New Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer is expecting a lot from sophomore Curtis Grant of Richmond (Va.) Hermitage, who was operating as the starting middle linebacker in Wednesday's first practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
“He overanalyzed everything a year ago and didn’t play very fast,” Meyer said. “I don’t want to say depressed, but he wasn’t enjoying football. When you’re not very confident, you’re not playing fast, that’s it. He had an excellent off-season. He’s a guy that has to develop. It’s his first day, he did fine. In a week … we have no choice, he has to be a player for us. If he’s not, we’ve got problems.”
Other observations from Wednesday:
Meyer was so meticulous that he and his staff walked through practice more than once in preparation.
There’s nothing worse than a player coming out to practice and seeing a coach confused,” Meyer said. “It’s all about respecting your coach. If your coach is confused, your player doesn’t respect you. I made sure we were right on target.”
Meyer has two clear goals to accomplish by the April 21 spring game.
“It’s installation on offense and identifying the playmakers, in that order,” he said. “We’re in a sprint for that. We’re in a journey for the other stuff. We have to develop depth at offensive line. If you don’t have it you’ve got to go recruit it, which we’re doing.”
Meyer hopes quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton can pick up the spread offense very quickly.
"It all depends what theycan handle," Meyer said. "The timeline is as soon as possible. Practice 5 and 6 is where you’reabout done installing. If they can’t handle it, we’ll be installing through 10,11, 12 practices. They decent today; we’re going to throw a lot at them again on Friday.
"Near the beginning of practice, Meyer told the quarterbacks, "There's no such thing as a bad rep today."
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman worked with the quarterbacks on mechanics and Miller's footwork clearly stood out among the rest. (Herman, a 1997 graduate of Cal Lutheran, still looks young enough to be carded in bars.)
Running backs coach Stan Drayton used what looked like a padded bamboo stick to try to knock the ball out from his charges.
Former OSU offensive tackle Kirk Barton of Massillon Perry, last seen as a makeshift bodyguard for former coach Jim Tressel at a Canton appearance last year, is still around, apparently as a graduate assistant. No one serving in that capacity is listed on the OSU web site.
Here's now the players lined up with the first team on Wednesday.
Offensive line (left to right): Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsley, Marcus Hall, Reid Fragel. QB: Miller. TE: Jake Stoneburner. FB: Zach Boren. RB: Jordan Hall. WRs: Chris Fields, Devin Smith, Evan Spencer.
Defensive line: John Simon, Johnathan Hankins, Garrett Goebel, Adam Bellamy. LBs: Etienne Sabino, Ryan Shazier, Grant. DBs: Bradley Roby, Travis Howard, Christian Bryant, C.J. Barnett in the secondary.