The Buckeyes held their first spring practice Tuesday and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer addressed the media regarding the embarrassment of riches at the quarterback position, introducing the new coaches to the team’s culture, avoiding complacency and which position groups he will be keeping his eye on most this spring.
- At this early stage, motivation is not the focus of the staff, Meyer said, as the coaches are just working to make sure the team is improving. In regards to battling complacency, Meyer said that Lou Holtz told him that “the morale of a locker room comes not from winning, but from players knowing they’re getting better.”
- Obviously, the quarterback situation was a hot topic on day one of spring practice. Of the three quarterbacks competing for snaps in the fall – Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett – only Jones is fully healthy. Barrett and Miller both dressed for practice Tuesday with Miller tossing gingerly and Barrett slowly going through some footwork drills.
Meyer said that Miller has been down to Birmingham, Alabama, the home base of Dr. James Andrews “at least twice” to work on his rehab. Meyer said that Miller has really taken ownership of the process.
Barrett is “doing a little bit more than I thought he could” at this stage Meyer said.
On the overall quarterback situation Meyer said: “How does it play out? I don’t know. It’s day-to-day and player-by-player.”
- While having three proven quarterbacks would seem to be a good problem to have, Meyer was asked if dealing with those three players would be stressful.
“None for me,” Meyer said. “I think at some point there will be some. There is no stress for me in terms of the functionality of the position.” The reason it is difficult is the personal side of things. It would be easier if he didn’t really like all three guys, Meyer said.
- Meyer was asked directly if he had any conversations with Miller about a potential position change. He hadn’t.
“All our conversations are about health,” Meyer said. “I think he could do whatever – he’s athletic enough to. But I still think he is a quarterback.”
- When asked about a potential position group that Meyer will be keying on this spring the coach immediately mentioned the defensive line.
“I’m very disappointed with the young defensive lineman who we’ve brought in here” in terms of performance, Meyer said. The coach specifically referenced the interior guys like Donovan Munger and Tommy Schutt as players he wants to see step up.
- Meyer welcomes Tony Alford and Tim Beck to the coaching staff this season. He said they both went over the program’s coach’s manual as that is “One area that I am insane about,” Meyer said. He learned that type of dedication to one message and importance of everyone being on the same page from the New England Patriots.
“I also picked their brains about what (their programs) did well” and how that would fit in the Ohio State culture, Meyer said.
- “We had a whole bunch of guys who were real anxious,” Perry said of the first day of practice. “I think we have a good vibe and we’re just trying to carry some momentum.”
- Perry said that the team is battling complacency by acknowledging the doubters. “We know that people are always going to doubt us,” the linebacker said. “That’s going to be a big thing for us, we have a target on our back and know that people are going to doubt us.”
- Asked about the team’s new mantra, The Grind, Perry said that was all coach Meyer and strength coach Mickey Marotti. The emphasis is friction making the team and individuals better.
- On fighting complacency, Decker sad that “you don’t want guys to think they arrived or are entitled to win games.”
- When asked about the one open offensive line position, right tackle, Decker acknowledged that Chase Farris was working with the ones today. “If he wins it, he’ll definitely be deserving,” Decker said of Farris.
Decker also mentioned Jamarco Jones as a guy in the mix at that spot but said he needs to learn to practice consistently.