The Ohio State football team completed its third day of 2013 preseason practice Tuesday morning, and while Urban Meyer began his meeting with the media saying there was not much news, the head coach still addressed several issues surrounding his Buckeyes.
Meyer was pleased with the efforts of quarterback Braxton Miller, saying the junior has “come a long way.”
“I know it’s just three days, but he had a really good day today,” Meyer said, later adding that Miller’s leadership and relationship with OSU’s receivers had taken a big step forward from last year.
Miller, like the rest of the Buckeyes, spent much of last season trying to master the spread offense implemented by Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman. That prevented Miller from emerging into as big of a leader as Meyer had hoped.
“Part of being a leader is setting a standard and leading by example. He wasn’t leading by example because he really didn’t know what he was doing,” Meyer said. “I see a much better presence around him (now).”
The newcomers to the roster highlighted much of the rest of Meyer’s press conference. Meyer said he and his staff will spend much of the first week or so of preseason camp watching the so-called “black stripes,” freshmen, transfers and walk-ons new to the program, and seeing who will contribute this fall and who will become scout team players.
One player, however, has already caught Meyer’s eye in a good way.
“The focus right now is I want to see who is going to go really hard, like Dontre Wilson right now,” Meyer said. “I would say he’s going to play because he just goes really hard. That’s my first impression of him, unless it changes.”
Asked who else among the freshman had stood out, Meyer again took the opportunity to praise the four-star running back out of DeSoto, Texas.
“Dontre’s the one because he’s got something we didn’t have – that just electric speed,” he said. “He doesn’t care. He just goes hard. We got to point him in the right direction.”
In addition to the freshmen, Meyer also gave updates on the OSU punting situation and the latest one the off-the-field issues surrounding Bradley Roby. On the punters, Meyer said Australian newcomer Cameron Johnson has fared well after a “ridiculous” first day, one during which Meyer described the 21-year-old as a “one-shot wonder.” Despite that, Meyer said Johnson is the Buckeyes’ No. 1 option at punter and an impressive athlete.
As for Roby, he is practicing with the Buckeyes – as is Carlos Hyde, who is suspended for at least the first three games of the upcoming season stemming from an incident in July at a Columbus nightclub. Roby was arrested July 21 in Bloomington, Ind., and charged with misdemeanor battery after allegedly striking a bouncer at a bar.
Meyer has yet to issue a punishment to Roby.
“Still waiting to find out all the information,” Meyer said.
There were sweaty players trudging off the Woody Hayes Athletic Center outdoor practice fields during Meyer’s press conference, but the head coach said the bad times have yet to begin for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State begins two-a-day practices on Aug. 9 and will have four such days. The team will also move from the WHAC to its field on Ackerman Road on Aug. 9, which will be when practices will be ramped up in intensity.
“Right now, this is candy,” Meyer said. “Come back. I’m sure I’ll talk to you in about a week, and … it’s going to be horrible.
“Camp is terrible. But we’re not in camp yet. This is practice.”