Presser Bullets: Urban Meyer Discusses Ohio State's First Spring Practice of 2016

By Eric Seger on March 8, 2016 at 11:31a
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It wasn't even 67 days between Ohio State's final game of the 2015 season and its first set of spring drills, which began Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

The Buckeyes must replace a slew of starters on both sides of the ball before the season opener Sept. 3 against Bowling Green. Urban Meyer met the media in the team room at the WHAC after practice.

Notes:

  • Meyer does not to expect a word or encouragement from the staff: "I was expecting high energy, and that's what we got."
  • The first week of practice is teaching a new team how to "go hard" and keep the culture moving from last week.
  • "We've got a lot of work to do."
  • Ohio State has "around 11 players" on which it is counting upon come fall, but can't during spring drills because of injuries. He named Corey Smith, Noah Brown, Cam Burrows and Curtis Samuel.
  • Meyer said he isn't sure if it's possible Ohio State will have a depth chart in place by the end of spring: "This is uncharted waters for me."
  • Schematically, Ohio State isn't "going to change much" this spring but he wants to get an idea of a depth chart by the end of drills.
  • "Some of these units were decimated by the guys who left."
  • Meyer would like to see Bri'onte Dunn "get the first swing" at running back this fall because he's a senior: "But the guy behind him, Mike Weber, is pretty good, too."
  • Curtis Samuel will play some running back as well this fall. The same goes for Dontre Wilson: "I see four guys carrying the ball for us this year."
  • The defensive line is something Meyer is worried most about this spring. He expects Nick Bosa and Jonathon Cooper "will be in the rotation" this fall.
  • Meyer added that Dre'Mont Jones and Jashon Cornell are two guys "that have to play for us this fall." He said Cornell moved inside, as they are looking for a quick twitch player at defensive tackle.
  • Meyer and his staff do not have a number set for commitments for the 2017 recruiting class: "Those are all conversations we're having right now."
  • Meyer took the blame for having 45 players with freshman eligibility: "That's my fault, for not pushing them. But it was hard since we had such depth last year."
  • Meyer said Corey Smith, Curtis Samuel and Noah Brown "won't go" this spring because injuries. The same goes for Erick Smith, Tyquan Lewis and Malik Barrow. K.J. Hill will "do everything but catch," while Justin Hilliard will "do everything but tackle."
  • What about Dylan Thompson? "Do something. And underline that. Do something."
  • On Donald Trump mentioning him while the presidential candidate was in Columbus: "Justin Hilliard's got a bicep injury, so he'll be able to do everything but tackle."
  • Meyer said it's a bit of a blessing in disguise with the older receivers being injured so the younger players at the position get plenty of reps: "I think Austin Mack and Torrance Gibson are battling for the starting X right now in practice."
  • Johnnie Dixon had "a great offseason" and is the healthiest he's been since coming to Ohio State. Dixon won't do anything except vertical routes this spring, Meyer said.
  • Dixon's squats "were pathetic" because of how many knee injuries he had. Now, his legs are four centimeters larger around than when he arrived in Columbus.
  • Meyer said it was his idea to invite Jim Tressel to return to campus next month and speak at the coaches clinic: "Very proud to have those guys coming back."
  • Meyer hopes Ohio State will have a "really fast offense" this fall with the return of J.T. Barrett at quarterback and Ed Warinner up in the press box.
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