Meyer Welcomes Stoneburner, Mewhort Back to Practice
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the protection broke down around him, Braxton Miller scrambled to his right, looking for somewhere to throw the football.
Photo by Dan Harker
It looked like Miller was going to take a sack during Ohio State’s second day of fall practice, but that’s when he spotted someone running open down the middle of the field. As he has done before, Miller heaved the ball off his back foot and into the arms of No. 11, Jake Stoneburner, who took off down the middle of the defense for a big gain.
It was the kind of play OSU fans had envisioned when Urban Meyer took the head coaching job in November, but a connection that hasn’t happened much since the early parts of the summer.
That’s because Meyer suspended Stoneburner, a fifth-year senior out of Dublin Coffman, along with teammate Jack Mewhort—the team’s projected starter at left tackle—for violating team rules back in early June.
Both players were back on the practice field Monday, and back in their respective starting positions on Ohio State’s offense as the Buckeyes hit the practice field for the first time as full unit.
Photo by Jim Davidson
“I don’t know them that well because I’ve only been here (a few months), but they’re great students,” Meyer said after practice Monday.
“Not good students, great students. They’re on my leadership committee and I think the word I would use there is ‘stupid.’”
Meyer is referring to the incident that lead to the suspension of two guys he was counting on to help lead the Buckeyes during his first season in Columbus. The pair was arrested around 2:30 a.m. outside The Bogey Inn near Stoneburner’s home in Dublin, Ohio.
Both players had reportedly been at The Memorial Tournament during the day, and they were allegedly urinating on the side of a building outside the bar. When questioned by police, Stoneburner and Mewhort made the “stupid” decision to run.
“That is the word you associate,” said Meyer, who plans to reinstate the pair to their athletic scholarships at the start of Fall Semester.
“So are they less stupid now? I don’t know. Right now we’re going to do the best we can to help them be less stupid. If there was a bad guy situation, they wouldn’t be playing.”
Just because they are back at practice, doesn’t mean they didn’t pay a heavy price for their decision to run from the police. Not only did Meyer suspend them from “all football team activities,” he also revoked their athletic scholarships for the summer term.
“I know that hurt those guys a lot,” senior fullback Zach Boren said.
“I know it was really hard for them. They hated being away from us. That was the hardest thing. It wasn’t paying for school, it was being away from the team, being away from us.”
Even when they did return, Stoneburner and Mewhort were forced to start out conditioning with the freshmen. They had to work their way back to being two of the leaders on Meyer’s football team.
That was something that caught everyone’s attention.
“You can’t mess up. That’s something he always preaches,” Boren said of Meyer.
“You can’t mess up. Even when you’re in your hometown on the weekends, you better be doing the right things because everyone’s watching.”
Not Dunn Yet
That certainly turned out to be the case with freshman running back Bri’onte Dunn. A product of Canton GlenOak High School, Dunn was stopped by police in his hometown of Alliance, Ohio late last month.
He was initially cited for drug possession, which certainly captured headlines in Columbus, but the charges were ultimately dropped by Alliance City Law Director Andrew Zumbar.
Like Stoneburner and Mewhort, Dunn was at practice Monday and did not seem to be limited in any capacity.
“I’m still waiting,” Meyer said of Dunn, who recently passed a drug test in Columbus following the incident in Alliance.
“He’s going to plead not guilty. We did a series of tests, and everything came back that he was honest with me.”
Dunn, 19, is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Alliance Municipal Court. He still faces a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, along with seat belt and tail light violations.
“If there is some charge that sticks then there will be a penalty,” Meyer said, “like all kids that have a charge.”
Dunn was working as the No. 3 tailback on Monday behind Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith. He was still ahead of fellow freshman Warren Ball, who enrolled back in June.
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