Spring Game Snap Counts: More Than 80 Buckeyes Play In Ohio Stadium Scrimmage

By Dan Hope on April 17, 2018 at 1:05 pm
Wyatt Davis played more snaps than any other player in Saturday's spring game.

Wyatt Davis

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Even though Ohio State’s spring game was played at a hastened pace due to weather concerns, the Buckeyes still managed to get the majority of their roster on the field.

Between offense, defense and special teams, more than 80 total Buckeyes – 81, to be exact, by our count – saw playing time in Saturday’s spring-ending scrimmage in Ohio Stadium.

As we did all of last season, we’ve gone back to the film to tally up how much each Buckeye played in a spring game edition of Snap Counts.

It’s dangerous to read too much into any numbers from a spring game, whether those be box score statistics or snap counts, because of the nature of the game. In reality, the spring game is more of a practice than it is a game, and therefore, the majority of snaps go to players who have something to prove and not players who are established starters.

As such, conclusions from Saturday’s snap counts can’t simply be drawn at face value. Just because a player saw more playing time than any other player on Saturday doesn’t mean he will see more playing time when the real games begin in September – in most cases, it’s actually probably the opposite.

By digging into the context around the number of snaps they played, though – including when those snaps occurred in the game, where they lined up and with whom they played alongside, as Team Scarlet featured the first-team defense and Team Gray featured the first-team offense – we can get an idea of where players might stack up on the depth chart coming out of this spring.

Author’s note: All snap counts listed in this article were tracked by Eleven Warriors through film review and should be considered unofficial, as Ohio State does not release its official snap counts. It is not always possible to accurately identify all players on the field from TV camera angles, especially on special teams units, where the players who were spotted with those units most frequently are listed. Kickoff and kickoff return units are not included in this edition of Snap Counts as there were no kickoffs in the spring game.

Quarterbacks

Joe Burrow: 39

Tate Martell: 35

Dwayne Haskins: 31

As expected, all three quarterbacks competing for the starting job played a nearly equal number of snaps in Saturday’s spring game. In order to make that possible, all three quarterbacks played for both the Gray team – which began the game with first-team players on offense – and the Scarlet team, which otherwise consisted of all players who are currently backups on offense.

Ohio State did its part to keep their quarterbacks’ snaps as equal as possible, rotating Burrow and Haskins within series with the Gray offense in the first quarter, though Martell played more snaps early as the only quarterback who started the game with the Scarlet team. From the second quarter onward, though, Ohio State mostly alternated its quarterbacks between series – switching them back and forth between the two teams – to give them each an equivalent number of opportunities to lead drives.

Ultimately, Burrow was able to string together more extended drives than the other two quarterbacks, leading to him playing slightly more snaps than the others.

Running Backs

Master Teague: 52

Antonio Williams: 19

J.K. Dobbins: 9

Mike Weber: 9

Amari McMahon: 9

Mitch Rossi: 7

Unsurprisingly, Dobbins and Weber each saw only a limited workload on Saturday, as the Buckeyes looked to keep their two established stars at running back healthy for the fall. Williams had to wait behind Dobbins and Weber for playing time on Saturday – much like he will probably have to do again this fall – but finished the second quarter and played into the fourth quarter for the Gray offense after the top two running backs’ days were done.

Teague, meanwhile, got to play every snap for the Scarlet offense – as the Buckeyes opted not to run their more experienced running backs behind a backup offensive line – until its final drive of the game. Rossi and McMahon, both walk-ons, each got to play a drive on the final two possessions of the game.

Wide Receivers

Jaylen Harris: 56

Ellijah Gardiner: 56

Demario McCall: 48

De’Shawn White: 35

Binjimen Victor: 32

Gage Bican: 30

Austin Mack: 15

Johnnie Dixon: 12

Parris Campbell: 10

Terry McLaurin: 6

Darryl Sinclair: 6

Kevin Dever: 5

Jeremiah Knight: 3

Jeremy Bridges: 1

Like Weber and Dobbins, the Buckeyes’ most established wide receivers – Campbell, McLaurin, Dixon and Mack – saw playing time early in the game but were pulled out before halftime. With K.J. Hill sidelined as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery, the only one of last year’s top six wide receivers who played into the second half was Victor. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said after the game that he kept Victor in the game longer – all the way up to the final series of the game – "because he has to just keep getting better."

Second-year receivers Harris and Gardiner played nearly every snap of the game for the Scarlet offense, while McCall – who took Hill’s place in the first-team rotation at slot receiver – saw extended playing time for both the Gray and Scarlet teams. White, a former member of Ohio State’s club football team, also started the game and saw extended playing time for the Scarlet offense while Bican, a walk-on from Mayfield High School near Cleveland, was on the field for both offenses for much of the second half. C.J. Saunders, a walk-on who saw playing time for the Buckeyes in 2017, was sidelined for the game due to injury.

Tight Ends

Jake Hausmann: 60

Derrick Malone: 24

Luke Farrell: 17

Brock Davin: 4

Farrell, who Meyer anointed as Ohio State’s starting tight end following Saturday’s game, started on the first-team offense with Team Gray and was taken out of the game in the second quarter with the rest of the Buckeyes’ skill-position starters. With Rashod Berry sidelined for the game after suffering a pair of stingers this spring, Hausmann – the only other scholarship tight end on the team this spring – ended up seeing extended playing time for both teams.

Malone and Davin, both walk-ons, played the remainder of the snaps at tight end.

Left Tackles

Joshua Alabi: 47

Thayer Munford: 34

Matthew Burrell: 16

Kevin Woidke: 8

Perhaps the biggest surprise of Saturday’s spring game lineups came at offensive tackle, as Munford lined up with the first-team Gray offense at left tackle and Isaiah Prince lined up at right tackle – the opposite sides of the line of which they have been expected to play this season. Nonetheless, Munford played a majority of the snaps for Team Gray at left tackle, though Alabi – who started at left tackle for the Scarlet offense – also took some snaps at left tackle, allowing Munford to take some snaps at right tackle, for Team Gray as well.

Burrell, a scholarship offensive lineman who appears as though he could be without a place on the Buckeyes’ two-deep, and Woidke, a walk-on, finished out the game at left tackle.

Left Guards

Malcolm Pridgeon: 37

Matthew Burrell: 31

Gavin Cupp: 28

Nathan Brock: 9

With starting left guard Michael Jordan sidelined this spring as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery, Pridgeon took his place on the first-team offensive line, playing the entire game for the Gray offense on Saturday with the exception of its final possession, when he was relieved by Brock, a walk-on.

Burrell and Cupp split snaps with the Scarlet offense for the entire game.

Centers

Josh Myers: 59

Brady Taylor: 35

Matthew Jones: 11

Taylor, who Meyer said finishes the spring as Ohio State’s starting center, took every snap for the Gray offensive line until the fourth quarter, when Jones – an early enrollee freshman – got the opportunity to finish out the game. Myers, who Meyer expects to continue to push Taylor for the starting center job in fall camp, played every snap of the game at center for the Scarlet offense.

Right Guard

Wyatt Davis: 63

Demetrius Knox: 18

Brandon Pahl: 16

Gavin Cupp: 8

Like many of the Buckeyes’ other established starters on offense, Knox played partway into the second quarter for Team Gray before being pulled from the game. Davis, who started the game for the Scarlet offensive line as the second-team right guard, switched teams to take Knox’s place with the Gray offensive line, giving Cupp and Pahl the opportunity to finish out the game at right guard for the Scarlet squad.

Right Tackle

Max Wray: 54

Kevin Woidke: 21

Isaiah Prince: 18

Thayer Munford: 12

Like Knox, Prince played only into the second quarter before being taken out of the game. Munford moved over to right tackle to finish the first half – as he continues to practice on both sides of the line while the Buckeyes determine which tackle should start on which side – before Woidke finished the game at right tackle for the Gray offense in the second half.

Woidke also played a series at right tackle for the Scarlet offense, but most of those snaps went to Wray, an early enrollee.

Max Wray vs. Aaron Cox in the spring game
Right tackle Max Wray and defensive end Aaron Cox battled each other regularly during Saturday's spring game.
Defensive Ends

Aaron Cox: 55

Noah Donald: 53

Chase Young: 44

Jashon Cornell: 39

Nick Bosa: 13

Jonathon Cooper: 6

Because of Ohio State’s lack of scholarship depth at defensive end, Cox and Donald – both walk-ons – played nearly the entire game for the Gray defense. Young and Cornell saw early playing time for the Gray defense but played for the most of the game for the Scarlet defense. Bosa and Cooper started the game for the Scarlet squad, but Bosa was pulled out of the game after one quarter of action and Cooper played only part of the first quarter due to a hamstring injury.

Defensive Tackles

Davon Hamilton: 55

Tommy Togiai: 39

Zaid Hamdan: 39

Jerron Cage: 36

Antwuan Jackson: 15

Dre’Mont Jones: 13

Robert Landers: 13

Like Bosa, Jones and Landers were pulled out of game after one quarter of action with the first-team defense. Togiai and Cage, who are competing for playing time in the defensive tackle rotation, took their spots on the Scarlet interior defensive line for the rest of the game.

Hamilton, who is also competing for a spot in the defensive tackle two-deep, played nearly the entire game for the Gray defense. With Haskell Garrett and Malik Barrow sidelined due to injuries, and Jackson only seeing limited playing time after missing time due to foot surgery this spring, Hamdan – a walk-on early enrollee – also saw extensive playing time for the second-team defense.

Outside Linebackers

Pete Werner: 60

Dallas Gant: 59

Keandre Jones: 37

Hayden Jester: 29

Malik Harrison: 18

Jared Hoy: 9

Logan Hittle: 1

While Harrison, who played nickel linebacker for the Buckeyes last season, was given the established veteran treatment on Saturday – starting the game for the first-team defense before being pulled out of the game in the second quarter – Jones played all the way up to Team Scarlet’s final defensive series, at which point he was replaced by Hoy, a walk-on.

Werner – who appears to be competing with Jones for a spot in the starting lineup – started the game for the Gray defense before switching sides to replace Harrison on the Scarlet defense, while Gant played the entire game for the Gray defense. Jester, another walk-on, replaced Werner on the Gray defense and played the remainder of the game.

Middle Linebackers

Baron Browning: 59

Justin Hilliard: 46

Unlike most positions, the Buckeyes kept it simple at middle linebacker on Saturday; Hilliard started the game for the Scarlet defense, while Browning started the game for the Gray defense, and both linebackers played the entire game for their respective squads. As the two compete to potentially start at middle linebacker, with Tuf Borland sidelined by an Achilles injury, Ohio State’s coaches wanted to see each of them for as many reps as they could.

While Hilliard got the nod to play for Team Scarlet and the first-team defense, perhaps indicating a lead over Browning in the middle linebacker competition going into Saturday’s game, Meyer said after the game that he thought Browning, who had four tackles and two pass breakups for Team Gray, "played very good."

Baron Browning (5) and Pete Werner (20)
Baron Browning (5) and Pete Werner (20) were among the linebackers who saw substantial playing time in Saturday's spring game.
Cornerbacks

Shaun Wade: 52

Marcus Williamson: 50

Sevyn Banks: 46

Tyreke Johnson: 30

Damon Arnette: 16

Kendall Sheffield: 16

Like the Buckeyes’ other returning starters or co-starters from last season, Arnette and Sheffield were pulled out of the game in the second quarter after starting for the Scarlet defense. Banks and Johnson, both early enrollee freshmen, played the rest of the game at the two cornerback spots for the Scarlet squad. Second-year cornerbacks Wade and Williamson, meanwhile, played the majority of the snaps for the Gray squad, though Banks also saw some early playing time for Team Gray before switching teams.

Fellow second-year cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, who Meyer said Saturday that he still expects to be in the starting cornerback rotation with Sheffield and Arnette, missed this spring while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Safeties

Jahsen Wint: 50

Amir Riep: 49

Brendon White: 28

Isaiah Pryor: 27

Wayne Davis: 21

Jordan Fuller: 16

Kevin Dever: 16

Owen Fankhauser: 3

Fuller, like Sheffield and Arnette, played the first quarter and the first series of the second quarter for the Scarlet defense before being pulled for the remainder of the game. Pryor started alongside Fuller on the Scarlet defense, but continued to see some playing time later in the game, as he has yet to be named as a starter going forward for the Buckeyes.

Wint and Riep started and played most of the game for the Gray defense, with walk-ons Dever and Fankhauser seeing some late playing time. White and Davis saw playing time off the bench for the Scarlet defense.

Field Goals/Extra Points

Sean Nuernberger or Blake Haubeil (kicker)

Drue Chrisman (holder)

Liam McCullough (long snapper)

Luke Farrell (lineman)

Brady Taylor or Brandon Pahl (lineman)

Max Wray (lineman)

Josh Myers (lineman)

Gavin Cupp (lineman)

Wyatt Davis (lineman)

Kevin Woidke (lineman)

Jake Hausmann (lineman)

The Buckeyes kept a consistent lineup on their placekicking unit on Saturday with the exception of two spots. Haubeil checked in for the final three extra point attempts in place of Nuernberger, who made all four field goals and three extra points that he attempted on Saturday, while Pahl replaced Taylor – who was on the placekicking unit last year, but probably won’t be if he’s the starting center this year – on the line in the second half.

Outside of the specialists, Woidke was the only lineman on this unit on Saturday who saw regular playing time on the unit in 2017. The lineup is likely to look somewhat different, though, when the actual games begin this fall.

Punts

Drue Chrisman (punter)

Liam McCullough (long snapper)

Jonathon Cooper (upback)

Pete Werner (upback)

Luke Farrell (wing)

Baron Browning (tackle)

Justin Hilliard (guard)

Malik Harrison (guard)

Terry McLaurin (gunner)

Kendall Sheffield (gunner)

Marcus Williamson (gunner)

The Buckeyes used more of their core players, as they usually do, on the punting unit than on other special teams units in Saturday’s game. Outside of the specialists, every other player on the punting unit competed for significant playing time on either defense or offense this spring. Cooper, Harrison, McLaurin, Sheffield and Williamson all saw playing time on the punting unit last year, too, while Browning, Hilliard and Werner were all special teams regulars last season but not on the punting unit. Farrell is looking to earn his first significant playing time on special teams in addition to solidifying himself as the starting tight end.

Punt Returns

Demario McCall (returner)

Gage Bican

Jeremy Bridges

Wayne Davis

Kevin Dever

Owen Fankhauser

Amari McMahon

Amir Riep

Mitch Rossi

De’Shawn White

Jahsen Wint

While McCall is expected to be Ohio State’s punt returner this season, the rest of the punt return unit will almost certainly look different than it did on Saturday, when it consisted of mostly walk-ons. Given that some of the players who lined up on the punting unit could also be on the punt return unit this fall, it appeared that Ohio State used the punt return unit as an opportunity to get some of its walk-ons on the field for more playing time.

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