March 26, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Buckeyes practiced indoors at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Tuesday for about two hours – practice No. 6 on the spring schedule – and afterward coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman provided updates to the media.

The first question asked of Meyer was how well defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell and new co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chris Ash were meshing.

“It’s going well. It’s going well,” Meyer said. “You’ve heard the term overhaul. We’ve been pretty good against the rush the last two years – [ninth nationally in 2013 and 14th in 2012] – but not very good in pass defense. So we are completely revamping the entire back of how we do our business and so far it has been pretty good. The two [coaches] have meshed together very well.”

Meyer commented on a variety of other players and thoughts. Some of them:

“Dontre [Wilson] is the starting H. He took Philly Brown’s spot so he’s fulltime receiver, although we did take him today and put him into some backfield action. This hybrid position is really a key guy. The good thing is Jalin Marshall, before he got hurt, was doing really well. He’s got the body type for that. And a kid named Curtis Samuel [also does]. Dontre is the No. 1. He’s the starting H at Ohio State.”

Joshua Perry is without question one of our top five most improved players. His demeanor has always been there. Work ethic has been there. And the toughness element is something that he has really improved. He’s a much improved player and a wonderful guy to coach.”

“As bad as we want an offensive line like we had last year, it’s going to take some time to develop. At some point, because we recruited well and because of our line coach (Ed Warinner), that’s going to happen. We’re going to have to lean on some perimeter ways to get some first downs where last year we were running for 300 yards a game and it’s because that offensive line was so good. We have other weapons and there will be a little different taste than what we had last year.”

Meyer’s updates also included comments on…

Herman talks QBs
Tom Herman said that neither of the team’s backup quarterbacks, third-year sophomore Cardale Jones and red-shirt freshman J.T. Barrett, stood out in the scrimmage on Saturday, but he did say that Jones was still taking the majority of the snaps with the No. 1 offense.

“I think it’s telling that through six practices, Cardale Jones is still getting the majority of the reps with the [first-teamers],” Herman said. “To say that he’s head and shoulders [ahead] or has taken a step forward, I don’t know that that would be accurate, but he hasn’t done anything to not deserve to take those reps.”

“Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell speaks to the team
The Buckeyes were honored after their fifth practice of the spring season Saturday by a visitor whose words silenced about 100 athletes and an additional 100 to 150 coaches, administrators, parents, media and anyone else fortunate enough to be in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on this day.

Marcus Luttrell, the retired Navy SEAL and the subject of the book (that he authored) and movie “Lone Survivor,” spent about 45 minutes after practice speaking to and mingling with members of the team. With Luttrell were members of his “Patriot Tour” that is currently travelling around the country: Billy Wagasy, Pete Scobell, Chad Fleming and Taya Kayle.

Luttrell was open and direct in his comments to the Buckeyes, which had a practice-harder-than-you-play theme.

“If you train and practice as hard as you possibly can, when things do start to go bad for you on the field, if you keep that focus and that attitude, you can probably push past all of those bad parts.

“We train like we fight. So everyday it’s as hard and as fast as we can possibly go. That way when we get out there and do the things that we do, most of the time it’s – I don’t want to use anticlimactic, but when you go out thinking, ‘Man, this is going to be the most horrible thing I’ve gotten myself into,’ then you get back to the base and, ‘Wow, that wasn’t anything like I expected.’

“But there are those times when things go very bad for us, and because of the way we train we can rebound from it.”

Luttrell was part of a four-man SEALs team that was ambushed in Afghanistan in 2005 during Operation Red Wings. A total of 19 U.S. servicemen lost their lives during the mission.