March 28, 2012
Coach Meyer Spring Practice Day 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Exactly 121 days after being named the 24th head coach in the storied history of Ohio State football, coach Urban Meyer took to the practice fields for the first time Wednesday afternoon for the start of the 2012 spring drills.
The time was approximately 3:40 p.m. EDT when he first stepped foot onto the field. And even though it was the indoor practice field of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center instead of outdoors on an otherwise sunny and warm day (it was blow-people-off-the-field windy outside), Meyer liked the feeling of being back in coaching.
“I felt great,” Meyer said afterward. “It was great to blow the whistle and watch the guys run. It was great to coach punting, something I love to do, and to just watch the positions.”
After some early morning rain and mid-morning clouds, the afternoon cleared up nicely and at 1 p.m. there was bright sunshine and temperatures comfortably in the 70s. But wind gusts, reportedly up to 26 miles per hour from the west but what certainly felt like 40 MPH, would not subside and moments before the start of the 4 p.m. practice the decision was made to move practice indoors.
So the best made plans to utilize two fields and lots of sideline control turned into one field with limited movement for those in attendance. Still, the atmosphere was big-time. Consider:
- ESPN was in Columbus to do a series of live reports by former Buckeye great Chris Spielman on Meyer’s first practice after he spent last year recharging and working for ESPN;
- A large media contingent of about 60 writers, columnists, television and radio reporters from across the state and region was on hand to watch and document the proceedings; and
- Sports Illustrated photographer Al Tielemans flew in from the Philadelphia area to shoot photos for an upcoming story in that publication.
Some notes and quotes and thoughts from the day:
- Meyer said sophomore linebacker Curtis Grant “has to develop and he needs to be good.” Grant ran with the first team Wednesday as Storm Klein was limited in his activity.
- Meyer said a lot of people inside and outside of the program have asked him if the quarterbacks can throw and he said “yes they can. They can physically throw and I feel good about both,” in reference to returning starter Braxton Miller and junior Kenny Guiton.
- Meyer said sophomore receiver Devin Smith was “fast … a separator … a speed guy,” and he also said there has to be a “wow” factor from these guys [skill players]. He said schools like Ohio State should have at least two “wow” guys.
- Meyer said the pace and tempo of practice was all right for a first day, but that it will improve as the coaches get more practices behind them. He said the coaches had practice walk-throughs leading up to today and “they did a good job.”
- Meyer said the immediate needs for spring drills was to install the offense and to identify play makers. He said the offense should be installed in five or six practices.
The “number ones”
Meyer said two weeks ago during his spring preview that someone has to step up with the first team initially during spring ball and typically it will be experienced players and upperclassmen. Here’s how the two units looked:
Offense: Jr. Jack Mewhort, Jr. Andrew Norwell, Jr. Corey Linsley, Jr. Marcus Hall and Sr. Reid Fragel were along the line with So. Braxton Miller at quarterback and Sr. TE Jake Stoneburner, Sr. FB Zach Boren, Sr. RB Jordan Hall and receivers Chris Fields (a junior), So. Devin Smith and So. Evan Spencer all taking turns with the top 11, depending on the formation and play.
Defense: Sr. John Simon, Jr. Johnathan Hankins, Sr. Garrett Goebel and Jr. Adam Bellamy were up front and backed by linebackers Sr. Etienne Sabino, So. Ryan Shazier and So. Curtis Grant with So. Bradley Roby, Sr. Travis Howard, Jr. Christian Bryant and Jr. C.J. Barnett in the secondary.
Heard along the sidelines…
“Hank looks great,” in reference to the slimmed-down and impressive looking 317-pound Johnathan Hankins.
“Coach Coombs is intense. He has Taver beat.” New cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs is apparently more intense and outwardly spirited – to more than one eye witness – than Ohio State’s former cornerbacks coach, the intense and outwardly spirited Taver Johnson.
A 20x40-foot tent, positioned along the north end zone of the Harmon Family Football Park, was blown to the grown by the heavy winds around 1:30 p.m. The tent had more than 2,500 pounds of water-filled 55-gallon drums weighing it down, but the wind scoffed and blew it over anyway.
The total number
Four additions to the spring roster on Monday upped the total number of Buckeyes on the spring roster to 95. Scholarship recruits Taylor Decker, Se’Von Pittman and Luke Roberts experienced Day 1 as an Ohio State student earlier this week as did walk-on punter Kevin Niehoff, from Mason (Ohio) High School.
Also this week
The team will practice Friday afternoon in shorts, jerseys and helmets and then on Saturday it will put on the pads for the first full contact hitting of spring.