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By Matt McCoy
To listen to Urban Meyer discuss spring practice and Saturday's spring game in Cincinnati click HERE:
The Buckeyes are taking their show on the road Saturday, with the annual spring game being held in Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium.
"I'm obviously a big Cincinnati guy so we're going to take the players to the Reds museum and we're going to give them a little taste of Cincinnati," coach Urban Meyer said. "(After the game) they'll get Montgomery Inn ribs, some Graeters ice cream and some Skyline Chili...so we're going to do it right."
The trip to Cincinnati this spring was necessitated by the work being done on Ohio Stadium, which is being sealed--with all of the seats being replaced. With the Buckeyes having played a regular season game in Cleveland in 2009, against Toledo, Meyer said director of Athletics Gene Smith approached him about playing in Cincinnati.
"I thought it was a great idea," Meyer said. "We had our choices local here at (Crew Stadium) and then Gene brought it to me...it's a great opportunity to go down there."
In addition to the game, the culture and the food, the Buckeyes will also get to enjoy some time with Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who Meyer said will speak to the team.
"I love Marvin Lewis. He's one of the great football coaches and is a great friend of mine," Meyer said. "It's going to be a great trip."
What to expect
As for the game itself, Meyer said it will lean heavy on passing. Starting quarterback Braxton Miller will play, but will be off limits to being hit. The same is true of back-up Kenny Guiton but the defense can get after third stringer Cardale Jones who Meyer wants to see under real game conditions...and Jones isn't the only one. Meyer said for young starters like defensive lineman Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington or back-ups like Jones and others with no game experience, the Spring Game is much more than just another practice.
"It's different when you look up and hear it and see it and everyone is watching," Meyer said. "If you give up a touchdown pass in a controled scrimmage the ball goes back to the 20 yard line but in this you're going to see points accumulating on the board so it's a lot different...and if you look around the nation, not may schools can do what we're getting ready to do and that's put a good crowd in a stadium and go play in front of them."
Planting the Flag
One of the theories as to why Meyer found Cincinnati an attractive site for the Buckeye spring game was recruiting. Cleveland has long been considered an Ohio State town while Cincinnati's loyalties are divided between the Buckeyes, the University of Cincinnati, Xavier, Kentucky and other schools.
Meyer was asked if 'planting the Buckeye flag' in Cincinnati was an important part of this weekend's road trip.
"I wasn't here in years past but I hear a lot of 'well we haven't done well in Cincinnati,' but I think we're doing great. I think we're killing it," Meyer said. "Adolphus Washington (out of Cincinnati Taft) is one of our best players. I think he could be potentially a great player at Ohio State and recently we've done well down there and there's really good players and really good high school coaches...I think we're doing great. I love Cincinnati."
Front Seven Shines
When the spring started, an area of concern for Meyer was the defensive front which has to replace four starters. With 13 practices down and only two to go, the coach is feeling better about that group.
"That front seven is much improved," Meyer said. "We're much more aggressive on defense than we were early this time last year. I kind of like the direction we're headed. (Defensive linemen) Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence are making some strides. Curtis Grant (linebacker), and Doran Grant and Tyvis Powell (defensive backs) are some of the guys off the top of my head that are making big strides."
Right Tackle unsettled
On the other line of scrimmage, Meyer said he does not know yet who will start at right tackle to replace the graduated Reid Fragel.
"It's real bothersome to me and it's real bothersome to our coaches too," Meyer said of the right tackle position. The battle is between Taylor Decker and Chase Farris.
"Decker's the guy that's breaking the huddle with the one's right now and he certainly has the ability to be the right tackle but the offensive line kind of set a nice little standard last year," Meyer said. "I thought we were the best offensive line in the Big Ten and as of practice 13 (of the spring) we are not the best offensive line in the Big Ten. We don't have the chemistry that that group had a year ago."
The other four starters on the line are back but Meyer said center Corey Linsley has been held out of practice at times this spring with a foot injury and left tackle Jack Mewhort has been rested some as well.
Vin Scully on Twitter and Dog TV
Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully got sidetracked momentarily Wednesday night when he had to read a promotion for a Twitter poll. At 85, Vin isn't into Twitter...and he also doesn't understand the idea of the new "Dog TV" cable channel. You gotta love Vin...one of the all-time best. Enjoy.