COLUMBUS, Ohio – The early returns are that it’s still very early. But after just three days and one practice in pads, Urban Meyer likes what he sees from his Ohio State football team.
First, he talked up quarterback Braxton Miller.
“Braxton has come a long way,” Meyer said. “It’s just two days, but he’s been really good.”
“I like his whole demeanor and his relationship with his receivers. It wasn’t there last year.”
Later, Meyer said it’s too early to have seen much from the new faces — but with one exception. In the case of true freshman Dontre Wilson, “he’s going to play.”
Wilson, a native Texan who picked Ohio State after Chip Kelly left Oregon for the NFL, has arrived with much hype.
“He’s just gone really hard,” Meyer said. “He has something we didn’t have on offense last year, just electric speed.”
Meyer went on to discuss how some players struggle to make an impression early but that wasn’t the case for Wilson because “he has some jets.”
Tuesday’s morning practice was the first in full pads for the No. 2 Buckeyes, who reported last weekend. The freshmen and newcomers had an on-field workout on Sunday, and the full team first worked as a whole on Monday. Meyer said the first scrimmage will take place on the eighth day of practice and that will be when the staff “knows who’s going to play.” Freshmen low enough on the depth chart will then be given scout-team roles, and the intensity of the following practices will rise.
“After that,” Meyer said, “we go try to win a game.”
Meyer said his primary concerns are the depth at the offensive line and linebacker positions, and he said those can probably only be fixed “with another recruiting class.” Taylor Decker has emerged as the leader to fill the right tackle position, though the offensive line is not yet intact with center Corey Linsley still limited while recovering from foot surgery.
By next week, Meyer believes those who hope to have key roles on the 2013 team will have emerged. Uncertainty awaits not only because of the quality of talent on hand and positions to be filled, but because in these early days Meyer said camp “is candy” until fatigue sets in and jobs are being won and lost.
“Camp is terrible,” Meyer said. “Come back in a week and they’ll all be asleep on the mattresses.”