COLUMBUS — The Buckeyes were back on the practice field on Wednesday and for the first time in Fall Camp the assembled media (and a few of the disassembled media) were allowed in for the entire practice.
The first thing that jumped out to me during drills was that Braxton Miller was taking fewer reps than any of the other quarterbacks, including fourth-string freshman Stephen Collier. In fact, of the 20 or 25 throws during one particular drill, Miller probably took about four or five of them.
Miller wasn't overly active during seven-on-sevens, nor was he overly accurate. He then did not participate in any of the scrimmaging. After practice, co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said that this was all part of the plan.
Miller's reps will continue to increase over the next three weeks, but today they were almost non-existent. He did spend some time mental repping with Collier, however.
The Defense Kept Up with the Jones
In lieu of Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones took all of the reps with the ones today during scrimmaging. He did not have a great day. He threw at least three interceptions, including one right into Eli Apple's breadbasket. He did the same thing to Doran Grant, but Grant dropped the ball.
Jones threw interceptions on consecutive passes, one to Vonn Bell and the other to Ron Tanner. Bell's interception was some type of offensive breakdown because there were no receivers over the middle of the field where Bell caught the ball. The second interception was some kind of middle screen, but without a receiver anywhere in the area.
He did have a beautiful deep ball to Devin Smith. He also connected on a deep pass to Michael Thomas, though it was over the wrong shoulder and Thomas had to turn at the last second and re-locate the ball. Jones closed better during the latter portions of the scrimmaging, however. Overall, it could be argued that J.T. Barrett had the better day during the scrimmaging.
Spotting the Obvious
You only have to watch freshman tailback Curtis Samuel for a couple of plays to see why Urban Meyer is so excited by him. During one-on-one drills with linebackers which featured Samuel getting a hand off and a linebacker coming from a few yards away, I don't believe anybody ever tackled him outright.
On one particular handoff, I'm not even sure if middle linebacker Camren Williams touched him. Samuel put one foot in the ground, juked Williams and took the ball upfield. A few plays later, he got the ball again and spun out of a Sam Hubbard tackle.
No, he wasn't doing it against the ones, but his quickness and agility is evident. He's not just some fast guy, however, because just like he did in the spring, he was running between the tackles again. Obviously there's no hitting yet, but they have never been afraid to run him up the middle.
If you needed reminding that he is still a freshman, during one portion of the seven-on-sevens that featured the tailback splitting out wide, Samuel could be seen asking a teammate what the play was. When Meyer saw this, he yelled across the field at Samuel, "Quit asking for the play! That's what meetings are for!"
Things will change throughout camp, but for today, this is what the depth chart on offense looked like for the Buckeyes:
QB - Braxton Miller / Cardale Jones / J.T. Barrett / Stephen Collier
RB - Ezekiel Elliott / Rod Smith / Curtis Samuel / Bri'onte Dunn
WR - Evan Spencer / Michael Thomas / Noah Brown / Jeff Greene
WR - Devin Smith / Corey Smith / James Clark / Terry McLaurin
HB - Dontre Wilson / Jalin Marshall / Parris Campbell
TE - Jeff Heuerman / Nick Vannett / Marcus Baugh
Rod Smith did get some snaps with the ones. Urban Meyer said Smith had a fantastic practice on Tuesday. Warren Ball was out with a boot on his right foot, which Meyer said is a muscle issue and he should be back in a week. Both Bri'onte Dunn and Curtis Samuel got snaps with the twos.
The receivers moved around. Corey Smith got some time with the ones, as did Michael Thomas. Noah Brown may have had the catch of the day with a leaping grab deep down the sideline from J.T. Barrett. Brown was strictly an outside receiver today.