COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Fall camp is still more than a month away from kicking off, but it's always football season on Columbus. While updates from Urban Meyer have come few and far between in the months since spring practice ended in April, the Ohio State head coach met with reporters on Tuesday following his appearance at the Greater Columbus Sports Commission Morning Report to preview his second season with the Buckeyes.
What a difference a year makes
Although Ohio State finished their first season under Meyer with an undefeated record intact, it was hardly an easy road to perfection for the Buckeyes, even in the offseason. This year, however, Meyer anticipates a much smoother offseason, especially with his entire coaching staff returning from from last season.
In terms of the transition, everything is much faster. The coaching staff knows the offense. That was something I was very concerned about," he said. "Everett Withers did not know the defense at this time last year and he's our co-defensive coordinator. Were moving at a very rapid pace right now, which is what you'd expect."
It's not just on the field that Meyer has noticed things being easier for him around Columbus. Even at home, the 48-year-old head coach feels more settled and comfortable with his latest job."
"I feel much better. What I really feel better about is my family being settled. It was a really difficult move for my wife and my son. That means more to me than the football team," Meyer said. "They love Columbus. They're set and ready to go. Last year at this time was not very smooth."
While Meyer is known for his hands-on approach with his players, the months between spring practice and fall camp leave him unable to interact with his team on a football-related basis. That, however, hasn't stopped him from tracking the progress of his players thanks to the aide of strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti.
"Injuries, attitudes -- absolutely I keep tabs on it," Meyer said. "Every coach in America does. You can't be there, but I'm there."
One of the bright spots of this offseason for the Buckeyes has been the development of the team's incoming freshmen. With the nation's second-ranked recruiting class for 2013 featuring potential stars like Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall, all indications are that the OSU youngsters are living up to the hype that they brought with them to Columbus.
"(I've heard) real positive things about the freshmen. We're fast, which is something I wanted to be. I wanted to get more speed on offense in particular," Meyer said. "I'm hearing great things about them."
Not listed as a part of the Buckeyes' official 2013 recruiting class, but still a newcomer to the team is punter Cameron Johnston. The Australia native will fill the void left by former OSU senior Ben Buchanan and de-committed recruit Johnny Townsend.
"We needed a punter and because of our scholarship reductions we didn't have one available in February," Meyer said. "We had a scholarship come available, so I made the decision to get a punter."
As has been the case with the other players in Johnston's class, the feedback that Meyer has received regarding his new punter has been positive, but he's also tempered his expectations for his debut season.
"To find (a punter) of this caliber, its hard to imagine that happening," Meyer said. "But he hasn't punted in a game either."
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