Ohio State football: Meyer looking for ‘competitive spirit’
The Ohio State football team conducted its major scrimmage of the spring on Friday behind closed gates, at least to the news media, and coach Urban Meyer saw it as part of the process toward identifying a key element of his 2013 team.
He wasn’t talking about identifying starters, even though several positions on defense are still up for grabs.
“Competitive spirit,” Meyer said of his quest. “It’s a winner-loser day on purpose. Usually we do two a week. We just did Tuesday and Thursday with mainly fundamental work and some competitive stuff. But (in the scrimmage) there is going to be a winner and loser.
“There is a reason why last year’s team won those two overtime games. It wasn’t coaching — it was competitive spirit on the team.”
Meyer also is still looking for leaders to emerge on a team that has lost several from 2012, such as Zach Boren, John Simon and Etienne Sabino. Candidates to step into those roles include tackle Jack Mewhort, quarterback Braxton Miller, linebacker Ryan Shazier, safeties C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant, and cornerback Bradley Roby.
But such roles aren’t inherited, Meyer said.
“Our definition of leadership is to set a standard, and demand everyone live up to that standard,” he said. “You set a standard with your work ethic, the way you perform on the field, the way you perform off the field, your practice habits. If you do that yourself, you’re called a very good player. If you start to demand that by those around you, that’s when you’ll be called a leader.”
It’s the essential ingredient for a team to rise to where “the air is rare,” he said. Coming off a 12-0 season, the Buckeyes have been projected to contend for the national championship. Meyer is not yet ready to endorse that notion.
Leadership within the team is what sets great teams apart. “If you start finding that magical component that not many people understand, and that’s leadership, that’s when great, really cool things start happening for you,” he said.
Aug. 31 Buffalo
Sept. 7 San Diego State
Sept. 14 at California
Sept. 21 Florida A&M
Sept. 28 Wisconsin
Oct. 5 at Northwestern
Oct. 12 Off
Oct. 19 Iowa
Oct. 26 Penn State
Nov. 2 at Purdue
Nov. 9 Off
Nov. 16 at Illinois
Nov. 23 Indiana
Nov. 30 at Michigan