Buying In: A Roundup of Coach Meyer’s First Camp

Hey there Buckeye fanatics, it’s “Porter,” a new blogger to the staff at MotSaG, checking in.  I am fortunate to have been provided the forum to one of, if not the largest, college football fan bases in the country.  As one of the over 275,000+ Alumni in the State of Ohio, I aspire to provide insight and excitement in covering all things Buckeye.  Thanks for checking us out.

DISCLAIMER:  I have drunk the “JUICE” and I am all in on the new coaching staff and the future of the Buckeyes.

I’m not sure about you, but I cannot remember a time when I have been this excited to see the Scarlet and Gray take the field, which is saying something because I love that first football Saturday more than a fat kid loves cake (but let’s be honest, who doesn’t love cake).  Before we see Captain Urban ride through the tunnel and into the Shoe (or Ohio Stadium if that is your preference) on his white stallion in his white polo as he leads our beloved Buckeyes into another decade of dominance though, let’s take a look at some of the stories that came out of Urban’s first camp at the helm.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention ESPN’s production of Training Days: Ohio State.  The staff could not be a more polar opposite than it was under Tressel. Can you imagine Coach Tressel ever opening the doors on a training camp and allowing ESPN the access it had to the Buckeyes?  I can’t.  One thing on the staff … I love it.  The coaches’ energy is contagious and it seems like the Buckeyes take on the enthusiasm and energy exuded by the staff.  I think Training Days will pay dividends on the recruiting front and it only solidifies the Buckeyes as a desired destination for the nation’s top talent.

In a new tradition Meyer brought to tOSU each freshman is required to lose their stripe as a rite of passage in order to become a full-fledged member of the Buckeyes. As part of the tradition, each incoming freshman was assigned a big brother from the upperclassmen and the freshmen were required to use the upperclassmen’s nicknames, some examples are Braxton “Jerry Curl” Miller (big brother to Cardale Jones) and Orhian “Flavor Flav” Johnson (big brother to Devan Bogard).  To date nine freshmen have earned the removal of their stripes, including (in order) Devan Bogard, Noah Spence, Tommy Schutt, Taylor Decker, Adolphus Washington, Warren Ball, Cardale Jones, Joe Burger and Bri’onte Dunn.  With numerous other freshmen in the two deep, I expect more black stripes will be removed before noon this Saturday.  An observation on the depth chart – a noticeable departure from the previous staff, this coaching staff has adopted the philosophy of playing the best player regardless of class (this should also pay dividends in recruiting).

Throughout camp, there were various themes that highlight Meyer’s desire to discern those players who thrive in a competitive environment and will strive to not be average.  Meyer often stressed the importance of doing everything any coach asked of the players plus two, while also identifying those players who were able to get from point A to point B.  Another key word of the new Buckeye staff was “JUICE” meaning “energy, excitement … you either have it or you don’t” – Etienne Sabino.  The measure of one’s juice and competitive nature was exhibited on the field in drills such as the circle drill, which Coach Meyer unveiled to Buckeye faithful prior to the Spring Game, and off the field in activities such as Gatorade chugging contests.

Since his arrival at tOSU, Coach Meyer has stressed the importance on leaders, meaning those players who are able to pull the younger ones through tough practices.  In the offseason, John Simon was not allowed to go to the gym alone for his early morning workouts; instead he included the likes of Curtis Grant, Ryan Shazier, and Noah Spence.  John “half man, half beast” Simon’s leadership was shown  throughout Training Days also as I often observed him coaching up the younger defensive lineman, primarily blue chipper Noah Spence.  Another leader Urban hopes to get back in action this Saturday is veteran Nathan Williams, and a sign that the stars are aligning – he was ruled healthy enough to see limited playing time.  The addition of Williams to an already stout line has the makings of something special as Meyer has compared the Buckeyes defensive line with Williams to those lines he fielded at Florida during his two national championship runs.

Yet another key difference between the new staff and the prior coaching staff that was apparent during camp is that the new staff is candid in letting players know exactly where they stand PUBLICLY.  While I don’t know the kind of criticism delivered by Coach Tressel behind closed doors, the Senator would have undoubtedly resorted to the puzzled coach speak we were all accustomed to.  In particular, Coach Meyer and Herman have been very vocal regarding the lack of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, especially in the passing game describing it as “non-functional” and “inadequate.”  Meyer questioned the wide receivers heart, effort, and skill.  Rather than shy away as a result of the criticism, Braxton and the wide receivers dedicated themselves to getting better in the offseason and throughout camp and Coach Meyer has seen a transformation in the receivers saying that “they’re competing now.  It means something to them.  That’s kind of neat to see.”  Coach Herman also said that he has seen “potential,” but “it’s up to those guys and the coaches to [make sure] that potential turns into performance.”  The fact that players are buying in even when Meyer’s criticism was downright brutal will yield results on and off the field, rather than a recurrence of the disjointed performance from last year

While Meyer has introduced new traditions like requiring freshman to lose their stripe to become Buckeyes, terminology such as JUICE, competition in every activity on and off the field, and the pregame Quick Cal (video by Ozone), the overwhelming theme I have taken from Urban Meyer’s first camp is that every Buckeye from the current team, the student body, and Buckeye Nation has bought in to what Coach Urban Meyer is selling.  And, this buying in is not simply to turn the page on a tumultuous season.  However, with the unity of the team, staff, student body, and fans all working together, I think Buckeye Nation better buckle up and hold on tight because we are about to embark on a path of dominance, beginning this Saturday.

Comments

  1. I, for one, have bought in, all encompassingly!

  2. PORTER!! Welcome to the site, man. Good stuff.

  3. Glad I’m not the only one.

    Thanks man!

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