COLUMBUS: Jake Stoneburner arrived at Ohio State as a tall, large wide receiver who was switched to tight end. Now it appears he will leave Ohio State in reverse fashion.
Although Stoneburner still hasn’t been cleared from probation by coach Urban Meyer after an offseason arrest, it’s obvious the 6-foot-5, 245-pound senior, weighs heavily in the Buckeyes’ offensive plans.
“We’ve now officially moved him; he’s now out with the receivers,” Meyer said Sunday.
Meyer said Stoneburner meets with the wide receivers, in part to add some juice to that group, and also because of the play of Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett at tight end.
“He’ll practice at times [as a tight end], but we have two very good tight ends in Heuerman and Vannett,” Meyer said.
Stoneburner, unavailable for comment Sunday, won’t be a deep threat. Meyer compared him to New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who lined up in many places when he played for Meyer at Florida.
“He’s going to be our Hernandez-type guy, a guy that can do some things,” Meyer said.
Quarterbacks still caged
When asked what stood out from the team’s first substantial scrimmage of the preseason Saturday, Meyer’s first response was about the passing skills of Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton.
“I like our quarterbacks,” Meyer said. “Our quarterbacks, on purpose, they’re caged tigers right now. They’ve got quick whistles, they’ve got black shirts on … which means they’re not allowed to be touched. Obviously, in our style of play, that changes the whole game.”
The quarterbacks’ running, on called plays and in improvised situations, is a staple of Meyer’s spread system.
“We open that cage on Sept. 1 [against Miami University],” Meyer said. “Up until then, they won’t be touched. We aren’t calling [plays in practice] with the single-wing runs and things we like to do. Our two quarterbacks are kind of doing what we ask them to do.”
An Ohio State team representative wouldn’t confirm whether defensive lineman Adam Bellamy, who received playing time the past two seasons, has left the team. Expected to be at least in the two-deep rotation this season, Bellamy, a junior from Aurora, has not been with the team for a couple of days, sources said.
Another big lesson
Meyer hasn’t been shy about discipline since becoming Ohio State’s coach, so there have been plenty of learning experiences for the Buckeyes the past few months. But seeing a player with the national stature of 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu kicked off LSU’s team for an undisclosed reason last week was another big lesson, OSU cornerback Travis Howard said.
“It was just unreal, for a guy with that ability and to be in the Heisman race, it was shocking to even hear that,” Howard said.
But the lesson was one Meyer and his staff preach to the players constantly, Howard said. “Basically, you can’t get too comfortable; even if you’re at the top, it’s so easy for you to fall.
“You have to make sure you stay humble, continue to grind and just do the little things right, and think about that ‘10-second decision’ before you do anything. … It will help you prevent a lot of mistakes in life.”