On Tuesday, the Ohio State Buckeyes held their first practice since November 23, the day before the Michigan game last season. Along with that, Urban Meyer was able to speak with the media about the 2013 team for the first time all year. The press conference can be seen here (via official team site).
"It was fine” Meyer said. “I'm not really concerned with attitude. Just concerned with the development of some players. After day one, I can't give you a whole lot, it's the first day in shorts, but we had a good attitude."
With the Buckeyes being in just helmets on Day 1, there wasn’t a whole of action, just a lot of mental and fundamental aspects being worked on. However, that doesn’t mean that certain players didn’t stand out and show their improvement from last season.
A guy that Ohio State would love to have in their arsenal is senior H-back, Jordan Hall. Hall missed almost the entire 2012 season with a foot injury, but is expected to be a leader and major part of the Buckeyes offense this upcoming season. Coach Meyer spoke kindly of Jordan Hall after practice saying, "Boy was he great today. Didn't bat an eye. He was great."
That comes as great news to Buckeye Nation, as Hall adds an element that Ohio State lacked on offense last season. Outside of Braxton Miller, there wasn’t a whole lot of firepower. Now we’re looking at a guy who can catch a pass, make a couple guys miss and take it to the end zone for a score.
While finding playmakers isn’t the only concern, the improvement of Braxton Miller, passing wise, is a must if Ohio State wants to become an elite offense. As you remember, Miller worked with quarterback guru George Whitfield in the offseason.
Coach Meyer hasn’t been able to see Miller throw since the Michigan game, but liked what he saw out of his Heisman Trophy candidate in day one. "I thought Braxton had a heckuva day... a heckuva day. I thought he was outstanding today."
With the offensive side of the ball having a ton of carryover from last season, the defense will be counted on to make strides during spring ball.
Bradley Roby will be counted on to lead a young defense, and his two-interception performance yesterday set the tone.
Meyer on Bradley Roby's two-pick afternoon: "He's one for one. I'm going to grade him every day. You either did your job or you did not."
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) March 5, 2013
The front seven, however, is where the most position battles will happen. Adolphus Washington, Noah Spence and Tommy Schutt all gained limited playing time last season as true freshmen, and would seem to have an edge over others at this point in time. Michael Bennett should also see substantial playing time this season after being hampered by many injuries last year.
Then we have the infamous question about who will step up at linebacker in 2013. Most still believe in Curtis Grant, who from a physical standpoint, could be the most dominating linebacker on the roster. With this being his junior season, the game could start to slow down for the 6’3" linebacker.
Meyer stated, "A lot of focus is on him right now. It looked pretty good to me. Do we still have hope? Absolutely, yes.”
If Grant was able to play up to his potential, it would fill a void and help solidify a Buckeyes defense who could be extremely fast this year.
With spring practice spread out over a long time period this year, players will have more time to rest and get healthy throughout the week. Their next practice will be held on Thursday, March 7th.
Quote transcript via Eleven Warriors.