Buckeyes back on the practice field in Columbus

For the first time in the Urban Meyer era, Ohio State had a practice following a loss on Thursday.

Meyer obviously wishes the circumstances were different, but he’s happy to have his team back at work. He believes such work will be beneficial, too.

With final exams for the fall semester out of the way, the Buckeyes practiced on Thursday in preparation for the Jan. 3 Orange Bowl vs. Clemson. In the bigger picture, though, these bowl practices can be vital to the development of young players who got little or limited practice reps during 13 game weeks.

Meyer called these upcoming practices “a game changer.”

“The extra practices were something we didn’t have a year ago, and that was almost a panic situation for me — 15 practices that you’ll never get back,” Meyer said “Any coach will tell you that those 15 practices are critical to player development.”

With the Buckeyes banned from the postseason in 2012, their last practice was the week before their season finale vs. Michigan, played Thanksgiving weekend. The way Meyer sees it, 70 teams nationally got at least 10 practices last winter the Buckeyes didn’t.

Though commonly reported, there’s no 15 practice rule during bowl season. During spring practice, teams are limited to 15 practices.

Teams can practice up to their bowl game under regular 20-hour a week practice rules. Most teams take time off immediately following their seasons and during finals week, and teams playing in late December or January bowls also usually take a holiday break, too. Ohio State’s players will be allowed to go home for Christmas Dec. 22-26. The Buckeyes fly to Florida on Dec. 29.

Ohio State will practice eight more times before Dec. 22.

“We’ll take full advantage,” Meyer said.