Two Minute Drill: First day in pads.

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Last updated: 03/31/2012 5:30 PM
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Two-Minute Drill: Quick Hitters From Post-Practice Interviews
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes concluded their third practice of the Spring on Saturday, which also happened to be their first practice in pads.

After the practice, which was closed, we were permitted to speak with offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman, as well as quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton.

Defensively, we spoke with co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell, as well as linebackers Ryan Shazier and Etienne Sabino.

Here is a quick rundown of what we learned and what was said.

Dropping It Like It's Hot

* Weight loss continues to be a hot topic around the football team as players are trying to drop excess weight in order to gain excess speed.

* Weight loss is an especially hot topic amongst the linebackers. Etienne Sabino is at 236 pounds right now, which is about ten pounds less than he was at last year. Storm Klein was at 252-255 last year per Luke Fickell, and is now under 240 pounds. Curtis Grant is at 233 pounds now after playing at 245 pounds last year. Fickell said that had Grant hit the 250-pound mark, they may have had to put his hand on the ground and move him to defensive end.

* The need for speed is the main reason for the weight loss, as Fickell said that Urban Meyer wants a defense "to go from Point A to Point B as fast as they can."

Adding It Like It's...Hot?

* Not everyone is dropping weight, as some are being asked to gain weight. Linebacker Ryan Shazier is up to 225-227 pounds right now after playing last season around 210 pounds. Braxton Miller is also up to 215 pounds after playing last season at 205 pounds. Both say they have not lost any of their speed or quickness.

Offensive Notes

* The quarterbacks talked about how much they love the new tempo of the offense. It's always on the move and keeps a defense on its heels. Tom Herman said there was more than one tempo, and they still have a ways to go to get it as fast as he wants it.

* Kenny Guiton said that after he got called out by Urban Meyer a few times about not looking like a quarterback, he had to reassert himself. He says it's a great feeling to get noticed by Meyer now for positive reasons.

* Herman said that what Guiton lacks in athleticism compared to Braxton Miller, he makes up for in understanding what they are trying to do. He said that Guiton certainly played better than he thought he would. He called him a "really sharp kid."

* Herman said that both Miller and Guiton have a long way to go, but he now knows he has some talent to work with. After seeing Miller throw live for the first time last Wednesday, he said that breathed a sigh of relief and knew that he had something to work with.

* Herman said he has watched a little bit of film from last year, but only to see the players, and see who was returning. He didn't pay any attention to the system being run because it has no relevance moving forward.

* Herman said that Miller still has quite a bit of work to do on his footwork, but that he's a very willing learner and a very hard worker.

* Herman didn't want to give too many thoughts on Cardale Jones right now simply because it's so early and he is so raw. He said that Jones likes to learn, but he's just so inconsistent right now because his fundamentals are "not great".

* Miller said he feels pretty comfortable with the tempo right now, calling it "exciting" and "explosive". Herman said that Miller and Guiton are still swimming a bit mentally, but that it's expected on the third day of Spring.

* One area Miller said that he wants to improve is just knowing where everyone is. He said Herman has been helping him a lot in that regard, and every time he talks to him, he learns something new.

* Miller said that Urban Meyer tells him to be a good leader, but he admitted it was tough to be a leader as a freshman last year because everyone already had their leaders. Herman said that Miller still needs to get more vocal, but before he can do that, he needs to get his own house in order. He said it can be difficult for a player to call somebody else out if they're still making mistakes themselves.

Defensive Notes

* Etienne Sabino said the two freshmen linebackers, Luke Roberts and Joshua Perry in for the Spring have been impressive. "The good thing about our young guys is that they constantly want to learn."

* Luke Roberts is currently working on the weak side, and Sabino said that he is always asking questions.

* Curtis Grant has impressed Sabino. "He's getting a lot better," he said. "It's crazy how good he gets day to day."

* Sabino said that if there's one trademark the linebackers are going to have this year, it's their physicality. They want to attack. He hopes and expects all three linebackers to stay on the field more than they did last year.

* Ryan Shazier said that it was good to get hitting again, because all they've been doing recently is running and watching basketball. He added "I like hitting."

* Former Buckeye coach Earle Bruce was on hand and he said that the defense dominated the practice.

* Shazier said that one of the biggest differences between an Urban Meyer practice and a Jim Tressel practice is the pace, and also the fact that Meyer is more prone to be pushing players at every position, including defense, to get better. Says Tressel pushed players but in a more laid-back way.

* Shazier said that one of the advantages of Fickell staying on to run the defense is that there will not be a steep learning curve for the returning players. They put in base plays today and they are essentially the exact same plays and terms as last year. That makes things much easier for the defense as opposed to over on offense where those players are learning an entirely new playbook.

* Shazier said that his knee is now 100% and that he feels no lingering effects from his injury.

* The defense did in fact win the practice, which has a score kept through every drill. The winners received two Gatorades a piece walking off the field. The losers received nothing. By the way, Kenny Guiton said that despite the loss, he loves that there is a winner and loser in everything right now.

* Fickell said that the best thing he can say about Curtis Grant right now is that "he wants to." He wants to do everything that is being asked of him. He called him "professional".

* Fickell said that Shazier is much more vocal now, and he has "great confidence".

* Storm Klein was held out for the first three practices after suffering a knee sprain in winter conditioning, but he should be good to go for Wednesday's practice.

* Fickell said "it'll be a battle" for the spot in the middle between Grant and Klein. He said they've got to find their best three guys.

* When asked if he still talks to former defensive coordinator Jim Heacock, since Heacock is still in Columbus, Fickell said that he was surprised that Heacock wasn't on hand, and that they will definitely have to get him to practice. He said that coaches always have to rely on every resource they have, and that Heacock would certainly fit that bill for him.

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