Ohio State has never been thought of as a "slack" program but it seems new coach Urban Meyer is going to take the already intense football culture of Columbus up a notch with the new programs that he plans to implement when the Buckeyes start spring ball in a couple weeks.
In addition to looking for some weapons on offense the former Florida Gators coach is going to bring the fire out of the Buckeyes, or the guys will be drinking water from a hose and dining like peasants.
As a football guy, I love this move from the Buckeyes' head man. Reward those players who busted their butts during offseason conditioning. Make the guys fight in spring ball. Earn every spot on the depth chart. Earn every rep in practice. Make every rep in practice count.
This move is brilliant.
Players will get with the program quickly because while your teammates are eating lobster and steak and you sit staring at normal cafeteria fare the thought process will become, 'I don't want to be here again.' It is an incentive program to get what you want out of players and while guys who are playing the game all want to be good this will help make those desired actions become second nature.
On defense that means guys will be getting eleven hats to the football. On offense that means receivers will be blocking and linemen will be finishing their primary assignment to go look up more defenders to unload on. Running backs will be finishing runs. Defenders will be making sure their opponent is laying in the dirt.
Competition and winning competition breeds camaraderie within the team. While on the outside fans just see the Buckeyes as one unit, any one who has been inside the walls knows there are teams within the team. Offense is its own team. Defense is its own team. Position groups are its own teams.
So, when you have full-blown competition, which Meyer plans to have twice a week this spring, you are developing that belief in one another and inspiring players to be the fighters that you want going into every Saturday with during the season.
The defense drinking Gatorade and laughing after stopping the offense during competition periods like first downs, two-minute drill or goalline, while the offense runs gassers and drinks water from a hose is going to make Braxton Miller and the rest of that side of the ball study a little harder, be a little more crisp for the next crack they get at Luke Fickell and Everett Withers' unit.
This is going to take the Buckeyes' "Hoot and Holler" tradition to a whole new level as guys compete not just as individuals but as a team. There will undoubtedly be fist fights this spring and that's not a bad thing as blood runs hot and players are all pushing for the same goal: the win.
Practices and the atmosphere in Columbus have already been intense and these kids know how and want to win; Meyer is just cranking the volume up to eleven.
For the Scarlet and Gray that means get excited.
For Buckeyes football players it means put your big-boy pants on because folks are going to get hit in the mouth and how you respond when Storm Klein and Ryan Shazier knock you in the mouth will say a lot about how much fight you have in you.
That works both ways because during the competition period, as we've seen from Southern Cal and Pete Carroll's famous Competition Tuesdays, when you get a shot to challenge someone for a spot folks are gunning to be "THE" guy on the depth chart.
It may be the offseason but with Urban Meyer and the new intensity he plans on bringing to Columbus we will be able to hear the pads pop plenty.