- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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Notes and quotes from Ohio State coach Urban Meyer's press conference on Sunday afternoon during the program's annual Media Day.
STONE TURNED: The depth at tight end might not qualify as a surplus, but it certainly allowed for some flexibility.
And with perhaps a more pressing need at wide receiver, Ohio State is planning to lean on the options in reserve and sending its projected started at tight end elsewhere to lend a set of hands.
The Buckeyes had hinted at a different role for senior Jake Stoneburner during the first week of camp as he lined up all over the field and turned in some big plays deep down the field. And while he'll still line up at times in his more familiar position, Stoneburner is officially listed at a new one.
"He meets with the receivers," Meyer said. "He’ll practice (tight end) at times, because we’ll use him as a surface tight end, but we have two very good tight ends in [Jeff] Heuerman and Nick Vannett, so he’s going to be our [Aaron] Hernandez-type guy, the guy that can do some things."
With Stoneburner off doing those at a different spot, the Buckeyes are apparently going to give Heuerman and Vannett more responsibilities at tight end.
If they weren't able to handle them, Stoneburner might still be playing at a position where he was an honorable mention All-Big Ten performer after nabbing seven touchdowns last season. And Vannett, in particular, has perhaps done the most to help open up the versatility in personnel.
"Nick Vannett is one of the most improved players," Meyer said. "He’s a guy that is going to be right in the middle of this thing, and I didn’t see that at all in the spring. If you noticed, I didn’t even bring his name up because he really was not a functional guy for us.
"I love giving credit where credit is due, and that guy got real busy about studying the playbook and learning the game, and (position coach) Tim Hinton and Nick Vannett have done a nice job."
SECRET IS OUT: Neither of his quarterbacks was previously aware of the formation Meyer scribbled down and currently has tucked away.
Braxton Miller and backup Kenny Guiton should at least know about it now. The next step is for Meyer to let them in on the secret, which he's designed as a way to potentially get them both on the field -- simultaneously.
"I wouldn’t mind coming up with a little package where they’re both on the field at the same time," Meyer said. "Braxton doesn’t know it yet, neither does Kenny, but I have it on a piece of paper. We’ll have that chat, probably pretty soon, and I just want to see if they keep developing.
"If they’re both in our best 11 guys, then it’s our job to get them on the field."
HEAD-TURNERS: Carlos Hyde still has a few weeks of camp to go before he faces the kind of make-or-break test Meyer has suggested is coming his way this fall.
Based on the early returns in practice for the junior running back, the Buckeyes might be able to plan on more swimming than sinking for Hyde as he opens the season as the starter with Jordan Hall on the shelf.
"I think Carlos Hyde is a guy," Meyer said. "I saw it, I call it the Wednesday practice, he had a Wednesday practice in the spring where it was legit, like a legitimate tailback at Ohio State University.
"Unfortunately, he didn’t have a Monday, a Friday or Saturday to follow up the Wednesday practice. I think we’re eight or nine into it, he’s really solid. He’s the one guy on offense."
That improvement is critical for a backfield that is shorthanded at the moment. But on the other side of the ball, the first player Meyer singled out would only add more strength to a unit that is already loaded with talent.
"The guy that has caught me is a guy named Hale, (nose tackle) Joel Hale," Meyer said. "I can’t say he’s an All-Big Ten player yet, but from where he was in the spring to where he is now, you have to give him credit. He came out and worked."
BUMPS AND BRUISES: The Buckeyes got a scare when Evan Spencer bumped knees with a teammate during a drill on Friday and had to be carted off the practice field.
A closer examination revealed only a bruise -- and allowed Meyer to exhale and plan on getting the blossoming wide receiver back either Monday or Tuesday.
Safety Orhian Johnson, who left practice early due to sickness on Friday and was still feeling ill on Saturday, was in good spirits and better shape on Sunday and should be good to go again as camp resumes.
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