A few more notes and quotes from Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s press conference on Sunday afternoon during the program’s annual media day:
THE BLACK STRIPES: A tradition that started during Meyer’s coaching days at Bowling Green has become big at Ohio State.
Meyer started placing black stripes on newcomers’ helmets until they proved they belonged.
The ritual has continued in Columbus with the stripe placed down the center, essentially making the newbies look they play for the Oakland Raiders.
“I think every program should have some kind of way you can graduate into becoming a full-fledged Ohio State Buckeye,” Meyer said. “We started that back at Bowling Green. You kind of start things and some things take off, some things don’t. This one exploded.
“Our coaches love it, our staff loves it, but most importantly our players love it. It’s a rite of passage to become an Ohio State Buckeye. You have to earn it. Having your big brother come up and take your stripe off, just the human element of the guys involved, they tear up, it’s really an emotional thing for them.”
“I think you’ll see with those three, the stripes coming off pretty soon,” Meyer said.
Meyer also mentioned freshman linebacker David Perkins in the news conference.
TROPHY-TYPE LINE: How much does having Nathan Williams out of the lineup hurt the Buckeyes on the defensive front?
“[Simon] is as good a player as there is in college football,” Meyer said. “If you want a [strength] stronger, it’s Nathan Williams. He’s working so hard. He’s a football guy. He loves his teammates. He loves Ohio State. We’re doing all we can.
“If he comes back, you’re talking about a strong defensive line. If you look at 06’s team, 08’s team, that’s as good a group of defensive linemen that you’ll ever see. If that’s the measuring stick, if we get Nathan Williams back, I’d say this is that category. If he doesn’t then we’ll still be good, but I think Nathan brings that much sting to you and also experience.”
QB CONUNDRUM: Meyer can’t wait to see just how much his quarterbacks have grown since the spring game.
The only thing holding them back is, well, practice.
“I like our quarterbacks,” Meyer said. “On purpose, they’re caged tigers right now. They get quick whistles [and] wear black shirts where they’re not allowed to be touched, and obviously in our style of play, that changes the whole game. We open that cage on Sept. 1.”
Until then, drills in which they keep plays alive from behind the line of scrimmage as long as they can will have to suffice.
“We’re scrambling, but we’re not running,” Meyer said. “We’re practicing our scrambling drill a lot. We’re really focusing on it a lot. Scrambling and running is different than scrambling and keeping your eyes downfield.
“I can count on one hand the ones that drop back and don’t scramble. That’s Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. … The great quarterbacks I want are the ones that can make something out of nothing. These two can do that.”