Ohio State had their first day of spring practice Tuesday, ushering in a new era of Buckeyes that will bring excitement to Ohio Stadium, and across Big Ten stadiums in future seasons.
The Buckeyes come into this season with many more questions than last year, including some questions at running back and wide receiver, along with injuries, and Urban Meyer's reaction to Donald Trump's comments.
On the transition from old to new
- Meyer says they have a new mural in the hallway at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center of the seniors who were involved in the 50 wins the past four years, including the bowl victories. He compared it to "your daughter gets married and leaves home.
- Meyer doesn't think a depth chart will be finished by August, with Curtis Samuel out, including a number of other receivers and safeties. "That's the thing that kicks you in the teeth. If everybody was ready to go, I think you could do that."
- Schematically the Buckeyes will not change much. "I'm not worried about that," Meyer said. "It's just I want to see somewhat of a depth chart by the time we leave."
- A backup quarterback has not been anointed yet. Meyer wants Joe Burrow to "just play better." He also added that he's improved his body and release. He mentioned that Stephen Collier will get a chance, and expects Dwayne Haskins to compete for the backup spot.
- Meyer said defensive line is going to be a developmental spot that they will be focused on. "I think we're counting on one guy that's not here yet, [Nick] Bosa," Meyer said. "He's going to be in the rotation, and then Cooper out there, he's going to be in the rotation." He also mentioned Dre'Mont Jones and Jashon Cornell as two guys they will need moving forward.
Running back situation
- Bri'onte Dunn was the first name mentioned by Meyer when asked about who would start at running back. "Well Bri'onte's a senior, so I'd like to see him take that first swing," Meyer said. "I think the guy behind him is pretty good too, Mike Weber."
- Curtis Samuel will play both running back and h-back. Meyer also mentioned that Dontre Wilson would be getting reps as well, stating that he's at 198 lbs now as opposed to 170. "I'd see four guys carrying the ball right now for us in the fall. The two running backs, and Dontre and Curtis."
- Meyer expects Noah Brown to have a great year. Notes that Corey Smith will be "fine" and that Torrance Gibson and Austin Mack are battling for the starting X in practice. He also mentioned Parris Campbell in the hunt for the starting X.
- Johnnie Dixon had a great offseason according to Meyer, and is the healthiest he has been since coming to Ohio State. Meyer said that they're still being cautious, and that he won't be doing anything outside of vertical routes in the spring.
- Dixon's legs are four centimeters larger around now, Meyer mentioned that his squats have increased dramatically since getting healthy.
- Three receivers will not go in spring practice at all.
- Cam Burrows will go some in spring practice per Meyer, and Erick Smith is only doing run throughs
- At corner, Damon Webb should be fine after spring break with a muscle strain.
- Meyer mentioned Tyquan Lewis won't do anything, "he's done." Tyler Gerald will not participate either, Meyer said they will get both in June. Malik Barrow will also not be participating in spring.
- K.J. Hill will do "everything but catch" according to Meyer, and Justin Hilliard will do "everything but tackle," according to Meyer.
Donald Trump and other points
- When asked about Donald Trump's comments on him, Meyer said, "Justin Hilliard's got a bicep injury so he'll be able to do everything except for full tackle, and our three receivers, we'll get them right back after spring practice. And Dylan Thompson's gotta start playing."
- Meyer invited Jim Tressel back to Ohio State to speak at a coaches clinic
- J.T. Barrett has developed a great relationship with Mike Weber and other guys, where Meyer says Barrett is "pulling them up to his level."
- Ohio State does not have a number set on the 2017 recruiting class. Meyer said, "Those are all conversations we're having right now."