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The Suburbanite
  • Meyer: Players should not take spring game lightly

  • “A lot of times the spring game makes or breaks you. We find out if we have enough trust to put you a game. Once the spring depth chart is set, it’s done. That’s the way it will be in fall. Of course, things happen ... spring is when you win a spot; fall is when you go win a game,” Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer said.

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  • Any player not on Urban Meyer’s two-deep depth chart after Saturday may have a long wait to get there. Ohio State’s head coach will use Saturday’s spring game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati to find his starting 22 and backups.
    After that it will be about winning football games.
    Meyer took what he called a clown show last spring and managed to go 12-0 in a season that ended with a bowl ban.
    Expectations are higher this year.
    “The spring game is very important,” Meyer said. “A lot of times the spring game makes or breaks you. We find out if we have enough trust to put you a game. Once the spring depth chart is set, it’s done. That’s the way it will be in fall. Of course, things happen ... spring is when you win a spot; fall is when you go win a game.”
    For running back Bri’onte Dunn, Saturday’s game is a big one.
    Dunn, who graduated from GlenOak High School, got a taste of playing time as a freshman. He had 25 carries for 133 yards and scored two touchdowns.
    Meyer doesn’t beat around bushes when evaluating players. He made it sound like Dunn had some work to do.
    “Bri’onte’s had an excellent offseason, but it didn’t carry over as much into football,” Meyer said. “He’s OK, not bad. ... He’s had very good days, but he isn’t consistent enough.”
    Meyer said if Ohio State played a live game tomorrow, the pecking order at running back would be Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith as Nos. 1 and 2.
    “Then the other two. It depends on what day it is,” Meyer said.
    Dunn and redshirt freshman Warren Ball are the other two. Smith is unlikely to play Saturday because of a concussion he sustained in practice this week.
    More so than the running game, Meyer wants to see what his passing game can do. Quarterback Braxton Miller has relied on his athleticism, at times, when his throwing mechanics break down. Miller’s mechanics have improved and Meyer is working to turn him into a reliable passing threat as well.
    Meyer and the coaching staff will put the finishing touches on drafting teams for Saturday’s scrimmage this morning. He said the entire team — from secretaries and trainers and assistant coaches — will be divided.
    “It will be a win-or-lose mentality,” Meyer said. “We’re going to play a game. It won’t be a scoring system.”
    In previous years, former coach Jim Tressel devised a complicated scoring system for an offense vs. defense game. The game wasn’t exactly a place to win a roster spot, but a fan-friendly afternoon.
    Page 2 of 2 - Meyer is evaluating and pushing buttons to get more.
    He isn’t pleased with the development of his receivers, and expects more from Massillon’s Devin Smith.
    “Devin Smith started off strong, and he’s sort of plateaued a bit,” Meyer said. “It’s not at all what we expect.”
    Reach Todd at 330-580-8340 or
    todd.porter@cantonrep.com
    On Twitter: @tporterREP