COLUMBUS, Ohio — Given that Ohio State’s last game was a 31-0 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff, a return to the football field couldn’t come soon enough.
The Buckeyes kicked off spring practice on Tuesday, and the Woody Hayes Athletic Center looked like the happiest place on Earth. Yelling filled the air, and each rep overflowed with intensity.
Coach Urban Meyer liked what he saw in the first two practices. However, he also wants to make sure the practices still look like that in the weeks to come.
“It’s because they haven’t practiced in a while, and they’ve been getting their brains kicked in in the weight room,” he said. “They’re really excited to be out there running around. I hope we have that same zip on practice 12 or the middle of August.”
A pair of captains, however, don’t see that as a looming issue. Quarterback J.T. Barrett praised the team’s work ethic and said it’s gotten better from last season. He believes the Buckeyes didn’t hit on as many big plays in 2016 because there were lapses in focus and effort.
“The big thing is effort,” he said. “I think that’s one of the main things. There were times where we’d have good effort for half a play. Those are the things that could spring us for those 80-yard pops on a run play or a receiver blocking downfield after a guy catches a ball. Those are things we’re focused on this spring, and I think it’s going to make us better.”
When asked about the team’s mentality this spring, center Billy Price seemed encouraged by what he’s seen. He cited the improvement in the offensive line and at wide receiver: two groups Ohio State needs to get better as a whole.
“I like to use the words eager and hungry,” he said. “We saw a lot of development and growth in the weight room with the offseason program. Just a lot of guys who are itching to have playing time. Guys like Josh Myers, Josh Alabi, Branden Bowen and Demetrius Knox, especially within the offensive line [impressed me]. You see guys like Ben Victor and Parris Campbell and those kind of guys starting to develop and change. It’s really cool to see.”