After Sitting in the Shadows of Unrest and Trouble, Marcus Baugh Again Faced With Opportunity in Spring Practice

By Eric Seger on April 11, 2015 at 7:15 am

All it took was a simple mention of his name to make Urban Meyer's facial expression change.

"Who? Marcus Baugh?" Meyer scowled last spring, prompted with a question on the tight end in his first media conference following Student Appreciation Day last April. "He shouldn't be doing interviews. You gotta earn the right to talk to (the media), and he hasn’t earned that right.”

Reporters spoke with Baugh amid the chaos that is Student Appreciation Day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center a year ago during spring practice, something Meyer wasn't pleased to hear.

Why? Because at a place like Ohio State, you've gotta put in the time and do things right in order to get that honor. Just like anything else.

"Marcus had some issues, he’s one foot in, one foot out right now," Meyer said then, attempting to stick by Baugh despite his repeated offenses for underage drinking that led to multiple suspensions and ultimately a redshirt year two seasons ago.

"I felt like I earned [the coaches trust] back, and then I lost it all again. It was rough,” Baugh said last year at Student Appreciation Day. “It definitely opened my eyes. I’m out of chances. I have to do this. After my second incident, I thought I was gone.”

He isn't, though, back again with a final chance and looking to seize an opportunity to push starting tight end Nick Vannett for playing time this fall.

"He’s still a young guy and he’s still learning the ropes so he’s progressing each day," Vannett said Thursday. "It’s good to watch him and see him do that because he’s going to have to step up and be the No. 2 this year."

"We just gotta make sure he doesn't have a 'kid's lapse.' No mistakes."– Tim Hinton on Marcus Baugh

Baugh caught a touchdown pass in Ohio State's 66-0 rout of Kent State Sept. 13, displaying the athleticism and ball skills that caught Meyer's eye even though he hails from way out in Riverside, Calif.

The talent's always been there. Keeping his head above water, however, has been an entirely different story.

"Obviously there isn't a day that goes by that there isn't a little counseling to make sure we're staying in a positive track, because that's our jobs as coaches," tight ends coach Tim Hinton said Thursday. "We're the parents of that group."

Baugh's getting all the snaps with the second-team offense this spring, a result of Jeff Heuerman's graduation and he and Vannett being the lone scholarship tight ends on roster right now. (True freshmen Rashod Berry and A.J. Alexander are on their way)

The opportunity, though, would not still be there for Baugh if he didn't have his head screwed on straight.

"He would not be in the depth chart where he is if I didn't believe that," Hinton said. "We want to make sure we're doing everything we can to just, he's maturing, he's doing very, very well.

"We just gotta make sure he doesn't have a 'kid's lapse.' No mistakes."

So far, so good. Possessing a solid frame at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds and magnificent hands, Baugh has the make of being another weapon in Ohio State's already high-powered offense.

"He's came along really well, especially from the beginning of the spring 'til now he's developed," Vannett said.

Added Hinton: "There's a lot of learning that always goes on, there's a lot of things that gotta be accomplished every day in practice and fundamentally he's gotten stronger. The great thing is, he's getting the reps necessary to improve his skills and I like his demeanor, I like the direction he's going."

He just needs to stay the course, and maybe he'll earn back the privilege of talking to the media. Or, more importantly for he and Ohio State, get considerable playing time.

"I’m just doing what they want me to do,” Baugh said last April. “I’m just trying to show that I am not a bad person.”

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