Believe it or not, the questions surrounding the future of head coach Urban Meyer are not the only ones facing this Ohio State football team. On the field, this team will have to replace veteran players, deal with new rule changes, and overcome injuries. With fall camp underway, here are some questions that Ohio State will have to answer before week one.
Addressing the safety position
At Big Ten media day, Urban Meyer said that the second safety position was one of his main areas of concern. The Buckeyes lost two-year starter Damon Webb in the offseason and he is now with the Tennessee Titans.
Now, the Buckeyes have an intense competition at the position. The battle will be between Isaiah Pryor, Jahsen Wint, Amir Riep, Brendon White and Josh Proctor. As of now, it appears Pryor will have the best chance to start, but that can change quickly now that fall camp is underway.
Finding the right combination at the linebacker position
Ohio State is loaded at linebacker this season, the issue is figuring out the best combination to place on the field. To make matters even more complicated, the projected starter at middle linebacker, Tuf Borland, is recovering from an Achilles injury and will most likely miss some games to start the season.
This would open the door for Baron Browning to see the field to begin the season.
As it stands, the Buckeyes will most likely roll with Keandre Jones, Baron Browning and Malik Harrison to start the season. However, Justin Hilliard and Peter Werner will certainly be in the mix for playing time. The Buckeyes have the first two games to mix and match before finally finding the correct combination when they play TCU.
Naming a starter at tight end
The Buckeyes are very talented at this position, but will need a player to step up and replace Marcus Baugh. Luke Farrell has been named to the John Mackey Award watch list and has the best chance to start week one. However, Rashod Berry was solid as the second-string tight end last year catching six passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
The Buckeyes also welcome 5-star tight end Jeremy Ruckert to the team this season. He is expected to see the field in 2018 thanks to the new redshirt rule that allows teams to play a player up to four games without a player losing a year of eligibility. Ruckert may not be ready to start week one, but he is certainly the tight end of the future for the Buckeyes.
Solidifying the kickoff team
In 2018, kickoffs will only present more challenges. Thanks to a new rule, a fair catch on a kickoff received inside the 25-yard line will result in a touchback. Thus, complicating kickoffs in 2018. Luckily for the Buckeyes, the team will have a few weeks to perfect the new kickoff rule.
With 26 days away until the season opener against Oregon State, the Buckeyes will have plenty of time to address these areas on the football field.
The biggest question facing this Ohio State team is will they have Urban Meyer on the sidelines this season?