The Buckeyes wrapped up their third official spring practice on Tuesday, and Urban Meyer took some time to talk to the media about injury updates and new depth chart developments. The team practiced in full pads for the first time in 2016, and welcomed a more aggressive atmosphere -- complete with a bloody wolf on the big screen.
New, more physical phase of practice underway for OSU, so animated, breathing wolf watching things is now bloody. pic.twitter.com/Rn5QXj6RFp— 97.1 The Fan (@971thefan) March 22, 2016
There has been a lot of buzz about some quotes Meyer had about training in Florida next spring break. He was asked to clarify -- and was glad he got a chance too -- saying, "I can't imagine taking spring break away from players." He is looking into the possibility, but is hoping to avoid taking away players' free time.
On whether Tom Herman reached out this offseason, Meyer said, "We talk often...I always enjoy talking to Tom, I think he's done a great job." Meyer noted that Herman has come under additional scrutiny, as all winning coaches eventually do.
On young guys filling in roster spots, Meyer noted there are some guys that haven't done a whole lot who are going to play. He's hoping that putting some pressure on them in the first padded practice will allow them to avoid issues when they face 100,000 fans in the fall.
On the process for Marcus Baugh, Meyer said, "He's very good. Tim Hinton and now coach Warinner have done a great job -- we're talking about a guy we were thinking of sending home." He went on to say Baugh is doing well in school now and is on par to graduate thanks to the work of he and his family.
With players, Meyer is a "half-full kind of guy", but the social issues and other issues kids go through can be tough. If they can get players through the transition to college, they can develop into men.
On recruiting, Meyer was asked about out-of-state commits who haven't visited yet. He quipped that his wife, Shelley Meyer, says it best, "big deal" and that it only matters when they sign. He does note, however, that the recruiting process is getting faster and faster, which leads to kids committing before they've had official visits.
On turnovers with offensive players and how important is it to have Barrett back on and off the field, Meyer simply stated, "invaluable." Meyer added that he would include Pat Elflein in that same category. Trying to break in a new QB and center, "you have no shot", but with some stability the team has "a good shot to be good on offense."
This is one of the first times that Barrett is participating on the field in the spring, Meyer noted. "His value is so much more than running and throwing. One of the best leaders we've ever had."
Meyer is seeing some good things from young guys, too. He's anxious to see Joe Burrow perform in Saturday's scrimmage, noting the quarterback's release has improved, but there is still an issue with arm strength. Meyer also commented on Malik Hooker being really good in practice, and the cornerback trio (Denzel Ward, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley) that should be great this fall.
On trying to replace Ezekiel Elliott and his production, Meyer said Dontre Wilson and Curtis Samuel will carry the ball in 2016. As they are available health-wise, they'll start participating in tailback drills. He's hoping to have a Carlos Hyde/Ezekiel Elliott tandom with the two this fall.
One position group Meyer is already not happy with this spring is the offensive line, noting there is no right guard set as of yet, and there needs to be big improvements over the coming weeks and months.
The Buckeyes head coach said it's too early to compare this year's class with the young Bucks from 2014, but when Meyer wrote down all the newcomers from 2014, he was surprised at how many great players emerged.
Since pro day, NFL scouts have reached out to Meyer about two players the most: Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller. Meyer called them the "two wildcards" and acknowledged there are more questions because the two also have less game tape than others.