Brittany Schock / Asst. photo editor
The Ohio State football program will kick off spring practice for the first time under coach Urban Meyer Wednesday.
Under NCAA rules, schools are allowed to have 15 sessions before for the season officially begins over the summer.
The Buckeyes will have the first of those sessions Wednesday and everything culminates April 21 with the LiFE Sports Spring Game, which serves as an intra squad scrimmage.
The team has 21 seniors and a total of 48 players returning from the 2011-12 team. That team finished 6-7 under former head coach Luke Fickell and lost the Gator Bowl to Florida. Fickell will serve as co-defensive coordinator this season.
But despite all the returning players, Meyer said he isn’t playing any favorites and since he’s starting off new, so is everyone else.
“I don’t really know what we have in terms of players yet,” he said in a press release. “I made a point not to look at film of last year because I wanted everyone to be able to start with a clean slate.”
His first impression started with the offseason conditioning led by new assistant athletic director for football sports performance Mickey Marotti.
Meyer came and said he needed to see some change in the fitness and conditioning of some of the players, but said he’s happy with what has transpired.
“We take great pride in our offseason program,” Meyer said in the release. “In our very strong opinion, championships are won in the offseason. I would grade ourselves as a plus. We had a very good offseason. The team looks a lot different to me, especially the offensive line. I was very disappointed in some body types that were here, and a lot of those bodies have changed.”
“Intensity” seemed to be the word everyone was using to describe the atmosphere of the winter workouts and the mood heading into spring practice.
“We’ve all seen great changes in our bodies,” redshirt junior linebacker Etienne Sabino said. “We’re really pushing ourselves. It’s definitely been challenging. It’s harder than I thought.”
Senior fullback Zach Boren agreed.
“As intense as the offseason conditioning drills have been, the spring drills will be even more intense,” Boren said in a press release. “There is no on-off switch. Everyone will be going full-go every play. It is going to be a physical spring with everyone puting everything on the line.”
Six players from the 2012 recruiting class including running back recruit Bri’onte Dunn enrolled for Winter Quarter at OSU to participate in preseason conditioning.
Three more freshmen including defensive lineman recruit Se’Von Pittman enrolled for Spring Quarter and will participate in spring practice.
The practices starting Wednesday will be about every other day until April 20 with the spring game to follow.
After the spring game, Meyer said the focus will shift from development to the season and beating OSU’s first opponent of the season, Miami (OH).
“I made it clear to the players that by the time we hit training camp (in the fall), spots are done. It’s game over. We’re trying to beat Miami of Ohio,” Meyer said. “Sure, some things will happen to the depth chart, but the two-deep will be set after spring practice. This is development time now. Once you get to August, we’re all about trying to find a way to win a game.”