Dec. 30, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Numerous media opportunities for the Ohio State Buckeyes during Discover Orange Bowl week took place early Monday morning and in and around practice. Defensive coordinator/linebacker's coach Luke Fickell took part in 9 a.m. formal interviews at the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale along with senior SAF C.J. Barnett and DL Michael Bennett, CB Doran Grant, LB Joshua Perry and LB Ryan Shazier, all juniors.
An approximate 40-minute video and photo window was available for the working media at the start of the team's afternoon practice session at Nova Southeastern University. The Buckeyes practiced in partly sunny, warm (77 degrees) and humid (those in the sun were sweating) conditions for just under two hours. Afterward, Coach Urban Meyer, senior LG Andrew Norwell, junior TE Jeff Heuerman, junior WR Devin Smith and co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Ed Warinner met with the media.
Some notes, quotes and thoughts on the day:
- Regarding a replacement for Everett Withers, who is off to coach James Madison after the Orange Bowl, Meyer said "we have to hit a home run."
- Meyer on the defense and Coach Fickell: "I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Luke Fickell. I think he's a very good coach. We're going to get this thing fixed."
- Fickell confirmed a number of notes about the safety position, including: freshman Vonn Bell would start at the nickel position with red-shirt freshman Tyvis Powell moving over to start at safety alongside senior C.J. Barnett.
- Meyer on Bell: "...Vonn Bell is a talented guy [who] is going to play a lot of ball here."
- It was learned that that all-Big Ten cornerback Bradley Roby is rehabilitating a knee injury and that his status is uncertain for the game. (Armani Reeves will step in if Roby is out.)
- Fickle said that middle linebacker Curtis Grant is still limited because of ongoing back issues.
- Regarding Clemson's talented corps of wide receivers, Fickel said "I don't know if we've seen a receiving corps the entire year like [Clemson's]."
- Devin Smith on the state of the team: "Everybody is fired up. We're ready."
- Jeff Heuerman on Braxton Miller: "He's ready. He's a tremendous leader and a unique player."
Former Bucks in attendance: Two former Buckeyes who are members of the Miami Dolphins - WR Brian Hartline and LB Austin Spitler - watched part of practice before departing but choosing to come again "when it isn't so hot out here."
When asked by a bystander if the Dolphins would have made the playoffs with a win yesterday, Hartline managed a smile but said "that's a sore subject around here" and Spitler offered up "thanks for bringing that up."
No food poisoning: About a handful of players along with several members of the team's travel party became ill Sunday night/Monday with flu-like symptoms. The affected players do not include any starters. All who were feeling ill were being isolated from the rest of the team.
Food fun: The Buckeye players will dine Monday evening at Texas de Brazil while the coaches will eat at Joe's Stone Crab. Both restaurants are on South Beach.