April 4, 2012

WATCH: Urban Meyer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State is officially one-third of the way through its 2012 spring drills as the team practiced today – Wednesday – for about two hours at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Once again the team practiced in brilliant sunshine and warm, breezy conditions, and afterward head coach Urban Meyer answered questions from the media for about 10 minutes in the team room at the WHAC.

In the second of numerous competitive days this spring pitting the offense vs. the defense, the defense held off a late rally by the offense to claim victory on the day and avoid the post-practice running assignment.

Meyer expects the defense to hold serve in these early spring battles.

“This early, the defense better win,” Meyer told about 35 assembled members of the media after practice. “They are playing well. The defense has two guys – John Simon and Johnathan Hankins – who are disrupting everything.” 

It’s logical the offense would have growing pains at this point. Meyer and his coaches are implementing a new-to-Ohio State spread offense, plus there are four new offensive assistants, and five new offensive minds when counting the head coach. Just two offensive line starters return from a year ago and they are competing against a defense led by the “big two” and that returns nine starters.

“We’re not where we need to be, but I’m not upset,” Meyer said. “I wish we’d just get there faster. The offense came back in the scrimmage today. It got the score close.”

Meyer also had these things to say Wednesday about:

What he’s learned about his team: “I think the players are really good people … eager to learn … good attitudes. They are just really good kids.”

Jack Mewhort playing tackle: “He is probably our best lineman and he is our most consistent lineman. We don’t have a lot of tackles right now, but Jack can play tackle.”

The quarterbacks: “I’m not disappointed at this point where we are.”

Offensive line play: “We have a first string that is adequate, but you’ve got to be better than adequate. We’re getting better. We need to be.”

Defensive line play: “We’ve got some depth. Simon [John] is playing lights out. I don’t know who our other pass rushers are, though. Steve Miller has made a big jump.”

Nathan Williams: “He’s going to start jogging in June. We need him to play for us.”

Michael Bennett: “Michael is really doing well. He’s a playmaker … a good player … hard to block.”

Spring game format: Coach Meyer said he hopes the 2012 LiFE Sports Spring Game will be an actual game – as opposed to an offense vs. defense scrimmage – with two teams of drafted players. He said he wants the game day experience and there are younger players on this team who need to get used to playing in front of 90,000 fans.

Spring game television: The Big Ten Network will televise Ohio State’s 2012 LiFE Sports Spring Game live beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, April 21. Tom Hart and Derek Rackley will describe the action with Lisa Byington reporting from the sideline.

And radio: Sports Radio 97.1 (FM) The Fan will broadcast the spring game for the IMG Sports Network. Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Paul Keels and former Buckeye All-American Jim Lachey will have the call.

What is LiFE Sports?

Learning and Fitness & Education through Sports (LiFE Sports) is a youth development initiative run by the Ohio State Department of Athletics and the Ohio State College of Social Work. The program is designed to offer economically disadvantaged children and adolescents, ages 9-17, sport and education instruction in a safe and nurturing environment during the summer months. Visit to learn more about the program. It’s a good thing!