Saturday was scrimmage day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, as Ohio State’s offense and defense went head-to-head in one of the Buckeyes’ most important practices of the year to date – their eighth practice of preseason camp – with just three weeks to go until the season opener against Florida Atlantic at Ohio Stadium on Aug. 31.
Unfortunately for those of you who are clamoring to know more about how the team looks and how the depth chart stacks up, the media was not allowed to watch any of the actual scrimmage portions of Saturday’s practice. The media watched the first 30 minutes of practice for the third time this year, but we’d be lying to you if we said we learned much new information from watching warmups and individual drills for the third time in the past eight days.
Nonetheless, here is what we were able to take away from the window of Saturday’s practice that we were permitted to watch.
A peek at first-team offense, defense
As Ohio State began team period, the first-team offense and first-team defense headed to fields adjacent to each other to face backups, offering a glimpse into the lineups.
Both teams played only one or two snaps before the media was quickly shuffled out of the viewing area, but here’s what we saw.
Branden Bowen took the first reps at right tackle with the starting offense. Earlier this week, though, Bowen said he and Nicholas Petit-Frere have been splitting snaps at the position, so Petit-Frere almost surely also spent time with the first-team offense.
Joshua Alabi joined Bowen, slotting in at left tackle. Thayer Munford, the returning starter at left tackle, was stretching as the Buckeyes entered team period. Right guard Wyatt Davis, center Josh Myers and left guard Jonah Jackson filled out the rest of the offensive line.
With Mack apparently injured, Chris Olave joined Binjimen Victor and K.J. Hill on the first-team offense. Quarterback Justin Fields, running back J.K. Dobbins and tight end Luke Farrell rounded out the offense.
Safety Jordan Fuller, bullet Brendon White and cornerbacks Damon Arnette and Jeff Okudah started the team period on the field with the first-team defense. Tuf Borland, Malik Harrison and K’Vaughan Pope began at the three linebacker positions, and Dallas Gant rotated in for Harrison after two plays.
Chase Young and Jonathon Cooper lined up at defensive end, as expected. Nose tackle Davon Hamilton and 3-technique Jashon Cornell joined them on the line. Tommy Togiai quickly rotated in for Hamilton.
Larry Johnson taking Ohio States defensive linemen through a drill. pic.twitter.com/bUIRhPPMty— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) August 10, 2019
Teradja Mitchell, Cormontae Hamilton join injured players
Ohio State sophomore linebacker Teradja Mitchell and freshman tight end Cormontae Hamilton, who were participants in the first two practices reporters were permitted to watch this preseason, joined the group of players who were rehabilitating injuries and were not going through drills with the rest of their teammates on Saturday.
Senior wide receiver Austin Mack and redshirt freshman running back Master Teague, who were also sidelined on Tuesday, remained with the group of injured players on Saturday.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Tyreke Johnson, true freshman linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, true freshman safety Ronnie Hickman, redshirt freshman wide receiver Kamryn Babb, fifth-year senior linebacker Justin Hilliard and walk-on defensive end Noah Donald are among the players who have rehabbing injuries since the beginning of camp.
Visitors on the sideline
Saturday’s scrimmage drew plenty of non-media visitors to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to watch practice, as well, including many of the players’ parents who made the trip to Columbus to see their Buckeyes compete.
Scouts from several NFL teams were also at practice on Saturday, including representatives from the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers.
ESPN’s Maria Taylor and Holly Rowe were also at practice on Saturday, as was Fox Sports analyst and soon-to-be Urban Meyer co-host Brady Quinn.
- Due to the impending scrimmage, Ryan Day delivered his most fiery pre-practice speech yet. Standing nearly 100 yards away, the media could hear him screaming.
- Ohio State split up its linebackers early during individual drills, but there didn’t appear to be any reasoning behind the groupings. At one point, Malik Harrison, Pete Werner, Dallas Gant and Jahsen Wint were part of a group, and Brendon White, Baron Browning and K'Vaughan Pope were among the other group.
- The tight end lineup began with Luke Farrell, and he was followed by Rashod Berry and Jeremy Ruckert, as expected.