Ohio State coach Urban Meyer joined his mentor Earle Bruce in hosting the annual Spring Kick-Off Luncheon inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center today.
This is a 20-year tradition started by John Cooper in the mid-1990s and continued with Jim Tressel and Luke Fickell in the years that followed. (Check out video of Meyer’s comments on the unbeaten 2012 team and the challenge ahead for 2013 above.)
The luncheon now benefits the Earle and Jean Bruce Alzheimer’s Research Fund as well as the Urban and Shelley Meyer Cancer Research Fund at the OSU Wexner Medical Center. Over 700 people attended today’s luncheon.
Organizers from the annual Cruise for Cancer presented Meyer and the medical center a check for $1 million from proceeds earned on this year’s cruise. Next year’s Cruise for Cancer will run Feb. 20-24, departing from Tampa and traveling to the Grand Caymon Islands. (Click here for details on the Cruise for Cancer and click here for details on the Spring Kick-Off Luncheon.)
All totaled, this event is expected to raise nearly $150,000 for those causes. A live auction netted:
$3,000 for a poster with signatures from over 60 OSU greats;
$2,200 for a spot on next year’s Cruise for Cancer;
$3,000 for an Oho Stadium tour, a foursome of golf at OSU golf course and a game day experience with Bruce; and
$800 for a helmet signed by luminaries on the cruise.
Meyer introduced all nine assistants, 23 players at luncheon
The theme of this year’s luncheon was to recognize Ohio State’s six unbeaten and untied seasons. OSU football historian Jack Park recognized those teams from 1916, 1944, 1954, 1968, 2002 and, of course, 2012.
Meyer then introduced all nine of his assistants and 23 of their veteran players to provide a look at what is happening in camp with the Buckeyes this spring.
Here were some of the highlights from the comments portion of the program:
* RB Jordan Hall said he wants to help Ohio State go 12-0 again this year and then also win "two more games."
* As a joke, WRs coach Zack Smith posted a side-by-side photo with WR Devin Smith and his lookalike – former OSU WR Terry Glenn.
* OL coach Ed Warinner joked that he hopes that standout senior LT Jack Mewhort will “stay away from the Memorial Tournament” this year. (Mewhort was cited for an incident outside the tournament last year.)
* Safeties coach/co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers said the Buckeyes intercepted 14 passes last year … but dropped 28 more. “We’re working on that,” Withers said.
* Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs was on fire – as Meyer predicted he would be. He discussed the chance to be a part of such a great cause as well as what’s happening at the cornerback position. “For a 51-year-old Ohio boy to be here and be affiliated with such great people and a great cause … it’s a great day to be a Buckeye.”
* Coombs asked CB Tyvis Powell what day Tuesday is: “Toughness Tuesday!” Coombs joked that Powell, who redshirted last year and is now the nickel back this spring, probably thought his first name was “Damnit Tyvis” during the fall.
* QB Braxton Miller revealed a blonde streak he had dyed down the center of his head. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman could only ask, “Why? Why?”
Miller’s reply: “Back in the day when I had hair, I always wanted to dye my hair. So I did it like this.”
* Herman said he expects the offense to graduate fundamentally where they were just trying to get lined up properly to something special.
* LB Josh Perry said he wears different colored socks for good luck.
* TE Jeff Heuerman said he pulled an April Fools’ Day joke on assistant Tim Hinton, setting up a ruse where others told Hinton that Heuerman and his brother were involved in an incident on campus over the weekend. Hinton said he was not amused: “That’s why he didn’t play in yesterday’s scrimmage,” Hinton joked.
* Drew Basil said he found out he would be kicking and punting “the day after signing day” when Johnny Townsend signed instead with Florida.
* DT Michael Bennett shared his goal in practice: "It's always fun when we beat an offensive lineman to hear Coach (Ed) Warinner freaking out like he's about to pass out." WR Devin Smith said the same thing about beating one of Coombs’ cornerbacks.
* CB Doran Grant had a spot-on impersonation of Withers.
* Meyer thanked Bruce's daughter, Lynn Bruce, and her staff for organizing this event.
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