1. You again?
Sean Nuernberger was the kicker of record for the 2014 national championship team, but in the past two years while dealing with injuries he gave way to transfers in their last season of eligibility — Jack Willoughby and then Tyler Durbin. Nuernberger faced another challenge this preseason from freshman Blake Haubeil, and that competition might endure. All OSU coaches want from Nuernberger is consistency.
2. Who’s the new punter?
With the four-year run of stellar Australian punter Cameron Johnston done, the job now belongs to redshirt freshman Drue Chrisman, who by all accounts has been strong in the preseason. Chrisman is a conventional punter, though he is said to be capable of punting effectively from the roll-out rugby style Johnston employed. Coaches like that in the arsenal to buy time for coverage. OSU was second nationally in net punting last season (43.14-yard average), and would like to maintain that effectiveness.
3. Many happy returns?
One of the few bright spots in the 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl was the kickoff returns by Parris Campbell. True, he had plenty of chances that night, but coaches like the cut-and-go attitude he brings to the job. They want to improve on kickoff returns, though the Buckeyes were 13th nationally last year (24.36-yard average). What they want from primary punt returners Demario McCall and K.J. Hill, meanwhile, is a sure catch to put the offense in business.