"I actually saw some of the comments where it said: 'Meyer blasts the NCAA.' I've never blasted the NCAA in my life. The NCAA is us. I'm not sure people get that. It's the member institutions."
A few days have passed since the NCAA announced a ban on satellite camps, as well as enacting unlimited electronic communication between coaches and recruits, and Urban Meyer is still upset about the rulings by the NCAA. While the head coach's stance on the issues hasn't changed, Thursday he clarified how his comments have been interpreted by many. Meyer wanted to get across that he wasn't blasting the NCAA as a whole, but he was more upset with those who made the decision on the basis that unlimited electronic communication would be easier to monitor. For the last few years Meyer has been a proponent for restrictions on unlimited text messaging, and he feels the best interests of the student-athletes weren't taken into account.
The other ruling on Monday which got under the collar of Meyer was the banning of satellite camps. This is another area where Meyer feels the NCAA isn't acting in regards to the best interests of the student-athletes. After attending a recent high school coaches meeting, Meyer's feelings against the ban of satellite camps have gotten even stronger. The satellite camps had allowed for players to showcase their skills more, and while their performances might not have garnered offers from Ohio State, it could lead to offers from some of the MAC schools, or other schools around Ohio.
"I feel linebackers are changing in the league, to be honest - a lot smaller. There aren't real too many bigger guys. The game is getting faster and you need guys to cover. You're starting to see that change a lot in the league."
After playing quarterback in high school, Darron Lee was moved to linebacker when he came to Ohio State in 2013. After redshirting that year, followed by starting for the Buckeyes for two seasons, now Lee is just a couple weeks away from being a first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Lee burst onto the scene by recording 16.5 tackles for loss for Ohio State in 2014. Since then what has helped Lee to rocket up the draft boards of many teams is his speed, which was shown at the NFL combine when he ran a 4.47 40-yard dash.
Even though he is a little undersized from your prototypical NFL linebacker of past years, the rise of Lee on teams draft boards shows just how the linebacker position in changing in the league. Instead of teams targeting a linebacker with size who will make big hits in run defense, now linebackers who have the speed to be cover tight ends and running backs in the passing game are more in demand. Even though Lee is still learning all the nuances of being a linebacker, his speed helps to make up for any mistakes he makes while learning on the job. No matter where he gets drafted in a couple weeks, it shouldn't take too long to make a big impact in the NFL.
"Dante Booker has kind of solidified himself there, as has Chris Worley."
- Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer on the outside linebacker positions via Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
There is still over four months before Ohio State kicks off their 2016 season, but it looks like a few of the positions on the defense are starting to take shape. While plenty could change between now and when the Buckeyes take the field against Bowling Green, it sounds like Dante Booker and Chris Worley are the early leaders to take over the outside linebacker positions. Early returns have Booker taking over the spot that is open following the graduation of Joshua Perry, while Worley is holding off Jerome Baker for the spot that came open with Darron Lee declaring early for the NFL Draft.
The linebacker position wasn't the only Meyer touched on, as he had rave reviews for Dre'Mont Jones, who is moving from defensive end to defensive tackle. Last year Jones wasn't able to take for the field for the Buckeyes due to recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in high school, but he was at least able to participate in Ohio State's bowl practices.
There are plenty of other position battles heading into Saturday's spring game, with Meyer noting the defensive backfield, offensive guard, running back, and wide receiver as areas that'll have his attention on Saturday. Those position battle won't be decided with what happens at the spring game, but it certainly give some players a leg up heading into preseason practices.
"It's so much different than what it was. Knowing the system, knowing how things work, knowing our players, it's incredible. I can focus a lot more on getting better and understanding them and coaching the quarterbacks. Last year I was like, 'What's that?' and trying to learn all the stuff on the fly. It was extremely difficult."
To say Tim Beck had a rough first year in Columbus might be an understatement. After coming over from Nebraska to replace Tom Herman, Beck was given the final decision on play-calling from the press box. In their first 10 games of the season, the Buckeyes scored at least 28 points nine times, but something still felt a little bit off. Then the loss to Michigan State happened, where Ohio State inexplicably only was given 12 carries. After the game co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner moved to the press box and took over play-calling duties against Michigan and Notre Dame, where the Buckeyes scored a combined 86 points.
At the beginning of his second year on Urban Meyer's staff, Beck is a lot more comfortable with his role. Not only did Beck have to handle the play-calling duties last year, but he was also the quarterbacks coach, which had Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett, and Braxton Miller all vying for the starting position. With Miller and Jones moving on to the NFL, this year should be a little easier for Beck since Barrett is the clear-cut starter. The hiring of Greg Studrawa as offensive line coach will also allow Warinner to permanently move to the press box to handle play-calling. All of that should take some of the pressure off of Beck and allow him to help Ohio State's offense to get back on track, and make another run at the College Football Playoff.
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