Football is back at Ohio State, but it really never leaves a place like Columbus, Ohio.
It was with great splendor, though, when coach Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes opened their annual fall camp Monday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
The hot afternoon marks the beginning of a 2014 campaign that's more or less about settling unfinished business. After winning 24-straight games, Ohio State finished the season with back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Clemson. "The Chase" for Big Ten and national championships remains a mission in progress.
Extra motivation, Meyer said, should be a non-factor.
"I made the comment, is there a chip on your shoulder and do this. We always take notice throughout the year and we have to utilize motivation, I’ve said this before, it’s probably not a very good team. We’ll use it, but you’re looking at a bad team probably," he said.
"Last year I think is in everybody’s minds, I don’t mind it being there. But we just gotta get better. I think those are all good storylines but if we do have to use stuff to motivate a team -- we’ve had to -- that’s a bad team usually."
- Meyer confirmed that defensive lineman Tracy Sprinkle has been reinstated to the team. Sprinkle, a redshirt freshman, pled no contest to charges filed against him after a brawl at the Grown & Sexy Lounge in Lorain. Additional cocaine and drug paraphernalia charges were dropped. Meyer said Sprinkle lost his scholarship for the summer and will be suspended for the team's opener against Navy. He'll have to do community service every week to get back into the good graces of the coaching staff. "I was shocked, because I've known Sprinkle for two or three years now."
- Meyer also confirmed offensive lineman Tommy Brown has left the team. "He just wanted to go play. Tommy's a good kid."
- On the first day of camp, freshmen practice in the morning and upperclassmen practice in the afternoon. Such was not the case for linebacker Raekwon McMillan and wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, who spent their days with their older counterparts. "It’s rare we do that, they also made champions club and I don't know I've ever had freshmen who make champions club on purpose ... They act like pros, act like gown men. So we let them practice with the grown men today."
- Meyer said senior quarterback Braxton Miller "wasn't as sharp today ... he got tired." Meyer added Miller, who had shoulder surgery in February, has had a great legacy.
- Meyer said he thinks he'll eventually talk to Miller about his legacy. "I think we will, we never have. The one thing that's missing is a championship. He went 12-0 but he needs a championship. I think every great player is measured by championships whether it be NFL, NBA, college football. We haven't had that conversation yet but at the right time, probably. He knows. You don't have to have a lot of conversation with him about that.
- Meyer said cornerback Gareon Conley missed practice because of flulike symptoms. Conley is expected to contend for a starting job on an Ohio State pass defense that finished 112th last season.
- Meyer said a focus remains on filling the left guard position. "What are we gonna do about the left guard." Meyer added Antonio Underwood, Joel Hale, Chase Farris and Billy Price are candidates for the starting spot.
- Defensive lineman Michael Hill received a medical redshirt for 2013, according to an Ohio State spokesman. He played early last season before getting dinged up.