Meyer Talks Spring Game, More

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer had plenty to say Thursday night in his final in-person meeting with the media prior to the 2014 Spring Game Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

The 2014 Spring Game is set for Saturday afternoon at Ohio Stadium, and Urban Meyer gave his final in-person update to the media before the game Thursday evening at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Injuries have been one of the main storylines surrounding the Ohio State football team, but Meyer opened his press conference by looking on the bright side.

"We have had some injuries that set us back a little bit, but the positive is that those are injuries where we're anticipating everybody back for summer training, which is also key," said Meyer, referring to the ailments that have sidelined quarterback Braxton Miller, tight end Jeff Heuerman, wide receiver Jalin Marshall and safety Vonn Bell.

With those players out of action, younger players have had the chance to shine. Several newcomers were described by Meyer as being in the mix for playing time this fall or at least in the rotation at their respective positions.

Early enrolled freshmen Curtis Samuel and Raekwon McMillan were among those named. Samuel impressed Meyer by cracking the rotation at running back, despite being what Meyer thought would be a "wide receiver-slash" guy – a dual threat who can run and catch the football.

"He's legitimate running the ball," Meyer said.

Also gaining praise from Meyer were kicker Sean Nuernberger and receiver Johnnie Dixon, who are battling for playing time. Meyer added that offensive linemen Marcelys Jones and Kyle Trout are "not ready yet."

As for Saturday itself, it might officially be the 12th and final practice of the spring but it is more than that for the coaching staff. Meyer said that the crowd – and he hopes for a large one on a warm spring day – will turn up the intensity. Meyer wants to see players make plays, especially at the wide receiver position.

Expect the Buckeyes to throw the ball.

"I want to see who is going to stand up and go make a play in front of the crowd," Meyer said. "I've had players who are really fast and athletic and have great skill, but they can't get it done when the lights are on. And then I have others that that's when it's their time. I get a lot evaluation (from the spring game). We'll grade the tape. I want to see who's going to make plays."

The spring draft is scheduled for Friday, but the roster could be in flux – especially on the lines. Meyer wants to find a good balance between the teams on the offensive and defensive lines. The head coaches of the Scarlet and Gray squads will be assistant coaches Stan Drayton and Kerry Coombs.

The game will feature 10 minute quarters. There will be no kickoffs and all punts will be fair caught.


• Meyer listed the running back rotation as Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, Samuel and Warren Ball. Smith did not practice on Thursday as he continues to work on his academic responsibilities. Meyer said the same about Jamal Marcus, who has been limited this spring. Neither Buckeye is suspended, however.

• The head coach again called backup quarterback Cardale Jones a completely different player than in previous years. While he is not a finished product yet, Meyer called the Cleveland native "a very functional guy that cares and tries to lead."

"He's 14 going on 22," Meyer said. "I'm really pleased by where he's at right now."

• As for the kicker competition, Meyer gave Kyle Clinton a "little bit of an edge" over Nuernberger.

• Meyer called Nick Vannett one of the most improved players on the team. His emergence could mean Ohio State will feature two tight ends on the field more than four receiver sets.

• Redshirt freshman Chris Worley was nearly the latest to get his black stripe removed from his helmet. He took part in a circle drill, and if he won it would have been removed. He lost.

"We'll see if he can get it off in August," Meyer said.

• The trio of Buckeyes racing OSU students at halftime will be James Clark, Devin Smith and Dontre Wilson.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories