Two Minute Drill: Post Practice Updates
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer and assorted members of the Ohio State football team met with the media Saturday afternoon following the conclusion of nine practices in six days.
Meyer started by saying that his team is not yet ready to play a game at the moment, then added that the good news was that they didn't have to play today.
Urban Meyer Updates
* Meyer announced that tailback Rod Smith and cornerback Bradley Roby will be suspended for the season opener. Smith's suspension stems from an issue back in January or February, per Meyer. Roby's suspension could grow beyond one game depending on what happens with the legal system regarding his incident in Indiana this summer.
* Meyer confirmed that tight end Blake Thomas' football career is over following ongoing neck issues. Thomas joins Adam Griffin and Jamie Wood on the shelf, both of whom had their playing days ended in the last week by shoulder injuries.
* Meyer said that they need nine total units ready, and right now there are only four or five that are close to being there. One such unit that is not ready is the linebacker group. Curtis Grant has been out with an injury, and today Joe Burger was running with Ryan Shazier with the ones.
* The Buckeyes held a scrimmage today and Meyer said that receiver Devin Smith had his best all around day of camp so far. He also cited right guard Marcus Hall, who he said continues to improve, and he's no longer just a guy.
* Meyer said right now the running backs have to fight for the ball. Jordan Hall is at the top of the pecking order right now, however.
* Meyer praised freshmen Mike Mitchell, Ezekiel Elliott and Dontre Wilson, stating that they have not missed a day during camp.
* Meyer talked about defensive end Noah Spence, saying that when he sends coaches out to find players, Spence is what you're looking for.
* Freshman receiver Jalin Marshall missed five practices dealing with an injury, but returned on Saturday. Meyer said he was a bit behind because of the missed time.
* The players will now be given two days to get off of their feet and recover. They'll get back to practice on Monday.
* Freshmen Mike Hill and Billy Price had their black stripes removed today. Hill is a defensive tackle out of South Carolina who has impressed early. Price is out of Youngstown, and was recently moved from defensive tackle to offensive line. He has been working on the interior. Also, defensive end J.T. Moore has been moved to tight end.
* Meyer said that Andrew Norwell and Corey Linsley aren't yet full speed, but their respective injuries are allowing the Buckeyes to build some depth by giving Jacoby Boren, Pat Elflein and Chase Farris plenty of reps.
* Meyer said that Braxton Miller was good today, but not "exactly what I wanted". He did say that they are starting to see Miller's ceiling.
* Meyer mentioned that Jordan Hall has been doing well and that he is now what Meyer thought he would be all along. The suspensions of Hyde and Smith have kept Hall from being used in different roles as much as Meyer would like, however.
Ryan Shazier Updates
* Shazier said that defense did a pretty good job in Saturday's scrimmage, but they did lose leverage on a few cutbacks. Ezekiel Elliott, Warren Ball and "a quarterback" all victimized the Buckeye defense with cutback runs.
* Shazier said they still have to work harder on their fundamentals, saying that he himself is too up and down right now.
* Shazier said that the second-team linebackers are thinking too much right now. They're not able to go 100% because they're just not yet sure of things.
* He said that the offense is better than the defense right now. He did admit that that is also a bit of a relief, knowing that they'll have an offense that is going to put up some points this year.
* Shazier also admitted that there's a lot of pressure on him as the lone veteran linebacker.
* Echoing everybody else in the program, Shazier said that Braxton Miller has stepped up significantly in all facets from last season.
* Shazier said that the defensive ends are "as good as advertised", and that they could be better than the 2012 group.
* He mentioned that Jordan Hall is making defenders miss in practice. But added that he's making the defense better.
* Shazier said that his best 40 was a 4.35, which he ran last year. He hasn't run one yet this year. However, he said the bigger he gets, the faster he gets, and he's bigger than last year, so...
* Shazier said that he expects Curtis Grant to play with him in the nickel.
Michael Bennett Updates
* Bennett said that this team has great chemistry and it's something that he hasn't felt since high school.
* He said that Roby's suspension is no distraction to the team because Roby is still practicing and leading.
* Bennett said that Billy Price "goes and goes" and doesn't stop.
Noah Spence Updates
* Spence said the overall improvement on defense has been dramatic since day one. He feels much more comfortable than he ever has, and knows much more about the defense and schemes, which allows him to play faster.
* Spence said he played in games last year at 225-227 pounds, but this year is playing around 250 pounds.
* Asked if the defensive line is ready for the season, Spence said, "I don't know yet, we'll see."
* Spence said fellow defensive end Adolphus Washington is his roommate and best friend, and also that they have a friendly competition every day. If one of them gets a sack, then the other is going to try to top it.
* Spence mentioned that sophomore leo Jamal Marcus is "really fast", and he expects him to help a lot this year on the defense.
* Asked if the Buckeyes were still hungry after going 12-0 last year, Spence replied yes, adding "We didn't get to do everything we wanted to do."
Josh Perry Updates
* Perry said that camp is a grind, especially these nine practices in six days. He said that you can get down on yourself, but when you finally push through it, it's a very big moment for the team.
* Perry mentioned that receiver Evan Spencer has had a very good week, as have Braxton Miller and Dontre Wilson.
* Perry said that he is excited about his new role as one of the team's experienced linebackers, but also that things have become much more serious now because of it.
* Perry also admitted that the linebackers have a ways to go. Getting closer and closer to game week, he said they needed to get things "tightened down".
* He mentioned that it's not a huge deal that there is only one returning starter at linebacker because the front four has been playing so well.
* Perry said this team is not talking at all about a national championship.
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