Inside the WHAC: Students Get Up-Close Look at Meyer’s Buckeyes
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Due to inclement weather, Ohio State was forced to move Saturday’s practice from the beautiful confines of Ohio Stadium to the indoor practice field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
It definitely limited the number of fans who took advantage of Meyer’s invitation to students and faculty at Ohio State, but it was still a unique experience for over 3,000 fans who witnessed the Buckeyes practice, many for the first time.
The Buckeyes did almost all scrimmage stuff during the entire practice, with very little drill work, so fans got to see Braxton Miller and Meyer’s new OSU offense in action for themselves.
The most exciting part of the practice was when Meyer had the fans gather around the west end zone as Drew Basil kicked field goals. He motioned for the crowd to get loud and the students really got to get in close and be a part of the action.
Afterward, a huge circle of fans surrounded Meyer and Braxton Miller, taking pictures and getting autographs. They also got to walk around a talk to some of the other players on the field and get their picture taken doing O-H-I-O with some of the guys on the team.
We talked to wide receivers coach Zach Smith after practice and he said it was great idea and a cool experience for everyone involved. Reminded everyone what is great about COLLEGE football—that it’s still about the students and the love of the game.
As far as practice itself goes, I thought it was a pretty spirited day out there with a lot of competition. There were some big hits happening and a few guys even had to leave the practice because of injury.
DB Christian Bryant got shaken up trying to break up a pass to Mike Thomas and center Brian Bobek went down with an ankle injury at one point. He had his left ankle wrapped in ice after practice, and walk-on Tim Trummer had to fill in as the No. 2 center with Jacoby Boren also out.
Even FB Zach Boren got shaken up after one play and limped off the field right in front of his dad, Mike Boren. Naturally, he returned to the action on the very next series. The same could not be said for LB Curtis Grant, who left practice with an apparent shoulder injury and did not return.
Redshirt freshman Connor Crowell filled in as the first-team middle linebacker, and looked pretty good with the first group. He actually made some plays and had a few nice hits, including a stuff on Rod Smith in the hole.
Smith was also back out there today working with the second-team offense, but Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde took most of the reps with the first group.
The biggest play of the day was Bri’onte Dunn’s 70-yard run. Dunn took a pitch running right and ran into the back of Chris Fields. There were three defenders in the area, so he reversed field and got a great block on the backside to spring him loose. He took off down the left sideline for 70 yards, setting up a first-and-goal inside the five.
The other big play of the day was a 45-yard touchdown pass from Braxton Miller to sophomore WR Devin Smith. The defense looked to be playing some type of zone and Smith got behind safety Ron Tanner. Miller pump-faked and then threw a perfect ball down the right sideline for a touchdown.
Sophomore WR Even Spencer continues to miss practice with a broken bone in his left shoulder from a hard hit by CJ Barnett. He said it should only keep him out two weeks, but Tyrone Williams also missed the practice. He was limping around pretty good on the sidelines.
Rod Smith also broke off a nice run, and Miller had a great pass to Jake Stoneburner down the middle for 30 yards, but the two biggest plays by the defense were both interceptions.
One was a pass by Miller that went right to Bradley Roby, who was playing off the receiver as Kerry Coombs is having them do in order to create more interceptions. The other was a nice play by Orhian Johnson.
Sophomore TE Jeff Heuerman tipped the ball initially, but couldn’t haul it in on the goal line. Johnson grabbed it out of the air and took off down the sideline. His blocking set up for him and he returned it all the way for a score in front of the students at the other end.
Everyone was on their feet during Johnson’s big return.
* WR Devin Smith was making plays all over the field today, especially on 10-15 yard out plays. He called them "first-down getters."
* RB Carlos Hyde had another good day today, despite being hampered by a right ankle injury.
* TE Jeff Heuerman was a lot more involved offensively and LB Ryan Shazier really had a standout day on defense.
* DL Chase Farris had another nice day of practice. Same with DE Steve Miller. John Simon was unblockable, again. They had to hold him out a few times to give the offense a chance to get something going.
* At one point the second team offensive line was matched against the first team d-line. It wasn’t pretty.
* One interesting thing they did during practice today was give the ball to FB Zach Boren up the middle. Also threw it to him quite a bit. Pretty sure we even saw a few plays of I-formation football with Hyde lined up behind Zach Boren.
* With C.J. Barnett out because of injury, Corey Brown saw a lot of time at Star when they went to nickel D.
* Overheard WR Verlon Reed saying that his knee was feeling good and he's excited to get back out there for real in the fall.
Related Story: Open Practice Opens Eyes for Students and Faculty By John Porentas
Related Story: Zach Smith: “This Was About Students”
By Brandon Castel
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