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Two-Minute Drill: Updates from Urban Meyer after 1st Ohio State spring practice March 10
By James Vogel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the first time since winning the eighth National Championship in program history, Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes took the practice field as a team Tuesday morning.

Meyer spoke to the media to provide updates following the first spring practice of the season, which lasted a little more than two hours. And, in a surprise appearance, the media got to speak with a pair of seniors, linebacker Joshua Perry and left tackle Taylor Decker. Here are the highlights.

Urban Meyer Updates

+ Meyer said the team doesn't have to work at motivating this group at this point of the season. He said he spoke with Lou Holtz about improving as a team in terms of its morale and technique in spring and as long as the program feels like it's getting better, that's the motivation: "That's going to be the essence of this team in 2015."

+ Meyer said today was all about Braxton Miller continuing his trek back. Said he's been in Birmingham, Ala., more than once to keep working his way back. He said he asks Miller every day how he going, and "He's man enough to tell me."

+ On J.T. Barrett, Meyer said it's "day-to-day" as he works his way back from the broken ankle. He said the same mindset of "day-to-day" is for each quarterback, that way they can keep getting better.

+ On the quarterback situation: "It's unique. I've never been in this situation."

+ Meyer said he "loves" seeing Miller back on the practice field: "There's a part of me that's excited to see that guy out there warming up and doing drills."

+ Meyer said Power of the Unit is still a big piece of how the program is ran, and each new coach or member of it was briefed into that when they came in.

+ "There was nothing evil about Ohio State. There were a couple things that happened ... A couple terrible mistakes were made. Ohio State is back to being Ohio State." Meyer on how Ohio State's come back from a 6-7 season and the way he's been approached since the Buckeyes won the national title.

+ Meyer said Dontre Wilson is still out but has put on some good weight. Ezekiel Elliott is also being worked back in cautiously because he can't fall with his wrist. Ohio State also has a "2,000-rep" rule, so players aren't too overworked in spring practice.

+ Meyer on the Spring Game: "That's going to be awful." Unlikely many big names will play in order to make sure they don't get worn down and the younger players can get more reps.

+ Is there stress to make a decision over three quarterbacks? "None for me," Meyer said. "There's no stress at all as far as the functionality at the position." He did add that the only thing that could be stressful is the families and support systems of the quarterbacks.

+ On Cardale Jones, Meyer said he is "still raw, almost a rookie. An older rookie." Said he wants to see Jones "get a million reps this spring."

+ Meyer said he's "very disappointed" with the young defensive linemen in the program as far as their performance on the field is concerned. "If Mike Bennett leaves and you're not as good as Mike Bennett, then our team isn't as good."

+ Meyer said he's not had any conversations with Miller about playing another position other than quarterback. The only conversations he's had with him are about him getting healthy: "I think he can do whatever, he's athletic enough. I still think he's a quarterback."

+ Meyer said he's been focusing on getting everyone to buy into doing things the "Ohio State way" similarly to how the New England Patriots have "The Patriot Way."

+ Meyer said he feels more comfortable about replacing guys on defense than he did in 2009 after winning the National Championship at Florida. 

+ Meyer wants his guys to continue responding well to the "proactive meetings" with the coaching staff, instead of the meetings being "reactive."

+ Meyer said he talks to Miller "every day" about not being anxious since he physically cannot go out and compete: "We're watching that very closely."

Joshua Perry Updates

+ Perry said he can tell everyone is hungry on the field, but the big challenges are going to be keeping everyone on track to continue learning the techniques.

+ Perry said the defense can be "really good this year." Said there is a lot of talent and a lot of guys who are willing to work hard. The depth should also be better this season.

+ Perry said even though people will have a "target" on this Ohio State team, it will still play with a chip on its shoulder because outsiders will doubt it: "Knowing that we have a chance to do something special keeps us going."

+ Perry believes he and his teammates were "very smart" since the season ended to take care of their bodies after a 15-game season. A lot of nagging things go away because of the urge to get back out on the field, Perry said.

+ Coach Meyer and Coach Marotti chose the new mantra for the team this season, "The Grind," Perry said.

+ Perry said he thinks it'll be interesting to see who the young guys will be that step up this season like Darron Lee did last year. He did single out Terry McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon and Parris Campbell could make some noise in the wide receiver room. Raekwon McMillan, Dante Booker, Sam Hubbard, Erick Smith and Damon Webb could also help out on defense more than they did last season.

+ On the dance at halftime of the basketball game Sunday, Perry said they practiced a few times a week for two hours each session: "Guys were having a great time and it was a great opportunity to support other sports."

+ Why would anyone doubt Ohio State? "It's just the nature of the game ... People want to talk about the Big Ten conference being down and maybe it was a fluke that Ohio State did it ... Everybody's always going to have something." Perry said he loves that part of the game because it gives them some extra energy: "It wouldn't be as fun if everybody was cheering you on all the time."

Taylor Decker Updates

+ Decker said he and his teammates try to stay within the program when people are doubting Ohio State this season on the outside.

+ Decker said "no one in the locker room believes" the doubts from outsiders.

+ On having Braxton Miller back on the field: "It's been a while since he's been able to be out there with us. Just having him out there ... it can be comforting for some people."

+ Decker said he and his teammates aren't paying any attention to the imminent quarterback derby between Miller, Jones and Barrett: "I know we got three great quarterbacks who can play and whoever they throw in there I know they'll be fine."

+ Decker said Chase Farris had "an amazing offseason." Decker said if he wins the spot he'll be deserving.

+ On Jamarco Jones, Decker said the biggest thing with him is being more consistent at practice when he takes reps. Decker said his potential is very high.

+ Decker said Marcelys Jones is the best athlete in the offensive line room, he just needs to want to do the mental side of the game to move forward.

+ Decker said he's happy for Ed Warinner taking over as the offensive coordinator in place of Tom Herman: "I'm completely confident in his ability to do that."

+ Decker said Warinner, Herman and Meyer all "went back and forth" when they decided what plays to run last season.

+ As a three-year starter and senior, Decker said he knows he has to set the standard and lead by example on the offensive line. He said he also feels like Pat Elflein can take on more responsibilities.

+ Decker said he thinks Meyer is "the same guy" even though they just won it all: "We're supposed to win championships around here."

+ Decker said the team knows exactly when the national championship banner went up at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. He said the coaches told them exactly where it was going even before they played Oregon: “To know that we’re immortalized here, at such a storied program, it’s a pretty special feeling."

Player profiles relevant to story:
37 - Perry, Joshua | 68 - Decker, Taylor | Coach - Meyer, Urban
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