Even though only three practices are in the books in Ohio State’s preseason football camp, coach Urban Meyer said he has liked what he has seen from both his quarterback and one of the players from the heralded 2013 recruiting class.
“Dontre Wilson right now, I would say he is going to play,” Meyer said Tuesday after his team’s first practice in full pads. “He’s just got something we didn’t have last year, and that’s just electric speed.”
Wilson, a true freshman from DeSoto, Texas, who chose to play for the Buckeyes after former Oregon coach Chip Kelly bolted for the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL, has impressed his head coach. Meyer is not ready to mention him in the same breath of former Florida star Percy Harvin, though.
“He got a quick twitch but don’t throw him in that (category),” Meyer said. “He just goes hard. He’s got jets.”
Fresh off a 2012 season where he led OSU in rushing and passing en route to winning the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year award, junior quarterback Braxton Miller has come a long way, Meyer said.
“I’m pleased with Braxton,” Meyer said. “I know it’s just three days, but he had a really good day today.”
Meyer said everything from his quarterback’s demeanor, to his footwork, to his relationship with the wide receivers is better than what it was last season.
“It’s hard to lead when part of being a leader is setting a standard to lead by example, and he wasn’t leading by example because he really didn’t know what he was doing,” Meyer said. “I just see a much better presence from him.”
Offensive line coach Ed Warinner agreed with Meyer, saying Miller is clearly more comfortable on the field, even comparing him to a basketball player.
“When the point guard looks good, the offense looks pretty good,” Warinner said with a wry smile. “It’s clear ‘5’ is better.”
Decker leading way at right tackle
With former OSU tight end turned offensive tackle Reid Fragel’s graduation, the Buckeyes have been working to fill the void left by the seventh-round NFL draft pick.
Warinner said sophomore Taylor Decker is leading the way in the competition for the starting position after three days in camp, but said much is still to be determined.
“What I saw in person today was really good (from Decker),” Warinner said. “I think he’s had what I would call probably three good days of camp. There was no hitting until today, so now after you stack three, four, five, six days of hitting in a row, let’s see if he’s consistent.”
Decker said he did not feel like he earned the spot after spring practices and is still learning what it takes.
“I wasn’t playing up to my ability,” Decker said. “I’m still learning how to become a college athlete, learning how to become an offensive lineman. Even though I’ve been in the program a year, I’m still transitioning and learning to do a lot.”
Meyer said he is still concerned about the depth on the offensive line as well as at the linebacker position, having not changed his mind from the summer.
“They don’t look Ohio State-ish,” Meyer said. “Other positions you can see three guys, they’re all good-looking players. And the offensive line and linebackers are not where we need to be.”
OSU is scheduled to continue practice tomorrow, with it’s first two-a-day practice scheduled for Aug. 9 at Ackerman Road Fields.