"I was blown back by it, to get such high praise from Urban Meyer. That’s great, everyone wants to be in that light to be thought of that way. I thought it was awesome and cool, but at the end of the day, I looked at Dwayne, ‘Yo, he’s talking about you. You know what we say, you coach yourself. He was talking about you.’ It was just a proud moment for everyone."
The man who is credited with making future Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, Jr. into what he is today had managed to remain out of the spotlight throughout much of Haskins’ recruiting. Now, however, with the four-star Haskins committed to Ohio State’s 2016 recruiting class, personal quarterback coach Bryson Spinner has earned well-deserved accolades from Urban Meyer for his role in developing the young prospect.
Spinner, who played quarterback at the University of Virginia and University of Richmond before a brief NFL career, now runs the training group Perfect Performance in Washington, D.C., where he has been coaching Haskins for the past four years. While Spinner certainly put in the time, he credits Haskins with having the drive to commit to the workouts on top of school and football practice--sometimes on the level of 20 hours per week.
On National Signing Day, Meyer acknowledged that "the fundamentals that Dwayne Haskins possesses right now is as good as I’ve ever seen in a young quarterback," and that the quarterback coach behind him is "that good." Meyer is particularly impressed with Spinner’s drill work, especially as his "incredible drills" have actually translated to better play on the field--which is not always a given. But while Spinner has worked Haskins through many of these drills, he says that Haskins’ development was really about self-ownership of his accomplishments, putting in the hours needed to develop into the prospect he is today.
"And for a guy like that to come in out of high school and to be that raw of a talent, to know how to go hard and stuff like that, that’s rare. In high school he must have played at a high level because it was like no big step with him."
Despite the fact that the Ohio State Buckeyes offensive line might be the most complete unit on the team, having returned two starters from last season in Pat Elflein and Billy Price, line coach Greg Studrawa may have another weapon in his arsenal of new players in true freshman guard Michael Jordan. The 6-foot-7, 310-pound freshman arrived in Columbus in time to compete in fully in spring practice with the rest of the team, and has established himself as a contender for one of the remaining positions on the offensive line. And head coach Urban Meyer has already stated that Jordan will play for Ohio State this season.
Still, earning any sort of playing time on the offensive line, especially as a starter, is a rare feat for a true freshman. The last Buckeye to start, in fact, was Orlando Pace in 1994. And while putting a freshman in the role might be an indication of a lack of depth on the line and be cause for concern, coaches have indicated that it also shows the drive and initiative of a naturally talented player who already has the size and skill to compete at a higher level.
While Jordan still has a long way to go to secure his starting role come the fall, three spots on the offensive line seem to already be secured. Pat Elflein, who started at right guard last season, moved to the center spot. Billy Price will remain at left guard, and Jamarco Jones, who backed up Taylor Decker last season, has already been announced as the starting left tackle for next season.
"That competitive spirit with the team every day and just being around and making guys feel like we can go to another level and be even better than we were yesterday. Just that mentality from Coach Jent is something I feel like we feed off of now."
It hasn’t taken long for new Ohio State men’s basketball assistant Chris Jent to make an impact on the court for the Buckeyes. After joining the coaching staff back in April, Jent has already begun to impress current players with both his jump shot and his coaching philosophy. Known in the basketball community as one of the best shooting coaches around, Jent has already put his stamp on drills with the Buckeyes. Redshirt junior guard Kam Williams marvelled at Jent’s shooting ability, noting that "it seems like he never misses" when demonstrating a drill.
Beyond shooting, though, Jent has made clear that he aims to bring back a certain competitive spirit and toughness that the Buckeyes seem to have lost in recent years. In many ways, this past season was a wake up call to a need for a change in philosophy, given that it was the first season since 2008 that Ohio State did not make the NCAA tournament. After winning the Big Ten tournament in three of four seasons, and making it to the Sweet 16 four-straight years (2010-13), the program seemed to become somewhat complacent. Jent, however, brings a positive energy back to the team, which has already made an impact on practices, giving the team the needed fire to get to the next level.
Jent graduated from Ohio State in 1992 and, though going undrafted, had a short professional career before stepping into a coaching role in the NBA. He returned to his alma mater in 2011, coaching two seasons with Thad Matta before returning to the pros.
"He comes into meetings and he’s hungry to learn. Sometimes you see rookies that think they know it all. He’s eager to learn and he’s soaking it all up and the older guys are helping him. That’s a surprising part of it."
Ohio State fans have always known that former Buckeye linebacker Darron Lee is a standup guy, and now the New York Jets coaching staff is learning that as well. With a severe lack of ego and a willingness to learn, Lee has already made an impression with his position coach in the Jets meeting room. And he has shown already in practice what the Jets saw on film in terms of his speed and athleticism.
Mike Caldwell has acknowledged that Lee is in a good position to learn behind veteran linebackers David Harris and Erin Henderson, who will be able to show Lee the ropes during his rookie season. While he will likely be a backup this year, Caldwell says that Lee has "a personality that will accept other guys’ opinions and other guys’ knowledge." As he develops, Caldwell anticipates that Lee could aid the struggling Jets secondary in pass coverage.
Having come to Ohio State as a three-star recruit, Lee switched positions from his native quarterback to linebacker. As a freshman, Lee earned his spot as a starter in his new role and played his way to a first-round pick by the Jets in April’s draft. While he is still young in his position, with just two years’ experience at linebacker, Lee has proven himself to be a quick learner. He started all 15 games as a redshirt freshman, even earning Defensive MVP honors in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama. Lee did not let up during his sophomore campaign, ultimately earning AP second-team All-American honors.
STICK TO SPORTS
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