Spring Practice Insider: Way Too Many Notes from Ohio State’s Student Appreciation Day

Things get a little heated in the Circle Drill Spring Game 2017

The Buckeyes held their annual Student Appreciation Day on Saturday, as they invited students into watch the final Saturday practice before the spring game next week.

It was an eventful practice, and afterward players took pictures with students and their families.

Towards the end of practice, it was time to let the students try their feet at some field goal attempts. The first few barely got off the ground, and defensive tackle Malik Barrow even blocked one when he caught it in his breadbasket. The final student, however, put the first one through the uprights, and then the next one. Urban Meyer then had him compete kick for kick with OSU placekicker Sean Nuernberger. The student eventually hit one wide left to lose, but just the fact that he got every kick in the air is a new Ohio State Student Appreciation Day record that may never be broken.

That wasn’t the only outstanding feat of the day by a student in attendance. One student won one of the Fastest Student heats while running in his jeans. When players run the 40 in jeans at the NFL Combine, scouts know to take two-tenths off of their time, which means that this kid can really, really fly.

Anyway, on to football.

I’m just going to do this in bullet points because there are too many pages of notes to try and make sense of it all.

+ Redshirt freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins is now in a black no-contact jersey. This is the first time we’ve seen him unable to be hit. Freshman Tate Martell, however, is still wearing the raw meat Scarlet jersey.

+ We weren’t allowed into practice right at the outset, but I did stand inside the doorway and watch. I hope these aren’t illegal notes that I took.

+ Couldn’t see everything from the early drills, but I did hear redshirt sophomore tight end A.J. Alexander’s name quite a bit in one-on-one blocking drills. He also showed up later in passing drills. He had a very good day, and also caught a pass on a deep corner route. The corner route to the tight ends was trouble for the defense a couple of times. Malik Barrow’s name was also heard quite a bit as he was winning his drills.

+ Sophomore receiver Binjimen Victor was in an orange jersey, but he still participated. It just means no contact, so he stayed out of the blocking drills.

+ For instance, Victor had a very nice sideline catch down the field against freshman cornerback Marcus Williamson from J.T. Barrett. Victor went up to get the ball and Williamson couldn’t match his length.

+ Redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Burrow had a perfect back shoulder pass to junior receiver Terry McLaurin with freshman cornerback Shaun Wade in coverage. Burrow then hit Victor on a deep corner with sophomore cornerback Rodjay Burns in coverage.

+ The three kick returners today were Parris Campbell with K.J. Hill blocking, Eric Glover-Williams with Demario McCall blocking, and J.K. Dobbins with K.J. Hill blocking.

+ The first-team offensive line today was LT – Jamarco Jones, LG – Michael Jordan, C – Billy Price, RG – Matt Burrell, RT – Isaiah Prince. Demetrius Knox did not see any action today.

+ Parris Campbell had a drop on a perfect deep post from J.T. Barrett. Might have been the first drop I’ve seen from him this spring.

+ The second unit on the offensive line looked like this: LT – Josh Alabi, LG – Gavin Cupp, C – Brady Taylor, RG – Malcolm Pridgeon, RT – Branden Bowen.

+ Joe Burrow took plenty of snaps with the ones and Dwayne Haskins took plenty with the twos. Haskins threw a nice floater on an out route to Eric Glover-Williams from the slot for a touchdown.

+ 2017 defensive end signee Chase Young was in attendance.

+ Some one-on-one pass rushing drills:

Nick Bosa > Jamarco Jones (Bosa over Jones)
Jonathon Cooper > Josh Alabi — Cooper feinted right and dipped inside and Alabi never got a hand on him.
Jack Wohlabaugh > Michael Hill (twice in a row)
Dre’Mont Jones > Matt Burrell — Jones’ name was mentioned constantly as winning his battles.
Isaiah Prince > Tyquan Lewis
Billy Price > Robert Landers
Malcolm Pridgeon > Jashon Cornell
Sam Hubbard > Isaiah Prince
Michael Jordan > Malik Barrow
Jonathon Cooper > Josh Alabi
Jashon Cornell > Gavin Cupp

+ Redshirt sophomore Robert Landers spent more time with the ones today than senior Michael Hill at nose tackle.

+ Jordan Fuller started with the ones at strong safety and spent more time there today than Erick Smith, it seemed. Though both split time with the ones. There was a true rotation at safety as well, as Fuller, Smith, and Damon Webb each played both safety positions. It appeared that the other safeties moved around similarly.

+ Pretty much every scholarship receiver on the team spent some time with the ones today.

+ Sophomore Demario McCall appears to still be ahead of freshman J.K. Dobbins as Mike Weber’s backup.

+ The first corners on the field were redshirt sophomore Damon Arnette and junior Denzel Ward, but freshman Shaun Wade also got plenty of snaps with the ones. Junior college transfer Kendall Sheffield was in street clothes. Freshman cornerback Jeffrey Okudah was wearing No. 48 and running with the twos for the most part, along with sophomore Rodjay Burns or freshman Marcus Williamson.

+ Sophomore running back Antonio Wililiams was back and full go today.

+ There was plenty of scrimmaging going on, which makes my notes virtually unreadable, but I’ll try to convey some things.

+ Sam Hubbard stopped a speed option pitch from J.T. Barrett to Mike Weber on third-and-10 for a two-yard gain. He read that play last year as well. Joe Burrow tried the same play a couple of moments later for no gain.

+ J.K. Dobbins had a nice gain on a screen pass from Dwayne Haskins. Haskins then completed a 10-yard comeback route to walk-on C.J. Saunders against Jeffrey Okudah. Haskins then tried to keep it on a read and was stopped immediately by Jonathon Cooper.

+ Denzel Ward blew up a screen pass to Mike Weber for no gain.

+ Damon Webb made a great play in coverage on a deep ball, but dropped the sure interception. He was at strong safety, so he showed considerable range to make the play.

+ One play later, with Jordan Fuller at strong safety and also Shaun Wade at corner, Dre’Mont Jones and Sam Hubbard combined on a sack of the quarterback.

+ On the next play, J.T. Barrett found redshirt freshman tight end Luke Farrell behind Chris Worley for about 15 yards. Farrell may have stood out to me more than any other player on the day. He’s big and athletic. He can block the edge and get down the seam. He’s in that Nick Vannett/Jeff Heuerman mold. He worked with the ones and twos.

+ Rodjay Burns also got some time at nickel back it seemed.

+ Redshirt sophomore middle linebacker Justin Hilliard was mainly with the twos, but did get some time with the ones. He appears to be locking down that backup spot. Tuf Borland and Keandre Jones were the twos at Will, and Dante Booker also took some snaps with the second unit at the Sam.

+ There was a handful of deep balls dropped on the day. Terry McLaurin dropped one from Joe Burrow with Erick Smith in coverage. Freshman Brendon White had a perfect pass from Dwayne Haskins go right through his hands.

+ Burrow connected with Johnnie Dixon deep down the sideline. Dixon had some nice catches on the day.

+ Haskins hit Luke Farrell on a corner route for about a 45-yard touchdown. The Buckeye secondary had trouble with the tight ends running the corner. A few minutes later, A.J. Alexander beat Isaiah Pryor on the corner route for a 35-yard gain from Joe Burrow.

+ Dante Booker had an interception on a fade route in the end zone that was the result of a miscommunication and no receiver in the area.

+ It then became time for the post-practice circle drills. Those went as follows:

Parris Campbell > Damon Webb
Eric Glover-Williams > Marcus Williamson
Billy Price > Tyquan Lewis — they went twice because the first one was a stalemate.
Jamarco Jones > Jalyn Holmes
Jahsen Wint > K.J. Hill
Dante Booker > Mike Weber
A.J. Alexander > Jerome Baker
Damon Arnette = Austin Mack
Tuf Borland > J.K. Dobbins
Luke Farrell = Keandre Jones
Terry McLaurin > Damon Arnette
Jalyn Holmes > this student

+ After the circle drill it was time for some red zone action. J.T. Barrett hit Demario McCall on a swing pass from the 18-yard line and he went into the end zone untouched. Justin Hilliard was in coverage.

+ Jeff Okudah intercepted Dwayne Haskins in the corner of the end zone.

+ Haskins hit K.J. Hill on an out route for a score.

+ Antonio Williams had a nice 8-yard touchdown run up the middle with a move or two and a broken tackle.

+ On fourth-and-five, Tate Martell found Luke Farrell in the back of the end zone for a score. Martell didn’t get many snaps on the day, mostly just at the end in the red zone drill.

+ In terms of a depth chart, pretty much anybody not with the ones is with the twos, and half the team is with the ones. There is so much rotation going on right now, it’s silly. I could put a depth chart together, but it would shortchange the twos who are getting good snaps with the ones. I’ll wait until after spring practice to do that.