Ohio State isn't the most talented team in the nation.
In fact, you could make a case that the Buckeyes aren't even in the top five when it comes to talent on paper, what with the departures of defensive linemen Johnathan Hankins and John Simon, outside linebacker Etienne Sabino, tight end Jake Stoneburner and fullback Zach Boren.
Why are the Buckeyes considered national title contenders?
No, not just because of dual-threat sensation Braxton Miller.
Because Urban Meyer is the head coach.
We all know what Meyer is capable of. He not only won two national championships with Florida, he also lifted Ohio State to a perfect 12-0 record in his first year as Buckeyes coach last season.
This year, the task will be even more difficult than last season. To be a true national contender, the Buckeyes will need some freshmen to step up.
Sure, these aren't just any freshmen. Safety Vonn Bell was a 5-star recruit, according to 247Sports.com's composite rankings. Four-star recruits such as cornerback Eli Apple, defensive end Joey Bosa and playmakers Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson figure to make an impact in their first years.
But they are still freshmen.
Particularly in the cases of Marshall and Wilson, Meyer will have to use his magic touch to get the most out of his young talent.
Marshall and Wilson are ideal athletes for Meyer to work with. Given their speed, elusiveness and playmaking ability, they could fit wonderfully into Meyer's spread offense. Memories of Percy Harvin at Florida instantly sprout up in the spring.
A coach's job is to make the most out of his talent. Ohio State's youngsters have great potential, but Meyer will need to put them in the right situations to succeed, like he's done with countless players before, including Miller.
The expectations are extremely high for the Buckeyes in 2013-14. Whether they meet these expectations will depend on how well Meyer can mold his young talent into a cohesive unit.
Of course, Meyer has never shied away from great expectations before.
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