Beginning March 10th, Ohio State will have fifteen spring football practices before the conclusion of spring practice on April 18th in Ohio Stadium. Over the next few weeks, I will rank the top ten questions facing Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff as the Buckeyes retake the football field after concluding the 2014 season as the national champions.
These articles will be submitted from areas of lowest concern to highest concern. While Ohio State returns the overwhelming majority of its 2014 team, and welcomes in a highly-touted recruiting class, it will be important for Coach Meyer to convey to his team that complacency within the player ranks could derail any hopes of the Buckeyes repeating as national champions in 2015.
10. Special Teams
Key Players/Contributors Lost: WR Devin Smith, WR Evan Spencer, DB Ron Tanner, LB Curtis Grant, DB Armani Reeves, DB Devan Bogard.
Special teams will always be an area of emphasis for Coach Meyer. A case in point is how starters have often been used by Coach Meyer on special teams; former Buckeye Devin Smith was often deployed as a “gunner” on special teams under Coach Meyer. Devin Smith’s special teams play was often lauded by Coach Meyer, and may be a boost to Smith as the 2015 NFL Draft approaches.
Unfortunately, Ohio State may be without players such as Ron Tanner, Armani Reeves, and Devan Bogard going forward. Coach Meyer stated on National Signing Day 2015 that all three players may be unable to play anymore due to injuries.
Back to the 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes. How do special teams shape up for Ohio State this spring and into the 2015 season?
Realistically, Ohio State should not miss a beat. Yes, Ohio State is losing some talented players from the special teams units of 2014, but think of the following players who could contribute in 2015 who redshirted in 2014 – Parris Campbell, Sam Hubbard, Kyle Berger, Terry McLaurin, Malik Hooker, Johnnie Dixon, and Marshon Lattimore. That does not even include the players who have enrolled early, such as Jamel Dean or Nick Conner, or the remaining freshmen who will be arriving for fall camp.
Special teams will always be a prime gateway for players to earn playing time under Coach Meyer. With so much returning talent on hand, as well as the influx of new talent arriving, this ranks as the position group of least concern going into spring practice. It will also rank as a position group worthy of notice, as this group may not necessarily be settled well into the 2015 season.