Observations from Watching a Full Ohio State Practice for the First Time in 2022 | Eleven Warriors – Eleven Warriors

JK Johnson took first-team cornerback reps at Thursday’s practice.

For the first time all year, reporters who cover Ohio State had the opportunity to watch the Buckeyes go through a full practice on Thursday.

Big Ten Network was at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Thursday for its stop at Ohio State as part of its annual preseason camp tour, and as such, Ohio State allowed members of the local media to watch the entirety of practice as well.

That gave us our first chance to watch the Buckeyes go through team drills during preseason camp, giving us our best look at how Ohio State’s depth chart might stack up this fall and see which Buckeyes stand out in real football settings. Ryan Day also met with the media after practice to provide more context on what we saw.

Brown, Johnson split first-team reps at cornerback

Two days after Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles expressed concerns about the Buckeyes’ cornerback depthwe got to see why on Thursday.

Ohio State had just four scholarship cornerbacks on the field during team drills Thursday as sophomore Jordan Hancock did not practice at all due to his injury while freshman Ryan Turner was a limited participant. Redshirt freshman safety Jantzen Dunn, who worked out at cornerback during camp, also did not participate in full-speed drills Thursday. Fifth-year senior Cameron Brown did not participate in the 7-on-7 portion of practice, although he was on the field during 11-on-11 work.

When Brown wasn’t on the field, redshirt freshman JK Johnson took first-team reps against No. 1 cornerback Denzel Burke. True freshman Jyaire Brown and walk-on Lloyd McFarquhar were the second-team cornerbacks on Thursday — and McFarquhar took advantage of the opportunity by intercepting Kyle McCord during 7-on-7.

Cameron Martinez, who also reworked at cornerback in camp, took some third-team reps on the outside while primarily practicing at nickel safety, where he mostly lined up with the second-team unit but mixed in for some first-team. repetitions

Day said after practice that Cameron Brown, who has battled injuries throughout his Ohio State career, remains on a “pitch count” in practices as he has been throughout the spring. As for Hancock, Turner and Dunn, Day said he doesn’t expect any of the cornerbacks’ injuries to be long-term injuries, though he acknowledged that cornerback depth is one of his biggest concerns right now.

“It’s the top three,” Day said. “Yeah, we’ve got to make sure we build depth there. We definitely have some candidates there. A few guys are knocked up and bruised, but hopefully we’ll get them back soon and get on with the job.”

Fleming running with starters

Julian Fleming was drawing many accolades this summer, with Ryan Day saying last week that the third-year wide receiver “had the best offseason he’s had to this point,” and Thursday was another indication that Fleming could be on track for his long-awaited breakout season.

During 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills on Thursday, Fleming took all of the first-team reps at Z receiver, with Marvin Harrison Jr. starting at X receiver and Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the slot. Emeka Egbuka, who is viewed as Fleming’s top competition for the third starting spot at receiver, spent Thursday’s practice with the second-team offense along with Xavier Johnson and Jayden Ballard. Kamryn Babb did not participate in team drills after suffering what Day described Thursday as “a little tweak,” though Day said he expects Babb to return to practice soon.

Fleming, who also ran as a first-team gunner during punt team work, showed his explosiveness as he turned multiple short passes into longer gains.

Running with the first team in one practice doesn’t guarantee Fleming will be a starter once the actual games begin, but Thursday was an indicator that Fleming might have the inside track on a starting job now. That said, Day said after practice that he expects the Buckeyes to rotate more often at the outside receiver positions this year than they did last year, when Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson played the vast majority of snaps.

“We’re going to let those guys rotate a little bit because they deserve to play,” Day said.

Tago also said he has high expectations for Egbuka even though Egbuka was not with the first-team offense on Thursday.

“He’s really sharp. His work ethic is off the charts, durability is off the charts, ball skills really good,” Day said of Egbuka. “If he keeps putting days in front of days, he’s going to have a really good year.”

More in-depth letter notes

  • There were no surprises at quarterback: CJ Stroud took all of the first-team reps, Kyle McCord led the second-team offense and Devin Brown was the third quarterback in the order.

  • The first-team offensive line remained as it had been all year: Paris Johnson Jr. at left tackle, Donovan Jackson at left guard, Luke Wypler at center, Matt Jones at right guard and Dawand Jones at right tackle. The second-team offensive line for most plays consisted of Zen Michalski, Enokk Vimahi, Jakob James, Ben Christman and Josh Fryar, Toby Wilson also saw some second-team reps at center but worked mainly with the third team, which also had Avery Henry. at left tackle, Jack Forsman at left guard, Tegra Tshabola at right guard and a mix of George Fitzpatrick and Carson Hinzman at right tackle.

  • As usual, there was plenty of rotation on the defensive line, with JT Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer, Zach Harrison and Javontae Jean-Baptiste all seeing first-team reps at defensive end. Taron Vincent took the most of the first-team reps at 3-technique defensive tackle with Mike Hall and Jerron Cage splitting first-team reps at nose tackle, while Tyleik Williams and Ty Hamilton took the most of their reps with the second-team defense.

  • Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg have been fixtures in the first-team defense at linebacker, with Teradja Mitchell joining them to play Sam linebacker during an inside corner drill. Mitchell and Trayanum were the second-team linebackers while Cody Simon and Palaie Gaoteote took most of the third-team reps.

  • Ronnie Hickman and Josh Proctor led the way at safety. Lathan Ransom and Kourt Williams also mixed in for some first-team reps but ran primarily with the second-team defense. Kye Stokes, Sonny Styles and Jaylen Johnson all took third-team reps. Tanner McCalister and Martinez split the bulk of the reps at nickel safety.

Further Observations

  • McFarquhar’s interception came in tight coverage on Emeka Egbuka near the line of scrimmage during 7-on-7 drills and was one of the highlights of the day for the defense. JK Johnson caught a pass before the start of 7-on-7 work when Ohio State ran “mini-field” drills, and CJ Hicks picked off a pass from Devin Brown after the veterans left practice to allow the young players to get some more. repetitions

  • Players who took first-team reps with the punting unit included Mitch Rossi, Mitchell, Eichenberg, Chambers, Xavier Johnson, Kourt Williams, Fleming, Smith-Njigba, Gee Scott Jr., Cade Stover and Bennett Christian. Players on the second team punt included Simon, Joe Royer, Miyan Williams, McCalister, Gaoteote, Hickman, Trayanum, Sam Hart and Proctor. Martinez and Kaleb Brown were among those returning shortstops.

  • Styles also earned praise from Buckeye coaches during push coverage sets at the start of practice, when the five-star linebacker cut the line to come close to blocking some Jesse Mirco pushes.

  • Holding down the first-team tight end spot for much of the day, Stover made multiple big plays in the passing game, breaking free for an 80-yard touchdown on 7-on-7 replays and following it up with another gain later. .

  • Xavier Johnson impressed during reps with the second- and third-team offenses. The fifth-year Buckeye wideout picked up a big gain over the middle of the field on a pass from Brown into a tight window during 11-on-11 work.

  • Former Ohio State offensive lineman Harry Miller, who medically retired from football in March, was in attendance at Buckeye practice Thursday. Miller spent time talking with running backs coach Tony Alford during one portion of Ohio State’s 7-on-7 drills but then began jogging around the perimeter of the outdoor fields at the WHAC.

  • Both Harrison and Egbuka pulled down impressive receptions that inspired excitement on the practice field during mini-field drills. Set up one-on-one with Denzel Burke, Harrison raked in a pass from Stroud despite Ohio State’s star cornerback being draped all over him on the right side of the field. Egbuka made an equally hard-contested catch on the same series with Tanner McCalister providing near-perfect coverage.

  • Ballard, Kaleb Brown and Zak Herbstreit also both made deep balls during Thursday’s practice. Brown’s catch during the “young guys” portion of practice led to much excitement from the veteran wide receivers as they watched the final periods of practice while doing their own post-practice stretching. Herbstreit, a walk-on tight end, got wide open on one of the final plays of practice and made a diving catch.

  • Kyion Grayes was a frequent target for Devin Brown during the junior team period, as he showed his ability to get open on short routes and make defenders miss with his cutting ability after the catch.

  • Eichenberg shined for much of the morning as the projected first-team Mike linebacker routinely found himself deep in the Buckeye backfield to blow up plays in multiple stages of practice. During the sequence in which Ohio State specifically focused on taking care of the ball before 7-on-7 work, Eichenberg was especially juiced after stopping Miyan Williams behind the line of scrimmage for a tackle for a loss.

  • Justin Frye may have been the most vocally passionate Buckeye coach on the day, as Ohio State’s first-year offensive line coach gave resounding feedback to his unit in spirited fashion on a number of occasions. As the Buckeyes drilled their power running game, one play in particular provoked Frye to jump into the mix amid the scarlet and gray scrimmage to issue a lively and audible critique.

  • Scouts from the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were present to observe the practice.

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