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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State Spring Kickoff event that took place on Wednesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center not only featured reflections on the first six perfect teams in school history- including the 2012 Buckeyes squad- but a look ahead to the 2013 season. Members of the OSU coaching staff spent the final hour of the program interviewing their players, which included some insight- and highlights- for the fans in attendance to go home with.
Perhaps the most memorable moment that happened on Wednesday came when quarterback Braxton Miller unveiled a new- and shocking- look. And it wasn't a new tattoo of more fit physique that the junior-to-be showed off, but rather a blonde mohawk that he initially hid under a scarlet Ohio State baseball hat.
Asked to explain his actions, Miller placed blame for his new hairdo on Buckeyes offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman.
"(Herman) was saying a couple days ago, he said, 'Man, I like your haircut,'" Miller recalled. "He was like, 'Back in the day, when I had hair, I always wanted to dye my hair.' So I got it done like that."
Regardless of what his star player looks like while running it, Herman said to expect a more efficient offense from the Buckeyes in their second season under Urban Meyer's spread attack.
"What we're planning on doing offensively is to be the best fundamental offensive unit in the country. We felt like last year we were just trying to get lined up, just trying to understand the schemes and what to do," Herman said. "Now really comes the fun part of our jobs as offensive coaches, which is let's start teaching the players why. Why do they do this, why do they do that. And we're going from a kindergarten or a first grade level to next level, to high school level, to hopefully in the fall we're getting to the college level and on into graduate level of this offense and how we do things and why we do them."
Unsurprisingly, the most energetic segment of the day came from Ohio State cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs. After giving a a spirited recruiting pitch to the crowd, Coombs asked cornerback Tyvis Powell and kicker Drew Basil to explain the differences in their weekly preparations.
"Tuesdays are a very special day. Tyvis, what kind of day is a Tuesday?" Coombs asked.
"Toughness Tuesday, coach." Powell responded.
Coombs then turned his attention to Basil, who revealed that strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti will not allow kickers and specialist to warmup on the field with "the real men."
"Our specialists, our kickers, what kind of day are you having?" Coombs asked.
"A turtleneck Tuesday," Basil answered to the laughter of the room.
Finding a front four
Replacing seven starters on defense this season won't be an easy task, especially for OSU defensive line coach Mike Vrabel. The former Buckeye great will be forced to find four new starters on his unit, after the departures of John Simon, Johnathan Hankins, Garrett Goebel, and Nathan Williams.
"We understand what the expectations are at Ohio State. My dad came down to spring practice yesterday ... he comes down and he watches practice and we go to dinner. We sit down and it's a late dinner and the waitress comes and she's about 23-years-old, she says, 'Are you the coach for the Buckeyes?' and I say, 'Yeah, I coach D-line' and she's like, 'Oh yeah, that's right. Ohio State hasn't had to replace four starters in 25 years," Vrabel said. "We understand the expectations and the challenges that are in front of us."
Vrabel said that more than anything, his group needs to develop leadership, which is something that his proven with actions and not just words.
"We can't talk about leadership. Michael Bennett knows that it doesn't do him no good to walk out there and say, 'Let's go, let's go, let's go,'" Vrabel said. "Michael Bennett hasn't done enough for our football team to do that. What Michael Bennett has to do is buckle his chinstrap, tighten his cleats, and go out there and continue to work every single day."
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