For the first time in training camp, the Ohio State football team hit the field in shorts and shoulder pads, and though there was no tackling to ground today, the pad-popping practice was spirited.
It started with the now famous Urban Meyer “circle drill,” and the workout was watched by scouts from the Browns, Broncos, Lions, Cardinals and Bears. Former Buckeye running back Raymont “The Quiet Storm Harris” looked on. He now works for Ohio State in a fundraising role. Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino was in attendance as well.
Linebacker Curtis Grant returned after taking some time off to be with an ailing grandfather. So when the first team defense was out there, Etienne Sabino was at Sam, Grant at Mike, and Ryan Shazier was the Will linebacker.
From an injury standpoint, there were several developments. Verlon Reed was at practice in a yellow no-contact jersey. Jordan Hall spent a great deal of time working with the JUGS machine, even though he was still wearing a walking boot. Freshman Joey O’Connor was racking up miles on the exercise bike today. And Jamie Wood was limping off at the end of today’s session, before he was eventually led to a cart and taken away.
Perhaps most notably, Nathan Williams had his first contact of the fall. (Nice job by the O-Zone to get the video!) However, he was very limited in terms of hitting. He was mostly just off to the side of the defensive lineman doing individual drills. (It’s probably no coincidence that’s he’s being kept close, even while rehabbing his knee. Today he was coaching up some of his younger teammates, and talked one freshman down when he became frustrated.)
After the Buckeyes were done on the field, offensive coordinator Tom Herman and others met with the media. Herman told the reporters that by practice number six, the team should be working with the entire offensive playbook. It’s one reason he said the offense is “light years” ahead of where it was this spring. Another reason? Strength coach Mickey Marotti, whom Herman raved about.
Marotti also had a big impact on linebacker Shazier, who has benefited from the team’s dietician as well. As a result of their combined efforts Shazier has added 25 pounds to his frame.
And for Urban Meyer…PLUS TWO:
- Even though it’s been more than 90 degrees the past two days, and the athletic training staff is using more than two tons of ice every day, quarterback Braxton Miller and receiver Michael Thomas are wearing long socks, and wearing them so high they go right up to their shorts, making it look like they are wearing pants. They’re the only players doing this.
- The team practices in full pads for the first time Thursday and starts two-a-days Friday.
Finally, in case you’re wondering: The title of today’s post? A tribute to how one of the coaches motivated his position players this afternoon.