July 1, 2013

Meyer talks Guiton, fall camp plans

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GENEVA, Ohio -- Just miles away from his hometown, Urban Meyer held his annual youth football camp on Monday, alongside fellow Ashtabula, Ohio native and Eastern Kentucky head coach Dean Hood. While the Ohio State head coachdeclined to comment on one of the biggest stories in sports -- and one that happens to involve one of his former players -- Meyer did provide an update on the Buckeyes as the countdown to the start of August's fall camp continues.

Getting back Guiton?

Last week, Meyer revealed that backup quarterback Kenny Guiton had suffered a hand injury that he was unsure of the severity of. Today, the OSU coach had more information regarding the injury, which occurred on Guiton's throwing hand.

"He's going to be in a little splint for four weeks," Meyer said. "He's doing better."

While it is still unclear what the exact diagnosis of Guiton's injury is, Meyer is confident that his reserve signal-caller will be ready for the start of fall camp on August 3rd.

"I think it might be a chip. It might be a little fracture," he said. "He's a hard worker -- he'll be fine."

Under pressure

Coming off of an undefeated campaign in 2012, Meyer admitted that he's concerned with how his players will deal with their recent success and high expectations in the coming year. As for himself, the two-time national champion head coach is no stranger to the spotlight and feels well prepared for the road ahead.

"I'm just worried about our players. I can bet that they're going to feel it a little bit this year," Meyer said. "I've kind of learned how to deal with that over the years. There's pressure every game. We want to win every game we play and whether you're going to a bowl game or not."

Currently in a dead period, where he's not allowed to have football-related contact with his players, Meyer said that it's too early to give a definitive forecast on his second Ohio State squad. Entering his 12th year as Division-I head football coach, Meyer said that his team's ceiling will be determined by the growth of each position unit.

"You know when you're really good. The one thing about our team and I demand of our coaches is that we're honest with them," he said. "Their expectation level is to be the best -- at least in the Big Ten. When it's time, when you have nine units operating in that capacity, then you're pretty good. But we're not there yet."

A lesson better not learned

Although a perfect season for any head coach would seem -- well, perfect -- Meyer admitted that there is a downside to having a team that is coming off of a year in which it hasn't tasted defeat. While he would obviously rather enjoy victory than suffer failure, Meyer said that there's something to be said about a team's ability to deal with adversity.

"Isn't it phenomenal how it all ties together? Without losing losing a freakin' game, how do you teach them to respond to a loss? You try to get that feeling in them that they lost, which is hard to simulate," Meyer said. "We try to make things very, very tough, and they have to pull through it so they're not questioning how to respond in October when something terrible happens."

With not only 12 wins, but a full year of experience under his belt, Meyer feels even better about the state of his program heading into his second season in Columbus, especially with 14 starters and his entire coaching staff returning from 2012.

"I don't know if I sleep better, but at least I know what's going on," the Ashtabula, Ohio native said. "It was blank page last year. Not only with our players, but you look at our staff. Most of our guys became head coaches, so I had to start new and the first time we go on the field, seven of the nine I've never met before and they're coaching for us now.

"So (I feel) much better."

Other updates:

-Meyer said that he still keeps in contact with former Florida quarterback and recent New England Patriots signee Tim Tebow. While the former Gators coach said that he talks to his former player weekly, he stated that he's unsure whether or not the Patriots plan on using him at tight end, which has been rumored by some.

-Asked which players 2013 is a make or break season for, Meyer pointed to junior middle linebacker Curtis Grant, and wide receivers Devin Smith and Michael Thomas.

-The feedback that Meyer has received from strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marroti has been positive this offseason, but the OSU coach said that he's anxious to get ahold of his team in fall camp.

-Meyer also revealed that he originally planned on taking more than a year off from coaching in 2011, but said that the opportunity to become the head coach at Ohio State was too much to pass on.


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