Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Hill will be suspended for the season opener and possibly “a few games” after that, according to coach Urban Meyer, but he indicated that’s where the depth of the 2017 Buckeyes’ defensive front will come to the fore.

Meyer did not elaborate on Hill’s suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules, but it was not because of academic performance. Headed into his fifth year of eligibility, Hill was among those who received their degrees in Sunday's graduation ceremony.

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His loss for several games will be softened greatly, though, by the return of senior Tracy Sprinkle, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of 2016. Sprinkle, who had won a starting job heading into that game, has been full go in drills this preseason.

“You’ve got Tracy back, and you’ve got Davon Hamilton,” and B.B. Landers and Jashon Cornell, Meyer said of the depth at the defensive-tackle spots. Freshman Haskell Garrett “will play” also, Meyer said.

That’s to go along with the return of the other starter at defensive tackle, Dre’Mont Jones, who has drawn favorable reviews from defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, Meyer and others.

Weber back in lineup

Running back Mike Weber, dealing with a hamstring strain, had been working on the side as the team went through the first seven practices, including Saturday’s scrimmage. But Meyer reported that Weber was back running with the offense Monday, although in a limited fashion.

“He didn’t open it up,” Meyer said, meaning that Weber didn't go full speed. “But he’ll be ready for game one.”

Freshman J.K. Dobbins, meanwhile, apparently made the most of the opportunity to carry more of the load in Weber’s absence.

“He graded a champion today (off his play in the scrimmage); he has the black stripe off” his helmet, Meyer said. That signifies that, as a first-year player, Dobbins is ready to play. “It’s too early to anoint anybody, but he’s one of the freshmen who will play this year,” Meyer said.

He added that Antonio Williams has stepped up in preseason while the team is working Demario McCall at both running back and hybrid back behind projected starter Parris Campbell.

Martell report accurate

Safety Damon Webb praised the play of freshman quarterback Tate Martell after the scrimmage. Meyer indicated Monday that the praise was accurate when asked whether Martell — whose performance in the scrimmage included snapping off a 65-yard run — might be in the running with Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins Jr. for the backup job to J.T. Barrett.

“He's in the fight. How legitimate, it's still early,” Meyer said, even though Martell is expected to be redshirted this season. “He did do very well in the scrimmage the other day. Guys like that have to fight for those reps, and the terms we use around here are game reps and mental reps, and he's really matured.

“He was not very mature in the spring. He took some maturity pills or something, and he has grown up here in the last two months. Really the two weeks have been really impressive, just his professionalism as opposed to ‘don't worry, just play,’ and he's doing a nice job.”