Beginning spring football Wednesday: the Northern Illinois Huskies, Ohio St. Buckeyes, UAB Blazers and Virginia Tech Hokies. The biggest story there is not difficult to determine, but all four teams have new stuff goin' on.
Urban Meyer plans to hit the ground running in Columbus, with his opening practice set to be a physical one. Expect constant competition at every turn -- as fellow Big Ten recruiters have noted, Meyer likes to compete all day long:
One team wins a scrimmage and it gets an icy electrolyte drink as it leaves the field. The losers? They get to quench their thirst from a garden hose. Give up a sack and you run extra sprints after the practice; sack the quarterback and you get better food, a better jersey, kinder treatment.
"Everything we try to do around here is incentive-based,'' Meyer said in previewing the spring workouts. "You want to live off campus, I have no problem with that. But you have to earn that right. A big thing is wearing visors or changing your number to No. 1. I don't really care what you wear but don't come see me unless you are taking care of your business in all the other areas that we evaluate.''
We'll soon get our first chance to see what Meyer can make of talented quarterback Braxton Miller in only a few weeks of work, with the Buckeyes spring game set for April 21.
Elsewhere, UAB has a new head coach (Garrick McGee, from Arkansas) and NIU has replaced offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who went to Wisconsin, with Mike Dunbar. Technically, they replaced Canada with P.J. Fleck, but he resigned after a day on the job. Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer and Bud Foster are still together, as they have been for decades now, but they'll have their usual fleet of talent to replace, including ace running back David Wilson.