Ohio State Student Appreciation Day: Apple Loses Black Stripe

By Jordan Wagner and John Brandon on April 5, 2014 at 3:54p

Ohio State University


2,500 students showed up for Ohio State's annual Student Appreciation Day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center today for circle drills, Kerry Coombs enthusiasm, and more.

The aforementioned circle drill got the party started and then student events, including races and the flag football intramural championship (featuring referee Kerry Coombs), took center stage.

The session also provided a great window into how the 2014 Buckeyes were shaping up, and even better, a look at the shiny new toys from Urban Meyer's most recent recruiting haul.

With the exception of a few long touchdowns, the scrimmage was mostly controlled by the defense. While the Buckeye defense may be young, they flew to the ball and played fast and aggressive - staples of the silver bullet defense that haven't been apparent the past couple of years.

One highlight of the afternoon was cornerback Eli Apple losing the black stripe on his helmet, signifying he was, in Meyer's eyes at least, a full member of the team.

All in all, a good day for an event that's important for Meyer, who refers to the students as the lifeblood of the program.


  • Eli Apple stood out at corner, snaring multiple interceptions from the boundary position and blowing up a handful of plays, including a Dontre Wilson reverse. His efforts earned the removal of his black stripe following practice.
  • 6-foot-5 receiver Jeff Greene, a transfer from Georgia Tech, was on the receiving end of one of Apple's big hits. The big target was mostly used for short out routes during practice. He also blocked a FG attempt. 
  • Devin Smith, Corey Smith and Dontre Wilson were running with the first team offense at wide receiver. Taylor Decker, Antonio Underwood, Jacoby Boren, Pat Elflein and Darryl Baldwin started on the line. The running backs rotated early and often. 
  • Johnnie Dixon and Michael Thomas were running with the second team for most of the day, though Thomas did haul in a nice, long touchdown. Evan Spencer was dressed and helping other wide receivers, but not participating. 
  • Cardale Jones looked like a capable back-up, tossing a couple touchdowns. His challenger to be Braxton Miller's backup, J.T. Barrett, struggled for much of the practice. Barrett did manage to hit Marcus Baugh for a long score, though it came against a walk-on safety.
  • Baugh looked good catching passes, but was on the receiving end of a Tim Hinton tongue lashing for missed blocking assignments.
  • Stephen Collier took a couple of snaps during the goal-line session. He tried to run one in but ran right into the wall that was Darron Lee.
  • Curtis Samuel did not disappoint. Playing on the second team offense, he broke off a 50-yard touchdown run at one point.
  • Ezekiel Elliott drew the first snap at running back for the first team offense. Brionte Dunn, Warren Ball and Samuel all took snaps, though it didn't look like Rod Smith received any carries.
  • Overall, the defense played well. The coverage was tight and the secondary and linebackers blanketed the short stuff. They flew to the ball as well, with most plays ending with gang-tackles. Tip your cap, Chris Ash.
  • Armani Reeves, Gaeron Conley and Apple started at corner with Doran Grant banged up. Reeves played nickel. 
  • Darron Lee, Curtis Grant and Josh Perry started at linebacker, but Raekwon McMillan took plenty of snaps. He shutdown a Curtis Samuel jet sweep while in a nickel formation. 
  • The defensive line was dominant at times. Noah Spence sacked Cardale Jones, despite Jones wearing a no-contact jersey. 
  • Cam Burrows and Tyvis Powell took the majority of snaps at safety due to other injuries at the position. Powell read a Michael Thomas route well and stepped in front to record and interception. 
  • Curtis Grant stepped up as a vocal leader during goal line drills. Coombs was all over the defense for getting beat on the goal line. 
  • Cameron Johnston was impressive, however, the kickers struggled. Kyle Clinton and Sean Nuernberger both struggled to hit 45-yard field goals. Nikki Meyer, Urban's daughter, attempted a field goal, but it was well short. 
  • Ohio State signees Sam Hubbard, Kyle Berger, Damon Webb and Malik Hooker were in attendance.
  • 2015 linebacker Nick Conner, 2016 defensive end Jonathon Cooper and multiple prospects from Cass Tech were spotted at practice.

Comments Show All Comments

ab1993's picture

The defensive line was dominant at times.

Really?? I would say they were dominant the whole time. The only thing that held them back was the no sacking rule.

+2 HS
Jordan Wagner's picture

The second team line vs the first team offensive line was getting handled on multiple occasions. Also during goal line drills. 

IGotAWoody's picture

We really should hope that our 1st team O line would dominate our 2nd team D line. I'd be more interested in how our 1st team D line would look against that 1st team O line. Do they ever do any 1s against 1s?

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

Lawver_5's picture

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought I saw Evan Spencer walking around practice in pads and athletic shoes, I never saw him actually on the field 

+1 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

probably the best collection of news I've heard for some time, seems like a really balanced practice rather than the offense running a clown show or the defense struggling in coverage. Seems like the D is taking steps in the right direction, love the no soft zone.

+2 HS
Jhesse17's picture

Was the defense showing mostly tampa 2 or 2 man under or a combination?


Edit: I thought I saw somewhere that Ash was a cover 2 guy but if we're doing something else entirely tell me too haha

MacG91's picture

I wasn't there but from what I read about him, he is a cover 4 guy. But it's good to have variety 


rufio's picture

Ash has been a split safety guy though the speculation from respected writers like Ross has been that we brought him in to play more quarters coverages. 

Usually when you're a split safety/two deep safety team, you'll run some quarters, some 2 deep man under, some inverted Cover-2 and maybe  some Tampa-2. From the writeup it sounds like the corners were rolled up in press coverage a decent amount, which is great news IMO.

+1 HS
jonping67's picture

Happy to hear the DB's are playing aggressive D. The 8 yards off the line last year was painful and not indicative of the "Silver Bullets".

No Rod Smith is a bit of a concern, but with EZ, Dunn, Ball and now Samuel lighting it up I feel we are in good hands.

Can't wait until we play Navy!

+1 HS
SilverState's picture

Anyone know the story on Rod Smith?

sivaDavis's picture

I don't think the kickers will be having to kick many 45 yard field goals.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
alust2013's picture

Haha, I like that Spence got a sack even though he wasn't allowed to. I am thoroughly pleased to hear that the defense is doing well, which should mean good things for us if it carries through the season, even if the offense is less consistent without the experienced line and El Guapo.

...and Michigan still sucks.

WhySoSerious's picture

Top 15 d this year. Bank it.


Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

+4 HS
SilverState's picture

Having fun:

+1 HS
ArizonaBuckeye's picture

Always great reading there were a handful of Cass Tech kids in attendance. Lets keep plucking the talent from scUMs top feeder school. Love it!

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." -Woody Hayes-

+2 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Kinda like our Glenville

+2 HS
ArizonaBuckeye's picture

Oh, absolutely. Cass Tech is to scUM as Glenville is to TOSU.

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." -Woody Hayes-

BuckeyeinExile's picture

With Gardner throwing a pick his first pass yesterday in meatchicken's springgame I am hopefull that will transfer into a pipeline for us, or at least a split line between Columbus and East Lansing.

+1 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

If there is any school up north worth invading, it is Cass Tech.  They are usually loaded and establishing a mini-pipeline here would be nice.

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Did the girl spear Brutus when it was over?

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

CaliforniaBuckeye's picture

Extremely happy for this kid, well deserved... Hope this is the beginning of a great career!


"The only way we'd get beaten was if we got a little fat-headed, if we didn't train right, if we had dissension on the squad." - Woody Hayes

+8 HS
bethesdabuck's picture

What a great kid/young man. 

+3 HS
nm_buck's picture

What a nice young man... congrats on losing the stripe.  Gonna be fun to watch his career.

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

UrbanPirate's picture

Thanks for the video, Eli was one of those recruits that just got me excited about his future; you know the guys that you just have a good feeling about based on nothing more than a HS highlight film (and yeah, maybe when he changed his name to Apple) but it's really nice to see him lose his black stripe in front of the students-that had to be a thrill! Best of luck to you young man!

Just... Go Bucks.


+1 HS
John Brandon's picture

someone asked me on Twitter a few weeks ago if Eli was a bust, since he didn't have his stripe removed etc. Too much pressure on kids to be stars right away - his time will come (maybe even this year). He's going to be a stud (him and Conley both).

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

2,500 students...more fans than TTUN spring game?

Class of 2010.

+2 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

Maybe more students than UM students at a home game

+3 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

Hahahahahaaaa!!!  I read in the Detroit News and Free Press that scuM had 15,000 for their spring game... And they DO NOT charge.... As Charles Barkley would say, "Turrible..."

Pitt cancelled their Spring Game for lack of interest... WOW....

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

DC-town's picture

Love it Big Apple, keep it up and best of luck-

ps, for anyone watching the final four, the commentators aren't even being shy flaunting their Uk Pom-poms...making me ill

'Piss excellence' -RB

Him1stftballl8er's picture

So stoked for Eli!!!

The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools. 

+1 HS
PAWEST1202's picture

It is amazing how something as simple as a small black strip of tape on the helmet can be such a great motivator. I remember being surprised that Apple wasn't one of the first to lose it but like he said in the video consistency was his issue. In an age where recruiting stars create outsized expectations, that stripe serves as a great check on ego. I hope all the guys deal with adversity the way Apple did. He worked hard, reflected on his problems and had a plan to get better. I love it. Maybe I should do something like this with my new staff members 

OSUFlash's picture

Couldn't be happier for Eli. And also wondering if Rod is once again going to be MIA unless he was ill or hurt.


UrbanPirate's picture

I know taking too much from a scrimmage in April can be a misleading indicator of reality for when August/September rolls around, but from is it fair to assume EZ might be the featured back come game one? I know we have a full stable that will most likely see a great deal more rotation than last year, but could anyone with better first hand knowledge shed some light on their early prediction of the RB pecking order?

Just... Go Bucks.


John Brandon's picture

I imagine Zeke will be the No. 1 back, but you won't see anything like last year's rotation (or lack thereof) in my opinion. I think you'll see a lot more spreading it around - much more emphasis on the perimeter and more rotation of backs unless EZ comes really seizes it. I could be very wrong, but I can't see Zeke getting 20+ carries a game.

I think the offense will be overall a bit different though - more pass attempts overall (mostly due to quick perimeter throws), more lateral runs to Dontre, potentially Samuel etc. I also expect a bit less running from BM due to a) an unproven backup (though this could change) b) he'll be a more developed passer with another year under his belt, c) Meyer helping BM get to the NFL (we've seen this with Tebow at Florida) and d) not being able to lean on the OL quite as much.

What you saw in the first few games last year (before Hyde returned) is what I think we'll see more throughout the season, but with more developed perimeter players.

216ToThe614's picture

I was there, and EZE was dominant. He manhandled Curtis Grant in the circle drill to start the practice off, absolutely blew a defender out of his shoes at the end of a long run to the goal line, and if I recall correctly caught a short pass out of the backfield and ran almost the length of the field. He also looked bigger/stronger/faster than I remembered, did a beautiful job picking up a linebacker blitz on one play and I personally wouldn't be surprised to see him become the new workhorse, especially because of the diversity of things he can do while in there. He looked to be head and shoulders better than the other backs (I don't consider Curtis Samuel a running back yet) but as stated, we didn't see any of Rod Smith at all. If there was anyone to challenge Eli Apple for the "who had the best practice" crown, it would have been him.

Pick up your feet, turn your corners square! And DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!!!

osugreg04's picture

I'm not going to lie, Nikki has some serious talent

+1 HS