While the three-way quarterback competition is the main attraction, Urban Meyer has an entire three-ring football circus to orchestrate. For at least one day, however, the performances fell woefully short of the ringmaster’s expectations.
Reigning College Football Playoff champion Ohio State returned to spring practice Tuesday from spring break, a session that also coincided with the spring’s first go-’round in pads. Those two factors collided to create an unpleasant practice experience for the Buckeyes’ head coach, although he stopped short of pointing fingers — for now.
“Today was not a pleasant one,” Meyer said according to the Associated Press. “Not going to blame players or coaches yet. That’s coming though if we don’t get better. …
“You just got to be smart [about managing wear and tear on players], which I think we are being smart. Though sometimes when you look out at practice and see how awful it is, but it’s still the right thing to do.”
Coming off a BCS title following the 2012 season, Alabama’s third in the last four years, Nick Saban was publicly concerned about his 2013 squad getting too comfortable and complacent, going so far as acknowledging that he showed his team tape of Buster Douglas‘ monumental upset of Mike Tyson. The Tide ended up losing its last two games that season, to Auburn in the Iron Bowl and Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, giving the Nicktator his motivation for that offseason.
The Tide’s starting quarterback, AJ McCarron, alluded to complacency and a sense of entitlement when it came to that 2013 season, saying in an interview that “[t]oo much success and a lot of young guys coming in who didn’t know what it took to get back to that point to win. They thought we’d just show up and we’d win.”
In his talk with the media following the “awful” practice session, Meyer also mentioned complacency, although the coach thinks that his squad right now is 180 degrees from the dreaded c-word.
“Discomfort is good. And there’s a little discomfort right now. That was not a good day,” Meyer said. “Complacency is comfort. I equate the two. Discomfort is a learning opportunity. Our coaches know that. So there’s going to be discomfort right now. That wasn’t what we’re supposed to be.”