Thoughts on Spring Game Part II: Urban and the Quarterbacks

Ohio State Spring Practice StudentsAs my colleague Scott pointed out in his report from the Ohio State Spring Game, one of the most interesting and perhaps the most insightful moments of the day occurred before the game even started as players when head to head in a heavily padded version of sumo wrtestling. And without question, the most interesting and most insightful moment of the drill was when starting quarterback Braxton Miller squared off against backup quarterback Kenny Guiton.

Facing a season without championship or even bowl hopes, for a few moments we got to see first hand the intensity and excitement that 2012 will bring. With all the controversy brought on by the rankings and the BCS, bring back old school football I always say. Football where nothing matters as much as beating Michigan and there is only one bowl game, the Rose. For this season at least, we will get a taste of that vision (like it or not) and from what we saw in the opening of the day, it looks like the Buckeyes are up for the task.

Miller Growing Into Role
After watching the Buckeyes spend the last 11 or so games attempting to pound the ball up the middle (again and again), it was good to see starting quarterback Braxton Miller developing as a passer. Yes, there is still concern regarding some of the decision making which both worked and didn’t work so well. Watching him deliver some impressive passes on the run however, you can see that his passing game has come along way since last season.

As it was pointed out many times by the BTN commentators, Miller has been throwing 70+ passes a day. If he continues at this level, he can do nothing but improve by fall. Meyer has also made it very clear that he doesn’t feel that Miller is there yet. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Meyer gives Miller an A on his release point and a B or C on accuracy.

What we didn’t get to see was the Miller scramble/run that could very well be the X factor in the Ohio State offense. During the spring game you could see Miller itching to spin out and pull a Terrell Pryor sprinting down the field. The big difference between Pryor and Miller is that Miller is much further along as a passer than Pryor was as a sophomore. He also appears to have the ability to keep eyes down field and maintain potential passing opportunities on the broken play.

Kenny Guiton a Good Backup for Miller
I liked what I saw from Kenny Guiton in the 2011 spring game and I like what I see from him again this year. He’s got a style very similar to Miller and you can sense that he’s got a healthy dose of potential. Unlike a Joe Bauserman/Miller (or Pryor) combination, the Buckeyes won’t need a completely different play book when Guiton comes on the field. Along with a going a decent 17 for 26 passing for a 191 yards, Guiton also demonstrated the potential to scramble out of a broken play and make the pass.

Guiton also demonstrated that he’s getting into the Meyer style offense as he gave us a couple of peeks a the hurry up offense. Although it looks as though his offensive line still needs to catch on, Guiton was able to catch the defense off guard on at least one play late in the game. That same play also gave us the chance to see him spin out on a broken play (hello O-line, I’m taking the ball) and salvage yards.

What We Didn’t See
Seeing the emphasis Meyer put on the passing game, we can assume that he is happy with the running game at this point (and he has said as much). He’s got speed in Miller and Jordan Hall, who didn’t even dress, could form the foundation of lethal stable of multi-talented running backs with the potential to do some serious damage to the Big Ten.

Although I’m still a fan of Big 10 style threeyardsandacloudof football, at some point even a successful Jim Bollman offense gets frustrating (not to mention the emotions associated with an unsuccessful Bollman offense). Meyer has said that this is still Ohio State and that we can expect to see a solid running game come fall. Unlike 2011 however, not only will there be the threat of a passing game (which was non-existent at times last year), we should actually have a solid passing game in place.

It will be interesting to see how the Meyer offense plays in the Big Ten but his impact could have the potential to significantly change football in the Big 10.

As for Meyer
Readers of this blog know that I’m struggling with Urban Meyer as coach. His circle drill and singing of Carmen Ohio are helping but I can’t get over the idea that he’s doing it because he knows what has to be done at Ohio State. James Lauranitis did bring me one step further down the path of acceptance with his sideline comments during the game. Lauranitis said that Meyer called him and a number of Buckeye alumni and welcomed them to the spring game. According to Lauranitis, Meyer “gets it” and understands the importance of tradition at Ohio State.

During the television broadcast we also saw two other images that helped again guided me down that path toward Meyer acceptance. Meyer opened recent practice sessions to both Ohio State students and Ohio coaches and when the weather turned bad, he brought them right into the indoor practice facility to watch close up. What a great picture to see students and fans standing about 20 feet from what looks like a full contact kicking practice.

As I said in a comment on an earlier post, in the words of Jules Winnfield, “I’m trying Ringo. I’m trying real hard…”


  1. tBBScott says

    You’ll get there…I noticed during the game that Urban stopped coaching for about 30 seconds to watch the band perform Hang on Sloopy. He mentioned after the game that it brought him back to when he was a kid at the Horseshoe. I think he definitely gets it.

    In fact, I’ve read that he brought a handful of traditions to Florida that he knew from OSU – including singing the alma mater with the student section after the game.

  2. gulfportcarl says

    I saw a coach doing what he had to, I didn’t see any spark of tradition in Urban Meyer. I think he’s out for himself and nothing more. Jim, I haven’t taken one step down the Yellow Brick Meyer road.
    I haven’t bought into to the Urban Meyer hype like allot of the Buckeye faithful. I still see him wearing blue and orange, I can’t get that out of my mind. They say time heals all wounds for me it is going to take allot of time. Please tell me how you can jump from 6 years of nothing but Florida Gator crap and change over night to say he understands Buckeye tradition just because he was born in Ohio. BULL SHIT I say.

    • sam says

      If UM can’t possibly be loyal to his home state’s team (where, btw, he got his start in coaching) after 6 years at Florida, how do you propose that Tressel was a true Buckeye after coaching 15 seasons at YSU?

  3. says

    I was at Bowling Green when Meyer was head coach and he is good people and a great coach. I think he’s the exact shot in the arm that the Program, the University and the city of Columbus needed.

  4. tBBScott says

    The guy has a graduate school degree from Ohio State. He grew up here. His first coaching job was as an assistant at OSU. He hung a poster of Woody Hayes in his office even when he was at Florida. I truly believe (along with maybe Notre Dame) that it has always been his dream job…He had to work his way up the coaching chains to get here. It’s not like he could call up Ohio State when he was 25 and say ‘Ok I’m ready to be head coach now.’

    Not sure what else he has to do…I’ll never get over the 2006 loss to Florida but I’m not going to hold a grudge against the current Ohio State coach just because he won a game somewhere else. Besides that game is the perfect example of why he’s great for us…One team was prepared for the game and one team wasn’t.

    • gulfportcarl says

      I understand what your sayingabout working his way up in the coaching ranks.
      Back in 2006 after Michigan was number two in the rankings and the following week after a whinny Urban Meyer was talking to every sport show and the media whinning that Florida should be in the championship game. The next week he got his wish and some on the voters changed their vote in Floridas favor. Jim Tressel had more class than to whine to the media like Meyer did. I admit that I will miss the Vest walking the sidelines . Urban Meyer will have to prove to me he deserves to be ranked with the Woody and The Vest, and even Earle Bruce and John Cooper.

      • says

        No question the whining stands out in my mind. If you dig though this site you will find a number of posts about the SEC and their annual cry baby campaign. (I can’t remember the exact titles but need to go back and find them.) Urban was at the center of those posts.

        Unfortunately, Ohio State didn’t hold up their end of the bargain when they lost to Florida. I’ve said many times though, the national championship was played in November that year. After a game the size of a No. 1 Ohio State vs. a No. 2 Michigan, anything else was an after thought.

        Yes, it would have been nice to see the Buckeyes close the deal but it is understandable why they didn’t. The gap between the BCS Championship game- OSU/Michigan and the and BCS game – Ohio State Spring game. The entire atmosphere in Phoenix that year was that the Bowl games were over and it was time to move on for next season. No question you could see that Troy Smith was ready to move on. He had an NFL draft to worry about.

        Myer will need to prove himself. I think he can and he’s given the program a huge shot in the arm. His presence is helping us avoid what could be a very difficult time for Ohio State. I think he’s on the right track but I need to see how the first season starts to shake out. I want to know how he handles adversity if/when it comes his way.

        • gulfportcarl says

          There’s a nice article on Urban Meyer in Sports Illistrated called Another Urban Renewal. $24 million over six years, 4 million a year is more than the were paying the Vest. I hope turns out to be ranked with Woody and The Vest, time will tell.

        • says

          Seriously Jim?…Seriously? And I suppose the players playing for the university of Florida had none of that to worry about, right?…even though they more than likely had even more professional prospects than OSU did?

          Oh and really?…the NC was actually played in November?…..Whatever works for ‘ya buddy.

          • says

            I’m not saying anything new here Gonzo. I’ve been saying it since Nov. of 2006 and I’m not going to rehash it again. We all know who were the best two teams in College football that year and we saw them play against each other in Nov.

            You’re right though. The 2007 draft was a tough year for the Buckeyes. Only 2 of our 8 players went in the first round. I guess you could call it a rebuilding year since 5 of our 9 NFL players went in the first round the year before.

            How many did Florida have the year before? 3? Any of them in the first round?

            Didn’t think so.

          • says

            You can tell yourself that Ohio State and Michigan were the best two teams in college football that year all you want, but that still won’t make it true.
            I understand you’re biased toward your school, but so is everyone else.

            If you have the slightest clue about how the media and the polls work together, then you also know how biased they can be as well.
            OU and most of the Big 12 were the perfect example of this back in 2008. OU was beaten by the Texas Longhorns on a nuetral field on national television by 10 points, but because Texas was upset by Texas Tech later in the season on the road on a last second play and because Tech was then blown out by OU in Norman later on that season, OU was proclaimed the #1 team, who later got beaten by…Yeah, that’s right,…the Florida Gators.

            I believe OU was also supposed to be the greatest thing (according to the media) since sliced bread that season.
            Texas Tech also went on the lose to the Ole Miss Rebels in the Cotton Bowl that season, the exact same team that knocked off Florida in Gainsville earlier that same season. My, my, my,…where have we seen this before?…oh, that’s right, we seen it just 2 years before didn’t we? The only difference was OU actually gave Florida a game didn’t they? (lol)

          • gulfportcarl says

            Jim, whats with Arkansas, now they have receivers arrested for dorm burglaries. John L. Smith suspended them because they have standards at Arkansas. Thats a big laugh, Ha, Ha, Ha.

          • says

            Well there is one bright side to this thing. At least they weren’t dumb enough to sell their own pants and championship rings.

          • says

            Don’t ‘cha know it. They never would’ve won so many NCs without the help of the national media. Danged ‘ol ESPiN!

  5. sam says

    with all due respect to Tressel, TOSU football program had become pretty stagnant toward the end. i was very sad to see the end of his college career come the way it did, but i was encouraged that the university hired someone who has the potential to take the Buckeyes to a whole new level of competition. granted, the loss to UofF in 2006 stills stings, and i don’t know that i’ve completely forgiven Urban for that one (i felt very embarrassed and betrayed, even though the betrayal made NO LOGICAL SENSE), but i’m getting there. it still feels weird seeing him dressed in scarlet and gray. but, again, i’m getting there. remember…just a few months ago we were all FREAKING OUT because the program was spiraling downward to all new lows.

  6. Tony t"Quacking Duck" says

    Pryor continues to embarrass himself in interviews. The guy needs to “man up” and take responsibility for his actions instead of placing blame like a little kid. Now he is planning to make more money off the tat5-gate by writing a book about it. This kid should be striken from all tOSU history and never mentioned again. He is a goofball.

    • says

      Just because you write a book about a story you made up, doesn’t mean the story is true.
      I bet he makes a few dollars off of it though. Poor guy. I sure feel sorry for him… *sniff*