Meyer: Health Fine, Buckeyes Adequate on Day 1

By Kyle Rowland on March 4, 2014 at 8:11p

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The retirement party can wait. Candlelight vigils can be put on hold. Urban Meyer isn’t leaving Ohio State.

The Buckeyes’ emperor, who underwent brain surgery over the weekend to remove a headache-inducing cyst, was back on the field Tuesday leading the first day of spring drills. There was Meyer donning a whistle and white Ohio State hat overseeing the secondary, an area of great scorn last season.

The drawback from surgery: doctors ordered Meyer to refrain from yelling.

“I feel great. I feel good, not great,” Meyer said. “I feel good. I’ve had [the cyst] for several years. It’s a cyst that’s surfaced a couple times – once in 1998, once in 2004 and a couple other times. It’s just something you have to manage.”

Meyer’s health has been a topic of conversation since the then-Florida coach took a leave of absence in 2009 for esophageal spasms, which mimic the symptoms of a heart attack. He resigned from Florida following the 2010 season, taking a one-year sabbatical and doing work for ESPN before being named the head coach at Ohio State.  

Since returning to coaching, Meyer has delegated more responsibilities to his assistants and allowed more time with family. Ohio State hosts a family night every Thursday during the season, and Meyer attends his daughters’ volleyball games and son’s football games. He’s also stepped away from work to partake in family vacations during his two seasons in Columbus.  

But Tuesday was about the team, not Meyer’s health. And what he saw was adequate for the first day of spring practice.

“I don’t want a team that’s scared to make mistakes. I don’t want a team that’s thinking. I want a team that goes four to six seconds and put their foot in the ground from Point A to Point B,” Meyer said.


  • At this point, Meyer said he’s not worried about defensive breakdowns or big plays by offense. He simply wants the defense to go hard.
  • Meyer said he felt like Ohio State lost something on defense the past two seasons. He’s never felt comfortable with the unit.  
  • Winter conditioning went great, according to Meyer. He said he wants the Buckeyes to finish better. “I like where we are as a team.”
  • Braxton Miller will miss taking reps this spring, but Meyer said he’ll still be an active participant in the offense. Video study will be daily, too. Ohio State has a device for quarterbacks to wear, so the video can be deciphered afterwards with QBs and coaches. 
  • Miller was in uniform wearing a sling on his throwing arm. He spent the day watching the quarterbacks, conversing with them and Herman.
  • Meyer said he wasn't particularly impressed by Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett. He said he doesn’t know who the backup QB will be.
  • Backup QB play was spotty. Both looked good and bad at times. I thought Barrett was better during live drills. But in passing drills, Jones was much more accurate. Barrett fell victim to the overthrow.
  • Jones did throw one of the best passes of the day, deep down the sideline to Corey Smith. He caught it while be guarded by Gareon Conley, whose coverage was superb. Just outstanding placement by Jones.
  • Meyer: “I want an angry, blue-collar team.” He said Ohio State almost played entitled last season. There wasn’t always that competitive fire. Meyer wants that this season.
  • Darron Lee spent the first day of practice as the first-team WILL linebacker, Ryan Shazier’s former position. Meyer mentioned him by name as someone he was impressed with.
  • Meyer said Lee “earned” his position as first-teamer on the defense. 
  • True freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan is another newcomer Meyer mentioned by name as a positive. Clearly has the body of a college linebacker and quick reaction time on plays. Meyer’s also excited about the play of Kyle Berger.
  • McMillan was never more than a few feet away from Luke Fickell, learning and asking questions while not in drills.
  • On 10-second rule, Meyer said it’s an interesting conversation, but he doesn’t believe rules should be passed without discussing with coaches.
  • Tyvis Powell, Vonn Bell, Doran Grant and Armani Reeves were starters in secondary. Gareon Conley and Cam Burrows also saw time.
  • Jeff Greene was very impressive. Caught some passes that were well covered and also got behind the defense. He abused Gareon Conley on one long throw. Michael Thomas was also good.
  • First Team OL: Taylor Decker, Antonio Underwood, Jacoby Boren, Pat Elflein, Darryl Baldwin
  • Second Team OL: Kyle Dodson, Joel Hale, Billy Price, Tommy Brown, Evan Lisle
  • First Team DL: Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett, Adolphus Washington, Noah Spence.
  • Tyquan Lewis was running with the second-team defensive line, in front of Jamal Marcus. Still, Marcus stood out in his ability to beat the offensive line. Ohio State will need one – or both – of them in the first two games while Spence is suspended.
  • Chris Ash was very active with the secondary. Barking orders, shouting encouragement, etc. Kerry Coombs was also a presence. Another person who took in a considerable amount of the secondary’s work was Meyer.
  • The running backs didn’t really have an order behind starter Ezekiel Elliott. Warren Ball, Rod Smith and Bri’onte Dunn all received carries, as did Dontre Wilson and Curtis Samuel. The last two also caught passes.
  • On one particular play, Wilson beat the entire defense down the middle of the field. He raced untouched to the end zone. It was about 60-70 yards.
  • Sources say Cardale Jones and Trey Johnson haven’t exactly lit the world on fire with their work ethic over the winter.
  • It sounded like Larry Johnson’s tagline was, “It’s a fast pace to be great.”
  • Armani Reeves got called for pass interference on a play where Johnnie Dixon had him beat. Dixon also spent time returning punts.
  • A portion of the practice was spent running the offense in quick succession. They’d run a play, then switch out the offense. It’s meant to get the defense in shape.
  • Gareon Conley and Vonn Bell each suffered minor knee injuries. They both returned.
  • Eli Apple still had his black stripe and did not practice.
  • One bright spot – Marcus Baugh. The troubled tight end was on the field a decent amount and caught one long pass down the seam. The Buckeyes used the tight ends frequently. Nick Vannett also looked solid.
  • An interesting drill the defensive line worked on was recovering fumbles. I’m sure it’s common, but I’ve never seen Ohio State do it.

Here's video of Meyer's post-practice press conference.


Comments Show All Comments

HotSauceCommittee's picture

Not an encouraging note about Apple and his black stripe. Are we sure he didn't have it removed? 

What up with Trey Johnson? Haven't heard anything negative on him before. Gotta work young man. 

+4 HS
Youngbuck85's picture

I don't mean to be mr "I've got sources" but I've overheard a little talk about apple and it sounds like he's been struggling quite a bit, Coombs has really been on him hard

+2 HS
ab1993's picture

Damn that's really disappointing him, I was looking forward to seeing him quite a bit

InTressITrust's picture

I didn't realize Apple still had his black stripe.  Is there a story to this?  Is there anyone else still with a black stripe?

"I'm not going to lie. We're anxious to be a part of a matchup like that. It's two states that love the game of football." -Jim Tressel

+1 HS
laishley15's picture

Hope Johnson works out.  Seems like over the last 3-5 years all of OSU's high profile LB recruits have not panned out.

+3 HS
PittBuckeye's picture

That's both surprising, and to bad to hear about Johnson, and Jones' work ethic. Particularly Jones, I mean if he isn't there to play school he might as well go work out.

+16 HS
rdubs's picture

He does have over a 3.0 GPA, so he is spending some time in school.

+1 HS
William's picture

I think you mean his 'tutors' are spending some time in school.

Killer nuts's picture

It's practice updates like this that make the miserable off season slightly more tolerable. Keep em coming 

+5 HS
kmp10's picture

Sources say Cardale Jones and Trey Johnson haven’t exactly lit the world on fire with their work ethic over the winter.

Jones has never impressed me… never. His attitude, his "we ain't come to play school" insanity, and now his work ethic, or lack thereof, has been called into question. I cannot believe this guy could be the quarterback at Ohio State. Cardale Jones as the face of the Ohio State Buckeyes??? I hope not...

-5 HS
skid21's picture

His attitude, his "we ain't come to play school" insanity, and now his work ethic, or lack thereof, has been called into question.

I think they are one in the same. Never a good sign that a college athlete doesn't want to work hard at academics, even if their goal is the pros.


rdubs's picture

Dude has over a 3.0 GPA, his tweet was not smart because obviously everyone would blow it out of proportion.  How many college students have thought, "man I don't feel like going to class?"  Probably nearly all of them.

+3 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Isn't it somewhat ironic, though?  Cardale tweets about not coming to play school, but rather, to play football...and turns out that he's actually doing well in school, but his football work ethic is being questioned.

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
kareemabduljacobb's picture

Awesome, so glad football is starting to come back!  From what I've read the Bucks seem to be looking and doing well so far.  I read that Lee was up to 230 now, and he was always one of my favorite recruits/sleepers so I'm excited to see if he'll remain the starter at OLB.  Also saw that Wilson switched from #1 to #2, weird he would give up the #1 jersey but that's being rocked by Dixon now... Samuel sporting the #4.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

It almost sounds like they had everyone run 40s and then assigned numbers according to their times.

Hovenaut's picture

Disappointed to hear about Apple, Jones and Johnson.

Good to read some positive news about Marcus Baugh though.

+2 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

Ditto on thoughts about Apple and Johnson. Come on fellas. 

Knarcisi's picture

Thank goodness for spring practice relieving us of boner threads. 

+5 HS
tussey's picture

I'm shocked about apple still having his black stripe, especially since some of the staffers think he might be one of the starters come the fall.  I mean it still could happen, but it seems all the more unlikely now.

Jbucks's picture

Did Kwon take alot of snaps? and did he make more plays than Grant? also its hard to hear Johnson isnt working, he was a guy I had high hopes for... smh c'mon young fella

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

kicks's picture

From the videos, he looks to be running with the 3rd team.  I doubt that'll last long though, he moved very well.

D-Day0043's picture

Yeah he was running with the 3rd team. I just pray that they don't make the same kind of mistake with Raekwon like they did last year with Vonn Bell not starting over Pitt Brown. I would rather see the defense invest in the future at MIKE by giving Raekwon the reps rather than see another mediocre year out of Grant. I'll take a slight drop off at the position if it means grooming a star for the future. Grant has been given every opportunity to solidify his spot and he is really just a starter by default because there is no one better to replace him.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

+1 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture
Real football updates?


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

+3 HS
MikeEagleBuckeye's picture

What's up with Apple?  Really thought he had a very bright future.  Same with Johnson.  Makes losing Mitchell that much harder.  Hopefully the three backers coming in in August and tear it up.  On the other hand, Tyvis Powell looks massive!  Did they ever think at bulking him up and moving him to linebacker?  Not that I would want them to with the state of our secondary anyway.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

To me, Tyvis looks great as a rangy safety but doesn't appear to have the frame to bulk up to LB (he's got gazelle legs). 


Encouraged big time by Darron Lee and Kwon and did not know Berger had bounced back so quicky. That's even better news. What stinks even more about the word on Trey is the fact we just lost Mitchell. It would be an even bigger disaster if both our top 2013 LB recruits ended up not making an impact.

If Dontre doesn't have a monster season there is something horrendously wrong with the universe.

I hate saying this but I still worry tremendously about Coach Meyer's health. Brain cysts? Yikes. 


"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

TheBadOwl's picture

Wait, Berger goes to Iggy, they don't allow kids to graduate early, right? Is that a typo or did he actually enroll early? Great to hear about Darron Lee though. I hope Trey can get it together, he played really well in limited time last year.

Also, apparently the hype about Jeff Greene is real.


When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

skid21's picture

Do we know if Greene is on scholarship?

dan_isaacs's picture

He is not.  Paying own way.  Might get one next year when we get back to 85.

Dan Isaacs

Killer nuts's picture

He's referring to Burger the backup middle linebacker not Berger the incoming freshmen who is not yet on campus I believe

+3 HS
osu07asu10's picture

Meyer donning a whistle and red Ohio State hat overseeing the secondary, an area of great scorn last season.

Scarlet hat, and it appears he was wearing a white one.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

+3 HS
Scott's picture

Sources say Cardale Jones and Trey Johnson haven’t exactly lit the world on fire with their work ethic over the winter.

People said the same thing about Michael Phelps. But if bong rips and 12,000 calories a day can get that dude 22 gold medals, I'd say there's hope for Cardale and Trey.

Class of 2008

+8 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

Tyler Clary said that about Phelps. AKA Tyler "I would've won a few gold medals in 2008 if Phelps and Lochte didn't exist so now I'm bitter" Clary.

I mean, he did train with Phelps, and I've heard stories about Phelps walking out of a few practices after 2008 (burned out, don't blame him), but Phelps is physically on another level compared to every other male swimmer ever, and I've heard his pre-2008 work ethic was legendary. (Sorry, former swimmer, Clary's always seemed kind of bitter to me)

Cardale and Trey, while both extremely talented, aren't quite at that level. No excuses. 

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+1 HS
Bags5150's picture

Not impressed at all with Jones.  Followed him on twitter just for the hell of it.  Extremely immature in my opinion.  Just my observation.  Doesn't surprise me at all.  Trey Johnson surprises me.  Thought he could be a stud.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth~Mike Tyson

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

 Extremely immature in my opinion.

Just like the majority of athletes on twitter. Not a big deal.

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

+3 HS
Bags5150's picture

As a quarterback and potential leader of your team, I disagree.  I think some level of maturity is extremely important.  Again its just my opinion.  I want to be clear that I'm not referring to the famous playin school tweet.  I only started following him this offseason.  All I'm sayin is it doesn't surprise me at all that his wok ethic is being questioned.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth~Mike Tyson

+3 HS
kyletp2's picture

McMillan needs to stay AWAY from Fickell. 

You are lame if you tweet!

-10 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Yes, OSU's best defensive recruit in the 2014 class should most definitely steer clear of his position coach. I refuse to use italics for that last sentence.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

+21 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

The Buckeyes used the tight ends frequently.

Hopefully this continues during the season.

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

+4 HS
kicks's picture

I think a lot of you guys are putting too much into the "some what negative remarks", it's the first day of spring practice.  We're all anxious for results and to hear what's going on but let the guys work lol.  I'm sure everything will work out.

+3 HS
Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Not going to freak out since it's day 1, but why in the world is Jamal Marcus not working with the 1's? Dude was a monster last year in limited time and played extremely well in the Orange Bowl. I think he's very underrated and not used enough. 

+2 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

So sit Noah Spence or Joey Bosa?

+2 HS
Killer nuts's picture

Yeah tough to complain about those starting 4 defensive lineman. They could be dominant

+1 HS
alust2013's picture

I didn't realize Washington was big enough to be a full time DT, I thought he was more of a big DE. Hard to keep a guy that good off the field though.

...and Michigan still sucks.

luckynutz's picture

Im pretty sure hes around 290 right? Hes a big fella...but extremely nimble and athletic as well. Neither tackle has the big space eater size of a big hank...but they are both strong and very quick off the ball. Hard to block a guy if you cant find him.

Nutinpa's picture

Yes, I'd sit Spence.  He can't play vs. Navy and VT.....both running teams and stopping the run is not Spence's strength. Until proven otherwise, he is a one (although a good one) trick pony as a pass rusher. 

Marcus proved his chops vs. Clemson vs. the run and the pass. Unless injured, I can't imagine him running with anything worse than 1s or 2s.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I honestly think Marcus is quicker and more explosive off of the ball than Noah Spence.  The article also read that he was taking reps behind Tyquan Lewis.  I'm sure all of this will change as spring practice continues.  Another thing to look at is Spence is suspended for the first two games so we are going to need a DE that is ready to play against Navy and Va Tech.  I'd give Marcus more 1st and 2nd team reps.  

Shangheyed's picture

Oline Oline Oline.  That group will be the key to greatness.   Looking forward to the new D scheme and with Meyer more involved I am sure D will be much improved.   Seems to take so long to get here but once it does... let the games begin!  Go Bucks

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Who is this guy - HAHAHA


+1 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

My god, Mewhort may have killed a guy on that block. And Heuerman threw a hell of a cut block.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+1 HS
luckynutz's picture

Did he have a trident? I couldn't tell...

buckeyeboy31's picture

Very few things in this world are more beautiful than a perfectly executed/blocked play

+2 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Mewhort was owning that guy 6-7 yards off the line of scrimmage

+1 HS
BuckFly's picture

Beautifully executed


+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Thanks alot BF - now I am hungry ---------------------- again

timhbomb's picture

First Team DL: Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett, Adolphus Washington, Noah Spence

I like the way that looks.  Joe Hale on OL this season?

+1 HS
oregonianbuckeye's picture

Yeah, the Hale news was announced about a month ago. With our depth on DL, I think it makes a lot of sense. 

+1 HS
TUNBUCK89's picture

Any idea about the second team D-line & how Tommy Schutt is doing ?

Buckabroad's picture

Great to hear that Green and Thomas are working out well so far. If we can add some good, bigger receivers to a good running game, we should be very strong in the red zone again this season.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

buckskin's picture

Finally some football news.  Glad to hear about the players standing out.  Slightly discouraging about Apple, Jones, and Johnson; but it is early and this was only one practice.  Plenty of time for change.

TUNBUCK89's picture

I'm drooling about that D-Line. Please stay healthy the whole season.

+2 HS
Mizzillion's picture

First Team DL: Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett, Adolphus Washington, Noah Spence.

That's a damn fine starting DL. Add in Marcus, Lewis, Hill, Schutt, Miller...  LJ must love coming to work every day.  He has a stable.

brandonbauer87's picture

Give Greene a scholarship. He has definitely earned it. 

+4 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

No need to panic with Johnson and Apple, it's early and sometimes coaches have to yell and corner their players to lite a fire under them.  I think they see so much potential and talent in them that it frustrates the coaches when they don't perform to their expectations right away.  

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box but I'm one of the most colorful.

+2 HS
DeepSouthBuckeye's picture

First Team DL: Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett, Adolphus Washington, Noah Spence.

This is bone chilling....

Loving all things Buckeye from SEC country in Alabama.

"How firm thy friendship....O-HI-O"

+3 HS
BuckeyeJ's picture

Love this!!! I am not worried about about Johnson at all. I think they are trying to light a fire under him. Great to hear about Smith, Green, Thomas, and Dixon! Sounds like the WR are getting it done so far.

otrain2416's picture

That's crazy to me Apple still has his black stripe especially when some people said he was playing well towards the end of the year in practice. I mean not to be blunt but even Baugh has his black stripe removed and he's been in the dog house since day one. 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

steveoz49's picture

~Tyquan Lewis was running with the second-team defensive line, in front of Jamal Marcus"


Did I miss something?  I thought Marcus looked great in the Orange Bowl. 

brandonbauer87's picture

A lot of people have been talking about how good Marcus looked. To me, he looked like freshman version of Shazier without the same top-notch speed. He was flying around and making plays, but he was definitely out of position quite a bit too. 

Mizzillion's picture

New DL coach = clean slate.  Coach Johnson wasn't at the Orange Bowl.  Lewis has probably impressed him more.

Stoicpaisano's picture

These non-true freshmen were striped yesterday:

-Munger (makes sense, he had his medical issue)



-James Clark

I get the stripe as a motivational thing but it's a bit overblown here. I believe the first recipient both years has been a walk-on (Ramstetter last year) and Worley, Apple and Clark were all on the 70-man travel team in 2013, with Clark actually playing before his injury.

luckynutz's picture

Wasn't Bogard the first to lose his black stripe the first year?

pcuzz1's picture

This has got to be one of the better dlines I have seen. I am 22, so take it FWIW. But, we are returning three all conference guys. then Jamal Marcus who showed he can be disruptive. Schutt and Hill also have shown glimpses. 

pat cozzens

gunni070's picture

Wait, Reeves got beat and had to pass interfere?  No way!

Maceyko's picture

Adequate?  Horrible word.  I mean what guy (with any self-pride) would be happy if his girl described his performance in bed as "adequate?" Ha!