Big Ten Football Teleconference: Updates From Urban Meyer and Michael Bennett
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Big Ten held their annual spring football teleconference for the B1G East on Thursday. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and defensive tackle Michael Bennett spoke about how the spring has gone.
Urban Meyer Updates
+ Meyer said he has evaluated the culture of each position group, and is relaying the need for "clarity of purpose". He called it "enhancing the culture" and making it better.
+ Meyer said the first-down pass defense has definitely improved this spring. The offensive line is one area that he cited as needing to improve. He said guys have gotten better, but they only have two definite starters right now. "That's an area where we're not where we need to be."
+ Meyer said that Sam linebackers Chris Worley and Darron Lee have really stepped up this spring and come out of nowhere more than any other players. They are thriving.
+ Meyer said defensive line coach Larry Johnson has been great on recruiting visits. He called him a genuine person who cares about his players. He said that's a large reason why Johnson is so successful as a recruiter. Meyer said he has also been very impressed with the defensive line. He says they are moving a lot more than before. "His is as much movement as I've ever seen." He said the defensive line better show up to work all periods, and he likes that.
+ Meyer said he is most interested in seeing the skill players perform on Saturday. He wants to see the younger players excel on both sides of the ball.
+ Meyer said he is looking forward to having both Rutgers and Maryland in the Big Ten. He said it opens up more recruiting for Ohio State as well.
+ Meyer said that they pay attention to recruiting rankings, but they never steer their recruiting towards rankings. He likes to be at the top of the recruiting rankings, "but that's not how you make decisions."
+ So far, so good on reshaping the Ohio State pass defense. They have changed a lot of terminology to make it easier on the players, and the chemistry on the defensive staff is good. They are leaving spring with a good feeling.
+ Meyer said he loves spring games and hopes to never go away from it, but that is dictated by injuries. He said there is value in playing in front of a crowd.
Michael Bennett Updates
+ Bennett said the defense is rallying around each other right now and that the offense still has some things to work out. He said the offense is coming along at a good speed. He said he's excited for the summer coming up.
+ He said the offensive line is getting better, but they're still new. They just need time together. He said Antonio Underwood has impressed him and that Darryl Baldwin has gotten better.
+ Bennett said that he hopes the #1 defensive line stays on the same team in the spring game because it makes it less confusing on who is playing where.
+ He said that freshman running back Curtis Samuel and the quarterbacks have impressed him, particularly Cardale Jones. As has Ezekiel Elliott.
+ Bennett said Larry Johnson has been a great addition to the OSU staff. He is a good teacher who is always answering questions for his players.
+ Bennett said that there is a lot of talent in the secondary and they have been making big plays all spring long. He said the defensive line can make their jobs easier. He doesn't think they need to bail the secondary out, however. "You can see how they've really come along this spring. They're making a lot of plays that I'm not really used to seeing be made."
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