The senior "star" for the Ohio State defense will be suiting up for his first game since a loss to Texas in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl, one full season ago. After being sucker punched at a Florida bar following that season, Moeller underwent surgery on his skull and had his football future placed in doubt.
After being allowed to participate in non-contact drills during spring practice, Moeller returned to action for fall camp and got back with the business of hitting people with no side effects. Tonight, he will likely start and see lots of action as the Buckeyes expect to liberally use their nickel defense against visiting Marshall.
"We'll probably have to settle him down," cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson said. "A guy like that that's been so involved that's as physical as he is that is as fast as he is, we're probably going to have to pull the reins and tell him to settle down. I'm sure he's excited. We are too. It'll be good to see (No.) 26 hitting some people."
Head coach Jim Tressel said Moeller, who was not made available to reporters this week, has been re-checked by doctors during camp to ensure that there were no unknown complications caused by his return to physical contact. Once again, he received a clean bill of health.
"I think my biggest excitement for him (is) because really what he loves is playing the game," Tressel said. "He just loves playing, and what was the neatest thing was that moment where, ‘OK, this is live. Let's see how you do.'
"I'm excited for all of our guys to play a game, but that was exciting to see that, ‘Hey, you know what? He is back.' "
Hall And Brown – He emerged as OSU's No. 3 running back last season, but sophomore Jordan Hall's biggest impact on this year's team could come on special teams.
The prep teammate of quarterback Terrelle Pryor will get the starting nod at both kick and punt returner.
"We're probably going to have (redshirt freshman running back Jaamal Berry) and Hall back deep for the opening kickoff," said wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell, who also coaches the team's return units. "Both are very capable of doing some great things with the ball in their hands. It will be interesting.
"On punt, Jordan Hall is going to be the deep returner and we'll see. Probably Philly (Corey Brown) will be the second guy."
Listed at 5-9, 195 pounds, Hall carried the ball 48 times for 248 yards and one touchdown as a true freshman. This fall, he has continued to impress his teammates.
"I saw him running the other day and I was like, ‘Who the heck is that? Oh, it's Jordan Hall,' " senior linebacker Brian Rolle said. "He looks a lot faster. He's a quick, shifty dude – a lot like the guys from Oregon. LaMichael James. He's a great blocker too. He's not the biggest dude so you wouldn't expect him to block as well as he does but he's a great blocker."
Brown is the one offensive freshman who has consistently drawn the most praise from coaches and players alike. The 5-7, 170-pound native of Upper Darby, Pa. – a suburb of Philadelphia – he has been given the nickname "Philly" to differentiate between the redshirt freshman cornerback of the same name.
Hazell described him as a mature player for a freshman.
"He picked up the offense very quick," the coach said. "Explosive. You're going to love to watch him play if he gets the ball in his hands on Thursday night. He's different.
"He's an amazing guy. He's just so smooth and a lot of fun to watch. He can do it all – punt, catch, kickoff return, catch the short ones, go get the deep ones. He'll make a lot of plays for us this year."
More Wideout Talk – As the season begins, Hazell said senior Taurian Washington remains the team's No. 3 wide receiver with Brown, senior Grant Schwartz and redshirt freshman Chris Fields battling to be the No. 4 guy.
Against the Thundering Herd, Hazell said he might simply sub in those three players together as a second unit rather than try to work them in with the starters.
Schwartz, who has been battling a foot injury that had him on crutches during the Aug. 21 jersey scrimmage, has impressed Hazell in his final camp.
"He's doing good (from a health standpoint)," the coach said. "He's been more consistent, catching the ball better and getting his route depth a lot better."
But the one player who had Hazell raving was freshman Tyrone Williams. Listed at 6-5, 218 pounds, the product of East Cleveland (Ohio) Shaw had his position coach gushing about his potential.
"You don't see many guys who can drop their hips and change direction like that," he said. "He plays at 6-2. He can run and he doesn't know anything about the game yet. He's learning the game but he's going to be phenomenal. I love him.
"He's a long ways away in terms of learning the game, but physical ability? When he learns it all, wow."
Asked if Williams will redshirt while his mind catches up to the game, the coach said, "Right now we'll see how it develops."
In addition, Hazell said he has been in periodic contact with Duron Carter, who transferred to community college after his freshman season with the Buckeyes but is hoping to rejoin the team at a later date.
"We've had some communication," the coach said. "He's called a few times. He's doing well. We'll take inventory on that after a couple months have passed and see where he is."
Tressel Dancer – During Monday's interviews, a number of players were asked what Tressel is like away from the spotlight. Most of the answers were of the "what you see is what you get" variety, but senior offensive lineman Bryant Browning offered one unique nugget.
Apparently, Tressel let his hair down a bit and showed off some dance moves before games last season. Asked to describe it, the team captain said, "I guess he's smooth and can rock to the beat.
However, he added, "He's no Michael Jackson."