Urban Meyer has been waiting for two years to get his hands on his team for a special 15-day perk called 'bowl practice season.'
When Ohio State was forced to sit out the 2012 bowl season because of NCAA sanctions imposed for violations that occurred under former coach Jim Tressel, the worst part of the ordeal, to Meyer, was those forever-lost extra practices sessions.
He asked his team to work on their own, voluntarily, and they responded with team-led workouts that helped soften the blow in terms of player development and transition into the Buckeyes' off-season strength and conditioning period.
This year, Meyer can have his cake and eat it too. In addition to the extra week of work afforded by OSU's Big Ten championship game against Michigan State, the Buckeyes will get their full complement of practices in preparation to play Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
For a coach who admits that he "worries about everything," Meyer is about as happy as a near-miss national champion can be.
"The extra practices were something we didn't have a year ago, and that was almost a panic situation for me - 15 practices that you'll never get back," Meyer said during his Orange Bowl teleconference with Dabo Swinney Sunday night. "Any coach will tell you that those 15 practices are critical to player development. It's a game-changer. We're going to take full advantage of that.
"Last year, our players did it on their own. They did a good job with them...But we're excited to be back on the field."
Ohio State, like Clemson, will open its bowl practice session with a workout on Friday.
One of the first orders of business for the Buckeyes will be to shore up a porous pass defense that's sure to be sternly tested by the Tigers.
"There are certain things we have to get fixed," said Meyer, "and fixed in a hurry."