Springfield native battling for starting spot as Ohio State Buckeyes start spring football

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer watches practice on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
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Ohio State coach Urban Meyer watches practice on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer agreed he saw some “zip” in the Buckeyes as they started spring practice Tuesday, and he wasn’t surprised.

Nor was he all that impressed.

“I saw the same thing — It’s because they haven’t practiced in a while, been getting brains kicked in in the weight room,” Meyer said. “I think they were really excited to be out there running around. I’d like to se that same zip practice 12 or the middle of August.

“Great first day,” he later added, “but there are a lot of great first days out there.”

RELATED: 5 things to know as Ohio State begins spring football

Ohio State has 15 starters back, but 10 newcomers joined the program in January, and Meyer’s staff has three new full-time coaches.

A few things he mentioned Monday in his nearly 20-minute chat with reporters:

  • Springfield native Demetrius Knox is among the contenders for the vacant starting guard spot on the offensive line after being the top reserve last year. Meyer also named Matthew Burrell, Malcolm Pridgeon and Brandon Bowen as potential competitors for the position being vacated by Billy Price's move to center.
  • Chris Worley has moved to middle linebacker with Jerome Baker and Dante Booker starting on the outside. Worley was the team's starting "Sam" 'backer last season.
  • Meyer confirmed four players who will be or have left the team: receivers Alex Stump and James Clark and offensive linemen Kyle Trout and Tyler Gerald. Trout previously announced he plans to transfer to Cincinnati, but he is working with the Buckeyes this spring as he finishes his degree.
  • Meyer is happy with the early impact of new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day.