If the tenor set by Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer on the first day of preseason practice is any indication about what the coming season holds, the 2012 campaign will be an intense one.
Meyer led veteran OSU players in an early-morning workout at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center that included stretching, running and drill work, according to an OSU release. Freshmen and upperclassmen walk-on players took part in their first fall practice under Meyer at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Meyer, who was hired Nov. 29, begins preparations for his first season with OSU after stints at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida.
Meyer was not made available following his first-ever preseason practice at OSU, but sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby confirmed the arrival of a new era in OSU football from players’ perspectives when he said the morning session was more intense than what the team had experienced under former head coaches Jim Tressel and current OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell.
“You can tell just by practice. It was totally different than coach Tressel,” Roby said. “Just the whole intensity of practice – It’s more urgent, more intensity. Not more competitive, but (coaches) stress the competitiveness so that brings out more.”
Roby, who also called the Friday practice high-paced and crisp, said it was Meyer’s newly assembled coaching staff “being on you more” that brought the intense showing from players.
Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, appearing less camera-shy and open to discussion with the media, said that his teammates came together during the summer.
Miller, who rushed for 715 yard and seven touchdown while passing for 1,159 yards and 13 touchdowns during his freshman campaign, also credited the coaching staff for changes in his physique.
“I feel a lot (different). My body’s changing, my attitude,” he said. “I had a talk with the coaches about, like, ‘how can I be a better leader?”
In keeping with the theme of intensity, Miller also said he had some words of encouragement for his teammates before the early-morning practice.
“Let’s go man,” Miller said. “We’re not here to lounge around.”
New Season, New Numbers
Three players, including Roby, are wearing new numbers this fall.
Roby, who sported the No. 25 jersey last year, is wearing No. 1 for the 2012 season.
Additionally, senior linebacker Ross Oltorik is wearing the No. 20 jersey and freshman defensive lineman Se’von Pittman will sport the No. 95 jersey.
OSU begins its 2012 season Sept. 1 against Miami (Ohio) at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff, set for 29 days from Friday, is scheduled for noon.
Patrick Maks contributed to this story.