As far as public relations go, Urban Meyer's psychology degree is paying off.
More than 3,000 Ohio State students, faculty and staff turned out to watch practice for Meyer's inaugural Saturday at the Shoe event over the weekend (student reports one and two). The rain may have forced things inside to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, but the consolation was entry into one of the holiest of Buckeye sites, a place that only a chosen few ever get to enter.
The masses were treated to a scrimmage that featured the blossoming connection that is Braxton Miller to Devin Smith -- the two combined for a 45-yard touchdown strike and several other completions that moved the chains -- and some nice running out of Bri'onte Dunn, Rod Smith and Carlos Hyde.
Defensively, it was more of the same from the front seven with John Simon destroying the offensive line to the point where the staff had to sideline him for a few plays to allow the offense to get on track.
Delivering on his promise to give the students ownership and access, Meyer and his staff invited fans to get loud, and then move in and encircle kicker Drew Basil. Reminiscent of the time Meyer challenged walk-on Florida kicker Joey Ijjas with a 52-yarder in practice to earn a scholarship, he was ratcheting up the pressure on Basil.
Though Basil's payoff didn't match Ijjas', he was good on four of six kicks (with one Hankins block) and Ohio State's athletic department came away with spring football's best photo.
How's that for ownership and access?
LULZ YOUR SPRING GAME IS THE SUXORZ. While the Buckeyes were practicing in front of 3,000 students, faculty and staff, the Pitt Panthers were kicking off their spring game in front of a crowd that was only slightly larger at 4,607. The university was worried that North Hills High School's Martorelli Stadium wouldn't be large enough, but you tell me.
Buckman was nice enough to compile an attendance list for Saturday's spring games and the good news is that Alabama, always a threat to top Ohio State's national record of 95,722 in attendance for a single spring game, had just 78,526 show up to whatever they call the event in which Nick Saban first begins to think about who will get hurt that season. Other numbers:
LSU - 33,000
Clemson - 28,000
UNC - 17,000
Boise St - 17,123
Missouri - 18,614
Michigan - 25,000
South Carolina - 34,513
Auburn - 43,000
Georgia - 44,000
Texas - 46,000
Oklahoma - 20,000
Florida State - 40,631
USC - 15,515
Stanford - 5,000
Louisville - 15,000
Adorable. Every last one of you.
ETC: Surprise, Bobby Petrino broke protocol when hiring Jessica Dorrell... R.I.P. Dwayne Schintzius... The first billion dollar app... Anyone else surprised to find out that eight states allow you to drink as a passenger in a moving vehicle (or that some Mississippi counties allow you to drive with an open container if < .08... Xzibit approves... Meanwhile in Japan... This cat will be helping OSU DBs with their footwork.