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Urban Meyer said last week that he and his coaching Ohio State staff still were working out the schedule of their first preseason camp without two-a-day practices, which were abolished by the NCAA this year.
Not that two-a-day sessions in recent years were the slog they once were -- they had been limited to a total of five days and never two in a row. Yet that part of camp was considered the grind of toughening a team for the challenges of the season, and Meyer said the elimination of them will have an effect.
"Big time," he said. "You have 29 practices (allowed in the run-up to the season), it's kind of time-tested. There's a theory, a template on how to get a team ready. And all of a sudden you wake up one day and they say you have 24 practices -- coaches panic, I panic. How are you going to get them ready?"
The NCAA said it will allow schools to add a week or so to preseason camp to accommodate the 29 practices, if desired.
"So one choice is to bring the players in earlier, and I am so -- that breaks my heart because I don't want these players to take more of their time," Meyer said. "However, how do you get 'em ready? That's what we're fighting through right now, so it's a major impact."
The Buckeyes open the season on Aug. 31 at Indiana, a Thursday night game. If the move is made to incorporate 29 single-practice days, then it likely means camp will start the last week of July.
"I'm going to meet with our team leaders pretty soon. (Defensive coordinator) Greg Schiano and I are in charge of this," Meyer said. "We're going to map it out, we have an idea, but I'm not going to release it yet because it might change a few times. But the challenge is how do you get your team ready and how do you not take more time away from the student-athlete?"
One difference between now and the good ol' days -- when part of preseason camp was spent simply getting players in physical shape -- is that Ohio State and most every other major school go through extensive offseason conditioning programs. For instance, all of OSU's 2017 recruiting class will report this weekend to begin work under football performance coordinator Mickey Marotti with the rest of the team for the next six weeks.
But actual football practice is different.
"The safety for players, that's great, I'm all for it," Meyer said. "But I would love to have two-a-day practices without contact. That way you're still in camp and you're not infringing upon their time."