College football never ends, and during the next few weeks teams will be getting ready for the 2013 season in their spring practice sessions. Here's a look at the Ohio State Buckeyes and what they'll be working on this spring.
|How much better can Braxton Miller get in his second year under Urban Meyer? (USATSI)|
Spring practice begins: March 5
Spring game: April 13
2012 record: 12-0
Returning starters: 13 (nine offense, four defense)
The Least You Should Know About Ohio State This Spring
-- There is an entirely new defensive line. Not a single starter from last year's defensive line returns, as three members graduate and Johnathan Hankins is skipping his senior season to get paid in the NFL. The good news for Ohio State is that it's Ohio State, and there never seems to be a shortage of talent around. The Buckeyes won't have a problem finding bodies to put on the line, but the battles for the spots in practice should be very entertaining.
-- And it's not just the defensive line that needs to be replaced. Ohio State only returns four starters on defense overall, as it has to replace two linebackers and cornerback Travis Howard as well. So there will be competition all over on the defensive side of the ball. The good news is that the one returning linebacker is Ryan Shazier. If you're only going to have one linebacker coming back, having it be Shazier makes life a lot easier.
-- The improvement of Braxton Miller. Considering how well Braxton Miller played last season, it's a scary proposition for the rest of the Big Ten to think that he can get even better, and there are definitely areas for which Braxton to improve. Miller threw for more than 2,000 yards last season and had 15 passing touchdowns, finishing second in the Big Ten in passer efficiency. But he did all of that while completing less than 60 percent of his passes. If Miller can improve his accuracy throwing this season, it's only going to make this Ohio State offense that much tougher to stop.
-- Which back emerges behind Carlos Hyde? Hyde would have finished with over 1,000 yards rushing last year had he not missed two games, and he proved he can carry the load along with Braxton Miller, but Ohio State would be best served with another running back to help carry the load. Which means it'll be interesting to watch guys like Rod Smith and Bri'onte Dunn this spring.
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