March 19, 2013

Meyer talks spring practice

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With spring break in the books, the Ohio State football team returned to action on Tuesday, participating in its third spring practice in Year Two of the Urban Meyer era. Afterwards, the Buckeyes head coach met with the media to provide an update on his team.

Back to work

As a whole, Meyer seemed unimpressed with the Buckeyes' effort on Tuesday as they participated in their first practice in 12 days. The second-year OSU coach admitted that there were reasons for that, and that he's looking forward to his team shaking off its rust when it returns to the practice field on Thursday.

"I helped them with the excuses. We just got back from spring break, the first day in pads. So I helped them before we have to deal with excuses tomorrow," Meyer said. "I don't think it was great day. I don't think it was awful. But it was not a great day."

When it came to quarterback Braxton Miller, Meyer refused to call his practice performance great. What did impress Meyer, however, was his first-string signal caller's attitude when things didn't go right on Tuesday.

"He looked alright. The execution wasn't very good because they were blitzing and doing all kinds of stuff and we didn't protect very well," Meyer said. "I saw a kid playing quarterback, that means staying positive and trying to fix issues as opposed to maybe getting down and throwing the ball into the ground."

Hall held out

Perhaps another reason that the Buckeyes didn't look as sharp as they did two weeks ago was the absence of running back-receiver Jordan Hall. The projected H-back missed Tuesday's session after suffering a slightly pulled hamstring two weeks ago.

"It's precautionary right now. He could probably practice at 80 percent," Meyer said.

Meyer admitted that this could be a big spring for Hall, who received a medical redshirt in 2012 as he recovered from multiple injuries. Expected to play the 'pivot' position in the OSU offense, Hall is still adjusting to his new role as a hybrid-type player.

"There's certain things he needs. His toughness, I don't need to see. He's going to play a new position," Meyer said. "The amount of running compared to a running back that a receiver does, he just wasn't ready."

Craft at quarterback?

Columbus may be a football town, but with March Madness approaching, hoops is on everybody's mind in Ohio's capital city. Meyer said that he's been particularly impressed by Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft, who has helped lead the Buckeyes to a No. 2 seed in this month's Big Dance.

"I love that kid," Meyer said of Craft. "He's as good as I've ever seen."

A star quarterback in high school, Craft could fit right in with Meyer's OSU squad. The Buckeyes coach joked that once basketball season is over, there's a spot waiting for Craft on another OSU roster.

"After they finish their tournament run, he'll be out here," Meyer said. "He could play safety, linebacker, H-back- he'd be a great H-back- or take snaps."

Other news and notes

-Meyer said that the receivers had a good day, but that no one stood out. Meyer said that the Thursday practice from two weeks ago was their best as Buckeyes.

-Meyer said that the Buckeyes looked "below average" in pads today. Having spent spring break in Fort Meyers, Fla. himself, Meyer joked that he was also rusty.

-In regards to the more relaxed NCAA recruiting rules that have recently been rescinded, Meyer said that he hasn't met a coach that liked them in the first place. Said that the recruiting calendar is set up perfectly the way that it is now.

-Meyer could not comment on the reported search warrant that named three Ohio State players in a sexual assault investigation. One of those players has reportedly already left the program.

-Meyer said that Carlos Hyde is three-for-three on good days in practice. Said that he can be as good as any running back in the country.


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