January 11, 2013

Meyer reacts to offseason happenings

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Less than two months removed from the end of the 2012 season and four days removed from serving as a guest analyst at the BCS National Championship Game, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer met with the media to provide an update on the Buckeyes heading into his second offseason in Columbus. Speaking for nearly 20 minutes, Meyer touched on a number of topics, including his program's early enrollees and where he'd like to see his team improve before the start of the 2013 season.




What a difference a year makes



At this time last year, Meyer was just two months on the job and scrambling to put together his first recruiting class last year. Following a 12-0 debut season, the OSU coach admitted that things are a little bit easier this time around.



"A year ago at this time, we were getting ready to start our 4 a.m., 5 a.m., whatever it was, conversations outside. Guys were late for meetings. We were still trying to finalize our staff. And we had a group of offensive linemen that really didn't have that much confidence or trust in," Meyer said. "I'm very satisfied with where we're at right now."



That difference has carried over into recruiting, where the Buckeyes currently possess the country's No. 3 class for 2013. The OSU coach admitted he'd still like to add a couple of impact players to solidify to class before February's signing day.



"It's just a whole different approach," Meyer said. "As with most classes, how you finish determines if you love your class."



New kids on the block



On Friday, the Buckeyes also announced seven early enrollees for its 2013 class, including Eli Apple, Cameron Burrows, Tracy Sprinkle, Tyquan Lewis, Devin Hill, William Houston, and J.T. Barrett. Meyer said that Barrett, a four-star quarterback prospect from Wichita Falls, Texas has much to offer to the OSU quarterback corps.



"I'm hoping he brings a little something that our quarterback position needs and that's a grinder and that's a guy that's just non-stop," Meyer said. "The Alex Smith's of the world. They wake up in the morning and they're a quarterback all day long. They go to sleep and they're a quarterback all day long."



Despite recovering from a torn ACL suffered in his senior season, Meyer is confident that Barrett will be able to make the most of his time in Columbus this spring.



"He had ACL surgery, so he'll be limited as far as contact," Meyer said. "From everything I'm hearing, he'll be able to throw and do the offseason program."



The band's back together



With most head coaching vacancies having already been filled, the Buckeyes appear to have survived an offseason without having any coaches leave for other opportunities. That might not be the case next year, but for now, there's some continuity in Columbus.



"The fact that our coaching staff remains intact is important. We had four guys that had some people trying to discuss head coaching opportunities for them," Meyer said. "I always ask for a two-year commitment, I think that's fair."



Also returning to Columbus will be fourth-year cornerback Bradley Roby, who passed on the opportunity to leave school early and enter the upcoming NFL Draft.



"When he is playing his best, he's as a good of a corner as there is in college football," Meyer said of Roby. "I think he's got a brilliant career ahead of him. I think he's still a young player who has to develop in some areas."



Looking for leadership



While the Buckeyes will be losing nine starters from their 2012 team, they'll also be losing some leadership in the form of outgoing seniors John Simon and Zach Boren. Meyer said that he's already told certain players on his roster that he'd like to see them take on a bigger share of responsibility this offseason.



"Jordan Hall returning is a tremendous boost," Meyer said. "I'm looking for C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant to step up. Guys that I've already had conversations with that have not been in that situation, but now they are, and that's Corey Brown and Carlos Hyde."



Meyer said that one leader- and likely captain- already in place is fifth-year offensive lineman Jack Mewhort.



"Jack Mewhort is already there, he's already a leader," Meyer said. "We're asking him to take over a new position that maybe a Simon took and that's the overall heart- he's a tough guy."



Chasing 'Bama



With Alabama having won three of the past four BCS National Championships, several questions on Monday centered around what the Buckeyes need to do to match the Crimson Tide. Meyer admitted that he's spent much of the offseason already studying one of college football's budding dynasties.



"(Texas) A&M beat them, Georgie could've beat them, LSU could've beat them, and they soundly won the national championship," Meyer said. "That tells you a little bit about their conference."



The OSU coach, however, declined the opportunity to compare his current squad to to the Crimson Tide.



"Where are we? I don't like to deal with the speculation," Meyer said. "I think we're a very good team that could compete with any team in the country."







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