COLUMBUS, Ohio - The first official two-deep chart of the Urban Meyer coaching era at Ohio State was revealed today as Meyer presented it to a room of more than 40 reporters covering the news at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center.
With 18 starters returning from last season including both kickers, there are plenty of familiar names on the two-deep chart, including fourth-year starting fullback Zach Boren and three-year starters Jake Stoneburner (tight end), John Simon (defensive line) and C.J. Barnett (safety).
Some two-deep notes:
The offensive two-deep lists 12 positions to take into consideration the myriad of options Ohio State's spread offense will present with a running back, fullback, tight end and three receivers.
Counting the 11-man defensive look, those 23 positions feature eight seniors, nine juniors and five sophomores.
Defensive end Nathan Williams, receiver Verlon Reed and center Jacoby Boren all appear on the two-deep despite missing all or part of spring drills. Coaches are hopeful all will be ready to help the team this fall.
Only two starters return on the offensive line - Jack Mewhort and Andrew Norwell - with Norwell the only returnee at his 2011 position (left guard). The projected starters do have a combined 32 starts, though, with 13 apiece from Mewhort and Norwell, six from right guard Marcus Hall and nine tight end starts for the converted-to-right-tackle senior Reid Fragel.
Every skill position player on offense is an underclassmen except for Boren and Stoneburner.
Among the specialists, the only change from last year is at holder where Ben Buchanan takes over for the now graduated Derek Erwin. Otherwise, Buchanan returns as punter, Drew Basil will handle kickoffs and placements and George Makridis returns as the long snapper, although Bryce Haynes is listed along with him as the starter there.
And some two-deep quotes from Coach Meyer:
"Corey Linsley was a surprise on offense, but not really a surprise. I just hadn't seen him play. But he is a journeyman-to-starter player. He has the potential to be a very good player. He is a very committed player."
"Michael Bennett was a surprise on defense. He's listed as a backup to Johnathan Hankins but that may not necessarily be the case in the fall. It's hard for me to say that he isn't one of the four best."
Regarding the receivers: "I think we have enough talent there to be functional in the fall."
"Talent will get you seven or eight wins. Discipline gets you to around nine. Leadership is when the magic starts happening."
"I am very much satisfied with our quarterback depth. I like Kenny Guiton. I'm proud to say he is great to be around. He's serious about school and himself. I'm very pleased with his progress and with Braxton Miller's progress."
"Much rides on the leadership of Braxton and Kenny this summer for our passing game to be functional this fall."
"Zach Boren is someone who can wiggle in space. He is much better than I thought. He can catch and carry the football."
Regarding a college football playoff: "I think the ideal setup is what we've had the last decade of football."