Buckeyes Open Camp Meyer with Intense Practice
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Braxton Miller was brushing his teeth when he got the call.
Photo by Jim Davidson
He had set his alarm for 4:30 a.m. on the morning of Urban Meyer’s first fall camp in Columbus, but offensive coordinator Tom Herman called just to make sure Ohio State’s star quarterback was up and at ‘em.
“It was cool to get up and get ready,” Miller said Friday after the first day of fall camp.
“Seven months ago, we were out here at 5 o’clock in the morning working out. To come out here today at 5 o’clock again, everybody was hyped and energized for the first practice. Everything was good.”
Meyer, his new coaching staff and about 60 returning veterans hit the practice field at the Harmon Family Football Park around 5:45 a.m. on Friday—15 minutes ahead of schedule—but the early wakeup call didn’t keep the Buckeyes from practicing hard on day one.
“I feel like it was more crisp today,” sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby said.
Photo by Jim Davidson
“Even though it was the first day, I feel like everybody knew what they were doing, and we were executing plays on defense and offense. It was high-paced and it was good to be out there. I’m looking forward to the rest of the practices we have during camp.”
It was Ohio State’s first official football practice since the spring game back on April 22, and Roby said it was the first time in his career where he was genuinely excited for the start of preseason camp in Columbus.
“A couple years ago it was like, ‘Oh no, we got another camp,’ but this year I feel like the hunger of the team and the determination of the team is just so high,” said Roby, one of four returning starters in Ohio State’s secondary.
“We’re just ready to play football and get better. We’re ready to play against anybody.”
Roby was so amped to get back on the practice field after a summer of conditioning with Mickey Marotti—who he called “the best strength coach in the country”—he could barely sleep the night before camp.
“I didn’t get much sleep at all,” he said.
“I was ready to play, so I didn’t really get to sleep until one (o'clock) and I had to be up at four. It’s football though, so it’s OK. I’m going to go sleep now.”
A lot of Ohio State players were running for their beds after a high-intensity early morning practice. The Buckeyes beat the midday heat in Columbus, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t camp weather out on the practice field.
“It actually was kind of hot,” Roby said of the first practice in shorts, spikes, mesh jerseys and helmets.
“Everybody was sweating. It was humid, but we expect that. That’s what camp is like every year.”
That doesn’t mean it was business as usually at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center (WHAC) on Friday. Far from it, said Roby.
“You can tell just by practice, it’s totally different than coach (Jim) Tressel,” he said.
“The whole intensity of practice is just more urgent. There’s more intensity and it’s…not more competitive, but they stress the competitiveness, so it brings out more.”
Photo by Jim Davidson
The start of spring ball was not very competitive because the defense was so far ahead of the offense, which was just trying to learn Meyer’s new playbook. Tailback Carlos Hyde wasn’t sure he would ever get it down, after making such a drastic change from the previous offensive coaching staff.
The team’s projected starter was singing a different tune after Friday morning’s practice.
“The offense came out executing,” he said.
“We had a better feel than the first day of spring, when we had no clue going out there. Today we just felt good. We came out executing against the defense. We were looking pretty sharp out there.”
Miller said the offense was ready to beat the defense right now, though he didn’t want anyone telling that to John Simon, Ohio State’s star defensive player on the other side of the ball.
“All the guys during the spring and after the spring and into summer workouts, that’s what we worked on,” Miller said of the offensive timing.
“Everybody is coming together. It will just take some more days and it will be good. I worked on my accuracy and stepping through the throw.”
News and Notes from Day 1
* Former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, a longtime mentor to Meyer and grandfather of OSU receivers coach Zach Smith, sat in a chair at the base of a huge tower in the north end zone of field No. 3 and watched the first day of camp.
* No freshmen took part in this first practice. They, along with some walk-on upper classmen to boost the numbers, will take the field for the first time in 2012 at 5:30 Friday evening.
* The players will enjoy a 48-hour break before a team dinner Sunday evening and practice No. 2 of the season: Monday at 4 p.m.
* Bradley Roby was wearing his new jersey number for the first time Friday morning. He switched from 25 to No. 1 this offseason with Meyer’s approval.
* Sophomore Chase Farris practiced in a scarlet jersey with the offensive linemen today.
* Defensive end Nathan Williams was at practice Friday, but did not participate in the “spirited drill work.”
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