Asked about units and players alike following his team's practice on Tuesday, Urban Meyer tried to remain positive, although often with caveats. "Until today" seemed to follow all of the praise doled out by the Buckeyes head coach, who was clearly frustrated by his squad's effort.
"Bad Day Tuesday," Meyer deemed the first day of April.
Most of Meyer's ire was directed toward his offense, which he said was bested by the Ohio State defense on Tuesday. That includes backup quarterback Cardale Jones, who has asserted himself as the Buckeyes' clearcut No. 2 signal caller, but still isn't immune to an off day.
"Cardale was bad today. When I say bad -- real bad," Meyer said. "Up until today he was one of the most improved players on the team."
The third-year Buckeyes head man also expressed frustration with his offensive line, which is replacing four senior starters from a season ago. Junior-to-be Taylor Decker is Ohio State's lone returning starter on the unit -- and is playing a new position himself at left tackle -- but like Jones, had a sloppy showing in the Buckeyes' eighth spring practice of the year.
"Taylor was a part of the bad day syndrome," Meyer said. "Up until that point, I've been really impressed with his leadership, but today was not a good day."
The bad news for the Buckeyes only continued when Meyer announced that senior-to-be tight end Jeff Heuerman will miss the remainder of spring practice with a foot sprain that required surgery. Heuerman joins quarterback Braxton Miller, wide receiver Jalin Marshall and safety Vonn Bell as players who won't participate in Ohio State's seven remaining spring practices. Heuerman is, however, expected to make a full recovery by the start of fall camp.
?Tuesday wasn't without its bright spots for the Buckeyes, though, with Meyer opening his press conference by praising the work of freshman running back-wide receiver Curtis Samuel. And on a defense that struggled mightily just a season ago, Meyer spoke highly of linebackers Joshua Perry, Darron Lee and Chris Worley, as well as safety Cameron Burrows.
But for the most part, Meyer seemed perturbed by the shaky showing from his offense, which is playing without its star player and starting quarterback in Miller. As even Meyer admitted, most teams are susceptible to such outings at this time in the year and the key is limiting them.
"It's spring ball. You're going to have a bad day," Meyer said. "Can't have a Bad Day Thursday."