Urban Meyer is Ready For Some Football

By Kyle Rowland on August 26, 2013 at 5:00p
“I just can't wait to play football." -Urban Meyer

For 27 years, Urban Meyer has prepared for a college football season. Still, he couldn’t hide his excitement on Monday when he previewed No. 2 Ohio State’s opener versus Buffalo.

“I just can't wait to play football,” he said.

Who is on the field remains to be seen – Meyer didn’t reveal a depth chart – but one thing that is known is there will be plenty of freshmen who get their first Buckeye experience. Dontre Wilson, Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa, Michael Hill and Cameron Johnston will all play on Saturday, according to Meyer.

Wilson has been the most talked about freshman to arrive in Columbus since Terrelle Pryor in 2008, and like the former quarterback, Wilson’s athleticism and dynamic playmaking ability is the reason 105,000 scarlet- and gray-clad fans will jump to their feet the first time he touches the ball.

“He’s going to touch the ball,” said offensive coordinator Tom Herman. “We’d be foolish not to have him touch the ball. “

The non-conference schedule will be used to get Wilson up to speed – literally – before unleashing him on the Big Ten. Camp has been used to inundate Wilson with possible plays Meyer and Herman would want to incorporate him into. Now the offensive gurus are paring down the selection.

“This last week will be kind of fine tuning, ‘Here is what you need to be really good at come Saturday against Buffalo,’” Herman said, adding that Wilson will have a package of eight to 10 plays and formations he’s used in. 

Wilson, who is slated to be the primary kick returner, will likely return the first kickoff Ohio State receives. That is, unless he hyperventilates, Meyer said.

An Ohio State spokesman said Meyer declined to release a depth chart because of injury concerns. But when Meyer stepped to the podium he admitted the team was “relatively healthy.” The only possibility of a change is an unexpected happening in practice this week.

One surprise the coaches would welcome is solidifying the depth at linebacker. Ryan Shazier is arguably at the top of the line when it comes to college linebackers. Behind him is nothing more than serviceable backups. Two of them, though, must develop into starters.

If the season began tomorrow Curtis Grant (Mike) and Josh Perry (Sam) would start alongside Shazier. Grant would be in during the nickel defense, which Ohio State plans on using liberally in 2013. Grant has missed a bulk of fall camp due to complications from a concussion, but coaches indicated he’ll be ready Saturday.

One year ago it was the offense that received most of the criticism. Times have changed. Now they receive applause from Meyer. When he rattled off each position Monday, it was followed with “[I] feel very good about it.”

“I just can't wait to play football.” -Urban Meyer

Along the offensive line, depth is the area where camp has yielded the best results. Four of five starters returned and Taylor Decker quickly performed at a high level. The second-string line was mentioned in the same sentence as the linebackers until they earned the coaches trust.

“Offensive line, I feel very good about,” Meyer said. “We’re much deeper.”

Chase Farris, Pat Elflein, Jacoby Boren, Kyle Dodson and Darryl Baldwin have bolstered the second unit with a strong showing during fall camp. Meyer said he’s now comfortable with one of them stopping in if needed.

“Pat Elflein is a great story. What a worker, what a tremendous kid, tremendous family,” Meyer said. “Just tough. I love that group. He's a guy that has really come on. Kyle Dodson has come on. A guy named Darryl Baldwin has come on. Those are all players that a year ago, to think you would ever let them on the field in a situation where it counts, that's not going to happen.

“Darryl Baldwin, he's one of the most improved players on the team. I don't know if I've even mentioned him. What great kid, no maintenance, no nothing, other than just hard working guy that gets great grades and is a wonderful player. Great, great representative of Ohio State.”

Running behind the Buckeyes’ line will be Jordan Hall, Bri’onte Dunn, Warren Ball and Elliott. Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith are suspended, and from Meyer’s tone it sounds like the two backs will have to earn their playing time once they return.

“Jordan Hall is the best running back on our team right now,” Meyer said. “And so he’ll have to lose that spot. I’m talking next week, the week after, whatever. He’s a tailback at Ohio State. He’s earned that right.”

Four receivers have stepped to the front of the line – Philly Brown, Evan Spencer, Devin Smith and Chris Fields – which led Meyer to say they’re “the most improved position on the team.” Battling to be included in the rotation is Michael Thomas, Corey Smith, James Clark and Wilson. Jalin Marshall’s name is not included because he suffered a concussion and fell behind.

With captains set to be announced sometime Monday, leadership again became a popular discussion point. The story of the 2012 Buckeyes has already been told, but the theme is leaders. Meyer called John Simon, Zach Boren and Etienne Sabino among the best group of leaders he’s ever been around, going as far as to say they made an impact on himself as a person and coach.

Their absence leaves a void on a team with national championship aspirations. All great must have leaders, a message Herman confirmed. So far, Ohio State’s 2013 team doesn’t have the same level of personalities the 2012 version had. But there are several players with the same qualities.

“The unique thing about this team is that we have got a lot of guys on the fringe of being great leaders,” Herman said. “They are good leaders. We probably have eight to 12 guys that are there on the fringe, that are right there ready to make that next step into the elite leadership kind of category. But we are not there yet.”

Fear not, the regular season doesn’t begin for five more days.


Comments Show All Comments

OurHonorDefend09's picture

I'm going to run out of walls to run through if the staff continues to feed me any more great pieces today...
Saturday can't come soon enough.

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

BoFuquel's picture

Noon Saturday @ "THE SHOE". I'll be there huffin' and a puffin' for my 64th opener in a row. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

buckeyeEddie27's picture

THAT is impressive.   Congrats and Go Bucks!

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

zenshade's picture

Holy Sh!t Batman.  That is a hundred worlds full of AWESOME!

holtzy's picture

Yea baby!  Bring it on!!!

BCOM's picture

I think this is the only game where I'm excited about a noon kickoff...just so I don't have to wait any longer to watch this team take the field!

Buckeye1004's picture


Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Is Meyer including Hyde, and Smith when he says J.Hall is the best running back?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

osu07asu10's picture

“Jordan Hall is the best running back on our team right now,” Meyer said. “And so he’ll have to lose that spot. I’m talking next week, the week after, whatever. He’s a tailback at Ohio State. He’s earned that right.”

Sounds like it, but he's leaving the door open...

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

InHartWeTrust's picture

Indeed he is.  Some question if it is a motivation tactic for Hyde and Smith, to let them know they won't just fall right back into the top...either way, I say it's good news for OSU fans.

osu07asu10's picture

I think it is two-fold:
1.) It is motivation for Hyde and Smith, but Hall is more than capable at running back and I don't think it is JUST a smoke screen.
2.) The second part is, you have to look at the H-back spot. If Wilson is pushing Hall out of the H-back and we can be more dynamic having Hall and Wilson on the field at the sametime, then that may also play a role

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

avail31678's picture

Agreed - Wilson is part of that equation.

awlinBrutus's picture

Is it 8/31/13 yet?LOL. Thanks for the article. Coach Meyer is just amazing. 4-6 seconds, play like a champion,sounds pretty easy, and "MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS"!!


ToledoMan's picture

I know it's Buffalo, but I can't wait to see the OSU offense.  The group should be crisp this year.  I'm looking forward to see this group embarrass Cal for almost giving me a heart attack last year.

Jurmah12's picture

Hahahha yes^!

"Where the no fly zone at!?"

Mike Thomas - 11/8/2014

BuckeyePride's picture

I am hoping this week will fly bye. Can't wait to tune in and see TBDBITL take the field. Wish I could make it back to old Columbus town....

How Firm Thy Friendship....

cajunbuckeye's picture

I'm ready for football! Besides I'm running out of Mewhort pee wee football videos. Run Jack!

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

osujake9's picture

HAHAHAHA....that poor safety!!

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

He forgot to brake down and bring his feet.

German Buckeye's picture

Beefcake runs a 6.4 40...

Fugelere's picture

LMAO....I guess that's  why some leagues have weight limits for ball carriers.

buckeyedude's picture

LOL. He just leveled that one kid.
It's too bad Urban couldn't use Mewhort in some sort of goal line offense, carrying the ball, a la Refrigerator Perry and the Chicago Bears, circa 1986 NFL Champs.



InHartWeTrust's picture

I'm curious to see if Jalin can make a big push when he gets back to 100% and starts to get regular reps.  Lucky for us, we have enough weapons, even if he doesn't find a way to make up lost ground.

buckeyestu's picture

Myself I anxious to see the defense play, and the aussie punter. Defense and field
position wins championships in my opinion.

JLBNYC's picture

im anxious to see Cameron Johnston as well, but i dont think he will see much action on Saturday!

buckeyedude's picture

I agree, JLBNYC. Maybe Urban will punt on third down(after we're up by 35), just to get Cameron some playing time in a actual game?



vitaminB's picture

Tress, is that you?

KingsRite's picture

Fasten your seatbelts folks. It's going to be one sweet ride!

“I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved. Well-prepared players make plays. I have yet to be in a game where the most prepared team didn't win.” -Urban Meyer-

MN Buckeye's picture

It looks like Urban is confident about the ability at each position with the exception of LB. Now let's see who step up to be the leaders. Or is that legends?

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great stuff, I am so excited for Saturday to get here!  I can't wait!!
Go Bucks!!

Smanpoint10's picture

I am excited to announce I will be going to my first Ohio State football game since I was about 6!! (I am 18 now)

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

I'm so giddy I upvoted all  you clowns!

I like cookies.

pjtobin's picture

I honestly wanted to hear Mike Mitchell's name called out for lb. I think he is a beast. Maybe he will get some clean up time. I hope, because I've never been this excited to see someone in s&g before. It's almost here!!!

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

RedStorm45's picture

Wilson has been the most talked about freshman to arrive in Columbus since Terrelle Pryor in 2008

Braxton (and Curtis Grant), 2011.

Dips's picture

The hype for pryor was much, much larger, in my humble opinion.

vitaminB's picture

Pryor was the #2 overall recruit, and #1 QB.  He was hyped. 

clint5507's picture

Don't forget the way he delayed his decision, bringing as much attention onto him as possible.