For four straight games, Ohio State didn't include anybody surprising on its pregame status report.
This weekend, as expected, that changed.
The Buckeyes will be without 23 players, including three starting offensive linemen – Thayer Munford, Nicholas Petit-Frere and Paris Johnson – starting center Josh Myers, starting middle linebacker Tuf Borland and safety Josh Proctor in their noon showdown in East Lansing with Michigan State.
The status report does not disclose the reason why certain players are unavailable for Saturday's game, though Ohio State crossed the 7.5-percent threshold which means at least 13 people within the program – including the 170 players, coaches and staffers listed as Tier 1 individuals – tested positive for coronavirus.
With so many key players missing, we thought it could be helpful to provide updates from the press box on pregame warmups. Here's what we saw:
- At 11:23 a.m., we got our first look at what appears to be Ohio State's starting O-line in warmups – LT: Dawand Jones LG: Matthew Jones C: Harry Miller RG: Wyatt Davis RT: Max Wray. They stayed together for the duration of pregame warmups.
- The first-team defense in seven-on-seven team warmups – LB: Pete Werner, LB: Baron Browning, LB: Justin Hilliard, CB: Shaun Wade, CB: Sevyn Banks, CB/S: Marcus Williamson, S: Marcus Hooker.
- Star quarterback Justin Fields ran onto the field at approximately 10:39 a.m. for pregame warmups. Normally, he practices ahead of the game with quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis. However, Dennis was not on the field, and he instead was in close proximity to offensive quality control coach Keenan Bailey for the duration of the pregame period.
- Lejond Cavazos (outside), Tyreke Johnson (outside) and Ronnie Hickman (slot) and were the second-team cornerbacks in warmups with Bryson Shaw at safety. Dallas Gant, Craig Young and Terajda Mitchell were with the second-string defense.
- Harry Miller, Matthew Jones, Luke Wypler and walk-on Jack Jamieson were warming up with the centers, indicating they could be options in the middle of the offensive line with Myers unavailable this afternoon. Miller snapped to Fields during their individual period, indicating he'll start at center. Notable: One of his snaps was air-mailed over Fields' head.
- Defensive ends Tyreke Smith and Jonathon Cooper ran with the starting defense before the game, and the first-team defensive tackles were Tommy Togiai and Haskell Garrett.
- All three veteran tight ends – Luke Farrell, Jeremy Ruckert and Jake Hausmann – went through warmups, per usual. Hausmann had been unavailable for multiple weeks. They'll be counted on in a bigger way than usual with an offensive line missing three starters. Wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave warmups as normal, too.
- In some good news for Ohio State: Blake Haubeil is returning to his kicking duties. He was out the last game but went through warmups like usual on Saturday morning.
- The backup offensive line in warmups was left tackle Josh Fryar, left guard Jack Jamieson, center, Luke Wypler, right guard Gavin Cupp and right tackle Enokk Vimahi.
- Acting head coach Larry Johnson led the defensive line through individual drills just as he always does about 60-75 minutes before kickoff.