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.