Preview and postgame sections for the 2009-10 season here.
Not everything on Buckeye Fans Only is posted on Twitter, and vice versa. For the most updated daily news, be sure to follow us here and also on Twitter. Check out our Twitter feed and see our most recent 777 Tweets HERE. Get updates via SMS by texting follow buckeyefansonly to 40404.
The (red) story links, or the 'read more' graphic, will open new (pop-up) windows to the source of the article, audio or video, so you can read/hear/see the rest. If your browser is set to block pop-ups, please set it to always allow them from our site. You will not get any annoying advertising pop-ups, of any kind, generated by this site...ever.
Ohio State football: Sizing up the spring April 29, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - This is what we know about what is going to be different in the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State: The offense is going to be fast-paced and spread out, with a modern twist. And the defense? As Dispatch reporters Tim May and Bill Rabinowitz observed, it was difficult to get a read on what that unit will be like based on last week’s spring game. But, taking in the month of spring drills as a whole:
May: The defense held sway in almost every competition through April, and there were many of them. The Buckeyes have two outstanding cornerbacks in Bradley Roby and Travis Howard, a rising star in safety Christian Bryant, and two celebrated defensive linemen in John Simon and Johnathan Hankins. That is a solid core and then some.
Rabinowitz: Don’t forget linebacker Ryan Shazier, and I’m also intrigued by the growth of Etienne Sabino and Curtis Grant. Sabino looks ready to build off a strong Gator Bowl performance after a so-so regular season. Grant was making strides after an almost-invisible freshman season before a pinched nerve ended his spring. But depth behind those three could be a big issue. Like you, I really like the potential of the defensive line, considering that Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt aren’t even on campus yet. Bottom line: I’ll be surprised if the defense doesn’t take a large leap forward this year.
May: I wasn’t forgetting Shazier; I just wanted to give you a toehold. And I’m likewise intrigued by what the defense can become with the infusion of freshman talent yet to come. Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell has said there won’t be many schematic changes in his regime, and it will be more about putting outstanding athletes on the field and letting them do their thing while being sound as a unit. I was intrigued by one late-spring move, when 370-pound Chris Carter shifted from offensive line to A-gap plugger on the defensive line. He tired in the spring game, but the potential appears to be there.
Rabinowitz: Let’s switch to the offense, which has more questions. The burning issue of the spring was whether the Buckeyes had the receivers to implement Meyer’s spread offense. I don’t think that question has been answered to Meyer’s satisfaction. The player who emerged was Michael Thomas, a pretty polished freshman who caught 12 passes from Braxton Miller last Saturday. Corey Brown got into Meyer’s good graces by the end, and Evan Spencer was off to a strong start before suffering a fractured shoulder. Devin Smith has the tools but isn’t yet a complete receiver.
May: Yes, but Smith did in the spring what he’s done best so far as a college receiver — he caught a touchdown pass. Impressive as the passing game was, though, the offense ran only about 30 percent of its repertoire as the Buckeyes worked to hit receivers on the run. The Smith TD was on a route in which he and another receiver crossed paths and crossed up the coverage. A new day has dawned at OSU in the passing game.
Rabinowitz: What struck me watching the offense was how easy it seemed at times to gain 6 or 7 yards. Miller would take the snap, scan the field and fire a dart to a receiver for a decent gain. Remember how hard it was to pick up easy yards a year ago? Everything felt labored. So if it seems simple to pick up decent yardage, imagine what it’ll be when the playbook is fully open and Meyer has all the personnel pieces in place. Then again, there was that extended period in the first half when five or six straight drives ended in punts. So while you can see the potential, you can also see that the precision is not close to being there consistently.
May: Remember, though, the offense just started working as a unit on this new scheme 15 practices earlier. With that in mind, I thought the show was pretty good, especially with the glimpse it provided to the future. And by plan, there was very little running, and none allowed by Miller, the team’s leading rusher a year ago. Jordan Hall, whom Meyer said will be the Percy Harvin-like player in the offense, couldn’t play because of a foot sprain. As the coach promised, the offense in the fall will be much more balanced than what the spring game offered. Still, I enjoyed the show.
Rabinowitz: No question about that, especially compared to the horror show that was the 2011 offense. The crowd certainly was on board. Having 81,000 fans in iffy weather — I suspect that announced crowd was slightly off — is a testament to how much folks here love their Buckeyes. They erupted when Meyer took the field. They erupted when the Buckeyes did the "circle drill" with the one-on-one hitting. The day almost felt cathartic, which isn’t easy for a spring game. Meyer then sent his team off for the summer by saying it had to have the best offseason in the history of college football. This is a pedal-to-the-metal coach, not that there was much doubt about that.
College Football Live's panel of experts preview Ohio State's upcoming season. Source: ESPN
ESPN analyst Chris Spielman shares his thoughts on Mike Adams, DeVier Posey, Dan Herron, Nate Ebner, the Vikings' draft, Urban Meyer, Ohio State's recruiting and more.
The Circle Drill is a man-on-man drill the Buckeyes usually run before each padded practice. Coach Urban Meyer brought the team together before the spring game and the Ohio Stadium crowd went nuts as several of the team's top players -- including quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton -- participated in the drill. Source: Bucknuts
When asked about the term "Tebowish," which new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer used to describe Simon during spring practice, Simon expresses his gratitude. Then he steers the conversation away from himself like he steers offensive linemen out of his rushing lanes.
Meyer hasn't coached Simon in a game and won't for another four-plus months, but the coach already places the Buckeyes senior defensive end in an exclusive group that includes Meyer's most successful player, former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
"Just to be characterized with someone who has such high integrity, that means a lot to me," Simon recently told ESPN.com. "But really, I'm just coming in here every day and doing the best I can."
Is Simon a Tebow fan?
"Absolutely," he said. "He's a tremendous athlete, tremendous person. So to be compared to someone like that is a great honor. I appreciate what [Meyer] says. But I'm just coming in every day doing what I can to help. It's a team sport."
Simon's selflessness is one of many qualities that has stood out to Meyer since he took the Ohio State job. Every new coach looks for players to rely on, and Simon, who has started the past 26 games and last fall earned third-team AP All-America honors, immediately stepped forward...
Bosa Commits To Buckeyes April 23, 2012 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - Ohio State continues to add highly-rated recruits to their 2013 recruiting class, and Monday saw the Buckeyes land Joey Bosa. The five-star defensive end pledged to the Buckeyes following a weekend appearance at their spring game.
"I have committed to Ohio State," Bosa conformed via text message. "Will be able to talk later today."
The 6-foot-5, 262-pound, Bosa is ranked as the number-two defensive end prospect in America, and increases the star value of Ohio State's 2013 recruiting class.
Joey Bosa #97 Defensive Lineman for St. Thomas Aquinas HS
OSU Lands Big Fish in Bosa April 23, 2012 Source:
Eleven Warriors - Ohio State may have landed their biggest fish thus far in the 2013 recruiting class, as Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas DL Joey Bosa has committed to Ohio State, giving the Buckeyes 12 commits in the class of 2013.
Bosa was long considered to be favoring Alabama, but took a tour to the Midwest last week and "fell in love" with Ohio State while in Columbus. He enjoyed his time in Buckeyeland so much that he decided to make a return trip this week for the Spring Game, where his feelings about the university were made firm and he gave a verbal commitment to Urban Meyer and the OSU coaching staff.
Bosa is regarded as a top two defensive end in the nation and when he gets to campus he will join of the of the coutnry's best units that will include Adolphus Washington, Se'Von Pittman, Tommy Schutt, Noah Spence, and others. Everyone knows Urban Meyer loves winning games in the trenches (see: 2006 National Championship Game) and Bosa just gives the Buckeye head man more bullets in the barrel to use on opposing offenses.
This is a huge commitment for Ohio State as Bosa is one of the nation's premeir players. We will try to catch up with Joey to hear more on his verbal pledge to Ohio State in the coming days.
Meyer Wraps Up Spring Game Source: BuckeyeGrove.com
Scarlet prevails 20-14 in Spring Game April 21, 2012 Source: OSU Official Site - Ohio State's Scarlet team defeated the Gray team, 20-14, Saturday on a nippy, gray afternoon at Ohio Stadium in the 2012 LiFE Sports Spring Game. Braxton Miller threw for 258 yards and Rod Smith capped his 47-yard rushing day with a winning touchdown run from seven yards out.
True freshman receiver Michael Thomas wasted no time in building a nice rapport with Miller as he caught 12 passes for 131 yards. Red-shirt freshman tight end Nick Vannett caught five passes for 52 yards. Miller was 24-of-31 on the day with one pass intercepted by Adam Griffin.
Kenny Guiton completed 17-of-26 passes for 191 yards with a 28-yard touchdown reception to Devin Smith. He threw an interception on the Gray's last drive of the day...Christian Bryant picking the ball off in the red zone with the Scarlet holding on to a 20-14 lead...
Postgame Quotes and more...
Analysis: Rating the spring game April 22, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - Tim May breaks down five major aspects of the game and who he saw as the top player in each:
It was hard to judge, as about three passes were thrown for every running play called. But three of the four touchdowns were runs, and Rod Smith scored the winning TD on a 7-yard run up the middle. The inside zone option showed promise, with Carlos Hyde getting the first Scarlet TD untouched on a 1-yard plunge up the middle. Guiton scored on an option keeper after faking an inside handoff. The team’s No. 1 tailback, senior Jordan Hall, didn’t play because of a foot sprain, and Meyer has big plans for him in multiple roles.
• Player of the match: Smith, who not only had eight carries for 46 yards and that TD, but also didn’t fumble.
Given the lack of run-stuffing chances, it was hard to make a full evaluation. But three TDs came on runs, and on two of them the runner was untouched, raising some concern. The teams also were without the services of top defensive linemen John Simon and Johnathan Hankins, and linebackers Curtis Grant, Josh Perry and Storm Klein, for various reasons. Linebacker Ryan Shazier did pick up where he left off from his improved play at the end of last season, though. Defensive end Michael Bennett was active on the edge, and 370-pound Chris Carter — switched just a week or so ago from the offensive line — showed potential.
• Player of the match: Shazier, because he led the Scarlet with seven tackles, including his stop of freshman Bri’onte Dunn on fourth-and-1 at the Scarlet 14-yard line early in the second half.
For fans of aerial displays, this spring game hit the mark. The two quarterbacks combined to complete 40 of 55 passes for 443 yards (Miller was 24 of 31 for 258; Guiton 16 of 24 for 185), and each threw an interception. And get this: Meyer thought both could have been sharper. He wants Miller to be more accurate. And Guiton’s interception, which came on a fourth-quarter drive that could have given the Gray the lead, was the result of being late, which Meyer said is Guiton’s primary problem. Both worked from four- and five-wide sets most of the day, and threw from the pocket, on the rollout or scrambling, while operating a no-huddle, up-tempo offense. It featured myriad crossing patterns, including the lone TD pass, from Guiton to Devin Smith on a deep route that set Smith free to catch and run.
• Player of the match: Freshman receiver Michael Thomas, who in his Ohio Stadium debut caught 12 passes for 131 yards.
The quarterbacks, especially Miller, were on a tap-sack basis so as to protect them from the defensive mob. The offensive lines on both teams seemed to do an overall good protection job, considering both defenses knew there would be a lot more passes than runs. But keep in mind that Simon, held out after the first series, was at times unblockable this spring. And on Meyer’s orders, the defenses were limited in terms of the blitzes they could use. Yet Christian Bryant still stepped up and made the play of the game, the interception at the 2-yard-line of Guiton’s pass with 2:55 to play.
• Player of the match: Scarlet cornerback Bradley Roby, whose usually tight coverage made passes his direction risky.
There were no kickoffs, so scratch that. As for the punt returns, every punt had to be fair caught by Devin Smith, so scratch that. Punter Ben Buchanan had an afternoon he’d probably rather forget. He pulled duty for both teams, averaging 35.3 yards on three punts for the Gray, and 27.7 on three for the Scarlet. His Scarlet numbers included a 14-yard shank out of his end zone late in the third quarter that set up a go-ahead TD run by Guiton.
• Player of the match: Kicker Drew Basil, who made field goals of 41 and 32 yards for the Scarlet and dazzled the crowd with a 53-yarder that didn’t count after Meyer ordered six straight attempts early in the second quarter.
10 Things We Learned from Meyer’s First Spring Game April 21, 2012 Source: The Ozone - 1. Meyer is a little bit nuts. Before things even officially got started Saturday, Meyer put some of his top players to the test in front of thousands of Ohio State fans. The Buckeyes came together at midfield for what they call the "Circle Drill," which pits two players against each other in a battle of strength…and will. That’s hardly an entirely new concept. The Buckeyes used to have a "Hoot-n-Holler" drill that was somewhat similar, but I’m not sure how many times Jim Tressel ever had his quarterbacks get in the ring like Meyer did Saturday with Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton.
2. Braxton Miller is a little bit good. One of the most interesting aspects of Saturday’s Spring Game was the fact Braxton Miller couldn’t use his legs to make plays. That is hardly unique to these type of scrimmages, but we have seen have much that can mentally change the way a quarterback plays. Much like Terrelle Pryor, Miller’s most dangerous weapon is his legs, but we saw him throw the ball with confidence Saturday.
He went 4-4 on the opening drive before Carlos Hyde walked into the end zone, and Miller connected on his first six passes, and seven of his first eight to start the game. He threw the ball with confidence and he found the open man. Even his interception to Adam Griffin was a ball that got away from him and sailed over the head of tight end Nick Vannett.
3. Playmakers are starting to emerge. At the start of spring, I wasn’t really sure who was going to make plays for this offense in the passing game. Neither was Urban Meyer. No one had more than 14 catches a year ago, which is even worse than it sounds. I thought Jake Stoneburner would be pretty good in this offense, but I wasn’t sure what to make of the guys around him. I’m starting to get sure. I really like what we have seen from guys like Philly Brown and Devin Smith this spring. Meyer seems to falling hard for Jordan Hall, and Carlos Hyde is a guy who could have a big year in Ohio State’s tight zone-read running game. Add in guys like Chris Fields, who actually had a nice day Saturday with five catches for 72 yards, and Mike Thomas, and this team might actually have some guys who can play on offense.
4. Thomas is going to get a chance. It’s the spring game, so let’s keep that in mind when talking about freshman wideout Mike Thomas. He would hardly be the first player to have a monster performance in the spring before fading in the fall. Bam Childress and Taurian Washington co-authored the book on it, but Thomas is going to get a real chance to make an impact. He looks like a kid who has all the tools to play receiver, and they were on display Saturday. Not only did he catch 12 passes for 131 yards, but they were not all easy catches. He does know how to get open, but he also has the ability to go up and get the ball at its highest point. He has developed an obvious relationship with Braxton Miller, and Thomas is a big, quick receiver who could blossom as a freshman at Ohio State. Keep in mind he is actually a year removed from his senior year of high school.
5. This was not the real Urban Meyer offense. Just the fact Meyer planned to throw the ball 75 percent of the time on Saturday meant that we were not going to get a true glimpse of what this offense is going to look like in the fall. Meyer and his offensive staff have emphasized that this is going to be a run-first offense with a lot of power football. We didn’t see much of that Saturday. We also didn’t see much of the perimeter running game, or the quick passing game that Miller has been working on in practice. We didn’t get to see Miller work with Jake Stoneburner or Philly Brown, and of course Jordan Hall was held out with a sprained foot. Things are going to look a lot different in the fall, but it was cool for fans to get a glimpse of some the players who will be on the field this fall, even if they didn’t get to see many of the plays.
6. John Simon is going to have a monster year. Watching John Simon pace up and down the sidelines Saturday was like watching a caged lion at the zoo. The fact Luke Fickell didn’t have to tackle him to keep him off the field is almost a victory in itself. Simon is clearly the best player on this team, and all indications are that he is actually a much better player than he was even last fall. Meyer was asked why Simon didn’t play much in the Spring Game, and his response was that he doesn’t need to. They have also taken that approach on a number of winner-loser days in order to give the offense a chance.
7. The three freshmen LB’s are going to have opportunities in the fall. It was almost crazy to see how little depth Ohio State had at linebacker Saturday. With Curtis Grant and Storm Klein both sidelined by injury, the Buckeyes barely had enough guys to put a defense on the field. They had to move quarterback Ross Oltorik to linebacker just to give them enough bodies. Grant, Ryan Shazier and Etienne Sabino are penciled in to start the season, but it will be interesting to see what happens when the freshmen hit the field in the fall. Luke Roberts is already in the two-deep, but David Perkins, Camren Williams and Jamal Marcus will all have a chance to compete for playing time. It is the one position where Ohio State absolutely cannot afford an injury in the fall unless one or two of those freshmen is ready to play.
8. Meyer is going to embrace Ohio State traditions. And why wouldn’t he? It only makes sense, but it was good to see Meyer singing Carmen Ohio with the players in the south end zone Saturday. He talked about hearing Hang On Sloopy and how he wants to embrace Ohio State traditions. That is music to the ears for Buckeye fans everywhere.
9. Meyer isn’t afraid to put his kicker on the spot. One of the more unique moments in Saturday’s Spring Game was the moment where Meyer stopped practice to put the pressure on kicker Drew Basil in front of 80,000 fans at Ohio Stadium. Basil had nailed a 41-yard field goal in the north end zone when Meyer made him line it up again. Basil connected on the second 41-yard kick, so Meyer moved him back four yards to set up a 45-yard try. Basil had that kick blocked by either Adam Bellamy or Garrett Goebel, so Meyer made him kick it again. Basil came through, hitting a 45-yard field goal, but Meyer wasn’t done with him. He moved it back again, to 53 yards, and after Basil hit monstrous kick from that distance, Meyer made him try a pair from 58 yards. Basil missed both, but it was a great opportunity for him to kick with the pressure on.
10. This spring was a big success for Meyer and his staff. He may never admit it, because Meyer is a perfectionist, but this spring—and off-season really—had to go about as well as he could have hoped. Not only did the players buy in to Mickey Marotti’s off-season workout program, but they were able to pick up enough of the offense in 14 practices to make Saturday’s Spring Game look respectable. They obviously still have a long ways to go, but if Meyer felt confident enough in his running game that he wanted to focus on the passing game, that bodes well for Ohio State. This program will always hang its hat on the running game. They still need some playmakers to emerge, but guys are starting to show some promise, and that’s really all Meyer could have hoped for this spring.
Two-Minute Drill: Inside Ohio State’s Spring Game Locker Room April 21, 2012 Source: The Ozone - Urban Back in the ‘Shoe * Meyer said Kirk Barton had to show him where to go for Carmen Ohio, but it's something he absolutely plans to continue after every game.
* Meyer: "Thanks to the Best Band in the Land. To watch them do Hang on Sloopy was kind of a touching moment, having grown up watching that."
* Meyer: "I'm a big fan of tradition and this is a school where you don’t have to create a whole lot of tradition."
Holding Players Out * Meyer said Jordan Hall had a sprained foot, which they didn't know about until yesterday.
* Meyer also said that Johnathan Hankins had his knee scoped and should be fine, but he wasn't out there today.
* Meyer said John Simon didn't play much today because "he doesn't need to." They know what he can do.
Playmakers Emerging * Meyer said he first saw something special in Mike Thomas during the first scrimmage.
* Meyer said Thomas is the most dedicated WR right now. Always staying after practice to work on hands.
* Braxton Miller said he developed a relationship with Thomas when they played in the Under Armour All-Star game.
* Meyer said his top playmakers of spring (in order): 1. Hall, 2. Stoneburner, 3. Hyde, 4. Philly, 5a. Thomas, 5b. Devin Smith.
* Meyer’s depth chart at RB right now is: 1. Hall, 2. Hyde, 3. Rod Smith, 4. Brionte Dunn.
* Hall is the top candidate to play the hybrid position Percy Harvin made famous at Florida.
* DB Adam Griffin led all players with 9 tackles and a pick in the Spring Game. DB Orhian Johnson and LB Ryan Shazier each had 7.
Grading Braxton * Meyer said he still doesn't know if his team can throw the ball after today's Spring Game.
* Meyer gave Braxton Miller an A for release, B for arm strength and "B or C" for accuracy today, but also admitted he’s a really hard grader.
* Miller said he thought the offense was about 30% of what OSU fans will see in the fall.
* Backup Kenny Guiton said the pace of the spring game was slow compared to what they do in practice.
Ohio State spring game: What to watch for April 20, 2012 Source: Fox Sports Ohio - * The two guys everybody will be watching are new coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Braxton Miller. Meyer brought a new tempo and high standards to his first spring practice, and Ohio State fans can't wait to see what he'll do with Miller in the new spread offense. Fans won't see much Saturday -- quarterbacks won't be "live" and won't run much in the spring game -- but the biggest storyline in a bowl-banned season will be Miller's progression and comfort level as he and Meyer point towards 2013.
* High expectations? Higher than ever -- and that's immediately. Meyer's arrival has not only created a buzz but he embraces the spotlight and expectations and expects his players to do the same. Look for Meyer to go 50 miles per hour during Saturday's game wearing his white pullover. He'll be involved with both teams, and here's a hunch he plays to the crowd a little bit, too.
* Meyer emphasized competition during spring practice, and Saturday's game will be played under game-like conditions. The coaching staff was split and held a player draft earlier this week to select two teams, Scarlet and Gray, for the spring game. Miller is on the Scarlet team coached by offensive coordinator Tom Herman while defensive lineman John Simon is the marquee guy for the Gray team, led by defensive coordinator and last year's head coach, Luke Fickell.
* Defense dominated the early part of spring practice and defense figures to control the spring game as well. Meyer has said he wants to see an emphasis on throwing the ball and Ohio State is still very much a work in progress in that regard. Basically, the Buckeyes are better passing the ball than they were last summer and early in the fall, but not by much. There was tangible progress in every offensive area throughout the spring, though, and the offense you'll see this fall figures to be both more polished and wide-open than the one you'll see Saturday.
* Nobody on that defense has been more dominant than Simon, who became Meyer's favorite player the first time they talked football in early January. The second-most impressive player has been the slimmed down Johnathan Hankins, who will play just inside Simon on the defensive line this fall, but on Saturday, will play on the Scarlet team.
* Because it's Ohio, the forecast is for 50 degrees and rain. It's been sunny and summer-like for almost all of spring practice, so of course it would turn for the worse now. Ohio State's coaching staff has taken to Twitter to encourage fans to pack the stadium, and the university announced 54,000 tickets had been sold by Thursday night. Don't be surprised if the crowd approaches 100,000.
* Meyer's greatest areas of concern throughout the spring have been depth on the offensive line and consistency at wide receiver, and both of those can be tied to the success (or lack thereof) of the passing game. The star of the spring, Jordan Hall, will be on the Gray team Saturday and will line up in the slot, in the backfield and maybe at receiver as well. Tight end Jake Stoneburner, also on the Gray team, spent a lot of time working with the wide receivers this spring. Former tight end Reid Fragel has moved to offensive tackle and should benefit from a spring of trying to block Simon.
* Eventually, you'll see a whole bunch of Stoneburner creating mismatches with linebackers out of the slot, double-reverses to slot players like Hall and Miller getting on the perimeter with the option to keep the ball or pitch it to just about anybody. You'll get a glimpse of what Meyer and Herman want to do, but they'll keep the really wild stuff in their back pockets until the fall.
* There's plenty of returning talent in the secondary, and with a new head coach, Fickell and Mike Vrabel concentrating on the front seven and two new position coaches for the defensive backs, the spring brought a clean slate for players pushing for more playing time. Saturday brings that chance again as C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant are likely to be at least limited by leg injuries. Doran Grant on the Scarlet team and Adam Griffin on the Gray are two looking to seize the moment.
* In all, as many as 20 players could be held out or limited Saturday. That's par for the course after a month of high-tempo practices, and with the real games more than four months away there's little reason to risk anything. Still, Meyer wants his players to experience something as close to a game as possible and wants to see physical play involving his big running backs -- Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith and Brionte Dunn -- against an improving linebacking corps...
Mark Schlabach talks to FB Zach Boren about adjusting to a new offensive scheme. Source: ESPN
What strides has Braxton Miller made in picking up the spread offense?
Rabinowitz: In the original master plan, today would have marked Miller’s debut as the presumed starting quarterback. The timetable was rushed ahead last year after Terrelle Pryor left, and at times Miller was overmatched. But he showed a strong arm, poise and stunning running ability. Now he’ll be playing in a system that’s ideal for him. Today, he’ll be teamed with most of the starting linemen but not most of the top receivers, so this will be an interesting test.
May: Especially since Meyer said the pass-to-run ratio in this game will be about 3 to 1. But the coach called Miller "dude" yesterday when talking to the Ohio high-school football coaches, so it appears he likes the progress.
Will the reconstituted offensive line show the ability to be a cohesive unit?
May: That would be a change I’d make to the format of this "drafted" game, because I’d want my first-team line working together as much as possible. Instead, four of the five starters will be on one team. That said, the linemen seem to be responding to new line coach Ed Warinner’s demand for technique, toughness and driving off the ball when need be, despite the spread look.
Rabinowitz: I’m particularly interested in seeing the right side of the line. You figure Jack Mewhort and Andrew Norwell should be fine at left tackle and guard. Corey Linsley seems to have stepped in nicely at center. Marcus Hall needs to show he can lock down the right guard spot. Reid Fragel was moved from tight end to right tackle. He has the size and athletic ability to handle the position, but he is clearly learning the ropes. Meyer has been pleased with freshman Taylor Decker, who could earn his way into the lineup this fall.
Can anyone catch the ball (other than tight end Jake Stoneburner)?
Rabinowitz: That remains the burning question for Meyer, and this spring hasn’t provided a definitive answer. Evan Spencer got off to a strong start before suffering a broken bone in his shoulder. The other receivers have had their moments, but none has jumped off the page like Meyer wants. We’ve still seen too many drops from these guys. Meyer and coordinator Tom Herman might have to become quite creative this fall if nobody emerges soon.
May: Past catching the ball, the coaches want to see a player turning a slant, a hitch or the like into a big-gainer. Meyer said yesterday that he hasn’t given up on the idea someone can still make that leap, perhaps even today, and he thinks Corey Brown has shown flashes of such potential. Keep an eye on Devin Smith and freshman Michael Thomas, too.
Is Curtis Grant ready to play middle linebacker?
May: Unfortunately, he got a little banged up late in spring drills and might be limited today. But he appeared to go after the opportunity with zeal and trimmed-down quickness. He was the No. 2 overall prospect in the country in 2011 according to one major recruiting service, so his rise was sort of expected.
Rabinowitz: Grant might be the key to the defense. Storm Klein is the other option, but he also has been slowed by injuries and doesn’t have Grant’s natural talent. I’m also curious to see whether Etienne Sabino, who was a force in the Gator Bowl, can be a difference-maker in 2012 after a so-so 2011 regular season. They need veteran leadership there. I have few questions about Ryan Shazier’s ability, especially now that he has added some bulk. Potentially this is a strong unit, but there’s not a lot of depth.
Can Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde be a potent duo at running back, and can Rod Smith or Bri’onte Dunn push them?
Rabinowitz: Hall and Hyde carried the load the first half of last season, when Daniel Herron was suspended. Now they’ll have a chance to do it full time. Both seem invigorated by the prospect. Hall is a good fit for the spread because of his versatility. Hyde has the size and speed to be a force. Smith also has the measurables but needs to prove it on the field. Dunn has shown enough that Meyer believes he’ll see some action this fall.
May: Meyer thinks the running game has come along very well this spring. Fans today probably will have to take his word for it, since the scrimmage will be pass heavy. They also must keep in mind that last year’s leading rusher — Miller — will be off limits to big hits today and a tap will be the tackle, which means he will be compelled to throw.
Is the defensive line potentially dominant?
May: Meyer gushes about John Simon every chance he gets and has praised the rise of Johnathan Hankins. Past that, Michael Bennett has made plenty of plays this spring and now seems a part of the starting front four. From a development standpoint, Steve Miller appears to be buying what defensive line coach Mike Vrabel is selling.
Rabinowitz: I’d add Chase Farris to that list, as well. And keep in mind that three players who are likely to have an impact are not even on campus yet —ends Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington and tackle Tommy Schutt are still in high school, and all are blue-chippers. So by the time the season begins, the rotation ought to be deep. A huge bonus would be the return of defensive end Nathan Williams from microfracture knee surgery, but it’s too early to know about his availability...
Etienne Sabino talks about being the leader of the LBs and how Ohio State is the real Linebacker U. April 19, 2012 Source: ESPN
Team Scarlet Head Coach – Tom Herman
Assistant Coaches – Everett Withers, Mike Vrabel, Tim Hinton
Game Captains – Zach Boren and Jack Mewhort
QBs - Braxton Miller, Justin Siems
OL - Darryl Baldwin, Reid Fragel, Marcus Hall, Eric Kramer, Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort, Tim Trummer
RBs - Carlos Hyde, Rod Smith
FB - Zach Boren
TEs - Jeff Heuerman, Derek Burkholder, Nick Vannett
WRs - Chris Fields, Frank Kangah, Ryan Ross, Evan Spencer, Michael Thomas, Tyrone Williams
DL - Michael Bennett, Logan Beougher, Chase Farris, Joel Hale, Johnathan Hankins, William McCary, J.T. Moore, Se’Von Pittman, Kharim Stephens
LBs - Connor Crowell, Storm Klein, Ryan Shazier, Stewart Smith
DBs - C.J. Barnett, Christian Bryant, Doran Grant, Zach Domicone, Travis Howard, Vincent Petrella, Ron Tanner, Julian Vann, Jamie Wood
K/P - Drew Basil, Kyle Clinton, Kevin Niehoff
LS - Bryce Haynes
Team Gray Head Coach – Luke Fickell
Assistant Coaches – Kerry Coombs, Ed Warinner, Stan Drayton, Zach Smith
Team Captains – Etienne Sabino and John Simon
QBs - Kenny Guiton, Cardale Jones
OL - Ivon Blackman, Brian Bobek, Jacoby Boren, Tommy Brown, Taylor Decker, Andrew Norwell, Ben St. John, Antonio Underwood
RBs - Bri’onte Dunn, Jordan Hall
FB - Adam Homan
TEs - Kyle Schuck, Jake Stoneburner
WRs - Corey Brown, Peter Gwilym, Verlon Reed, Taylor Rice, Devin Smith
DL - Adam Bellamy, Dalton Britt, Chris Carter, Garrett Goebel, Steve Miller, John Simon, Nathan Williams
LBs - Curtis Grant, Ross Oltorik, Joshua Perry, Andy Reed, Luke Roberts, Etienne Sabino
DBs - Corey Brown, Adam Griffin, Orhian Johnson, Tyvis Powell, Bradley Roby, Nick Sarac
K/P - Ben Buchanan, Kyle Clinton, Russell Doup
LS - George Makridis
2012 Spring Football guide including Position-By-Position Update, Defense page 7 Offense pages 8 & 9, and much more Source: OSU Official Site
2012 Spring Game this Saturday April 21st Watch it on the Big Ten Network; 1:30 PM
Listen on 97.1 (FM) The Fan or 971thefan.com
On the web: http://www.btn2go.com/btn2go/
Going to the game...get your tickets:
$7 Advance tickets: Purchase online through OhioStateBuckeyes.com, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000, in person at the Athletics Ticket Office in the Schottenstein Center, at any Ticketmaster location or at central Ohio Donato's restaurant. Ohio State students (with BuckID) and children 6 and under will be admitted free of charge.
$15 Day-of-game ticket sales: Starting at 9:30 a.m., $15 cash only tickets can be purchased at the St. John Arena SE lobby, a booth at the Jesse Owens Plaza, near Gate 7 of Ohio Stadium, the North Rotunda at Ohio Stadium and at a tent near the NE Well at Ohio Stadium.
Parking: All lots, with the exception of West Stadium (passes required) and East Stadium (disability) are open to the public and free of charge.
Urban Meyer talks about the biggest challenge facing Ohio State this spring, expectations for QB Braxton Miller, the defense and addresses claims of preferential treatment and leaving Florida football in disarray. April 18, 2012 Source: ESPN
Urban Meyer's comments after practice on Wednesday (4/18/12) Source: Bucknuts
Ohio State offense modeled after Oregon April 18, 2012 Source: ESPN - Ohio State fans had to figure their football team would look different under first-year coach Urban Meyer this coming season. But Meyer said Wednesday that the Buckeyes will run a no-huddle, hurry-up offense in 2012. Quarterback Braxton Miller said Meyer wants the Ohio State offense to take 80 to 85 snaps per game and play at a much faster pace than the Buckeyes did under former coach Jim Tressel.
"All you've got to do is look at Oregon," Meyer said. "We're committed to it. We're still going to pop a huddle once in a while, but we're committed to it."...
"It's fun," OSU fullback Zach Boren said. "It's all up-tempo stuff and stuff we're not used to doing here."
Miller, a sophomore from Huber Heights, Ohio, ran a spread offense in high school. He said he's comfortable running Meyer's system, after leading the Buckeyes in rushing (715 yards with seven touchdowns) and passing (1,159 yards with 13 touchdowns) as a freshman last season.
"It's very fast," Miller said. "The defense gets really tired. They're always complaining after practice, saying we need to slow it down. I'd compare it to Oregon."
Last season, after losing starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who entered the NFL's supplemental draft, the Buckeyes averaged 107th nationally in total offense (318.1 yards per game), 115th in passing (127 yards) and 81st in scoring (24.4 points). Meyer said he has also installed some triple-option plays for Miller, who can also pass out of the formations.
"I've never run the triple-option until this year," Miller said. "It's neat. There are a lot of things that go into it. I can't wait to run it."...
Buckeyes Land No. 1 Quarterback April 18, 2012 Source: Bucknuts' Dave Biddle, @davebiddle, (Bucknuts freebie: Buckeyes Land Nation's No. 1 QB, JT Barrett) - Urban Meyer and the Ohio State recruiting machine roll on as the country’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback, JT Barrett (Wichita Falls, Texas/Rider), has committed to Ohio State.
"I feel Ohio State is the place for me," Barrett told 247Sports recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton. "And I felt if I would have went somewhere else I would be missing out. So I wanted to be a part of the Buckeye family."
Barrett visited Ohio State near the end of March and came away with a great feeling about the Buckeyes. He told Bucknuts.com that Ohio State, LSU, Texas Tech and Nebraska were his top choices at that time and he would make another trip back to Ohio State, most likely in the summer.
Barrett’s list of scholarship offers included Ohio State, Nebraska, LSU, Texas Tech, Arizona, Illinois, Ole Miss, Baylor, Kansas State and Mississippi State before he selected the Buckeyes.
The 6-foot-2 and 205-pound Barrett completed 102 of 171 passes for 1,605 yards during his junior season. He connected for 14 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Barrett also rushed for 1,521 yards and nine touchdowns.
Barrett is a 4-star prospect in the 247Sports rankings. He is the country’s No. 1 dual threat quarterback, the No. 38 overall prospect and the No. 7 prospect in the state of Texas.
Kurelic’s Comment: Barrett’s decision is a huge one for the Buckeyes. With Braxton Miller just a sophomore, Cardale Jones a freshman, and Barrett headed to Ohio State, the quarterback position looks great for years to come...
Barrett Goes To The Buckeyes April 18, 2012 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - One of the top quarterback prospects in America has committed to Urban Meyer and Ohio State, as Wichita Falls (TX) Rider four-star J.T. Barrett pledged to the Buckeyes Tuesday morning.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound, dual threat athlete is the tenth commitment to Ohio State's 2013 recruiting class.
"I have committed to Ohio State," Barrett stated via text message.
Barrett visited Ohio State last month with his father, and chose the Buckeyes over the likes of Baylor, LSU, Nebraska and others.
"I would describe myself as a quarterback that can throw the football from the pocket, but with the ability to be mobile, in and out of the pocket," Barrett said in March. "I can escape trouble and either run or make plays throwing the ball down the field. I can get better at every part of my game, but I really want to be more consistent."
"I'm working on accuracy with the football the most, but I have a lot of things I still need to work on to be the player I need to be next season," he continued. "Accuracy and where to place the ball on my throws means the most to me."
Barrett is a very consistent and accurate thrower and is also a dual-threat who can pull the ball down and run at anytime. A true leader. He is one of those guys that makes everyone around him better. Because his skills are balanced so equally he is exactly the type of prospect that many offensive coordinators are searching for to run their spread style offenses. He does not have a rocket, but can make throws and has touch on his deep ball. - GP
Defensive Lineman Tracy Sprinkle Commits to OSU April 17, 2012 Source: The Ozone - Sprinkle (6-4 270), a third team All-State selection this past season, is an athletic big man who will probably start out at defensive end, but will likely continue to grow and eventually move down to defensive tackle.
Sprinkle was offered by Ohio State a little over a week ago and didn't need to take too much time to make his decision.
He selected Ohio State over offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Michigan State, Penn State and Purdue. South Carolina and Georgia were also recently close to offering, though that is unlikely to happen now following Sprinkle's commitment.
Considered an under-the-radar recruit because of his lack of camp appearances and video tape, he is rated a three-star recruit by all three recruiting services. Had he been able to participate in more camps, he would have received more offers, but that didn't stop Sprinkle from becoming one of the hottest recruits in the midwest of late.
Over the last six weeks he had picked up offers from Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Louisville and Ohio State. Michigan was also talking to him during this time, but never pulled the trigger on an offer...
A lifelong Buckeye fan, it wouldn't have been completely unexpected if Sprinkle had committed immediately following his offer, but he still wanted to take some time and think it over.
"I didn't want to commit as soon as I got the offer," he told ESPN.com. "I talked to my brothers, family and coaches ... and prayed on it and it came up I wanted to commit to them."...
"I like him because he can play defensive end and even slide inside," said John McCallister, the director of the McCallister Scouting Report, which scouts Ohio High schools for various college football programs. "He plays really hard, he's big and he's strong. He's a really good athlete, but I really like the fact that he plays hard. I know that he's a tough competitor. He's one of the better defensive line guys in the class. He changes direction well and plays pad under pad. His desire to play hard and finish plays can make him special."...
"He got recruited as a pass rusher, but Ohio State projects him as an inside player," Elyria coach Kevin Fell told the Columbus Dispatch. "That may be their new philosophy—taking those athletic guys and moving them inside. I can't say that I'm positive about that. But when they talked to me, a lot of the questions were about whether he can play inside."...
Lewis Neal Is A Buckeye!! April 23, 2012 Source: The Buckeye Battle Cry - And the good news keeps rolling, as North Carolina's Lewis Neal becomes the lucky thirteenth member of the OSU class of 2013.
The 6'3" Neal is projected as a defensive lineman, and plays weakside end at James Hunt HS in Wilson North Carolina. He visited the 'Shoe on Saturday for the spring game...
Neal's offer list is a strong one, particularly given that he is rated as a three star by most of the major recruiting sites. He held offers from Clemson, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, and Purdue.
...you can get a better look at his film- great first reaction and tenacity, although the technique is a bit raw (who's wasn't in high school?).
From what we hear, he's just now coming into his own in terms of his abilities, and is a hard worker both on and off the field.
It will be interesting to see if Ohio State keeps him on the line or bumps him back to linebacker- our recruiting team seems to think that this commitment more than makes up for Courtney Love's decision to head to Nebraska over the weekend.
4-star Anzalone Picks Ohio State April 21, 2012 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - When Wyomissing (Pa.) Area High outside linebacker Alex Anzalone decided to return to Ohio State for the spring game, it made the recruiting world abuzz a commitment was coming.
It was Anzalone’s third trip in the last few months, and it turned out everyone was correct. "Yes, I did," Anzalone confirmed to Scout.com’s Bill Greene.
The four-star Anzalone was one of the most dynamic players in the northeast, and saw his recruitment exploded during the last few months as his offer total topped 30.
Anzalone is one of the top rated outside linebackers in the country this year- a four star recruit on all three major scouting services. It might be easier to list the schools that haven't offered him a scholarship at this point, since his list is a veritable "Who's Who" of BCS powerhouses... A short list: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Penn State, and Souther Cal (offer list).
A 6'3" student athlete, Anzalone played both linebacker and running back for his high school (you can see his athletic ability on display above)...his speed is evident as he pulls away from folks on numerous runs, and he will deliver punishment running the ball equally as easily as he does on D. April 21, 2012 Source: The Buckeye Battle Cry
Anzalone Makes The Call April 21, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors - Ohio State has long been in pursuit of Wyomissing (PA) LB Alex Anzalone and their hard work finally paid off, as one of the nation's top outside linebackers has committed to Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.
A couple of weeks ago Anzalone had told us he had all the information he needed to make a decision and just needed to be sure of that choice. After his third trip in two months to Columbus, this time for the Spring Game, the four-star athlete is now sure of his choice, which is to don the Scarlet and Gray for his college career.
Anzalone becomes the eleventh commit for the Buckeyes in the class of 2013 and adds more depth to a linebacker position that has been a key focus for the new staff since they took over back in November of 2011.
Anzalone commits to Ohio State April 22, 2012 Source: Reading (PA) Eagle - Alex Anzalone called his first meeting with Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer "surreal." Anzalone became one of the most sought after high school football players in the nation this winter when he burst onto the national scene and received more than 30 offers from top programs.
He quickly ended what was about to become a hot recruiting battle by committing to Meyer, who he said was an early favorite.
After his first meeting with the first-year Buckeyes coach, Anzalone posted a photo of himself and Meyer on his Facebook page. That turned out to be telling.
"At some point in the conversation," he told the Reading Eagle in February about his visit to Meyer's Ohio State office, "I didn't even believe I was there. It was surreal."
Meyer quickly showed his admiration for Anzalone, too. On the day he was putting his first Ohio State recruiting class to bed, in early February, Meyer took time to speak to Anzalone on the phone.
It was a special thrill for the Wyomissing junior, who grew up cheering for Tim Tebow and Meyer's national champion Florida Gators. Anzalone's father, Sal, attended the University of Florida...
Ross Tucker, co-founder and CEO of gobigrecruiting.com, called Anzalone's sudden rise to four-star prospect status "remarkable." "He quite literally can go (to play) anywhere he wants in the country," Tucker said earlier this year. "They can see that he could run; they could see his athleticism and how well he moves with the ball. They saw how well he plays in space (in defensive coverage), and that's the name of the game at the college level. That's what they're looking for."...
Drayton Defends Meyer’s Tenure at Florida April 17, 2012 Source: The Ozone - It took exactly three months, and a total of zero games, for Urban Meyer to come under attack as the new head football coach at Ohio State. In fact, it really happened a lot sooner than that. He had barely signed his first recruiting class—one that was started by Jim Tressel, monitored by Luke Fickell and finished by Meyer—when his integrity came under attack from Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema.
Meyer was understandably furious with Bielema’s decision to mention Ohio State’s new coach in the same sentence as NCAA violations, but that was only the beginning. After an apology from Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, who hired Bielema as the school’s defensive coordinator in 2004, it seemed like the issue was settled.
Only it wasn’t.
The Sporting News, which had launched a "three-month investigation" into Meyer’s tenure as the head coach at the University of Florida.
Putting aside the fact a Gators fan living in Orlando conducted the investigation, the story itself focused around Bryan Thomas, a seldom-used safety and special teams player under Meyer who felt he was forced out.
Thomas received a medical hardship in 2009 for chronic knee injuries, but went on to start 23 games for North Alabama. He recently blasted Meyer for losing control of the locker room and running the Florida football program into the ground...
If anyone would know the situation in Gainesville, it’s Drayton. Though he is in his second season with the Buckeyes, Drayton was on Meyer’s staff at Florida for the BCS National Championship win over Ohio State in 2007...
"All I know is he won two national championships down there," Drayton said of Meyer.
"They won the national championship in 2008 with a 100-percent graduation rate. You have guys who are walking around with degrees, guys who are raising families and living in society the right way. I would like to think the program we ran down at Florida had a lot to do with that."
Thomas was the only former UF player quoted on the record in The Sporting News article, but a number of Meyer’s former players have since come forward to defend their coach.
Wide receiver David Nelson insisted he had never heard of the "circle of trust."
Defensive lineman Terron Sanders spent more than 1,600 words defending Meyer as a tough coach, who showed favoritism only to those who earned it by buying into the program and buying into their own academics.
"Urban Meyer didn’t treat us all like dirt and praise our big name players," Sanders wrote.
"We were all equal if we put in the effort to succeed. Coach Meyer never treated a man on his team a certain way unless he was deserving of it...
"Eddie George would have had 2,000 yards in this offense," said OSU running backs coach Stan Drayton, who previously coached the running backs under Meyer for four seasons at Florida. "If he won the Heisman Trophy back in those days, we would have put him in position to win the Heisman Trophy in this offense."...
Drayton said other teams recruit negatively against Meyer's spread, feeding what Drayton believes is a misperception about the role of the running back in this style of offense.
"I guarantee you, it's just a matter of us getting out there and showing what we are capable of doing in this offense," Drayton said. "This is a run-first offense. We run power just like a pro-style offense runs power. We just dress it up a little bit."...
"In the Urban Meyer system, playmakers touch the football. We'll make the system fit the playmakers," Drayton said...
"It takes a while. It's not an easy offense," Drayton said. "It's a complicated offense, and they're still playing the game thinking. That's why they're not playing 100 miles per hour right now."
Drayton said that will come. But will someone get to 1,000 yards?
"A thousand-yard rusher can be in this offense, no question in my mind," Drayton said. "We feel as though we have ballcarriers here, there's no question."...
Football's Gen. Patton wears scarlet and gray April 13, 2012 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - Gotta write and report the same way Urban Meyer runs Ohio State football. Panther quick, leather tough. Don't want a place saved for me in the line for the garden hose.
When Meyer was growing up in Ashtabula as a kid, he probably admired, as Gen. George S. Patton once said, "the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ballplayers, the toughest boxers."...
The Buckeyes are advancing constantly with this guy as coach, and they're not interested in holding onto anything except The Team Up North where it hurts. They're going to hold onto him by the nose, and they're going to kick him in the butt. They're going to kick the hell out of him all the time, and they're going to go through him like crap through a goose.
Wait, wait. How did the "Patton" speech, the one George C. Scott made while standing in front of the big American flag in the movie, sneak in here? It's just football, isn't it?
Except it's never "just" football at Ohio State.
This is what Buckeye fans wanted, right? SEC hustle in the Big Ten? No gentlemen's agreements on recruiting. Relentless aggression. Big, big, bigger than the Big Ten championships. Scrupulous attention to the letter of the law, if not exactly to the spirit...
Meyer recruits the way his teams played at Florida, Utah and Bowling Green -- fast and hard, like a hummingbird with its tail feathers on fire, until the last whistle of the last game, until the last five-star prospect has signed on the last dotted line. After being hired, he signed a national top-five recruiting class in two months at Ohio State. He probably wondered why it took so long.
With all the empha- . . . kill it, kill it. The word's too long. They're in a big hurry down in Columbus.
Make it: With all the stress on The Team Up North, with tapes of a century's worth of The Game playing all the time in the Ohio State locker room, my God, I actually pity those poor guys the Buckeyes are going up against.
"The Team Up North," just that term, is red meat to the fan base. That's Woody stuff. Like Jim Tressel before him, Meyer saw no reason to run from the legend of Woody Hayes, but instead he embraces it. There's not enough Horseshoe to contain Meyer. It'll be Woody's dominance without the crewcuts and the high tops. Call it 30 yards and a cloud of dust. More space than on the lone prairie. Muscle that you'll see in bench presses after his conditioning guru finishes turning these boys into fanatics...
Playmakers Starting to Emerge in Meyer's Offense? April 13, 2012 Source: The Ozone - Urban Meyer began his first spring in Columbus with one lingering, almost nauseating, question in the back of his mind. Who is going to get the football in 2012?...
He and offensive coordinator Tom Herman also had to implement an entirely new offensive system. None of that kept Meyer up at night as he prepared for his first spring as the CEO and commander in chief of Buckeye Nation—something the 47-year old coach has been a part of since his days growing up in Ashtabula.
So what was it that had Meyer shaking his head, even after the Buckeyes had hit the practice field for their first day of spring ball earlier this month?
"No question, offensive skill," Meyer said...
If anything, Meyer was even more dismayed after watching his team practice for the first time this spring, but maybe the Buckeyes are finally starting to turn the corner.
"Jake Stoneburner and Jordan Hall are the two playmakers on offense," Meyer said,
"But that's obviously not near enough."
It may not be enough, but it's a start, and it's two more than Meyer thought he had at this time last week—when no one in a scarlet jersey had done anything to ‘wow' the new head coach during practice...
Practice No. 9: Best session of the spring drills April 11, 2012 Source: OSU Official Site - Practice No. 9 (of 15) is in the rear view mirror as the Ohio State football team spent just over two hours indoors at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Wednesday. No. 9 will be remembered as the best practice of the spring – it was described as "A-1-A" by Coach Urban Meyer – and the day the offense finally topped the defense in the winner/loser competitions.
"Intensity gets an A. Competitiveness gets an A. Coaching gets an A," Meyer said to about 45 assembled members of the media afterward. "That was a ‘ball' practice. The offense won their first scrimmage. They kept winning the third-and-5 plays, but the defense battled back at the end."
The win for the offense was the first after three defeats in a row to the defensive squad.
Urban Meyer meets with the media after Wed's practice, with practice video April 12, 2012 Source: WOSN
Notes from the day Big, 358-pounder Cris Carter practiced on the defensive line today for the first time. Coach Urban Meyer said they didn't know if Carter would stay there, but they wanted to get him some reps on defense this spring and now was a time to move him over. … Meyer said Jacoby Boren, who had shoulder surgery earlier this week, had positioned himself at No. 2 on the depth chart at center. He said the hope is for Boren to be back and ready to go by the end of fall camp. … Carlos Hyde, who caught and ran for a long touchdown at the end of a Braxton Miller scramble, had an excellent practice today, according to Meyer. … Coaches moved practices indoor today to get out of the wind and give the passing game a better chance at experiencing success. … Meyer said coaches had hoped to get freshman DT Se'Von Pittman (knee sprain) back by next week but it now seems doubtful.
And a few seasonal notes of interest from the nine practices so far reveal:
The first-team offensive line has consistently been LT Jack Mewhort, LG Andrew Norwell, C Corey Linsley, RG Marcus Hall and RT Reid Fragel with true freshman Taylor Decker also getting work at RT. Fragel is the only senior of the group.
Senior John Simon and junior Johnathan Hankins have led a hard-working defensive line that also includes senior Garrett Goebel and sophomore Michael Bennett among the "ones." Adam Bellamy, J.T. Moore, Steve Miller, Joel Hale and Chase Farris continue to get significant reps at one of the deepest positions on the roster.
Judging by the number of times Simon gets pulled out of a last part of a scrimmage or drill, his effort and play seem quite unstoppable and unblockable...
"A warhorse; he is Ohio State football. He is ‘Tebowish' in terms of his commitment." - Urban Meyer about John Simon.
Ohio State defensive linemen Michael Bennett (63) and John Simon (54) got into the backfield as the first-team defensive line worked against the first-team offensive line at practice on Wednesday, April 11. Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
Garrett Goebel and Michael Bennett Source: The Ozone
Freshman Jacoby Boren's strong spring practice was cut short because of surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn labrum he suffered in last fall's state championship game for Pickerington Central.
"He was going to play this year and put it off until after the Michigan game and get surgery on it," said his brother, fullback Zach Boren. "But he was doing so well, the coaches wanted him to get it done now so he'd be ready for camp."
Meyer said he hopes to have Boren back by the end of camp, but acknowledged "that's a big surgery."
He gushed about the younger Boren's development.
"He's leaving practice as our backup center (behind Corey Linsley)," Meyer said. "What a tough nut that guy is."
Meyer said freshman defensive lineman Se'Von Pittman would probably miss the rest of spring practice because of a sprained knee. Safety C.J. Barnett left practice because of what Meyer described as a leg muscle injury that did not appear serious. Receiver Evan Spencer didn't practice and had a sling on his arm. April 12, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch
It was only two months ago that Ohio State's director of athletics was defending Meyer's recruiting tactics against allegations from Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema.
Now Smith felt the need to defend Meyer from accusations made in a recent Sporting News article that questioned the way Meyer ran his program at Florida and whether he tried to sabotage the Gators in their recruitment of wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
"Since his arrival, Coach Meyer has demonstrated the values that are essential to his role as educator and coach within our athletics program," Smith said in a statement Wednesday evening.
"He has fostered the strong compliance culture that we expect and I have been pleased with his commitment to academics and personal development of our student athletes."
Meyer addressed the allegations made in the Sporting News article during his appearance on the BIG Spring Football Teleconference on Wednesday , saying there was no NCAA violation committed by his staff in the recruitment of Kyle Dodson, or any other player.
"Any time you mention the NCAA…there is no violation," Meyer said again.
"I'm going to say this really clear there is no violation. I'm not sure why that keeps coming up. So bold that for me and underline it. There is not one turned in (to the NCAA), and there's a pretty good track record there as far as compliance with the NCAA."
The controversy surrounding Meyer arose in February after Ohio State signed a number of players who had previously been committed elsewhere. That included a handful of Penn State verbal commitments, along with defensive end Se'Von Pittman—who had been committed to Michigan State—and Dodson.
The offensive tackle out of Cleveland Heights was verbally pledged to play for Bielema in Madison before Meyer took the job. Bielema took acceptation to Meyer's tactics, possibly going as far as to accuse him of violating NCAA rules by intentionally "unintentionally" bumping into Dodson during a recruiting dead period.
Meyer echoed his earlier sentiments following practice Wednesday, saying he was trying to stay focused on his current team while having to worry about allegations that seem to have popped out of nowhere this spring.
"Was there some scandal going on," Meyer asked rhetorically.
"I don't understand. I'm going to stay away from all that."
Meyer is in his first spring at Ohio State, a school that is all too familiar with scandal following the forced resignation of Jim Tressel almost a year ago. The program is just now getting back on its feet after a 6-7 season under interim head coach Luke Fickell, but Meyer realizes the spotlight comes with the territory in today's world of big-time college football.
"This place is like Florida, like Texas, like USC — you're in a fishbowl," Meyer said.
"You better make sure all your t's are crossed and i's are dotted. We do a pretty good job, and we've always done a pretty good job."
Urban Meyer, and Zach Boren, Big Ten Teleconference April 11, 2012
Baugh Makes Eight April 10, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors - Urban Meyer reeled in the eighth member of the 2013 class with today's commitment from Riverside (CA) John W North High School tight end Marcus Baugh.
Baugh, at 6-4/210, fits the mold of a prototypical Meyer tight end, and will be able to exploit his size and speed to create mismatches against coverage as he's shuffled around the line of scrimmage and flexed into the backfield.
A consensus four-star recruit across Rivals (#5 TE), Scout (#7 TE) and 247 (#3 TE), Baugh held offers from Florida, Miami, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA and Washington among other schools as one of the top 10 tight end recruits in the nation.
This commitment was a bit of a surprise, as Baugh has not been on campus yet, but nonethless is a terrific pick up for Urban Meyer. It will be interesting to see how things play out as both Mike Heuerman and Josh McNeil are two outstanding tight ends still on the board with high interest in Ohio State. The Buckeyes were expected to take two tight ends in this class and it will be interesting to see how the staff handles the situation if both Heuerman and McNeil wanted to commit to OSU.
The resume is as complete as it gets: Two BCS National Championships, four conference titles, three conference Coach of the Year awards, one Heisman Trophy, one national Coach of the Year honor and the Sports Illustrated Coach of the Decade (2000-2009). Meyer's success is unquestioned; he wins and he wins big. He built Bowling Green into a conference contender in only two seasons before taking Utah to a BCS bowl in two short years in Salt Lake City. In his second year at Florida, he earned his first BCS Crystal Ball. After a second title with the Chosen One under center, Meyer took a brief respite from the sideline in 2011. He returns to the coaching ranks renewed and reinvigorated — and back in his home state at the Big Ten program with the most natural and financial resources in the league. His ability to recruit was on full display at the close of the 2012 cycle and his offensive game plan is as proven a system as there is in the collegiate playbook. The only crack in his armor is the health concerns — aka his dedication. He coached only six years at what could be considered the second-best job in the nation, won championships, and simply walked away. Other than his long-term commitment, there are not too many better options in America...
Spring drills Day 5 is in the books April 4, 2012 Source: OSU Official Site - Offense rallies late but defense wins the day; Coach Urban Meyer: "This early, the defense better win," Meyer told about 35 assembled members of the media after practice. "They are playing well. The defense has two guys - John Simon and Johnathan Hankins – who are disrupting everything."
Here's video from Ohio State's 5th practice of the spring. These were some of the drills from early in the workout. Source: @LoriSchmidt, 97.1 The Fan sports reporter
* WR Corey "Philly" Brown was working with the first-team. He was in the slot with Devin Smith and Evan Spencer outside.
* WR Chris Fields was in the slot with the second-team with Tyrone Williams and Michael Thomas on the outside.
* Sophomore Michael Bennett took the fourth spot on the first-team defensive line, replacing Adam Bellamy. He played strongside defensive end.
* Sophomore Steve Miller also saw some time with the first team as the backup to John Simon.
* Freshman Jacoby Boren looks to have passed Brian Bobek for the No. 2 center spot behind Corey Linsley, at least for now.
* Freshman Taylor Decker was the No. 2 right tackle Wednesday. Also saw time at left tackle and took one series at right tackle with the first-team offense.
* LB Curtis Grant continues to be the first-team MLB. Storm Klein worked with the second group Wednesday and had a brace on his left knee.
* Simon and Hankins were the most dominant players on the field Wednesday. OSU offensive line couldn't block them.
* Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier both had great days at the linebacker position. Grant seems to be playing at a high level, and Meyer said he isn't thinking as much.
* Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith looked good running the ball, although Smith did have a fumble.
* Best pass-catchers Wednesday were Jake Stoneburner, Evan Spencer and Tyrone Williams. Tight end Nick Vannett also had a nice day.
* Braxton Miller was up and down with his throws. Better with short and intermediate passes, but threw a nice 45-yard touchdown pass to Philly Brown.
* DE Nathan Williams was still working on the side today. Meyer said he will start jogging in June and they "need him" back in the fall.
* DE SeVon Pittman was in a limited yellow jersey and had a brace on his knee during practice. He did not participate Wednesday.
* WR Verlon Reed was in a green jersey, which allowed him to do some things with the receiver, but he did not participate in the team scrimmage.
* CB Travis Howard had his "bell run" and looked disoriented. Had to walk off the practice field and was taken to the locker room.
* RB Jordan Hall also had his "bell rung" but he seemed to be okay. He didn't participate in the scrimmage, but stayed out there and looked fine after practice.
* DT Johnathan Hankins was dinged up on the final play of the scrimmage. He was slow to get up, but walked off under his own power...
Mixed results with new offense April 5, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "We're not where we need to be," Meyer said. "I'm not upset. You just wish we'd grasp it a little faster. It's not at just one position.
"In offensive football, anytime you install or do something new, nine guys do it right and two do it wrong and it looks like the most disgusting thing you've ever seen."
Meyer took some comfort that the offense, after struggling badly in its competition with the defense, rallied late and almost won. Braxton Miller threw a touchdown pass to Corey Brown, but several fumbles more than offset that.
Meyer said he understands that players will blow assignments as they try to learn the new offense. He just doesn't like the way too many of them are tentative.
"I don't care really if you make a mistake," Meyer said. "Just do it full speed. That's my biggest issue right now. The terminology is different. A guy might go the wrong way. But make it going so fast that it's OK."
Almost no position group has escaped a stern critique. Meyer has consistently praised Miller. Asked about him yesterday, he repeated the common refrain that a quarterback gets too much credit or too much blame.
"But he's got to get better," Meyer said.
Meyer said the starting offensive line is merely "adequate," which sounds positively glowing compared to his assessment of the reserves.
Ohio State Spring Football Game TV Info April 4, 2012 Source: Big Ten Network - The Big Ten Network will televise Ohio State's spring football game live at 1:30pm ET on Saturday, April 21. It will also stream live on BTN2Go. Tom Hart and Derek Rackley will call the game and Lisa Byington will report from the sideline. BTN also will have highlights and analysis from that day's Big Ten spring games at 7 p.m. ET on the B1G Tonight Spring Football Edition with Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith.
BTN's spring football coverage also includes the Big Ten Football Report every Tuesday night. BTN will offer a live television or internet broadcast for every Big Ten spring football game or final practice.
BTN2Go is a live 24/7 digital extension of the Big Ten Network that gives fans the ability to watch the network live wherever they are via computer, smartphone or tablet. Full online access to BTN2Go is available to subscribers of participating TV providers at no additional charge. As of March 23, Bright House Networks, Charter, Cox, DIRECTV, Dish, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS offer BTN2Go to their subscribers. For more information, go to BTN2Go.com
"As intense as the offseason conditioning drills have been, the spring drills will be even more intense. There is no on-off switch. Everyone will be going full-go, every play. It is going to be a physical spring with everyone putting everything on the line." - Sr FB Zach Boren.
Buckeyes Grab In-State Safety April 1, 2012 Source: Fox Sports Net - Ohio State added their second commitment of the weekend Sunday evening when Toledo Central Catholic safety Jayme Thompson announced he has pledged to the Buckeyes.
Thompson, 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, committed to West Virginia the day after National Signing Day, but continued to receive offers. He committed to Ohio State this weekend following an unofficial visit to Columbus.
"I have de-committed from West Virginia, and I have committed to Ohio State," Thompson stated. "I made the switch because of the proximity to home, and the convenience for my family in seeing me play, especially my dad."
"I did speak to the West Virginia coaches, and this isn't being done because they aren't a strong program," he added. "I certainly believe they are going to compete for championships there, and they will be great under the current coaching staff. The staff and the fans treated me great at West Virginia, and I have great feelings for that school."
A three-star recruit, Thompson is ranked as the number-29 rated player in Ohio for the 2013 class. He talked about his visit to Ohio State this past weekend, and his eventual decision.
"When we were at practice last Saturday, I loved the way Coach (Everett) Withers coached up the defensive backs," he explained. "He is a very intense coach, and I feel like he is the coach to help me realize my full potential as a player."
"Coach (Urban) Meyer is so passionate, and he wants guys to have fun, but you can tell how serious he is about the game," Thompson added. "I was able to speak to (current commits) Jalin Marshall and Billy Price, and they welcomed me into the class. They made me feel so welcome, that it made the decision very easy. I feel good about my decision, and know it's being done for the right reasons."
Jayme Thompson 2011 Highlights; Free Safety / Kick Return Specialist...Toledo Central Catholic High School
Thompson also had offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska & Missouri and others in addtion to West Virginia.
Four-Star Sunday For Buckeyes April 1, 2012 Source: Fox Sports Net - Ohio State added another highly-rated commit to their 2013 recruiting class Sunday, when St. Louis John Burroughs School tailback Ezekiel Elliott pledged to the Buckeyes. Elliott is the sixth commit for the current Buckeye recruiting class.
The four-star prospect becomes the sixth commit to the 2013 Buckeye recruiting class. Elliott, 6-foot, 195-pounds, is from St. Louis John Burroughs School, and had an impressive offer list, including Notre Dame, Georgia, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, and others.
"I have committed to Ohio State," Elliott stated. "It was the right school for me, both for football and academically. I fell in love on my visit. Coach (Urban) Meyer is a great man, who is going to do great things for the program, and I want to be a part of it."
As a junior, Elliott rushed for over 1,800 yards, had 400 receiving yards, and scored 42 touchdowns. He is currently ranked as the number-nine rated runningback in America.
Elliott had an impressive list of offers and interest from more than a dozen schools including Notre Dame, Wisconsin, UCLA and Penn State. Source: Scout.com
John Burroughs' Elliott commits to Ohio State April 1, 2012 Source: STLToday - ...He carried 211 times for 1,802 yards, an average of 8.5 per carry, and 34 touchdowns. He caught 23 passes for 401 yards and six touchdowns. He had two return touchdowns. He finished with 2,203 total yards and an area-best 42 touchdowns.
Elliott also has impressive bloodlines. His father, Stacy Elliott, was a four-year letter-winner (1989-92) as an outside linebacker at the University of Missouri. His mother, Dawn Huff Elliott, ran track for the Tigers.
He also has an impressive resume on the track after winning the Missouri Class 3 championship in the 110-hurdles as a sophomore and finishing second in the 300-hurdles. At AAU Nationals last summer, he finished first in the 400-hurdles and second in the 110-high hurdles...
ESPN's Chris Spielman interviews Urban Meyer at Spring Practice March 30, 2012 Source: ESPN/YouTube