April 13, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Spectacular sunshine and warm weather greeted central Ohio once again Friday and the Ohio State football team spent its 10th practice of the 2012 spring season outdoors on both the lush green grass fields and the FieldTurf of the fine Harmon Family Football Park practice facility.
Practicing hard and in the typical up-tempo pace that has been consistent under head coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes were drilled in shorts and helmets - Buckeye gear - for about two hours Friday.
Afterward, new Buckeye cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs and running backs coach Stan Drayton met with the media, as did players Jordan Hall, Doran Grant, Adam Griffin, Travis Howard and Bradley Roby.
Coombs was highly complementary of his cornerbacks.
"I love my guys," he said. "They play hard, are coachable, diligent and have great character. They could be supreme players for the long term...at Ohio State and the future. If they are serious about their craft, the sky is the limit."
Drayton said the competition is open at running back.
"The guys are doing great," Drayton, in his first season as Ohio State running backs coach but in his 15th year overall with the position, said. "We have an open competition going on. I like to prepare three and four guys to be ready and all of our guys are preparing to be game ready."
More good stuff
Some notes and quotes from the interviews and about the interviewees:
- Drayton said Hall has, possibly, the fastest first step he has ever seen and he thinks Braxton Miller may be the fastest guy on the team.
- Hall said playing running back in this offense has been fun. "The offense is a lot more open...designed to get players into space. It's been fun spreading the field vertically and horizontally."
- Hall, a senior, is the most experienced returning running back. He has 817 career rushing yards, a 4.4 yards-per-carry average and five touchdowns. He also has 21 career receptions. He rushed for 408 yards last year.
- The sophomore Roby and the senior Howard were the starting cornerbacks for the Buckeyes last year. Roby started 12 times. Howard 11.
- Roby's nine passes defended in 2011 (six break-ups; three interceptions) were just two off the Big Ten lead.
- Howard has played in 30 career games and has four career INTs.
- Coombs on the strengths of his unit: "They have great experience. They have been well coached. They have played at the highest level and they have confidence. They are students of the game ... and they are working hard to be the best in America."
- Grant played in all 13 games last year as a true freshman.
- Griffin is a third-year sophomore.
- Grant, the youngest of the CB group made available to the media, said all the CBs are good guys. "Travis took me under his wing when I first got here. All these guys are like brothers."
- Howard said the players do hear the vocal Coombs on the field. "You do have to hear him," Howard said. "He is actually loud. He talks trash to the receivers and he does a great job getting us fired up. Then he looks to us to back him up."
A Saturday with the Students: Coach Urban Meyer and his staff will run the players through a two-hour workout Saturday in Ohio Stadium. It will be Meyer's first practice in the famed Horseshoe as head coach. Students, faculty and staff are invited to the 10:45 a.m. practice as special guests of the football program. Students with BuckIDs can tour various parts of the stadium and mingle with the players afterward.