Jonathon Cooper, Rashod Berry Out For Season Opener; Demario McCall, Tyler Friday, Tyreke Smith Listed As Game-Time Decisions

By Colin Hass-Hill on August 30, 2019 at 10:09 am
Jonathon Cooper

Ohio State will be without a few key contributors to open the season.

Jonathon Cooper, Rashod Berry, C.J. Saunders and Taron Vincent will not play in the Buckeyes' first game of the season on Saturday against Florida Atlantic, Ohio State announced in the debut of its weekly "status report." Demario McCall, Tyler Friday and Tyreke Smith are listed game-time decisions in the report.

Defensive tackle Jaden McKenzie, linebacker Justin Hilliard, safety Ronnie Hickman, tight end Cormontae Hamilton and wide receiver Kamryn Babb will also miss the game. 

Ohio State Status Report for FAU
DE Tyler Friday
RB Demario McCall
DE Tyreke Smith
WR Kamryn Babb
TE Rashod Berry
DE Jonathon Cooper
DT Noah Donald
S Owen Fankhauser
TE Cormontae Hamilton
S Ronnie Hickman
LB Justin Hilliard
CB Lloyd McFarquhar
DT Jaden McKenzie
H-B C.J. Saunders
DT Taron Vincent

Ohio State did not announce how long it expects any of the injured players to miss time.

Cooper's injury was first reported earlier this week by Lettermen Row's Tim May, who called it a high ankle sprain. Now a senior and one of the team's seven captains, he started 13 games last season, recording 25 total tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. His performance earned him honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.

In Cooper's absence, defensive line coach Larry Johnson will turn to a group of underclassmen to fill in on the edge across from Chase Young.

"Obviously Chase (Young) is there and Javontae Jean-Baptiste has come along," Ryan Day said on Tuesday. "Zach Harrison will play this year. He's ready at the beginning of his career. He's got a huge ceiling; the more he plays the better he'll get. And you have Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday as well. Jashon Cornell can go inside or outside. Feel decent about the depth there."

Those who will be thrust into increased roles have the potential to become impactful defensive ends, but they lack extensive experience.

Jean-Baptiste did not play a snap last year, redshirting his freshman year as he added weight. Harrison is a true freshman. Smith played 183 snaps as a freshman, but he took it slow in the preseason as he returned from an injury, Johnson said. Friday played 85 snaps as a true freshman, picking up three tackles and one sack. 

With both Friday and Smith listed as game-time decisions, it could thrust Jean-Baptiste and Harrison into major roles in Week 1. Cornell also has moved back to defensive end on the opening week depth chart due to the potential of multiple players missing the Florida Atlantic game.

The Buckeyes kick off their season opener against Florida Atlantic at noon on Saturday. The game will be shown on FOX.

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