By Matt McCoy
Tuesday's ninth spring practice for the Buckeyes got a little physical. The headliner came as Braxton Miller was running an option play. As Miller pitched it to running back Rod Smith, he was smacked hard by defensive end Noah Spence. The Buckeye quarterback was shaken up momentarily. After shaking off the cobwebs, Miller wasn't happy, confronting Spence and others on the defensive sideline briefly before assistant coaches restored order.
"It’s football,” Coach Urban Meyer said. “We ran option to the left and he got dinged. He’s fine."
The angry reaction by Miller, who was wearing a black jersey meaning he was supposedly off limits to contact, wasn't the worst thing in the world according to Meyer.
"I like quarterbacks who want to get in a street fight and go after him," Meyer said. "That's not probably the time to do it but he's a competitor. So you're asking 'what kind of reaction do I want out of a quarterback?' Braxton's a competitor. That's better than the opposite, just laying on the ground and curl up (and say) 'why did he hit me?' He's a tough kid."
Miller's back-up Kenny Guiton stepped up as the offense and defense scrimmaged at the end of practice, tossing a touchdown pass to tight end Nick Vannett lifting the offense to a win.
"It was good to see some competition," Meyer said of practice. "I'm not sure we have any answers yet other than Kenny did a nice job leading the second group on a nice touchdown drive so it was good. A good day."
Offensive lineman Antonio Underwood suffered a torn ACL in practice last week and is out at least six months and may redshirt. Underwood is a back-up, who Meyer said was making strides and had worked his way into the offensive line rotation.
"Really for the first time in his career he was making a push," Meyer said. "It's a shame...He was having a heck of a spring and he was in the top eight."
The offensive line should be a strength for the Buckeyes this year. The unit lost Reid Fragel but returns four other starters and Meyer said the battle for the final starting spot at right tackle is heating up.
"It's between three guys right now. It's Chase (Farris), (Taylor) Decker and then the next guy that's started surfacing is Pat Elflien. He (Elflien) probably wouldn't be right tackle but we'd move someone to be the right tackle if he's the next in."
Meyer said Elflien, out of Pickerington North, is a 'big surprise' this spring.
"I love who he is...he's a tough guy."
To listen to all of Coach Meyer's comments following Tuesday's practice click HERE:
DT's Letter to the Editor
Kudos to Buckeye Basketball star Deshaun Thomas. The Big Ten's scoring leader clearly has a lot on his mind right now as he decides whether to return to Ohio State for his senior year or go pro. Nonetheless, he took time this week, to write a letter to the editor of the Lantern...and it had nothing to do with his future.
Instead, Thomas wanted to recognize the champion athletes in the less popular Ohio State sports. Here's an excerpt.
"I know that athletes in other sports that do not get much press coverage are also winning championships. Just two weekends ago, Logan Stieber won his second-consecutive national championship in his weight class in wrestling, and senior Marco Canevari marked the Scarlet and Gray’s single individual champion title in fencing by securing the gold medal in men’s epee on March 22. A day later, gymnasts Sarah Miller and Aly Marohn captured the Big Ten championship on the balance beam."
"Last Tuesday, The Lantern featured an article in which athletic director Gene Smith talked about how Ohio State isn’t just a football school. He talked about the success of our basketball team. It would be good to remember that in the other sports, there is a lot of success too."
I've blogged several times this season about Deshaun Thomas' development at Ohio State on and off the court. The letter is more evidence of it. Well done Deshaun.
Off the Deep End
ESPN's Outside the Lines released video Tuesday of Rutgers coach Mike Rice's conduct during basketball practices. It earned Rice a three game suspension last season. Now that the videos are out, my guess is Rice will never coach in the Big Ten.
Rutgers is due to enter the league in 2014-15 and given the nature of the video and the immediate negative public reaction, I can't imagine Rice survives for two more weeks, let alone two more years. It's not like his harsh tactics are producing wins either. In his three years at Rutgers he's yet to have a winning record.
If you haven't seen ESPN's story with the video excerpts, it is posted below.