The Ohio State Buckeyes are getting ready to enter survival mode as Fall Camp will intensify next week with eight practices.
Coach Urban Meyer said the team is not where they need to be just yet, but they are progressing day-to-day. For now, Meyer’s main goal is to preserve the overall health of the team, which means avoiding injuries at all costs.
“I hope number one, and our prayer every morning is safety of our players, health of our players because you see it across the country right now,” Meyer said. “Man, I hit ESPN.com and FOX Sports and CBS, I pull down these Internet sites and I hit them real fast to see what’s going on across the world and you see a young guy get hurt, I don’t think the world realizes how much time goes into that, and that’s the number one thing is health of your players.”
Meyer noted that the team made it through the first week virtually unscathed, with only two notable injuries.
Junior H-back Dontre Wilson had a small tweak to the broken foot that caused him to miss the final six games of last season. Meyer said it is nothing major and he expects him to return to practice on either Monday or Tuesday.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Marshon Lattimore is sidelined with a minor hamstring injury. Meyer downplayed Lattimore’s injury as well. He said he expects the Cleveland, Ohio, native to be back practicing this week.
Meyer is looking forward to seeing how his players lean on each other during next week’s practices.
“Number two is you want to make it real hard and all the walls are broken down so they bleed, we call it bleed on each other, and that means just it’s just that whole (G.K.) Chesterton quote we live by. The soldier doesn’t fight because of the hatred that’s in front of him, he or she fights because of the love of those behind him, and that’s what we’re trying to create right now. It’s a survival mentality. This week is a tough one, real tough.”
Redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones is looking to utilize the increased practice schedule to separate himself from redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett. Jones stressed that the upcoming week is important for every player donning the scarlet and gray.
“This week is really going to be a gut check for everyone in the program,” Jones said. “To really see if you love football like you think you do.”
Jones, who’s in the midst of an intense quarterback battle with Barrett, spent media day holding his 9-month-old daughter Chloe in his arms as she teethed away at her dad’s “12 Gauge” wristbands. He said juggling being a father and student athlete has been tough act to balance.
“Being a father, a football player and a student at the same time, not just a football player, being a quarterback, you know that’s the difference between just being a football player,” Jones said. “So much of the game is mental, and so much of the game is film study, so it’s definitely tough. It should be easier now because she just moved back down here yesterday.”
Although a strenuous slate of practices are on the horizon for the Buckeyes, the players are trying to take their mind off it and enjoy themselves when the time is right.
Junior safety Tyvis Powell said the team likes to cut loose once they have the chance.
“Absolutely, we definitely know how to have fun,” Powell said. “I think we got that part locked down. When it’s time to get serious, we get serious. But when we got some free time, and it’s time to enjoy ourselves, we actually know how to do that to. It’s just the best of both worlds.”
The players displayed exactly what they mean by enjoying themselves, when a player came up from behind redshirt senior Braxton Miller and dunked on with a toy basketball hoop as he spoke to the media.
Senior linebacker Joshua Perry said that the team is trying to stay loose through camp but remain focused for their season opener on Sept. 7 against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
“We have a focused team, but we are not too uptight,” Perry said. “One thing people say is you win one (championship) and you get uptight. We don’t feel that way right now.”