Even when he's hitting golf balls or talking about playing in a major charity tournament, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer almost always is thinking football.

Even when he's hitting golf balls or talking about playing in a major charity tournament, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer almost always is thinking football.

Yesterday, Meyer was on a teleconference to promote his appearance in the American Century Championship golf tournament in South Lake Tahoe, Nev., July 20-22.

But there was no escaping thoughts of what the early season absence of versatile running back Jordan Hall - out for at least the next nine weeks after surgery to repair a cut tendon in his right foot - will mean to the Buckeyes' new spread offense.

"I spend almost all my time thinking of that," Meyer said. "I was so excited because I thought Jordan … had an excellent spring practice and had a lot of the skills we look for in that hybrid position. I was really anxious.

"He actually started the mental part of it this summer, where he's studying some plays and working with (quarterback) Braxton Miller. So that (injury) was a shock."

That led Meyer to the primary question heading into the start of preseason camp the first full week of August:

"Who is going to take his place? I don't know; we're not loaded at that spot," Meyer said. "I'm hoping (receiver Corey) Brown can continue to improve. He got banged up in the spring and had some minor injury issues, but he's going to be fine.

"So I don't know. That's one of our dilemmas right now."

As Meyer pointed out, though, there is more to the loss of the senior Hall than just his on-field capabilities. He said he had seen a player who was on the rise off the field, as well.

"It was a tough injury, especially for a guy who has turned the corner academically," Meyer said. "He had a 3.4 GPA last quarter, he had 3.0 our first quarter together, he's on my leadership committee.

"When he cut his foot on a piece of glass, they stitched him up. But then they had to come back because he had cut a tendon, so they had to put him in surgery. That was tough."

Time heals all wounds, however, and "I've been in this long enough (to know) he's a warrior, and he'll come back rather quickly if he can," Meyer said. "We're just moving on."

It's the same for major-college football. It is headed toward its first extended playoff for the national championship in 2014 with the advent of two semifinal games, followed by a title game. Meyer was asked for his reaction.

"I'm excited about it," he said. "I kind of liked the old one, the way it was, but the more I hear about the way (the new one) is going to work within the bowl system - my biggest concern is I still don't know the logistics of it."

Meaning how the semifinal winners will be able to handle a quick turnaround before playing in the national title game.

"How much time will you have to prepare, how much class will you miss, and then for the coaching staffs, that's going to be a tremendous grind - I'm just anxious to see how it all finishes up," Meyer said.

"But I'm excited for college football. I think it's great. The fans wanted it, and we got it."

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports