Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Leftovers from Urban Meyer's visit to Geneva

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer contrasts Indians manager Terry Francona in one major way. Meyer doesn't mind challenging players in public.

After Monday's Urban Meyer-Dean Hood Football Camp in Geneva, Meyer was asked about players facing boom-or-bust years in 2013.

Meyer said he didn't "want to single guys out." Yet he offered names of three players preparing for critical seasons: middle linebacker Curtis Grant and receivers Devin Smith and Michael Thomas.

"Those are examples of guys hitting their stride," Meyer said.

Grant, a mega-recruit from Virginia in 2011, is a junior trying to fulfill vast potential. He's also one of just two linebackers on the roster recruited before 2012. Outside linebacker Ryan Shazier is the other. A young unit might start relying on 18-year-olds if Grant isn't prodcutive.

Smith and Thomas are competing for time at 'X' receiver. Smith, who also runs track, averaged 20.6 yards per reception last year. Thomas only had three receptions last season, but he could be primed for a breakout season.

Some other leftovers from Meyer's appearance:

-- Hood, Eastern Kentucky's head coach and one of Meyer's childhood friends, joked about the possibility of his program facing Meyer's. Eastern Kentucky, coincidentally, visits Meyer's old team, Florida, next season. The game was arranged before Meyer resigned from Florida in 2010.

"We got Florida on the schedule when Urban was at Florida," Hood said. "Now he's not there, and we have to play them. I don't think if we played against him he would take it easy on us. I don't think that's in his blood."

Games between Division I and I-AA programs might become extinct. Division I begins a four-team playoff in 2014. Strength of schedule will be a major factor in determining the field.

-- The OHSAA finals head to Ohio Stadium next season. Meyer said he's envisioning the buzz it would create in his own office if an Asthabula County team reached one of the finals.

"What a feeling it would be to walk down to Ohio Stadium on state championship day and see a team from your hometown," said Meyer, who attended St. John High School. "It energizes communities, it energizes schools. Ashtabula should have good high school football. I sound like an old man, but there used to be. There should be good football here. There's a great history of good football in the northeastern part of the state."

-- Guy Cipriano | @newsheraldguy


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