Meyer, Bennett Talk Spring Football

With fewer than 48 hours to go until their annual spring game, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and Michael Bennett each appeared on the Big Ten teleconference on Thursday. Both player and coach provided updates on the Buckeyes and the enhanced culture inside the walls of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and senior-to-be defensive lineman Michael Bennett each appeared on the Big Ten teleconference on Thursday to provide updates on the Buckeyes heading into Saturday's spring game. What follows is a recap of both Meyer and Bennett's sessions.

Meyer

-Meyer said that it was an obvious decision to enhance the culture within his program when the problems at the end of last season were as obvious as they were. Said three units didn't perform up to the level they needed to and there wasn't a clarity of purpose. Said he's more enhancing the culture than changing it, like some are reporting.

-Meyer said that first down pass defense is drastically improved right now, which was his No. 1 concern this spring.

-Leaving spring, Meyer is most concerned about the offensive line. Said there's only two starters there right now (Taylor Decker, Patrick Elflein). You need five and the Buckeyes aren't there yet.

-Two players who have caught Meyer's eye the most this spring: linebackers Darron Lee and Christopher Worley.

-Meyer said new defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr. is awesome in in-home visits. Said if you recruit the east, you know Larry Johnson and they had head to head battles in the past. Said Mike Vrabel was an excellent recruiter and Johnson has a different approach.

-Meyer has been impressed with Johnson as a position coach too. The DL is constantly moving and that's a credit to Johnson's coaching.

-Meyer said that the skill athletes are who he's most excited to see on Saturday. Wants to see how the young ones one both sides of the ball perform in front of the fans.

-Meyer said that he has a lot of respect for Maryland and Rutgers. Called former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano his "closest friend." Also noted that being on the eastern seaboard is one of the biggest goals of the Big Ten.

-Meyer on recruiting rankings: "We don't choose players based on it." Says he checks it because he's competitive, but was shocked a few of his players this year were three-star players. "There's some guys out there that know what they're doing in recruiting services." Noted five-stars usually have better careers. "Those recruiting analysts aren't bad now, they do a good job."

-Meyer is generally happy with the health of his team exiting spring.

-Meyer seems to like the spring game system. Admitted some guys play who shouldn't be playing, but he hopes to never have to change his system. Said there's great value in playing in front of people.

Bennett

-Bennett said the spring's going well. Really likes the way that the defense has rallied. Says offensive line has improved, but it's a lot of young guys there. Overall, a lot less injuries than he's used to in past springs.

-Bennett said the OL is new, but doing well. They have a lot of growth left before the start of the season.

-Bennett mentioned Antonio Underwood as a player who's improving. Tough player to play against. Also said Darryl Baldwin is turning a corner.

-Bennett doesn't know what the rosters are for the spring game yet. Would like the whole No. 1 defensive line to be together but doesn't know if it will be.

-Bennett said that Curtis Samuel is the No. 1 offensive skill player who's caught his eye. Also mentioned Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott.

-Bennett said Larry Johnson is a genuine guy and they believe in his leadership. Whole DL room as bought in and he's a great teacher.

-"The only real way to condition for football is to play football." Said that Johnson's non-stop movement drills really help prepare for that.

-"You're only as good as your last game and our last two games weren't that great." Said that made it easy to buy into the "culture enhancement."

-Bennett said that while the DL may be the leaders on defense, the secondary has been super impressive and made a lot of plays this spring. Said as a DL, the unit wants to elevate the whole defense and they know the impact they can have on the rest of the team.


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