Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer was less than pleased when he took to the podium at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center following the completion of yet another spring practice.
The eighth practice — the midpoint of the spring season for OSU — was one Meyer categorized as “Bad Day Tuesday.”
“It was a bad day. And what is today — Tuesday? Bad Day Tuesday,” Meyer said. “Gotta make sure there’s not Bad Day Thursday.”
On top of the poor practice effort, the injury bug bit the Buckeyes again, as senior tight end Jeff Heuerman underwent surgery Monday to repair what Meyer called a “sprain” in his foot.
Meyer, who expects Heuerman back in June, said he is not too worried about the senior’s injury.
“Jeff’s going to be fine. I think it’s probably right with the normal number of injuries,” Meyer said, referring to the team as a whole despite the injuries.
With Heuerman out, Meyer said he is still confident in the remaining tight ends left on the roster, despite a less than stellar practice.
“(Redshirt-junior) Nick Vannett’s done very well and one of our most improved players,” Meyer said. “And (redshirt-freshman) Marcus Baugh actually has had some good days, today not being one of them.”
The loss of Heuerman for the remainder of the spring is just another hit to a Buckeye team that has already lost senior quarterback Braxton Miller, sophomore safety Vonn Bell and sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall to injury.
The loss of Marshall however, is the one that hurts the most, Meyer said.
“Jalin’s the one. Because he was really making a move and he got hurt,” Meyer said. “He was making a move…”
With Miller out, redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones had been receiving the bulk of the first team reps in spring practice and had been progressing well until Tuesday, Meyer said.
“Cardale was bad today. And when I say bad, real bad,” Meyer said. “But to the point coming up till today, he was one of our most improved players on our team. It’s spring ball. You’re going to have a bad day. We gotta get that out before next fall, but he’s clearly the No. 2.”
One positive of practice Tuesday was what Meyer had to say about junior linebacker Joshua Perry, who is looking to fill the shoes of departed First Team All-Big Ten and All American performer Ryan Shazier.
“Josh Perry’s turned into an Ohio State linebacker … about. He’s not there yet,” Meyer said.
An area of concern for Buckeye coaches and fans has been the lack of experience on the offensive line, as OSU lost four of five starters up front to graduation following the 2013-14 season. Junior offensive lineman Taylor Decker, the lone remaining starter, will be looked to as a leader on the team next season Meyer said, but he also took a step back on Tuesday.
“Taylor was part of the bad day syndrome. But up to that point, very impressed with what he’s done,” Meyer said. “Leadership, toughness and doing all the things that previous group did, but today was not a good day.”
With less than two weeks left of spring practice — which concludes with the Spring Game April 12 at Ohio Stadium — Meyer said his team cannot afford another poor practice.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to start the 2014 campaign when they take on Navy Aug. 30 at noon at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.