Ohio State Football Notebook: ‘You notice Garrett Wilson’

Garrett Wilson Ohio State Football Buckeyes

Same As It Ever Was?

There are four new defensive coaches on Ryan Day’s initial coaching staff, with Jeff Hafley, Greg Mattison, Al Washington, and Matt Barnes all having to fill out change-of-address forms over the last three months.

The lone holdover from Urban Meyer’s staff is defensive line coach Larry Johnson. For obvious reasons, Day didn’t feel a change was needed up front.

Even though there has been plenty of change, and a new defensive scheme is coming, having Johnson on the staff gives the defensive line a feeling of familiarity.

“Yeah, because we kept our coach,” said senior defensive end Jonathon Cooper. “As far as the defense goes, I mean, the coaches that came in are amazing. They took it and ran with it. We really like the intensity they bring to practice every day. I think the players are embracing the new scheme that we have. I think that we feel very confident in this year.”

With the sheer amount of change the defense is going through, this has to feel like a fresh start for the defensive line as well, right?

“Yes and no,” Cooper said. “Yes in the sense that of course we have new coaches, new schemes, new plans. But no in the fact that we have to bring it every day. It’s 4-to-6, A-to-B, still the competitive excellence and power of the unit. So, in that aspect, it’s still the same.”

Assessing the Freshmen

Ohio State has six true freshmen participating in spring football right now, and Tuesday was just the third practice of camp.

With practice No. 4 coming on Thursday, the Buckeyes will finally don the pads and start hitting each other a bit.

Despite how early things still are, people always want to know how the freshmen are looking.

“It’s hard to assess without pads, but Zach [Harrison] has had a really good offseason,” Ryan Day said. “He has stepped in and done a really good job so far. They all have. You notice Garrett Wilson. He catches your eye because he’s so smooth in catching the ball.

“But all the guys have done well. Marcus Crowley, I think he has a real chance. Running back, he kinda has a feel for the game, but with no pads on it’s really difficult. Ryan Jacoby has done a nice job. Noah Potter is running around. It’s a good group and I think they’re all doing a nice job, but we’ll see once we get the pads on.”

Click to Win for Baron Browning

As a sophomore in 2018, Baron Browning was a valuable defensive reserve at middle linebacker. While Tuf Borland recovered from injury, Browning started the first two games for the Buckeyes, but managed just five tackles.

When Borland returned, Browning didn’t disappear, but his minutes definitely decreased. He did get quite a bit of time on passing downs, but really only took the reins at middle linebacker when Borland was too injured to do so.

Browning has every bit of athleticism and size a coach could want in a linebacker, and this spring Ryan Day is hoping that things start coming together more completely for the junior linebacker out of Texas.

What exactly does he want to see over the next month?

“Step up and have a great spring and become a starter,” Day said. “I think those guys are trying to figure out in this scheme where he best fits, so that’s the focus right now. He’s an inside backer, but where does he fit going forward based on his skill set. He’s very, very talented, so hopefully we can get this to click this spring and he can go win a job.”