Although it looks like winter with snow on the ground in Columbus, Ohio State is deep in the heart of its spring football season, holding its ninth of 15 spring practices at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Monday.
Following Monday's practice, which came after the Buckeyes held a scrimmage on Friday, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer met with the media for the third time this spring to provide the latest updates on how his team is performing and which players are on the rise.
A sampling of what Meyer had to say:
- Malik Harrison has been practicing at weakside linebacker and Keandre Jones has been practicing at strongside linebacker after beginning the spring at opposite positions.
- Baron Browning and Pete Werner graded out as "champions" at linebacker for their performances in Friday's scrimmage. Overall, Meyer said he is encouraged by what he has seen from the linebacker corps.
- Meyer is hopeful that Tuf Borland will be able to return from his Achilles injury in September.
- Browning, Werner, Justin Hilliard, Davon Hamilton, Malcolm Pridgeon and Luke Farrell are among the players who have made a big jump from last year to this year, Meyer said.
- Friday was "not a good day" for the offense in Ohio State's scrimmage. Meyer said there were a bunch of players who graded out as champions on defense, but he did not have a list in front of him and did not want to leave out names. Meyer says he isn't too worried about the defense being ahead of the offense, though, because he's "done this long enough that it's all part of the process growing up."
- On Thayer Munford: "He's going to be a very good player here. He's one of our more consistent offensive linemen."
- On the quarterback competition between Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and Tate Martell: "You wish one would take it, and that hasn't happened right now."
- The leadership void Ohio State felt at quarterback from J.T. Barrett's departure was "very obvious" at the beginning of spring. Meyer said he doesn't feel as much of that void anymore.
- Jordan Fuller is "playing excellent right now," but the other safety spot remains unsolidified.
- Meyer doesn't know whether Ohio State will have a clear leader at quarterback by the end of spring. "There's got to be a separation ... and right now there is not that separation."
- Meyer says the Buckeyes are more cautious than they've ever been about digging in deep on players coming from tough backgrounds to make sure they won't have to worry about character issues.
- At the end of spring, Ohio State will list its top 20 players on offense and defense, and who that personnel is will determine the type of offense the Buckeyes run.
- Meyer acknowledged that all three quarterbacks are different and that the offense could be different on which quarterback starts.
- Fuller, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Dre'Mont Jones are among the players who Meyer expects to fill the leadership void.
Stay tuned with Eleven Warriors for further coverage of Ohio State spring football from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.