Urban Meyer returns to the practice field

Ohio State's first spring practice on Wednesday was significant for a number of reasons. Not least of which was the official return of Urban Meyer to a sideline for the first time since he retired from Florida.

“I felt great,” Meyer told reporters afterward. “It was great to blow the whistle and watch the guys run. It was great to coach punting, something I love to do, and to just watch the positions.”

Meyer knows he has some major work to do with these Buckeyes, especially at the receiver position. He has talked several times about the need for more playmakers at that position and he didn't see much change there in the first practice.

"At Ohio State, you should walk off the field going, 'Wow, who are those three guys?'" Meyer said. "I haven't done that yet and I still today haven't done that. There's got to be a wow factor, and you should have one, should have two, here you should probably have more than two."

Meyer did have nice things to say about sophomore wideout Devin Smith, calling him "a separator" and "a speed guy." Smith and Evan Spencer worked with the first team on Wednesday, while Corey "Philly" Brown -- the most experienced player at the position -- was on the second team.

A couple other notes:

  • There was a mild surprise at the pecking order at center, where Corey Linsley started with the first unit. Brian Bobek was thought to be the heir apparent to four-year starter Mike Brewster.

  • Curtis Grant, who came in last year as a heavily hyped recruit but struggled on the field, was the first-team middle linebacker. "He had an excellent offseason," Meyer said. "He is a guy that has to develop. ... He has to be a player for us. If he's not, we've got problems."

  • The Buckeyes' offense worked at a high tempo that Meyer said wore the players out. The pace is a product of offensive coordinator Tom Herman's preferences. “We weren’t that way at Florida,” Meyer said.