First, acknowledge Tyler Moeller's return for what it is: an amazing comeback from a very unfortunate incident.
Doctors have cleared Moeller to return to the football field this fall for Ohio State, barely a year after he underwent surgery to relieve bleeding on his brain. Moeller's football career was in serious jeopardy after he was assaulted in a Florida bar while vacationing with his family. He practiced this spring with the Buckeyes but didn't participate in full contact. After getting the green light from his neurosurgeon and Ohio State's team doctors Wednesday, he's good to go.
It's great to hear Moeller has made a fully recovery, and here's hoping he stays healthy. That's the big picture here.
But we can also acknowledge what Moeller's return could mean for Ohio State's defense. The former reserve linebacker was on track to claim a starting job, most likely as a linebacker/safety hybrid, for the 2009 season. Now he has a chance to help Ohio State at a position of need in 2010.
Ohio State didn't lose a ton from the 2009 team, but the safety spot took a hit as Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell both graduated. Coleman was Ohio State's only consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2009, and Russell started three seasons in the secondary and finished his career with 194 tackles, six interceptions and four forced fumbles.
Moeller provides a veteran presence alongside Jermale Hines at safety, and he also has the versatility to move a little closer to the line of scrimmage. The Buckeyes coaches have liked what they've seen in practice, and though Moeller will have to readjust to full contact and game speed, he should play a valuable role for Ohio State this fall.