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Ohio State’s Urban Meyer discusses Malik Harrison injury, depth chart updates and more

One of Ohio State’s promising young players will be on the shelf for a while.

After practice Tuesday, Urban Meyer took the podium to speak to the media about the current state of the depth chart ahead of the Spring Game. The head coach is happy with the progress of several different position groups, and is still looking for some young guys to step up and into the fold.

Meyer was asked about the current state of the depth chart and some of the players who are starting to pull away from the rest of the group. He wasted no time before listing off all the notes he had:

  • On the quarterback competition: Meyer confirmed Joe Burrow is ahead, but that Tate Martell had his best day today. He’s happy with the level of competition among the group looking to back up J.T. Barrett, and knows it will bring out the best in them.
  • Running backs: J.K. Dobbins rolled his ankle today, but will be fine and has been having good scrimmages this spring. Antonio Williams has been hurt so far, DeMario McCall is doing well, and Mike Weber is separating himself from the pack. Weber is having an “exceptional spring” and is about where Meyer expects him to be, with the head coach adding, “he is 100% the player he was last year.”
  • Wide receivers: Ben Victor is coming on, but suffered a shoulder injury this week. And Austin Mack has been doing well, but suffered a hamstring injury.
  • Tight ends: Meyer noted that this is the most improved position on the team, specifically pointing out A.J. Alexander, with Luke Farrell coming along nicely and being just a little ahead of Jake Hausmann.
  • Offensive line: Demetrius Knox is running with the 1’s, and Matthew Burrell is the most improved so far this spring. Meyer said he is “pleased with where we’re at” which is a big improvement from the end of last season.
  • Defensive line: The front four are part of the reason this is such a tough position group, with Meyer noting Tyquan Lewis, Nick Bosa, Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard and their combined experience. Dre’Mont Jones is Meyer’s most improved on the line, but has a feeling Tracy Sprinkle will end up being the x-factor this season. Two other players he wishes he had during spring practice are Malik Harrison (shoulder surgery) and Baron Browning, but Meyer noted both are going to play and Harrison will be competing for a starting role.
  • Defensive backs: Damon Webb is having a great spring; his weight is down and he’s made big improvements. Erick Smith is “doing fine; he’s gotta keep coming.” The team will also have four young freshman competing with Damon Arnette and Denzel Ward.
  • Kickers: Blake Haubeil will be here this summer to compete with Sean Nuernberger for the starting job — Meyer made note that the job didn’t belong to anyone right now.

Meyer was asked what he was specifically looking for this spring from his offense. He noted there were three points of emphasis: pass protection, accuracy and cross face (finishing blocks).

Quarterback J.T. Barrett is getting some additional work this offseason on his throwing mechanics. Meyer said it wasn’t a complete overhaul, but there were some issues with accuracy from Barrett the first two seasons — which were notably different than his red-shirt freshman year.

To close, Meyer was asked about recruiting offensive lineman and whether it was safe to say the Buckeyes have missed out on a few. Meyer didn’t hesitate, “yes we have. More than a few.” He went on to say that true freshman shouldn’t be playing at Ohio State, but with injuries and NFL departures, they were in a tough spot, but he was “very disappointed in that. We can’t miss again.”