Ohio State football preparing for the ‘Urban Renewal’

By on June 9, 2012

Kenny Guiton (13) waits for the snap as Urban Meyer looks on during the spring game. (US PRESSWIRE / Greg Bartram)

Well, I’m back in the Bay Area from The Ohio State University and I’m bearing gifts of information of Buckeye athletics. I could talk about the Final Four basketball team, the championship fencing or tennis teams, but you don’t want to hear about them. Let’s be honest, you only want to hear about OSU football.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

The Buckeyes finished 6-7 last year in the bridge season between Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer, with Luke Fickell at the helm. The first move, after convincing Meyer to come out of retirement, was to let Meyer create his regime. Of course, Meyer brought in his own talented coordinators like Tom Herman and Everett Withers but surprisingly retained some OSU coaches. Fickell will remain on Meyer’s staff as the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator and former Buckeye linebacker Mike Vrabel will coach the defensive line (which he could easily still play).

For Meyer, he made his presence known immediately. In his first press conference he talked about winning games, winning national championships at OSU and, most importantly, beating the you-know-what out of Michigan on a yearly basis. Meyer, known for his intensity, has even intimidated a few members of the media. Don’t believe me? A woman in the media passed out at his initial press conference from the sheer awesomeness of his presence (she’s OK, by the way).

During the Spring Game, Meyer went to lengths to show that he will not be like Tressel on the field. Not only did he force his quarterbacks, Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton, to throw their arms out the first few drives, but he forced the QBs to hit each other during the wrestle-like “circle drill” the team held before the game. The “scarlet” and “gray” teams each sent out a guy of equal stature to go after one another in a one-on-one drill to pump up the crowd and the teams before the game. Miller and Guiton headlined the matchups with Guiton whooping his staring counterpart.

Forget the offense; many people are excited to see what Meyer can do on special teams. Meyer is known for being hands-on in coaching his special teams unit since he began coaching and for OSU special teams has been an Achilles’ heel since forever. When kicker Drew Basil nailed a 35 yarder in the first half, Meyer decided to step it up a kick and put Basil at 40. Then 45. Then 50. 55? That was just too much for Basil, but the crowd appreciated the show Meyer had Basil put on.

Before and after the game, Meyer made it known he doesn’t like the situation at receiver. The leading receivers from 2011 for the Buckeyes were Corey “Philly” Brown and Jake Stoneburner, who each had 14 catches. Ouch. Meyer said that he doesn’t think there are any playmakers at receiver, but that he has seen improvement at the position. Although the position was weak in 2011, expect true freshman Michael Thomas, from Los Angeles, to have an impact at receiver. Thomas had a solid Spring Game with 12 catches for 131 yards.

So you know how I JUST said receiver was kind of weak and the leading pass catcher caught 14 last year? Well, senior tight end Jake Stoneburner, who had seven TDs last season, and left tackle Jack Mewhort were each arrested after spring practices ended. June 2 the two were arrested for urinating in a public place at around 2:30 in the morning

Seriously.

But while you’re laughing thinking about your college days, realize the joke isn’t quite as funny to Buckeye fans yet. Mewhort and Stoneburner are suspended indefinitely as of now. It’s likely they’ll be reinstated before the season since they didn’t exactly commit a felony, but Meyer said he’s looking into this personally. During Meyer’s time at the University of Florida his players were arrested more than 30 times (Tebow had 0) and he certainly doesn’t want to start off his tenure at OSU on a bad foot. These make the second and third arrests. The first arrest was Dominic Clarke for a DUI in January, first reported by the Lantern. Clarke was kicked off the team that week.

Although the 2012 Buckeyes can’t play in any postseason games, Big Ten Championship or a Bowl Game they say they have a lot to play for. Meyer has been a winner at every school. Bowling Green, Utah and, of course, Florida have all seen the competitive nature of Meyer so don’t expect his career at OSU to be any different.

As he said when he was introduced, Meyer simply wants to play for his home state’s pride.

“We want to make the great state of Ohio proud,” Meyer said.

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