All 10 of Ohio State’s on-field assistant coaches as well as director of sports performance Mickey Marotti met with the media at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Tuesday.
While we already shared updates from all of Ohio State’s offensive assistant coaches and all of Ohio State’s defensive assistant coaches, Tuesday was also an opportunity for us to learn more about the Buckeyes’ offseason progress on both special teams and in strength and conditioning, as Marotti held his first media session of the entire offseason while special teams coordinator Parker Fleming met with reporters for the first time since February.
We’ve rounded up their most interesting and insightful comments from the day below, including what Marotti said about the number of injuries Ohio State suffered last season and what Fleming said regarding the ongoing kicker competition between Jayden Fielding and Parker Lewis.
- Marotti said he thinks the team came back for summer workouts “with a great attitude” and that they are doing a great job of developing leadership.
- He says he thinks the emphasis on beating Michigan is the same as it’s always been: “To me, it’s the same. We all know the goal around here. So that emphasis is still the same.”
- Marotti says Ohio State analyzes every year what it can do better to prevent injuries and “last year was no different.” He doesn’t think Ohio State had an abnormal number of soft-tissue injuries last year compared to other years.
- Asked about the discourse that grass is safer than turf, Marotti said, “You really gotta look at what research is real, and you really gotta look into all those numbers.”
- Marotti said freshmen often come in thinking they need to get bigger than they actually have to. He said players often learn how to play faster at the same weight when they are veterans than they do early in their careers.
- Marotti named Joshua Perry as one of the greatest examples of a physical transformation by an Ohio State player over the course of his Buckeye career.
- Ole Miss’ head strength coach Nick Savage is a former Ohio State intern while newly hired assistant strength coach AT Turner joined the Buckeyes from Ole Miss, which helped the strength and conditioning staff gather information on Davison Igbinosun and Tywone Malone before they arrived in Columbus.
- Marotti says Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka and Kyle McCord were in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center running routes at 5:15 a.m. when they were freshmen. He said he has to pull them back sometimes to make sure they don’t overtrain.
- “I feel like we’re in a good place,” Fleming said when asked about the kicker competition. He said the biggest thing he’s looking for is consistency. He said “it depends on the guys” whether one of Fielding or Lewis will handle both field goals and kickoffs or whether they will split those responsibilities.
- Fleming thought Arizona State transfer long snapper John Ferlmann “had a really good spring.” He indicated that Ferlmann is in line to be the starter with Max Lomonico as his backup.
- Fleming mentioned Jayden Ballard and Carnell Tate as other candidates to return punts along with Egbuka. He acknowledged that “the Internet went crazy” when Harrison was returning punts during spring practice, but he said “we want to have a bunch of guys ready to do that.” He said Lorenzo Styles could potentially be an option on returns too, but Fleming has to see how he does in practice first.
- He said Jake Seibert is “a really good kicker” and that there wasn‘t a lot of separation between Noah Ruggles and Seibert in their competition two years ago, but that Ohio State is always going to bring in competition as it looks for the best possible players. He wished Seibert the best of luck at Northern Illinois.