Two-Minute Drill: Updates from Fall Camp
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer called this a “make or break” week for his new football team.
The Buckeyes still have one more two-a-day practice before they can officially breathe a sigh of relief, but it sounds like the players lived up to their coach’s expectations during one of the hardest weeks of the offseason.
“They’ve answered the bell,” OSU running backs coach Stan Drayton said.
“They knew it was going to be a tough week. I really liked the way the team approached the field today.”
Here are more updates from Friday’s interviews with Drayton and the OSU players, along with assistant coaches Mike Vrabel, Tim Hinton, Kerry Coombs and Zach Smith.
*Not an injury, but DT Adam Bellamy has left the team for personal reasons. Vrabel said he is dealing with family stuff and will be welcomed back with open arms if he decides to return.
*Freshman OL Joey O’Connor will miss the season after undergoing knee surgery this week.
*RB Jordan Hall is still wearing a walking boot, but Drayton said they are expecting him back for the second game.
*Drayton said Hall really proved himself in the spring and he is really the only guy they have who can do all the things they want the ‘pivot’ player to do.
*WR Evan Spencer was fine and participated fully in practice this week after the scare last week. Banged knees during a kickoff drill.
*John Simon and Michael Bennett have both been battling minor injuries this week in camp.
*Hinton said one reason they moved Stoneburner to WR was more reps for Heuerman and Vannett. It also lets them move Boren and Adam Homan around a little bit. More true H-back stuff.
*Smith said the Stoneburner move was more of a formality. He will still do some H-back stuff and flex out as a TE.
*Hinton described Heuerman as an excellent "point of attack" blocker. Said he's really worked hard at the passing part of the offense.
*Hinton said Vannett is like a completely different player this fall. Still has work to do, but they're excited about him.
*Reid Fragel lives with Heuerman and has started referring to him as "Gronk" because that's who he reminds him of.
*Fragel is still battling with Taylor Decker for the RT spot. They want to see more from him mentally.
*Carlos Hyde has emerged as a playmaker for the offense. Drayton said he is “night and day” from where he was last year. “To be honest, I thought he was a lazy football player a year ago. I’m sure he would tell you that.”
*Rod Smith has a world of talent, but he’s still learning the offense. That really holds a player back in this system. Can’t put him out there much unless he knows what he’s doing.
*Drayton called Warren Ball “fresh off the boat” but said Bri’onte Dunn is having an excellent camp. Said he and Rod are battling for that backup RB spot.
*Zach Smith said WR Philly Brown "has done every single thing I've asked him to do, and then some."
*Smith said WR Tyrone Williams has really turned the corner over the last week. Early on he was a guy who didn't necessarily buy in. Meyer's program "isn't very much fun" for guys who don't want to buy in. Tyrone finally realized that.
*Smith said Williams has a rare set of physical tools. Combo of size and speed like no one else he's been around.
*Coombs said he feels comfortable with his top 3 corners right now, but he’s still searching for a fourth to fill the depth chart.
*Fragel said the most impressive guy (other than Simon) he's gone against this camp is freshman DE Noah Spence.
*Vrabel has been working a lot 1-on-1 with Spence this fall. The O-line has also been helping him learn how to counter his moves.
*Vrabel talked about keeping his best D-linemen on the field, even if that means not rotating guys as often as they'd like.
*Adolphus Washington lost his “freshman stripe” after beating a starting O-lineman three straight time during a 1-on-1 pass pro drill.
*Vrabel said Chris Carter is coming along. He takes one good step then one bad step. Needs to be self-motivated.
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