Videos and Observations from Ohio State’s Sixth Spring Practice of 2023

By Dan Hope, Griffin Strom and Chase Brown on March 28, 2023 at 10:11 am
Jordan Hancock

Ohio State held its sixth practice of the spring at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Tuesday morning, and once again, the media was welcomed in to watch a portion of the practice session.

Unlike Saturday, when Ohio State opened its full scrimmage to reporters, the media was ushered out before team drills began on Tuesday. But Tuesday’s viewing window, the fourth that has been open to media members this spring, nevertheless gave us an opportunity to get another look at this year’s Buckeyes in action, offered a glimpse at the first-, second- and third-team defensive units and provided some insight on which players are currently rehabbing from injuries.

Defense works on interception returns

During the second period of Tuesday morning’s practice, Ohio State’s defense practiced interception returns with all 11 players on the field.

The first-team defense during the drill consisted of JT Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer at defensive end, Ty Hamilton and Tyleik Williams at defensive tackle, Steele Chambers and Cody Simon at linebacker, Denzel Burke and Jordan Hancock at cornerback and Lathan Ransom, Josh Proctor and Cameron Martinez at safety.

The second-team defense was composed of Caden Curry and Kenyatta Jackson at defensive end, Mike Hall and Jaden McKenzie at defensive tackle, C.J. Hicks and Gabe Powers at linebacker, Davison Igbinosun and Jyaire Brown at cornerback and Kye Stokes, Sonny Styles and Ja’Had Carter at safety.

The third-team defense featured Mitchell Melton (who is practicing on a limited basis this spring as he works his way back from a torn ACL) and Landon Smith at defensive end, Hero Kanu and Bryce Prater at defensive tackle, Reid Carrico and Jackson Kuwatch at linebacker, Jermaine Mathews Jr. and Ryan Turner at cornerback and Malik Hartford, Brenten Jones and Cameron Kittle at safety.

Banged-up Buckeyes go through non-contact work

Ruled out for the spring due to injury at the start of February, All-American linebacker Tommy Eichenberg was dressed for practice on Tuesday and even did some non-contact work with James Laurinaitis during linebacker drills. Eichenberg suffered injuries to both of his hands during the 2022 season.

Three offensive players working to return from apparent injuries were also seen jogging on the sidelines in full gear on Tuesday. That group included second-year wideouts Kyion Grayes and Caleb Burton and walk-on running back TC Caffey. Caffey suffered an ACL tear this past season and Burton got hurt in Ohio State’s first spring practice. Grayes was present but not dressed during Ohio State’s first spring scrimmage on Saturday.

Evan Pryor, who continues to rehab from a torn ACL suffered last preseason, and walk-on tight end Zak Herbstreit were also seen on the Buckeye sideline doing some light non-contact work. Junior running back TreVeyon Henderson went through stretches and warmup sprints with the Buckeyes as well as he works his way back from foot surgery.

One notable absence from practice was second-year defensive end Omari Abor. A knee injury cut Abor’s freshman season short, but he returned to action by the end of the season and saw extensive reps both in and out of a knee brace during Saturday’s scrimmage.

Defensive linemen deliver the boom

With Ohio State’s quarterbacks on a strict no-touch or two-hand touch policy and the running backs occasionally allowed to be hit, the Buckeyes’ defensive line room find their reps where they can find them in spring practice.

On Tuesday, those reps came in the form of powerful hits on red pads rolling on the turf inside the Woody. Tuimoloau, Sawyer, Jackson and Ohio State’s other defensive linemen used that opportunity to deliver the boom on the circular cushions.

The defensive line also worked on keeping a low center of gravity as they gained leverage and located the football. Larry Johnson utilized Ohio State’s three-person sled to accomplish this, with Tuimoloau, Sawyer and Hamilton taking the first reps in the drill.

More video

Tuesday’s practice also gave us another glimpse of Ohio State’s quarterbacks throwing the ball and of the Buckeyes’ running backs working on pass protection, with Tony Alford coaching them up between each rep with an emphasis on proper technique.

Additional observations

  • As it has all spring, Ohio State concluded its stretching period with a competition before the first period of practice. On Tuesday, that competition was sprints; players who were announced as winners for their respective heats and position groups included Chip Trayanum, Denzel Burke, Gabe Powers, Ja’Had Carter, Carnell Tate, Bryson Rodgers, Parker Lewis, Noah Rogers, George Fitzpatrick (twice), Luke Montgomery, Cody Simon, Jyaire Brown, Reid Carrico, C.J. Hicks (twice), Kye Stokes and Jermaine Mathews Jr. (among others, as several winners were announced simultaneously and it was not always possible to hear every name).
  • The punt returner order at Tuesday’s practice consisted of Marvin Harrison Jr., Jayden Ballard, Kaleb Brown, Reis Stocksdale and Xavier Johnson.
  • Players who took reps as punt gunners during Tuesday’s practice included Kojo Antwi, Josh Proctor, Noah Rogers, Jordan Hancock, Denzel Burke and Davison Igbinosun.
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