COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a 12-day break from practicing while Ohio State students enjoyed spring break, the Ohio State Buckeyes returned to the practice field Tuesday with a session that lasted just over two hours in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
The team members were in full pads for the first time but full contact drills weren’t on the agenda for this third of 15 spring practice sessions. The session opened with the prototypical tough man competition: the circle drill. A half dozen battles ensued along the west 15 yard line in the WHAC with RB Rod Smith tangling with LB Cameron Williams to lead things off and other skirmishes between WR Frank Epitropolis and CB Eli Apple, RB Warren Ball and CB Tyvis Powell, WR Evan Spencer and CB Armani Reeves, DL Adolphus Washington and OT Taylor Decker, and DL Chris Carter and OC Pat Elflein.
After practice, Coach Urban Meyer met with the media for close to 15 minutes. Among his observations and comments were the following.
On what was accomplished today: “Well, I told them I helped them with the excuses. We just got back from spring break and it was our first day in pads. So I helped them before we have to deal with excuses tomorrow. I don’t think it was a great day, but I don’t think it was awful. We aren’t in great shape and we don’t expect them to be in great shape, but it didn’t feel like a Top 5 practice. However, the Thursday before we left may have been the best practice since we have been here.”
On Jordan Hall’s return for a fifth-season: “Where was he going to go…the NFL? There wasn’t a decision to make. He wasn’t healthy enough to return to play last year.”
On what Jordan Hall needs to do this spring: “There are certain things he needs. His toughness I don’t need to see. He’s going to be playing a new position and I don’t need to see him run the inside zone very much because I think we will have him ready for that. He was picking it up so fast and that’s my fault because I saw him lay out for a couple plays and the amount of running compared to a running back that a receiver does, he just wasn’t ready. We should have backed him off a little bit.”
On Braxton Miller: “He looked alright. Execution wasn’t great because the defense was blitzing and we weren’t protecting very well. I saw a kid training to play a quarterback which means staying positive and trying to fix issues as opposed to maybe getting down and throwing the ball on the ground. I was pleased with Braxton and Kenny [Guiton].”
On Carlos Hyde’s day today: “Carlos did well. He’s 3-for-3 in what we call ‘Grade the Day,’ when each one of these kids walk in the meeting rooms they are graded … and I say he is a 3-for-3 so far. There is still competition but if he does what we saw at some points last year, I think he will be as good as any kid the country this fall.”
Several former Buckeyes attended practice, including 2012 senior Garrett Goebel and junior Johnathan Hankins, NFL Buckeyes James Laurinaitis (St. Louis Rams), Malcolm Jenkins (New Orleans Saints) and Bobby Carpenter, and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.
Numbers and Notes…
Sophomore linebacker Joshua Perry was sporting a closely cropped haircut after wearing about six-inch dreadlocks his first year with the program. … Safety Russell Doup has switched jersey numbers to No. 32. … Jordan Hall will be fine, but he was in an orange jersey today with an upper leg issue and thus did not take part in contact drills. … Also still in orange with a muscle/tendon issue was LB Ryan Shazier. … Out of orange and into the fray was WR Corey Brown, the leading receiver last season. … WR Frank Kangah is once again practicing with the team as a walk-on. … That No. 23 that everyone was wondering about during the first practice two weeks ago: Tim Scott, a walk-on kicker from Norton, Ohio. … At its peak, about 45 members of the media were on hand observing practice.
The Rest of the Week
Ohio State will practice on Thursday and again on Saturday. Both practices are closed. Meeting with the media after Thursday’s practice will be the four returning starting offensive linemen (seniors Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Marcus Hall and Andrew Norwell) and their coach, Ed Warinner. Also available Thursday will be defensive line coach Mike Vrabel and three of his charges: juniors Michael Bennett and Joel Hale, and sophomore Noah Spence.