At 6 a.m. Friday morning Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, his coaching staff and about 60 or so veterans in the football program hit the practice fields at the Harmon Family Football Park. The 2012 football season is upon us.
The practice activities, with players in shorts, spikes, mesh jerseys and helmets, consisted of stretching, running and spirited drill work. The two FieldTurf fields were in use. Former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, a longtime mentor to Meyer, sat in a chair at the base of a huge tower in the north end zone of field No. 3 and watched.
“Everybody was executing plays, on defense and offense,” said sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby. “Everything was crisp.”
“When we came out here in the spring we had no clue,” junior running back Carlos Hyde said, commenting on the first days learning a new offensive scheme. “Today, we were pretty sharp.”
“Everyone was energized,” sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller said. “Everything was good.”
No freshmen took part in this first practice. They, along with some walk-on upper classmen to boost the numbers, will take the field for the first time in 2012 at 5:30 Friday evening. Afterward, the players will enjoy a 48-hour break before a team dinner Sunday evening and practice No. 2 of the season: Monday at 4 p.m.
Three players sported or will sport new numbers today: sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby is now wearing jersey No. 1; freshman defensive lineman Se’von Pittman will be in No. 95; and senior linebacker Ross Oltorik is wearing No. 20.
Roby said the summer conditioning program run by head strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti was “high intensity” every day and that the team grew closer through the workouts. He also said the workouts helped him gain five pounds of muscle while at the same time lowering his 4.40 40-yard dash speed to a really quick 4.39.
“…And I ran the 4.39 twice,” Roby said, “so it wasn’t a fluke.”