Three big things: Bucks hit double digits

August, 13, 2012
8/13/12
5:49
PM ET
Checking in on some notable developments during training camp for Ohio State, which hit its 10th practice on Monday with a two-a-day session.

ON THE MOVE: No matter what position he is listed at when the season opens, Jake Stoneburner was going to see plenty of passes.

The senior also figured to be lining up all over the field as Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer tries to generate mismatches in personnel.

But Meyer's move to officially designate Stoneburner a receiver could be meaningful for a handful of reasons as Ohio State tinkers with the spread offense and the weapons on hand.

First, it shows continued confidence in Stoneburner that he's got the physical tools to play all over the field and handle all the different responsibilities that come with playing on the perimeter. In the open workouts last week, Stoneburner hooked up with Braxton Miller twice for big gains deep down the field along with a knack for finding open space when his quarterback scrambled.

The receiving corps has earned praise for its progress since camp opened, with Devin Smith, Corey "Philly" Brown and Evan Spencer drawing regular mention from Meyer so far. But that has been a position of emphasis dating back to spring for Meyer, and if the depth perhaps still wasn't where the Buckeyes wanted it, Stoneburner gave them an easy fix for that.

But perhaps most important, the swap suggests Meyer has enough confidence in Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett to carry the load at tight end this fall. Vannett, in particular, hadn't done much to impress the coaching staff during spring and was rarely mentioned as a contributor, but that certainly appears to have changed over the summer and during the early part of camp for the redshirt freshman.

FRESH FACES: Not all the black stripes have been removed on the defensive line yet, but no matter what's on the headgear, the freshmen look like they belong.

Even on a unit that could be among the most elite in the nation.

During the two open workouts, Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Se'Von Pittman all flashed their athleticism and appeared physically ready for life in the Big Ten -- even before putting on pads.

The problem for the coaching staff could be finding playing time for so many guys up front, because there are talented veterans at every spot that could stand in the way of the newcomers this fall. That's certainly an issue the Buckeyes don't mind having, of course, but it will be interesting to see how the rotation pans out as camp progresses.

Spence's quickness makes him a handful on the edge, though he's got guys like John Simon, Michael Bennett and Steve Miller to contend with now and Nathan Williams at some point soon.

Washington has bulked up to 288 pounds and moved inside, but even there the Buckeyes aren't short of older options in Johnathan Hankins, Garrett Goebel and Joel Hale.

The new kids are going to get some live action, there doesn't appear to be much doubt about that. But the Buckeyes probably won't have to rush it.

STRONG HYDE: The challenge couldn't have been more clear from Meyer.

With or without Jordan Hall at running back, a turning point for Carlos Hyde was coming in the Ohio State backfield.

Early in camp, it appears the junior is heading down the right path.

The true test is coming when the calendar turns and the games start counting, but Hyde's name was the first out of Meyer's mouth as a standout performer in camp. And with the Buckeyes in need of somebody to handle the north-south workload in the rushing game, Hyde could be carving out a role in the offense that wouldn't be affected by the return of Hall in the middle of September.

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter

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