Ohio State notes: Jake Stoneburner moved from TE to WR
Sunday, August 12, 2012 8:01 PM
COLUMBUS - Ohio State has a new wide receiver, and the Buckeyes didn't have to look very far to find him.
Senior Jake Stoneburner has been moved from tight end to wide receiver, Coach Urban Meyer confirmed on Sunday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
The move was likely made for a variety of reasons, including the emergence of Nick Vannett and Jeff Heuerman at tight end and the lack of proven playmakers at receiver.
But the biggest reason for the move is the ability of the 6-foot-5, 245-pound product of nearby Dublin.
"We have two very good tight ends in Heuerman and Nick Vannett," Meyer said. "(Stoneburner) is going to be our (Aaron) Hernandez-type guy. The guy that can do some things."
Hernandez starred for Meyer at the University of Florida and has developed into a marquee-type tight end who can split out wide with the New England Patriots.
Stoneburner tied for the team lead in receptions last year with 14, seven of which were touchdowns.
Meyer singled Vannett out as one of the most improved players on offense, perhaps giving OSU some latitude to move Stoneburner.
"He was really not a very functional guy for us (in the spring)," Meyer said.
His emergence, Stoneburner's move and the progression of players such as Corey "Philly" Brown, Evan Spencer and Devin Smith have Meyer thinking more optimistically about the receiving unit - a group Meyer questioned and challenged this past spring.
Meyer also noted the return of Verlon Reed from knee surgery and Michael Thomas' continued progression from a breakout spring game at receiver.
"I'm obviously much more optimistic about them than I was three months ago," Meyer said of the receivers.
How impressed is Meyer with the progression of quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton?
To the point where he could see both of them on the field at the same time.
Meyer likened starter Miller and backup Guiton to "caged tigers." They wear non-contact shirts in practices, and whistles are blown quickly when defenders get near them.
"We'll open that cage on Sept. 1," Meyer said of the season-opener against Miami of Ohio.
Don't be surprised if they are on the field at the same time now and then.
"Braxton doesn't know it yet, neither does Kenny," Meyer said. "But I have it on a piece of paper. We'll have that chat pretty soon.
"If they are both in the best 11, it's our job to get them both on the field."
The Buckeyes are in the teeth of the fall camp schedule. Of the next seven days of workouts, three of them are two-a-days.
"This will make or break us this week," Meyer said in accentuating the importance of the seven-day stretch.
The battle between senior Reid Fragel and freshman Taylor Decker rages on at right tackle. Meyer said the battle is too close to call right now.
"It's not a battle of all-Big Tens yet," Meyer said. "They're trying hard, they're talented guys, they're great people. But our production at right tackle is not where it needs to be right now."
In other position battles:
-- Sophomore Rod Smith and freshman Bri'Onte Dunn are neck-and-neck at the No. 2 spot at running back, behind Carlos Hyde.
-- Sophomore receiver Evan Spencer said he expects to be back at practice Monday after knocking knees with another player late last week and missing practice time.