Hello and welcome to the morning Hive, Tuesday edition! I hope you, Buckeye nation, had a fantastic weekend. I know I sure did. As most of you know– via outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, or news channels–Urban Meyer and the football team held an open practice to all students, faculty, and staff of The Ohio State University. Hopefully, like myself, you were lucky enough to be in attendance. If not, at least you have the spring game this weekend to see the Buckeyes live in action! Also, feel free to live vicariously through me
As reported by Ohio State, approximately 3,100 students, faculty, and staff filed in to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center (WHAC) Saturday morning to get an up-close and personal look at the football team. For many fans, this was their first time getting the unique opportunity to watch practice in person. And boy, it was an experience that everyone in attendance won’t soon forget.
Fans began to pile in to the WHAC as position groups were working on individual drills. During this time, fans sat in bleachers and stood on one end of the field intensely watching as players performed the drills under the direction of their position coaches.
Soon after position drills ended, Coach Meyer invited fans to come onto the field at around the 15-yard line to watch a live scrimmage between the offense and defense. To be within just yards of Braxton Miller taking snaps from the shotgun and Orhian Johnson returning an interception for a touchdown was breathtaking.
There were some things and individuals that really stood out to me as I watched the 1st team offense/defense go up against each other and also against the 2nd teamers: Braxton Miller, the defensive line, Ryan Shazier, Bradley Roby, and the running back position.
BRAX ON BRAX ON BRAX
Braxton Miller was outstanding. Aside from the pick by Orhian Johnson–which I believe was on a tipped pass–and an interception Miller threw to Bradley Roby, Miller looked sharp all day. He threw the ball accurately with great velocity, was poised in the pocket, and seemed to really have command of the offense. He also threw the ball extremely well while on the run. His best pass of the day came on a 45-yard touchdown pass to WR Devin Smith. Miller pump-faked and found Smith who had sneaked behind the defensive back playing zone in the area.
IN THE TRENCHES
Like Braxton Miller, the 1st team defensive line will be a force to be reckoned with come next season–especially John Simon and Johnathan Hankins. For the most part, with the exception of a handful of plays, Simon and Hankins disrupted the offensive flow for most of the day. The 1st team offensive line held their own against the 1st team defensive line, but the 2nd team O-line was no match for Simon and company. The D-line was outstanding even without guys like senior Nathan Williams, who should be returning from injury soon, incoming freshman Noah Spence and injured freshman Se’Von Pittman. I am incredibly excited to see what this group–when fully healthy–can do next fall.
Other guys on defense that stood out to me were LB Ryan Shazier and CB Bradley Roby. Shazier was flying around the field and was really laying the lumber, it was great to see. I fully expect him to be a stud next year along with Roby. As mentioned earlier, Roby intercepted a Braxton Miller pass, but he also had a diving pass-breakup on a ball that looked like it was going to be completed to an open receiver.
LET ME SEE IF YOU CAN RUN IT, RUN IT
On offense, along with Braxton Miller, guys that stood out to me were RB’s Jordan Hall and Bri’onte Dunn. Both Hall and Dunn carried the ball well and even caught some passes out of the backfield, but Dunn had the play of the day on offense. Dunn took a toss from backup QB Kenny Guiton to the right and as the defense pursued him, he reversed field and sprinted down the sideline for a nice 62-yard gain. Like with the defensive line, the group of running backs that Ohio State has is extremely deep. Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde got most of the work with the 1st team, but Dunn and Sophomore Rod Smith saw action as well.
The highlight of the day came when, during field goal drills, Meyer motioned for the crowd to surround the formation and make as much noise as possible for kicker Drew Basil. I was standing directly behind the defensive line during this and it was absolutely amazing.
Overall, the team looked pretty good. After tons of speculation and anticipation of how the Buckeyes will fare under the direction of Meyer, it was nice to get a sneak peak. Since late November and the arrival of Urban, there has been an extraordinary amount of hype around the football team and last Saturday proved why. Urban Meyer is the man. Not only is he arguably the best football coach in America, but he is an extremely likable guy. He took pictures with fans for about 15 minutes and really seemed to be enjoying himself. He puts his players, the team, and the fans first and personally, I couldn’t be happier. For a program that had a tumultuous off-season and season, Meyer is exactly who we needed to re-right the ship and get the Ohio State football team back to where it belongs: at the pinnacle of college football.
As always, Go Bucks!