Observations: Abundance Of New Looks As Ohio State Starts Spring Camp

By March 6, 2019 (10:15 am)Football, Garrett Stepien
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Football is back at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, where Ohio State opened spring camp Wednesday with an 8:30 a.m. practice. After an open hour to the media, BSB has observations from the Buckeyes’ first day of drills.

  • Fifth-year senior safety Jordan Fuller and junior left tackle Thayer Munford are out for the spring as they recover from their undisclosed injuries, but both were in attendance. Fuller dressed and did conditioning work on the sideline. Munford did not dress and watched.
  • Following warmup stretches, the practice broke out for punt with fifth-year seniors K.J. Hill and C.J. Saunders as the two returners.
  • Contrary to his time as acting head coach in September when he doubled as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, head coach Ryan Day was mostly hands off throughout the individual periods of practice. Passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Michael Yurcich and senior offensive quality control coach Corey Dennis worked with the signal callers while Day scanned all positions from midfield.
    • Speaking of quarterbacks, sophomore Justin Fields and redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin led the group. Baldwin was first out in stretches with Fields following, rounded out by fifth-year senior Chris Chugunov and sophomore walk-on Danny Vanatsky. In position drills, Fields appeared to be the first one out, followed by Baldwin, Chugunov and Vanatsky.
  • Among the breakouts, linebackers featured several new wrinkles. Co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and linebackers coach Al Washington oversaw the linebackers as each worked with two different parts of the unit. Mattison mentored what appeared to be a hybrid position while Washington worked with the inside and outside players.
  • Redshirt freshman Marcus Hooker participated in drills but was in an orange (limited) penny. He had a black hard cast on his right wrist. Prior to the 2018 season, Hooker was sidelined with a wrist injury.
  • Despite three starters set to return at linebacker, the position group was all over with its lineup mixes.
    • Among the linebackers to mix in with the first team during the inside-run period, senior Malik Harrison and junior Baron Browning were the first ones out, respectively at outside and middle. Werner worked the hybrid spot, along with White. Other notables lineups featured sophomore Teradja Mitchell as the next one in the middle after Browning, while sophomore Dallas Gant and Pope flanked Mitchell on the outside.
  • With two coaches in the defensive backfield, the position group appeared to be split between co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Jeff Hafley and special teams coordinator/assistant secondary coach Matt Barnes. Hafley was hands-on with the cornerbacks, while Barnes manned the safeties.
    • Speaking of cornerbacks, when practice broke for 7-on-7 drills, the position group appeared increasingly physical. Off the bat, senior Damon Arnette and sophomore Sevyn Banks started the portion with pass breakups, as did junior Jeffrey Okudah later on, against first-team offensive players. Defensive holding calls came in a flurry afterward, but the cornerbacks noticeably came in hot and physical to start.
  • Among the handful of recruits on hand, Westerville (Ohio) Central 2021 quarterback Judah Holtzclaw was in attendance. The 6-5, 195-pounder does not yet have an offer but is coming off visiting Clemson last Saturday among other schools he has taken trips to in the offseason.

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