Meyer Encouraged by Rejuvenated Buckeyes in Practice
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A week off can do a lot of different things to a football team.
For an undefeated group like Urban Meyer’s 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes, it can have a drastic affect on the final two games of the season.
This team desperately needed to get healthy before two heavyweight bouts with Wisconsin and Michigan to close out there year, but a bye week in November could also throw off a team’s momentum.
Photo by Dan Harker
“We're very worried about that,” Meyer said Monday during his weekly press luncheon.
“I guess you worry about everything. Other than we get plus one day, we go real hard. We were full pads today. A lot of coaches bring them out and do shorts workout or something like that. We're full pad. Probably our most physical practice of the week will be today.”
The Buckeyes don’t typically practice on Mondays. They usually come in for film on Sunday, the day after a game, and then have Monday off before hitting the practice field on Tuesday for what is typically Meyer’s most strenuous workout of the week.
His players did not have class on Monday, however, because of Veteran’s Day, which made for an early-morning workout session inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Meyer wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from his group coming back from an unsupervised weekend away.
“They came back bright eyed,” he said Monday.
“That's the number one thing you worry about, when they go home. It's great, especially for local guys, to go home to their families. We really encourage that, go to their high school game and all that fun stuff.”
Meyer admitted he was at least a little bit worried when he gathered his 10-0 football team together for the final time last week before he dismissed them to whatever it was they were going to do during their only bye weekend of the season.
“The number one thing to worry about is that phone call, everyone driving home to families and doing something ignorant on a Friday or Saturday night,” said Meyer, who had to deal with a couple of those situations over the summer with guys like Jack Mewhort, Jake Stoneburner and Bri’onte Dunn.
“My comment was, ‘If it's going to help us win our 11th game, do it and do it a lot. If it's not, don't do it.’ ”
It sounded like good advice coming from the head coach, and Meyer has a lot of faith in this football team after everything they have been through over the past 11 months, but even he was excited to see the level of energy and enthusiasm during Monday’s practice.
“I don't want to say surprise, but sometimes you have to beat it out of them on the first day back. Not at all,” he said.
“I just feel that we've got to be smart as coaches to keep that rejuvenation up. Excellent day today.”
Meyer and his coaches have tried a number of different methods coming off bye weeks over the years, with mixed results. He typically tried to read the pulse of each individual team as to how he should handle them coming off a bye, but Meyer has trended towards working them extra hard after a week off.
“You can go into it gradually, or you just put the ball down and go as hard as we can,” Meyer said, “and that's what we did. Usually that works.
“What I do is grab practice schedules from our best years, and then I post bye weeks and take a look at how we did it. I'll measure it to the players we have here.”
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