Fall Camp Notes: Day One

By Alex on August 8, 2011 at 2:37p

Football, real football, is finally here. The Ohio State Buckeyes opened their fall camp this morning on a sunny day in Columbus and got to work immediately at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in preparation for the upcoming season. Although the players were only in helmets, jerseys, and shorts (no pads), it was nice to hear the chatter around the practice session focused solely on the actual game, rather than the off-field issues that have been the center of attention this entire off-season.

Ohio State defensive linemen drill at spring camp

The first day, and really the first week, of camp never really tells us too much, but there definitely were some key observations to take note of during today's session. Things will definitely get a little bit more intense later in the week when the guys strap on the pads and start really going at it, but these first few days are really to help the players get back into the swing of things and work on their fundamentals. It also gives most of the freshmen their first lick of college football and for many it was an eye-opening experience.

We know you don't want to hear me ramble on and gush about how excited I am for football to be here, so here are some notes from the first day of fall camp:

  • We know quarterback is the position you are all anxious to hear about, but don't get too excited yet. Reps were pretty much split between all four players and were given by seniority (Bauserman, Guiton, Graham, Miller) in terms of order the players went under center. None of the players looked too sharp in terms of consistency, all looking like they could be the next starter at times, while at other times looking like they didn't belong on a high school field. Guiton and Graham each threw an interception today, which doesn't necessarily mean much, but doesn't help either. My money is still on Bauserman and Braxton to open the season in some sort of QB rotation.
  • At running back, Boom Herron, Jaamal Berry, Jordan Hall, Carlos Hyde, and Rod Smith all saw time with the first unit. Jordan Hall actually spent most of his time with the receivers and he should have a Percy Harvin-like role in the offense this year. We were really impressed with how vocal Boom was on the field today, as he really got after the entire team all day. Carlos Hyde looked to be in great shape and you can tell he has worked hard this off-season to get more consistent in all aspects of the game. Smith had a few nice plays, including one or two through the air, while Berry is just a speeding bullet out there. This is going to be a good group.
  • Out the first five games of the season, it only made sense that DeVier Posey ran with the second team today. This gave the opportunity for Philly Brown and Verlon Reed (as well as Hall) to get reps at receiver with the first team. I know Philly is the more experienced guy, but the hype around Verlon Reed is real and he was the best pass-catcher on the field today. It was even reported that he has surpassed Brown on the depth chart, but we will see how things shake out throughout camp. Following Reed and Brown were Chris Fields and TY Williams and then Devin Smith and Evan Spencer. Williams had a case of the dropsies today, but he looks like he could be a great redzone threat. Devin Smith looks very impressive for any player, let along a freshman, and I think he will see significant playing time this year.


  • At tight end, Reid Fragel and Jeff Heuerman did a great job today. Notice I left out Jake Stoneburner? That's because he was featured as more of a receiver rather than a true tight end. We figured this was coming with the thin depth and youth at receiver, so if healthy, expect Stoney to catch a ton of passes this season. As for Fragel, he is an absolute beast and just may be the top at the position in the conference this year. Heuerman came in for winter conditioning and spring ball, which speaks volumes to how he is playing on the field, especially compared to his classmate Nick Vannett who just enrolled in June. I expect Heuerman to see the field this year, but I think Vannett will redshirt.
  • The first team offensive line was Andrew Norwell, Jack Mewhort, Mike Brewster, Marcus Hall, and JB Shugarts. Mike Adams worked with the first team as well and will reclaim his spot in Lincoln. Corey Linsley saw significant time at right guard as well, but there is some chatter he may be facing a two-game suspension. One more note on the line, as Chris Carter, who reportedly was extremely overweight, looked to be handling his size pretty well. Thought to be a guard, Carter repped at left tackle and looked extremely quick for a guy his size. He definitely turned heads and could be a pleasant surprise in terms of providing depth for this season.
  • On the defensive line the starters were Nathan Williams, Jon Hankins, Garrett Goebel, and John Simon with Adam Bellamy getting a lot of action as well. Solomon Thomas, suspended for the first five games, sat out with a yellow jersey on. JT Moore was backing up Williams at the LEO position and looked pretty good out there. One interesting observation was seeing Mike Bennett line up at defensive end on the strong side. Bennett was thought to be a pure tackle, but it looks like the coaches like his athleticism and strength combination on the outside.
  • Mike Vrabel had his first real day with the linebackers and it was great to see him out there. As you would guess he was extremely vocal and even got after Curtis Grant pretty good at one point. Vrabel also showed his dedication to the unit by partaking in sprints with the linebackers. Onto the actual players, the starters in the base 4-3 were Andrew Sweat at the WILL, Storm Klein at the MIKE, and Etienne Sabino at the SAM. In the 4-2-5 defense (Star instead of SAM), it was Sweat and Sabino who were on the field. It looks like this is how things are going to go, so expect a lot of Storm Klein this year. Tyler Moeller was the starter at the Star position, backed up by Christian Bryant. Chad Hagan also saw some time at Star and Scott McVey seemed to be running at both linebacker and Star. Freshmen Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant will need to work their way up the pecking order, but that won't happen today as neither stood out in day one. Grant, as mentioned before, got the brunt of a Mike Vrabel verbal abuse rant and despite his massive body, will still be making freshman mistakes.
  • At corner back Travis Howard has one spot locked up, but it looks like a battle will ensue throughout camp for the other spot as Bradley Robey, Dom Clarke, and Dionte Allen all repped across from Howard Island. CJ Barnett starred at one safety spot and had an interception, while his back-up, Zach Domicone, also had a pick. At the other safety spot was Orhian Johnson, backed up by Christian Bryant. It looks like the d-backs will be pretty deep this season and they are a very athletic and physical group.

Overall it was a very good first day of practice for the Buckeyes. Nothing too eventful went down, but as we progress through camp there will be a much clearer picture of what the 2011 Ohio State team will look like come September 3.



Comments Show All Comments

Nick's picture

good read and write up Alex!

Northbrook's picture

Yep, thanks Alex. Nice start to what is going to be a real interesting year. Hopefully not in the old Chinese curse, "May you lead an interesting life", way.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Thanks Alex.  I can be patient with waiting for the season to start.  I can be paitent.  I can be.

I saw somewhere that Carter got burnt a few times at tackle, but didn't see any comments about his speed.  That is nice to read.  

What were your impressions of Moeller?  Any plays stand out?



Alex's picture

As hoped for Moeller blitzed and blitzed often...if healthy he is a S T U D

Baroclinicity's picture

Great to finally get to some FOOTBALL!  Go Bucks!

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

dmurder's picture

Linebackers running extra sprints.

Vrabel, making his presence known early! That if you want to be a linebacker at tOSU, you have to earn and pay for it. Very Nice

"We have always had the best damn band in the land, now we have the best damn team in the land"- Jim Tressel 1-03-03

rampageripster's picture

I am excited about this defense... if the LBer core plays to their talent level, no one is going to want to play us... this may be the first time I can remember being this psyched about our secondary.  Having such a solid core (plus Moeller at STAR) really allows the coaches to gamble and stack that box against teams like Wisconsin

Cause I couldn't go for three

Nappy's picture

I actually see the D-Line being one of the more dominant we've had since maybe 2002.  Simon, Hank and Williams are going to wreak havoc on opposing backfields and QB's. Plus I really think they will try to step their game up even more knowing how green the offense is going to be.  It'll be on the D to keep points off the board to keep the pressure off the O.  But I do agree, there is a ton of talent in the seconday.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

rampageripster's picture

Oh, I agree with that as well... but I am sorta used to OSU being stout against the run, I just can't really recall having notions in the preseason about a team that people won't want to pass against

Cause I couldn't go for three

Nappy's picture

I'm sold on Howard and CJ, even only seeing him in limited action, but I would still like to see more out of Johnson and the other CB is yet to be determined.  Because we are notoriously stout against the run, I can see opposing teams pass more against us exposing any weaknesses in the secondary.  I've been trying to go back and think of a complete unit in the secondary that was just sick, and outside of maybe 1996 (full disclosure, Im still a HUGE Shawn Springs fan) I cant think of anyone else.  Someone, please prove me wrong on this. 

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

acBuckeye's picture

I'm with you. 1996 secondary was stacked. I don't even think Winfield was starting at that point, correct? And he was the best of them all. The only argument may come from the 2002 squad. Gamble and Doss were pretty good, i remember. And Nickey is still in the NFL, along with the "leg-shatterer" Will Allen.

Bucks's picture

Oh my, how I've missed this. It ended too soon. I even scrolled down very slowly as I read hoping to not reach the end. :P

I'll be very interested to know 11W's take on the intensity/differences, on the part of the coaches as time progresses.

buck i's picture

I'm excited to see the defense in action. These guys are all nasty and should be crushing skulls from day one.

Bucksfan's picture

Awesome that Vrabel was out there showing the kids how it's done!  Very excited by his enthusiasm coaching a corp that's a Buckeye signature.

No mention of Fickell.  Any Fickell moments?

Smith had a few nice plays, including one or two through the air, while Berry is just a speeding bullet out there.

Music to my ears, gentlemen.  Music to my ears.

buckeyedude's picture

Would LOVE to see a YouTube video of Vrabel doing sprints with his linebackers. 



JakeBuckeye's picture

I think someone needs to talk to the ozone about staying away from the shirtless ice bath photos...

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

In the words on John Madden: FOOTBALL!

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

GoBucks713's picture

I thought all he said was Brett Favre?

-The Aristocrats!

Bucks43201's picture

ESPiN Classic, right now  ---- Luke Fickell & The Buckeyes vs. Peyton Manning & Tennessee

'96 Citrus Bowl

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Cleat Cheat bowl!!!!!

Bucks43201's picture

what's the cleat cheat bowl mean?  Im still relatively young and don't remember this game

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

William's picture

Relatively young as well, but Tennessee used spikes that gave them better grip on the surface or something of that nature.

Bucks43201's picture

oh ok, thanks --- wow .... hhahhaa SEC football at it's best

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Baroclinicity's picture

It was pouring during that game, and the field was a mess.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

damn,....I can't even find that channel....

bucknut24's picture

I'm sure if OSU had cheated it would have been all over the news but since it was an SEC team your hardly hear a thing.

iball's picture

I think Vrabel ripping into Grant is an indication of coach v's expectations of the young man also to prove the point that all your recruiting rankings don't mean jack shit anymore. Me likey.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

O-H Kee Pa's picture

+1. Even during the "good ol' days" of the past few years, I always craved a badass coaching mentality. I'm not going to miss "Aw shucks, and so forth." Give me coaches with overt swagger anyday.

biggy84's picture

I think the o-line is going to be stout.

Nappy's picture

Based on what?  Thats probably my main concern this year.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

RBuck's picture

Mine too. A couple of injurys and we're screwed.

Long live the southend.

biggy84's picture

A lot of talent in the starting 5.

anchorman's picture

I was wondering what they were going to do at Safety with Cj coming back. But OJ did well last year and I think we are better off with having them both back there!

Going to be an interesting battle at CB with Roby, Clarke and Allen. Roby supposedly impressed last year and in the spring. Clarke did well in the Sugar Bowl when Chekwa and Howard went down. Allen has experience.

I am really pulling for Sabino this year. Ihope he gets it done. We could use his speed, size and athleticism at LB.


Interesting on the Dline some of the shifts they were playing.