The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like today’s about Demario McCall? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.
Who's gonna be our punt/kick off returner?!
— TAZ (@Danakin_Earls) July 1, 2018
Even with all the athleticism stockpiled on the Ohio State roster, there’s seemingly just been something missing when it comes to returning both kickoffs and punts. It might be hard to believe, but for all the speedy, elusive weapons the Buckeyes have unleashed under Urban Meyer, the program hasn’t returned a kickoff for a touchdown during his six seasons in charge. How is that even possible?
One solution this year on special teams worth trying is designating one guy to handle those roles on a full-time basis, letting him get all the experience, reps and film study to see what that focus can produce. And there’s no question that Demario McCall is the perfect fit for that position this season.
When it comes to high-end motors, the ability to make would-be tacklers come up with nothing but air and pure confidence, McCall has everything it takes to thrive in the return game.
Now that the redshirt sophomore is healthy after dealing with a lingering issues from a hernia surgery last year, McCall’s talents are begging for the Buckeyes to use them. And the easiest, perhaps most consistent way to tap into his potential would be fielding those punts and kickoffs, which should ensure him work in every game that may or may not be there on offense.
His dynamic performance in the spring game was a reminder of just how hard to defend McCall can be at his best. And that gave the Buckeyes plenty to think about when it comes to figuring out the rotation at wide receiver or H-back. But that’s still going to be a cut-throat competition every week during the season with all of the wideouts back in Zone 6 and both Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill still around to handle the H-back role.
Maybe McCall’s skills will help him pull ahead in that competition. But the safest way for Ohio State to ensure that he sees regular action is to designate him for those roles permanently in the kicking game, and then watch to see what happens. Odds are, McCall would be the perfect pick to break a kickoff streak that has inexplicably lasted for the entire Meyer Era.
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