Curtis Samuel made it sound so simple; Urban Meyer told him to be ready for a huge role in Ohio State's season opener Saturday — and beyond. He expects it to be more than ever before, and Samuel isn't going to blink.
"He just tells me to be ready to be prepared during game day because I'm going to touch the ball a lot," Samuel said Wednesday after practice. "I'm going to be prepared whether I'm catching the ball, running the ball or blocking for teammates.
"I'm definitely going to carry the ball quite a bit this year."
Who knows what the exact number will be and how he will get the football in his hands but we one thing is for sure: It is going to come in waves.
"I think he's going to get his fair share of touches, to be honest with you. You want me to give out the game plan, I'm not going to do that," Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett said Wednesday, smiling. "Curtis, he's going to be around the ball."
That should be good news for Ohio State. Meyer called the junior his team's No. 1 playmaker on offense last week, citing Samuel's versatility both as a receiver and running back.
"I just love his skill set," Meyer said then.
The Buckeyes listed Samuel as a co-starter at two positions Tuesday on their initial depth chart. But Meyer announced that Mike Weber will start at running back Saturday against Bowling Green, so that means we should see Samuel at H for the first snap of the season.
"You saw the OR at receiver and OR at H-back," Samuel said. "I'm going to split my time doing both but no matter what I'm still going to touch the ball."
Samuel said he spends the majority of his time with Zach Smith in the wide receivers meeting room, but still takes backfield reps with Barrett in practice. He missed spring practice as he rehabbed January foot surgery but is full-go now.
If he stays that way, it looks like he will be an essential piece in Ohio State's 2016 offense. And while there isn't a set number in place for times he wants to touch the ball, his role as a featured part of the offense starts against the Falcons at noon Saturday.
"I don't really have one (an ideal number). Wherever I'm needed," Samuel said. "No matter how many times they're going to get me the ball, I'm ready for it."
Added Barrett: "He's very explosive, quick change of direction type of guys. Definitely has breakaway speed as well. If you see the ball in his hands a lot, I'm here to tell you on a Wednesday it's not a shocker."