Two Minute Drill: OL and DL Updates After Practice
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thursday wrapped up Ohio State's second week of spring practice. It was the fourth practice of the spring and the second day in pads.They will next take the practice field on Tuesday.
While the practice itself was closed, we did get a chance to talk to offensive line coach Ed Warinner and defensive line coach Mike Vrabel, as well as a few of their players.
* The Buckeyes have to replace four starting defensive linemen from last season. Vrabel doesn't seem too concerned about the process. "I'm always confident that at Ohio State you're going to find four defensive lineman that are going to be able to go out there and play. I'm pretty confident of that."
* Vrabel said that sophomore Adolphus Washington is better suited at defensive end than defensive tackle because his "natural skills" suit the position so well. He mentioned his length and athleticism, which were also evident as a basketball player.
* He mentioned the fact that his defensive line has to go up against a very talented offensive line every day, and that if they can compete against those guys, it's only going to make them better.
* He said "We need Michael Bennett", referencing Bennett's need to stay healthy this season, which he currently is. He also mentioned junior defensive tackle Joel Hale, saying "Joel is a veteran for us, that's how young we are." He also said that Hale is a leader and keeps everybody together, and they all understand how important Hale is to the defensive line room.
* On nose tackle Tommy Schutt: "Tommy's playing well. He's just got to learn how to play hard, play inside and be durable. It's tough sledding in there but Tommy's up to the task."
* He mentioned that they are looking for eight defensive linemen. He said the only had about four and a half last year.
* He said that because they are a young unit, Vrabel stresses that they need to bring more energy and enthusiasm to the game and then let that be their calling card.
* He said that he didn't play as well as he wanted to last year, and dealing with injuries was extremely frustrating. He relied on his teammates to get him through it, and they did.
* He likes playing Johnathan Hankins' old spot at the three technique defensive tackle. Said that it gives him "a definite way" for him to make a mark on the team.
* Left guard Andrew Norwell cited Bennett's speed and burst, as well as a tremendous inside move, all of which make him a difficult guy to handle. Though Norwell refused to go so far as to say any of Ohio State's defensive linemen give him trouble.
* He said he was happy with his playing time last year, but he was not happy with his play. His level of understanding has grown a lot, noting that he wasn't always aware of what his teammates were doing last year, especially when a defensive call would change.
* He said he grows more comfortable every day. Vrabel said that understanding will be key for Spence, because as hard and fast as he goes, they don't want him going the wrong way and costing the Buckeyes a big play.
* Jack Mewhort also cited Spence's growing confidence. Ed Warinner said that he was glad Spence was on his team because "he can change the game on the edge." He also said that his speed off the edge was "amazing".
* Warinner said the offensive line as a whole is much better than it was a year ago, and each of his linemen have made improvements from the end of the season.
* He said that right guard Marcus Hall might be the most improved linemen of them all, citing Hall being in better shape, quicker, better feet, and saying that "all of the little mechanics" of playing offensive line have improved.
* He said that left tackle Jack Mewhort is a perfectionist and sometimes he is almost too hard on himself, saying that perfection is impossible and 80% is a winning grade for a lineman.
* He said the entire offensive line, as well as the rest of the team, "turned" at Michigan State. That's when the team changed and things started coming together for everyone, especially Mewhort.
* Norwell said that Warinner is "a crazy dog running around there. He gets after you."
* Said he believes that he has two right tackles that can start in Taylor Decker and Chase Farris. Mentioned that he recruited Farris to play on the offensive line while he was still at Notre Dame. Then when Urban Meyer hired him, he stayed in Meyer's ear about Farris and his potential. Said that Farris is likely the most athletic of an athletic offensive line.
* They know that they are being looked at to be one of the best offensive lines in the nation, and that's how they are carrying themselves.
* He mentioned that the battle at right tackle between Taylor Decker and Chase Farris is too close to project a winner.
* He said that the defensive line had a good practice today.
* Mewhort said that he needs to become more natural on the edge. Warinner said that he has become more confident since last year.
* He said that he is working hard to be the guy that Urban Meyer sees in him. (Meyer has already said that Mewhort will be a captain.)
* He said that even though they went 12-0 last year, there is still plenty to improve upon. Also said that the coaches do not allow them to become complacent.
* The offensive line has goals, but they are keeping that amongst themselves.
* Mentioned that Braxton Miller has come a long way, but is one of the players who gets everybody fired up and is growing as a leader. He also mentioned Corey "Philly" Brown in that regard as well.
* Mewhort called the defensive line a fast group of guys. He also called Adolphus Washington "a great player".
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