respectful, but if you mess up he will let you know. He doesn't play favorites and I think that helps everyone."

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