Presser Bullets: Urban Meyer Says Ohio State is 'Very Strong' at The Top and Bottom of Its Roster, Talks Roster Attrition, New Coaches

By Eric Seger on March 7, 2017 at 11:35 am
2017 Spring Preview

The Columbus skies opened and an unrelenting rain fell on the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Tuesday morning. As a result, the Ohio State football team held its first spring practice indoors.

Urban Meyer's 2017 outfit returns 48 lettermen. The Buckeyes open the season on Thursday, Aug. 31 at Indiana. Updates from Tuesday's practice:

Meyer met with reporters in the team room at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center after practice.


  • Meyer: "Journey '17 has started."
  • Meyer said the "nine or 10 new guys seem to be everything that we thought they were when we recruited them" in reference to Kendall Sheffield and the nine early enrollees.
  • Meyer credited his strength and training staff to getting his team ready to go as well as physically possible: "They practiced like it today."
  • On the quarterback reps in spring practice, Meyer said it is different than other positions because there aren't that many hits: "J.T.'s going to get a ton of reps because there are some new concepts in."
  • Meyer said he already has a group of players on a new leadership committee: "We have a ton of great leaders here."
  • Meyer said Ohio State is "very strong" at the top and at the bottom: "We have a group of 10 or 15 players who haven't done much."
  • Meyer wouldn't call Demetrius Knox the favorite at the vacant right guard spot but he will be involved with Matt Burrell, Malcolm Pridgeon and Branden Bowen.
  • Meyer confirmed Ohio State moved Chris Worley to middle linebacker: "Just gotta make sure his body can hang in there because he's got it all."
  • Meyer said he wants to see more accuracy from J.T. Barrett this spring. He, Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson went back and watched every bit of film from the 2014 season: "This is what we want it to look like and the one common denominator in all those games is we hit the deep ball. It's who we are. We're going to pound the football at you and we're going to go over the top. When that works, life's pretty good offensively. When it doesn't, when you misfire or we get sacked or have a problem, that's obviously when it doesn't.”
  • Meyer added that the emphasis this spring for Barrett is on the deep ball.
  • Meyer said he did not release that Greg Schiano is the defensive coordinator. He plans to evaluate Schiano, Billy Davis and Kerry Coombs. The latter will have more of an impact on the back end of the defense.
  • On Kyle Trout sticking around at Ohio State and still practicing: "It's a unique thing ... he's going to go through spring ball and what the future holds for him is in between him and Luke Fickell. I think it's a win-win for everybody."
  • "Right now, we have a bit of a need at wide receiver." Meyer said that led to Brendon White going to that position to start his career but the first place he will have an impact is on special teams.
  • Need for certain positions leads to situations like that where versatile players change positions.
  • Meyer said it "isn't really one thing" with regards to Barrett's struggles in the passing game and how he has now has a new offensive staff to work with for his senior year. He referenced Alex Smith at Utah and criticism: "That comes with the job description."
  • Meyer said Kevin Wilson brings not only tempo but quantity of plays to the offense: "Calling plays, practicing faster, getting to the line of scrimmage must factors. That's one of his strengths ... We just want to cause teams problems."
  • Is there unfinished business for Barrett? "Sure ... He's a very decorated quarterback and his winning percentage is off the chain. But he hasn't lifted a trophy yet."
  • Meyer said wide receiver Alex Stump plans to transfer. He did not say where to.
  • Meyer called Wilson "the perfect guy" to fix the issues with the offense, as well as Ryan Day.
  • On Tyler Gerald: "He just quit. No idea what happened." Meyer said James Clark will transfer but still plans to run track for Ohio State this spring.
  • "There's some enhancement going on right now." — Meyer on the offense.
  • Meyer said he could see Wilson having "a major impact" on the offense in 2017, just like the previous Ohio State offensive coordinators under him. He named all of them, from Tom Herman to Ed Warinner.
  • "The zip was there because they've been getting their brains beat in at the weight room and they're excited to be out there. We'll see if it's the same at practice 12."
  • Meyer called the work Ohio State's wide receivers did on Tuesday "outstanding." The situation is "very fluid" and young guys "must step up and go."
  • Is Eric Glover-Williams's move to wide receiver permanent? "I think so."
  • Meyer said Ryan Day brings a lot of different ways of viewing things at the quarterback spot because of his NFL experience. The initial responses from the quarterbacks to Day's presence have been all positive.
  • Meyer said when he had Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Jeff Driskell and John Brantley at Florida it rivals the talent he currently has in his current quarterbacks room. He and the staff had discussions about splitting up reps between Barrett, Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell.
  • Meyer said everything has been "all positive" so far this spring with what he called a refresh of the program: "I think you, in year six, just have to change the paint a little bit."
  • Wayne Davis has officially moved to safety. Meyer said Ohio State would like to play three or four corners on the back end of the defense: "What we ask those guys to do, it's a track meet out there for four hours."
  • How does Wilson fit into the fold since he was a head coach before? "He's great. Initial reaction is over the top."
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