Urban Meyer: “I Thought We Would Be Further Ahead” At This Point In The Spring

By James Grega on March 27, 2018 at 8:35 am
Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer has not been one to shy away from speaking his mind on the state of his team while at Ohio State. 

When he arrived in 2012, Meyer went as far as to call the wide receiver room a "clown show." While he didn't go quite that far on Monday following Ohio State's sixth practice of the spring, the Buckeye head coach voiced a discomfort for where his team stands at this point through spring ball. 

Meyer was asked Monday following Ohio State's sixth practice of the spring if he was pleased with the performance of his team, and his response wasn't one that was filled with much optimism. 

"Not necessarily," he said. "I think with the whole team, I thought we'd be further ahead right now than where we are."

His answer came after he had already been asked about Ohio State's situation at quarterback, which features a three-way competition between Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and Tate Martell. 

While Haskins remains the favorite in the minds of many outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Meyer said there has not been much separation by any of the signal-callers, as the trio continue to get nearly even reps throughout spring practice. 

“I thought we'd be further ahead right now than where we are.”– Urban Meyer

"Just when you think there has (been separation) and someone steps up, I would have anticipated what I'm seeing," Meyer said. "Just when a guy starts to move, another guy catches him or maybe passes him. So I can't say who is one and who is two."

Another position battle that has Meyer feeling uneasy is the battle to replace Billy Price at center, a position in which Ohio State has had the best player in the country for the last two seasons. 

Price and Pat Elflein have won the Rimington Trophy as the best centers in college football in each of the last two seasons respectively for Ohio State, but now the Buckeyes are replacing the quarterback-center battery with fresh faces for the first time since 2014. That season, the Buckeyes replaced Corey Linsley with Jacoby Boren and an injured Braxton Miller with J.T. Barrett. 

The competition to replace Price appears to be down to three players in Brady Taylor, Matthew Burrell and Josh Myers, but after six practices into the spring, Meyer still isn't ready to name a leader for the job, especially after a less than impressive practice on Monday. 

"Yeah, today wasn't a great day. I don't see us with guys that can't play. I see guys that are all going to be swinging for an opportunity, and they're talented enough to play," Meyer said. "I feel Brady Taylor is doing a very good job. The other guys have got to get better. Josh is swinging hard, and Matt, and we even took a look at (Joshua) Alabi in there a little bit. So it's OK. Once again (though), it wasn't a great day."

Meyer wasn't in complete dejection on Monday, though, despite an injury to Tuf Borland that leaves him working with three fresh faces at linebacker this spring. He was upbeat when speaking about the second level of his defense, raving about the talent that Bill Davis has in his room.

Because of the amount of reps some of Ohio State's veterans have accumulated over the years, not all of the Buckeye starters are getting full team reps in spring ball. Players like Nick Bosa, Dre'Mont Jones and Isaiah Prince were dressed and participated in individual position drills on Monday, but when it came time for team drills, the veterans sat out or did individual work off to the side in an effort to avoid injury. 

With that, many younger Ohio State players are getting extended reps this spring, which could be leading to the sloppier practice efforts that have Meyer less than excited. 

"I saw some young guys that should be doing better than they did, but that's part of spring," he said.

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