On the third workout of spring practice, Ohio State turned its attention to short-yardage sets.
For offensive line coach Ed Warinner, that effort can be considered night.
On the sixth day of training camp, the Buckeyes went back to try it again in goal-line situations.
Chalk that performance up as day.
Apparently the figurative sun came out during a morning session Friday, and Warinner was basking in it compared to the darkness of that early session more than four months ago.
"What a difference there is in this mentality of hitting it in there, being physical, playing hard, attacking," Warinner said. "I like where we’re headed in that direction.
"Not judging anybody else, but just at my position, much better physicality, more emotion into it, playing hard, competing, wanting to win, not looking around to see who else is going to make the block. Guys are having fun doing it. I really think we’re coming together in that part of it."
More familiarity with everything from the system to the position coach has clearly helped after a bit of a rough patch when the Buckeyes started installing the spread system and began getting used to Warinner's way of doing things on the practice field. But even days like the original short-yardage practice in spring didn't appear to discourage Warinner, who has been through transitional periods before and could see the talent he had to work with.
It seems to already be coming around the way Warinner wants it to, which should allow him now to fine-tune some mechanical issues and maybe settle on a rotation -- though he's not exactly in a hurry to do the latter with perhaps only one major battle being waged in August.
"I don’t think right now that matters much," Warinner said. "I think right now we have some positions where guys are clearly ahead and then we have some positions where there is some competition going on. I’ve done this long enough that whoever is battling for the right tackle spot is going to get 50 percent of the reps with the ones and 50 percent of the reps with the twos, so he’s going to have been with the ones enough -- whoever that is -- to feel comfortable.
"If there’s a battle going on where it’s even, they’ll have even reps in the first huddle. That’ll take care of itself ... But I think we have good chemistry no matter what."
The last part of the formula will be picking a right tackle as Reid Fragel and Taylor Decker jockey for the job, though that won't be settled at least until after the Buckeyes have a live scrimmage to evaluate.
On Friday, Warinner seemed more interested in the big picture than one particular spot on the line. And he had no complaints about how far they've come -- especially it situations where there's just a small distance to go.
"The players have to adjust, and it takes some time, but I saw (then) at the core we had really good kids who wanted to be good football players and will do whatever we ask," he said. "I knew if we just hung in there and kept teaching the fundamentals and the mentality that we want, and that’s drilled throughout the program ... it was coming.
"I like where it’s headed."