Ohio State is at least experimenting with the possibility of moving its three-year starting left tackle to guard.
During Tuesday’s sixth practice of preseason camp, Thayer Munford lined up at left guard while Nicholas Petit-Frere lined up at left tackle. Dawand Jones, meanwhile, was the starting right tackle with Harry Miller at center and Paris Johnson Jr. at right guard.
The rumors are true: Ohio State is at least experimenting with an offensive line of Nicholas Petit-Frere at left tackle, Thayer Munford at left guard, Harry Miller at center, Paris Johnson at right guard and Dawand Jones at right tackle. pic.twitter.com/lyaBpSQtWg— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) August 10, 2021
Whether that will be the starting offensive line for Ohio State’s season opener on Sept. 2 remains to be determined – Ryan Day said Monday that the Buckeyes have been moving linemen around in an effort to find the best starting five – but it appears to be a possibility they’re at least seriously considering. This group was the first-team unit for the entire portion of practice that was open to the media on Tuesday, which is a day after Day that Ohio State is looking to determine its starting offensive line by early next week.
Greg Studrawa and 10 offensive linemen are scheduled to meet with the media after Tuesday’s practice, so we’ll likely learn more soon about the Buckeyes’ experimentation up front.
With Dawand Jones in the starting lineup, the second-team offensive line at Tuesday’s practice consisted of Enokk Vimahi at left tackle, Matthew Jones at left guard, Luke Wypler at center, Donovan Jackson at right guard and Josh Fryar at right tackle. The third-team offensive line consisted of Zen Michalski at left tackle, Ben Christman at left guard, Jakob James at center, Trey Leroux at right guard and Grant Toutant at right tackle.
New quarterback second in line
In the first two practices open to reporters, the order of the quarterbacks through drills was the same: C.J. Stroud, then Jack Miller, then Kyle McCord, then walk-ons Jagger LaRoe and J.P. Andrade.
On Tuesday, there was a switch. Stroud continued taking the first reps, but McCord was behind him in drills to take the second reps. Miller was third in line.
Sure, this could mean nothing and could just be something they’ve done on other days. But unfortunately the media has limited access to practice. And given the secrecy with which the coaches have treated the competition, this change was notable.
Day said he could have a quarterback decision made by the weekend. Given Stroud’s status as the frontrunner for the entirety of the year, McCord – whose arm has flashed early in preseason camp – has to make a move in short order to become the starter.
TreVeyon Henderson, lead kickoff returner?
The portion of Tuesday’s practice that was open to the media began with Ohio State practicing kickoffs and kickoff returns, and notably, true freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson was the kickoff returner with the first-team unit.
Other players lined up deep to return kickoffs included Miyan Williams, Emeka Egbuka, Evan Pryor, Steele Chambers, Marcus Crowley and incumbent kickoff returner Demario McCall. The possibility of Henderson potentially taking over lead kickoff return duties is an intriguing one, though, given the speed and big-play ability that made him a five-star recruit.
The Buckeyes haven’t gone through punt return drills in front of reporters since the first day of preseason camp. But last week, the guys returning punts were Chris Olave, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Garrett Wilson, McCall and Cameron Martinez (in no particular order).
Pitch and Catch
Early in this practice, it was deep ball time and one-on-one for the wide receiver and defensive backs. In particular, the arm strength of Stroud and McCord shined as they delivered towering and mostly on-point passes down the left sideline.
Deep ball time pic.twitter.com/yp11M5MBq5— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) August 10, 2021
Some one-on-one action at Ohio States practice pic.twitter.com/5YCTsgDIeK— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) August 10, 2021
Plus, Stroud and Smith-Njigba did this. Great coverage by Lathan Ransom countered by a perfect throw by Stroud.
C.J. Stroud to Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Hello. pic.twitter.com/QKTmvLAyCT— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) August 10, 2021
- Gee Scott Jr. remains with the tight ends but he still spends some time with the wide receivers. For example, while the other tight ends were working with the field-goal unit during an early period of Tuesday’s practice, he was with the wide receivers catching deep balls from the quarterbacks. Then, once the field-goal period concluded, Scott returned to the tight ends.
- Linebacker Cody Simon was in full pads but ran off toward the area on the adjacent field where injured players spent practice and did not return while the media was watching practice. Jaden McKenzie, Jaylen Johnson and Kamryn Babb were going through drills in the rehabilitation area, too.
- Starting cornerback Sevyn Banks was in full pads but did not appear to be going through drills. He was off to the side. On Monday, Ryan Day said he “tweaked something” and had sat out the prior couple of practices.
- Ronnie Hickman was back on the practice field Tuesday after leaving with an injury during the previous practice that was open to the media on Friday.
- Scouts from several NFL teams, including the New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts (2x), Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars, were in attendance. It was the second straight day that a contingent of NFL scouts were at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, as observers at Monday’s practice included scouts from the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders, as well as the Jaguars.
- As the tackle drills were going on, Jeremy Ruckert wasn’t involved. Instead, he was on another field with Stroud, McCord and Miller, catching passes from the trio of hopeful starting quarterbacks. It was an opportunity for them to build red-zone chemistry with one of college football’s best tight ends.