Observations: Scrimmage Notes From Ohio State’s 11th Practice Of Spring Camp

By April 5, 2019 (11:11 am)Football, Garrett Stepien
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Ohio State’s fourth week of spring camp concluded Friday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center with the team’s 11th practice from 8:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. on the indoor field. Observations from the latest day of drills, which included a scrimmage at the end of the practice, are listed below.

  • Practice started with the circle drill, which features a 1-on-1 matchup between offensive and defensive players going head-to-head. While specific participants were unable to be identified, the offense notched a 3-2 win over the defense, director of football operations Quinn Tempel said over the loudspeaker.
  • Head coach Ryan Day then addressed the team, followed by assistant strength and conditioning coach Niko Palazeti.
  • Ohio State started practice with its breakout into an initial period of individual drills before its first of two 7-on-7 sessions.
  • Recruits on hand ranged from 2019 signees to top targets and offer candidates in the class of 2020, as well as prospects for the 2021 and 2022 cycles: Indianapolis Ben Davis 2019 three-star offensive tackle signee Dawand Jones (6-8, 360), Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph Regional 2020 four-star offensive guard commitment Luke Wypler (6-3 1/2, 285), Cincinnati Elder 2020 three-star offensive tackle commitment Jakob James (6-5, 275), 2020 five-star running back target Kendall Milton (6-2, 220), West Bloomfield, Mich., 2020 four-star safety target Makari Paige (6-3, 182), Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary 2020 offensive tackle prospect Savion Washington (6-8, 340), Cincinnati Elder 2020 three-star tight end prospect Joe Royer (6-5, 210), Cincinnati Elder 2020 offensive guard prospect Luke Kandra (6-4, 290), Monument (Colo.) Palmer Ridge 2021 wide receiver prospect Kaden Dudley (6-0, 180) and Dayton (Ohio) Centerville 2022 quarterback prospect Chase Harrison (6-2, 185).
    • Milton watched the running backs with assistant director of player personnel Weston Zernechel, talking to sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins and running backs coach Tony Alford between drills. Wypler and James followed the offensive line and position coach Greg Studrawa, but reconnected with Milton later on.
  • Former head coach John Cooper (1988-00) and Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt were among the notable names in attendance as spectators along the sideline.
  • From the individual periods to 7-on-7 sessions and the 11-on-11 scrimmage, sophomore Justin Fields (6-3, 223) was the first quarterback out. Fields took the bulk of the reps with the first-team offense in the scrimmage before redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin (6-3, 215) manned the unit for the final few drives. Baldwin mostly worked the second-team offense, followed by fifth-year senior Chris Chugunov.
    • After the initial 7-on-7 session, sophomore wide receiver Chris Olave (6-1, 185) appeared to cramp up or strain his left thigh. Day said afterward that he had tightness in the left hamstring.
  • While fifth-year senior offensive tackle Joshua Alabi (6-5, 305) was back with the first-team offensive line after he missed his past four practices with the flu, sophomore offensive guard Wyatt Davis was not in attendance on the indoor field. Day confirmed afterward that Davis was sick.
  • On the participation front, junior linebacker Tuf Borland (6-1, 232) and junior safety Jahsen Wint (5-11, 200) were held out, spending the practice doing conditioning drills and taking mental reps.
    • Borland sported a bulky black brace on his right knee as he spent time in the back of the end zone running 50-yard sprints with assistant strength and conditioning coach Quinn Barham and Wint. Freshman defensive end Tyler Friday (6-3, 260) was not in attendance on the indoor field.
  • While the linemen split to the west end of the field for pass-rush drills, the second 7-on-7 session of the day led to a fight between fifth-year senior cornerback Damon Arnette (6-0, 195) and junior wide receiver Jaylen Harris (6-5, 215). With helmets off, Arnette’s right hand landed a punch on Harris on the left temple before players and coaches broke up anything from going further.
    • Harris appeared to be shaken up — medical staffers held him out from further action as he spent the rest of his practice on a knee without a helmet after he cooled down. Arnette, who did not get hit by a counterpunch from Harris, continued to practice.
  • During the scrimmage, the offensive line brought a new look without Davis. Its unit trotted out Alabi at left tackle, junior Gavin Cupp (6-4, 308) at left guard, sophomore Josh Myers (6-5, 310) at center, fifth-year senior Branden Bowen (6-7, 315) at right guard and redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere (6-5, 295) at right tackle. Bowen had been working at both tackle spots, but replaced the ill Davis at right guard for the day. Bowen was the 2017 season’s starter at right guard for the first six games before he broke his left leg.
    • Without Harris, sophomore Garyn Prater (6-4, 210) saw more reps as an outside receiver and starred in the scrimmage with a pair of touchdowns receptions on both the first- and second-team offenses. Beyond the usual first-team players rotating at the position’s spots — fifth-year senior H-back K.J. Hill (6-0, 195) and senior wide receiver Austin Mack (6-2, 215) among them — freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson (6-0, 188) saw more action at the outside spots on the first-team offense.
    • Fifth-year senior C.J. Saunders (5-10, 190) and redshirt freshman Jaelen Gill (6-0, 195) received reps with the first-team offense at H-back, highlighted by a jet sweep left for Gill.
    • Fifth-year senior Rashod Berry (6-4, 255), junior Luke Farrell (6-6, 250) and sophomore Jeremy Ruckert (6-5, 250) split time at tight end. Ruckert also worked at H-back, while Berry and Farrell shared reps with Ruckert on the field for two-end sets with the first-team offense.
  • As for defense, the scrimmage saw an abundance of rotations along the line in the first-team unit. Senior Jonathon Cooper (6-4, 257) and junior Chase Young (6-5, 265) at the ends with sophomore sophomore Tommy Togiai (6-2, 300) and senior Jashon Cornell (6-3, 280) was one combination. Sophomore end Tyreke Smith (6-4, 267), senior tackle Davon Hamilton (6-4, 310) and sophomore tackle Taron Vincent (6-2, 293) also worked in.
    • The linebackers featured junior Baron Browning (6-3, 248) in the middle with senior Malik Harrison (6-3, 245) on the outside, while junior safety Brendon White (6-2, 215) and junior linebacker Pete Werner (6-3, 239) mixed looks for the defense’s hybrid “bullet” position.
    • Arnette and junior Jeffrey Okudah (6-1, 200) were the first two cornerbacks out with sophomore Shaun Wade (6-1, 194) in the nickel. Junior Isaiah Pryor (6-2, 200) saw first-team time over the top at free safety for senior Jordan Fuller (6-2, 205), who remains out for all of spring camp.
      • At those positions, the second-team defense included a multitude of rotations in the trenches. Smith, junior tackle Haskell Garrett (6-2, 295), junior tackle Antwuan Jackson (6-2, 299) and redshirt freshman end Javontae Jean-Baptiste (6-5, 245) was one combination. Freshman end Zach Harrison (6-6, 255), sophomore Jerron Cage (6-2, 295) and redshirt freshman end Alex Williams (6-6, 270) rotated in.
      • Zach Harrison and Jean-Baptiste were among those who flashed. Harrison had two sacks during the scrimmage portion, while Jean-Baptiste showed an ability to get out in space and make tackles on the perimeter.
      • The trio of sophomore linebackers — Teradja Mitchell (6-2, 242), Dallas Gant (6-3, 232) and K’Vaughan Pope (6-1, 231) manned the second-team unit.
      • Sophomore Sevyn Banks (6-1, 200), redshirt freshman Tyreke Johnson (6-1, 195) and sophomore Cameron Brown (6-0, 188) split time as the backup cornerbacks.
      • Sophomore Josh Proctor (6-2, 205) followed Pryor as the second-team free safety, while junior Amir Riep (5-11, 195) backed up Wade at the nickel and saw some reps at the “bullet.”
  • When the scrimmage started inside the offense’s own 10-yard line, the first-team defensive line appeared to be a “rushmen” package — with an interesting combination of personnel in the trenches. Smith, Zach Harrison, Cooper and Young were featured from left to right on the line.
    • Dobbins practiced but sat out the scrimmage, watching with his helmet off as he caught up with Milton. Redshirt freshman running back Master Teague (5-11, 220) manned the first-team offense with Fields, the aforementioned offensive line and wide receivers.
      • Freshman Marcus Crowley (6-1, 205) was next in line at running back, seeing some time in the first-team offense’s later drives with Baldwin at quarterback. While junior Demario McCall (5-9, 195) remains limited from a calf injury, redshirt freshman Xavier Johnson (6-2, 212) — who had moved from wide receiver to cornerback — was the third running back behind Teague and Crowley, working the second-team offense with Baldwin and Chugunov.
  • In the red-zone portion of the scrimmage, several plays stood out.
    • On the very first play — a first-and-10 inside the 20-yard line — for the first-team units, Togiai sacked Fields when the defensive tackle caught the quarterback trying to slide up the pocket. From there, the offense stalled — after a second-and-13 sweep to Teague went for no gain, Fields screened the running back for a third-and-13 completion for no gain, settling for a 39-yard field goal from junior Blake Haubeil (6-3, 230).
    • Baldwin’s first drive with the second-team offense inside the 20-yard line, after an under-thrown incompletion intended for Saunders and a sack by Zach Harrison while rolling right, ended with a bounce-back touchdown on third-and-long — a pass deep down the sideline for Prater.
    • Fields’ second drive with the first-team offense went quick. On first-and-10 inside the 20-yard line, Fields found Hill for a fade in the back right corner of the end zone.
    • Baldwin’s second drive with the second-team offense resulted in a three-and-out from inside the 20-yard line. After a first-and-10 overthrown pass in the back right corner of the end zone for Prater missed and a second-and-10 play for no gain, Baldwin’s third-and-10 fade right for Prater fell incomplete and Haubeil hit a 36-yard field goal on fourth-and-10.
  • After the red-zone portion of the scrimmage, the drives moved to midfield with the ball on the 50-yard line.
    • Fields remained with the first-team offense on the opening drive. After a jet sweep left to Gill went for one yard, Fields kept a second-and-9 zone read right for no gain. On third-and-9, Fields found sophomore Ellijah Gardiner (6-3, 205) for a first-down conversion. Fields got into a rhythm with a first-and-10 completion to Wilson rolling right along the sideline, leading to a swing pass for Farrell. After a third-and-1 false start, Fields suffered a third-and-6 sack by Zach Harrison while trying to slide up the pocket.
    • Chugunov took over the second-team offense on the ensuing drive, which went quick. On first-and-10 from the 50-yard line, Chugunov found Prater over the middle to move the chains. Chugunov went back to Prater on the next play, a first-and-10 touchdown pass down the left sideline, for an emphatic start.
    • Fields’ day ended as Baldwin repped the first-team offense for the first time all practice on the third drive from midfield. After a first-and-10 from the 50-yard line started with Mitchell blowing up Crowley on a run at the line of scrimmage, Smith’s second-and-10 sack of Baldwin forced third-and-15. Baldwin had Wilson down the right sideline for what would have been a third-and-long conversion and potential touchdown — Wilson had yards of separation — but Baldwin’s pass was overthrown.
    • Chugunov’s second drive with the second-team offense from midfield went differently from the first run. After a first-and-10 from the 50-yard line went for two yards on a handoff to Johnson, Chugunov’s second-and-8 keep went for no gain. Chugunov’s third-and-8 pass deep down the right sideline for Sam Wiglusz (6-1, 194) nearly pulled off the most electric play of the day, but the redshirt freshman wide receiver was unable to corral the catch all the way in and suffered the drop. The next play, a third-and-3 by design, went for a sack with sophomore defensive lineman Aaron Cox (6-3, 255) getting to Chugunov.
    • Baldwin went back out for one more first-team run with the offense and went three-and-out. After a pair of plays — a pass and a run — to Teague went for just one yard, Baldwin’s third-and-10 pass intended for Wilson down the left sideline went incomplete.
    • Chugunov’s final drive with the second-team offense started with a first-and-10 dive for four yards from Crowley, followed by a second-and-6 pass to sophomore running back Mitch Rossi (6-0, 240) to move the chains. The ball went back to Crowley on back-to-back runs, the first a four-yard plunge and the second a big gain to move the chains and bring the ball deep inside the red zone, before the drive stalled. After a first-and-10 dive from Crowley inched the ball closer to the goal line, a second-and-5 run outside got exposed for a four-yard loss by redshirt freshman cornerback Lloyd McFarquhar (5-9, 170) and Jean-Baptiste. After a third-and-9 sack by redshirt freshman linebacker Ben Schmiesing (6-1, 225), Chugunov’s fourth-and-long pass fell incomplete.

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