| By Dave Biddle |
Unfortunately for Ohio State, the biggest news to come out of media day on Sunday is that junior offensive lineman Malcolm Pridgeon and sophomore defensive end Darius Slade recently suffered serious injuries.
Pridgeon, a junior college transfer that was expected to compete for the starting right tackle job, will be “out for three months with a knee injury” per OSU head coach Urban Meyer. This means the 6-foot-7, 315-pound Pridgeon could return late in the season, but it’s likely he will end up redshirting this season.
The other major injury from the first week of training camp was Slade’s ruptured Achilles tendon. He will miss the entire 2016 season and you have to wonder if his football career is in jeopardy.
Here are some other notes from the Buckeyes’ media day:
When asked for his biggest concern in terms of depth at any position, Meyer pointed to the offensive line.
Entering camp, he was also concerned about the depth on the defensive line, but through one week of practice Meyer feels good about that unit.
Meyer still has not named a starting running back to replace Ezekiel Elliott. On Sunday, he simply said: “Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel are our top-two backs.” It certainly sounds like the Buckeyes will use running back-by-committee, at least to start the 2016 season. Dontre Wilson, Demario McCall and Antonio Williams will also factor in the mix.
Speaking of Wilson, he will be Ohio State’s primary kickoff and punt returner this season, as Meyer revealed on Sunday. Samuel will also return kicks, while McCall will be in the mix to return kicks and punts. Wilson came to Columbus with an avalanche of hype in 2013 and perhaps he’s ready to live up to the lofty expectations.
At wide receiver, third-year sophomore Noah Brown is expected to be the go-to guy for the Buckeyes. Brown suffered a broken leg in camp last season, but his teammates and coaches can’t talk him up enough thus far through camp. Sixth-year senior Corey Smith – who also redshirted last season due to a broken leg, will be the other starter. Then there is a host of young, talented wideouts battling for spots on the two deep. At media day, Meyer mentioned that true freshman Austin Mack will play right away at WR.
Defensively, Meyer lauded new defensive coordinator Greg Schiano on Sunday and said the defense got the best of the offense in Saturday’s scrimmage. Fourth-year junior defensive tackle Michael Hill is stepping up and appears primed for a big season.
Despite losing Joey Bosa, the Buckeyes are extremely deep at defensive end with starters Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis, plus top backups Nick Bosa, Jalyn Holmes and Jonathon Cooper.
In the secondary, the Buckeyes will be led by fourth-year cornerback Gareon Conley and third-year sophomore safety Malik Hooker. The other starting corner spot is between sophomores Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward, with Lattimore holding an edge thus far in camp. Juniors Damon Webb and Erick Smith are vying for the other starting safety position, with Webb running with the first-team the majority of camp thus far.