Ohio State football: Urban Meyer makes surprise appearance at practice; quarterbacks look sharper

Bill Rabinowitz
Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Malik Harrison (39) makes a tackle in a drill during the first day of spring practice at Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus, Ohio on March 6, 2019. [Kyle Robertson]

Ohio State had a familiar presence at the second of its spring football practices on Friday.

Former coach Urban Meyer watched from the sideline as the Buckeyes were put through their paces. In the portion of practice reporters were permitted to watch, Meyer stood alongside former Ohio State running back Warren Ball, who transferred to Akron and now is that school’s academic coordinator for football.

The Buckeyes again practiced without pads, so contact was at a minimum. Quarterbacks Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin each threw more accurately than at Wednesday’s opening practice. Fields, the transfer from Georgia, took the first reps at the position.

Quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich said after practice that the quarterbacks will share first-team reps as the spring and competition progresses.

“Iron sharpens iron,” he said.

Fields is perceived to be the front-runner at quarterback after being the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class. Fields said he has been given no assurances.

“Coach (Ryan) Day wasn’t giving any handouts,” he said. “I knew coming here I’d have to work for it.

“Me and Matt are good friends. He’s definitely a good quarterback. I’m just learning from him every day because he was here.”

Both quarterbacks were happier with their throwing on Friday than on Wednesday.

“I’m definitely just trying to get my timing down with the receivers and trying to get that chemistry together and continue to get better every day,” Fields said. “I think I’ve transitioned well as far as coming here from a different place.”

Baldwin, a redshirt freshman who rehabbed from knee surgery last year, acknowledged having nerves on Wednesday. He said he felt more comfortable Friday.

“All the newness and all the jitters are kind of worn off, and you’re getting into a groove with your guys,” he said. “We’re all on the same team pushing for the same thing.”

In partial-team drills, the offensive line configuration was the same as on Monday. Josh Alabi was at left tackle, Gavin Cupp at left guard, Josh Myers at center, Wyatt Davis at right guard and Branden Bowen at right tackle.

On defense, tackle Robert Landers didn’t participate. He stood with a crutch on the sideline. At linebacker, Malik Harrison took first-team reps. Baron Browning and Tuf Borland split reps, as did Pete Werner and Brendon White in the partial-team drills.

The Buckeyes are off next week for spring break.


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