Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer once gave a speech telling his players that they were to go two steps beyond what the staff asked of them.
You crossed the finish line, he maintained, and kept going.
It meant players were to squat more weight, do more push-ups, run more miles, take more snaps…
So it’s notable that during training camp this year, there’s at least one way in which he’s asking them to do less.
“They’re making sure we get out of here at a decent time to get enough sleep at night,” safety Tyvis Powell said.
That’s right. Urban Meyer is kicking players out of the film room.
It’s all part of a new emphasis on performance recovery, and it also includes players recording how sore they feel after every practice, stretching with foam rollers during the lulls of team meetings and getting a whole lot of sleep.
According to wide receiver Devin Smith, players were even advised to download an app that would help them wake up when they are the most rested and relaxed. Many have used it and found it works for them, although Smith personally says he doesn’t need it. “Once I lay my head on that bed, I sit and think for a minute, then I fall asleep.”
Part of this is just the evolution of football, especially football played at the greased zip-line pace of the no-huddle offense. Part of it is also the fact that coach Meyer’s staff met with the Eagles this offseason.
Philadelphia is unique in that they are the first NFL team to hire a “sports-science coordinator.” Their workout plan helped the well-conditioned team go 7-1 in their last 8 games this past season, and they had fewer injuries than all but 4 other teams.
Is a similar approach working for the Buckeyes as well? The early returns are promising.
“It’s night and day drastic from last year,” defensive lineman Chris Carter said. “You don’t feel as drained.”
“I feel great right now. I feel excellent,” Powell added before laughingly volunteering this: “I could run a mile.”