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By Matt McCoy
ESPN is doing its "bus tour" of top college football programs this month and stopped by Columbus Tuesday, visiting practice and getting a one-on-one sit down with head coach Urban Meyer. Here's the video:
Meyer was asked by ESPN's Joe Tessitore if he saw qualities on this Buckeye team that he saw in his two national championship squads at Florida.
"I don't think we're there yet. This puzzle is very attractive right now but it's not put together correctly yet," Meyer said. "That's what this next eight, nine or ten practices are all about. I do believe we're very talented and I believe we'll be playing for a championship sometime in November but when you start throwing around that big one, I don't like to go there."
Here are some of the other topics Meyer discussed with ESPN.
On the development of playmakers on the Buckeye offense:
"This time last year Jordan Hall was the only guy that I really felt good about from spring practice and he had a foot injury that ended up costing him the whole year. We're much different now. Evan Spencer is having his best camp. Philly Brown is our number one receiver, Devin Smith has a minor injury but he'll be back. Those are our top three receivers right now. In the backfield you have Carlos Hyde, you have Rod Smith, you have Jordan Hall and a few others. These two freshmen, Ezekiel Elliott and Dontre Wilson in the backfield...there's some electric persona to them and some electric ability. That's the biggest difference (from last year.) Braxton has a cast around him that's very supportive."
On his demand that his players bring enthusiasm and energy to practice:
"Whether you're a broadcaster, whether you're a banker, whether you're a teacher or a coach, if you come out without passion, enthusiasm and focus, you're done. We don't have time to waste. I just remind our players that you can measure attitude...it's very easy. Be an energy giver, don't be an energy taker and that's the whole message."
On Braxton Miller:
"I wouldn't say he's game ready yet but (he's close.) I'm embarrassed to say this but a year ago we weren't ready. We weren't clean on protections, we weren't clean on where the receivers were, we just weren't clean enough. It's because of the new system with a young quarterback and a new staff and now he's getting pretty close to game ready. He knows the offense."
Heisman front runner?
The ESPN crew that visited Tuesday included former Michigan quarterback Brian Griese who was very complimentary towards Miller. Given the off-field issues the reigning Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M has, Griese said on College Football Live he believes Miller is now "at the front of the Heisman race."
610 WTVN's Jeff Rapp of Sportsrappup.com wrote an in depth piece about Miller's development, Urban Meyer's love for his quarterback and 1995 Heisman winner Eddie George's advise for the junior QB. Check out Jeff's story here.