Meyer Talks Position Battles, More

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer met with the media Tuesday night after his Buckeyes returned to the practice fields at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Spring break is over at Ohio State, and Urban Meyer and the football Buckeyes were back on the practice fields Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Meyer discussed several topics during his 10-minute post-practice meeting with the media. The third-year Ohio State head coach said his team had a clean bill of health exiting the break, sans the spring-ending MCL injury suffered by sophomore Vonn Bell. Meyer also discussed his depth chart order at quarterback and running back, naming a No. 1 at one spot but declining to pick a top guy at the other.

At quarterback, Meyer said junior Cardale Jones has been taking the first-team reps and has fared well. Redshirt freshman J.T. Barnett is working behind Jones and had "a better day" on Tuesday after a slugging start to his spring.

Senior standout quarterback Braxton Miller continues to get what Meyer calls mental reps, watching the offense work from a safe distance behind the unit.

Meyer went on to compliment the transformation of Jones, a product of Cleveland Glenville who has seen miniscule minutes during his collegiate career.

"He was a guy that couldn't get out of his own way," Meyer said. "You're starting to see the progress in the classroom. You remember the famous tweet? It's a different guy."

The running back position is not quite as clear. When asked if it was fair to think of sophomore Ezekiel Elliott as at the top of the position's pecking order, Meyer was noncommittal.

"Not yet," Meyer said. "I think maybe from last year he earned it, but Rod Smith is coming really hard and Bri'onte had a good day today. So he's not there yet. He hasn't earned it yet."

Jones was not the only player to earn praise from Meyer. Sophomore Darron Lee was brought up unsolicited and mentioned several times by Meyer as a player having a good spring. Meyer has emphasized wanting his players to emphasize a culture where they go four-to-six seconds on defense with great effort – even if the technique and playbook knowledge is not there yet.

That's exactly what Lee is doing.

"I have no idea what he's doing. He has no idea what he's doing," Meyer said. "But I don't care. I want to make sure that culture is out there. You're not being graded on whether you know what you're doing. What you are being graded on is being a leader.

"As a coach, you want a kid that plays as hard as he possibly can."

Post-Practice Tidbits
- Reporters noted that cornerback Eli Apple did not participate in the first practice of spring, which was open to the media on March 4. Meyer said the redshirt freshman missed time because he had an infection. He was back practicing on Tuesday, however.

- Meyer confirmed that it's likely Ohio State will spend some time this spring preparing for its first game of the 2014 season at Baltimore vs. Navy.

- In looking for a new leader to emerge on the Ohio State offensive line, Meyer said junior Taylor Decker was filling in the role that was previously filled by Jack Mewhort.

- Freshman linebacker Raekwon Miller was again praised by Meyer for his practice efforts. Meyer called the newcomer a mature player that "has an awareness to him."

- Tuesday was Ohio State's first practice in pads.

- Former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano observed Tuesday's practice.

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