Spring Practice Insider: Offense Tops Defense In Scrimmage
By Tony Gerdeman
The Buckeyes were back on the practice field Saturday morning, but did so on the hallowed plastic grass of Ohio Stadium.
The morning was basically broken up into three sessions, with the first
being the standard stretching, practicing and repping; the second
session was a shortened kick scrimmage; and the final session of the
day was actual scrimmaging.
The scrimmage was won by the offense 56-45. Despite the score, the
offense only came up with three touchdowns. The first came on the first
series of the day as Joe Bauserman, who was the "starting" quarterback,
found Devier Posey over the middle and Posey then took it the rest of
the way into the corner of the endzone for a 33-yard touchdown.
The second touchdown on the day was also Posey's, as Taylor Graham--who
was the second quarterback to see action in the scrimmage--found the
rising senior on an out route from eight yards out. It was a great
catch and Posey was able to keep both feet in bounds as Dominic Clarke
was all over him.
Braxton Millers dives in for the score while extending the ball over the goal line with both hands..
The third touchdown of the day came on the very next series as freshman
Braxton Miller escaped pressure from defensive end J.T. Moore and
somehow jittered his way towards the endzone, diving across the goal
line with the ball extended with both hands for effect. Miller finished 3-3 on the drive with four carries for
20 yards--though one of those carries was actually a sack by walk-on
defensive end Stewart Smith.
Illustration by John Porentas
(Editor's Note: Since photos were not allowed, this is the best we can do to show you this great play.)
The offense did most of their damage later in the scrimmage when they went four and five wide and threw on every down.
Prior to that, they actually ran the ball pretty well with
five different running backs. Boom Herron got the first series, then
Jaamal Berry got the second. Jordan Hall followed him, then gave way to
Carlos Hyde. Redshirt freshman Rod Smith was the fifth tailback on the
day, and displayed the skill that has been talked about since last
Smith had an impressive 11-yard run that saw him dodge a defender in
the backfield, take the ball out wide and get to the edge with his
speed before lowering his helmet and delivering a blow to a defender on
the sideline. It was an encouraging glimpse at the potential that Smith
possesses. The other thing to like is that he generally picks up an
extra yard or two as he's being tackled.
The most impressive running back on the day, however, was Jaamal Berry.
He displayed the quickness that everybody saw in limited opportunities
last year, and never wasted time in getting forward. He also always
delivered a blow when the situation presented itself.
The unofficial rushing stats for the tailbacks look like this:
Joe Bauserman was the first quarterback on the day, and
finished unofficially 4-5 for 66 yards, with a touchdown and an
interception to linebacker Dorian Bell. He looked comfortable
throughout, and stayed in the pocket looking for receivers.
Taylor Graham was the second quarterback in, and he was impressive. He
only finished (unofficially) 7-15 for 61 yards, but had about four
drops. When the offense went four and five wide, he looked his most
Kenny Guiton was the third quarterback. He finished 7-15 for 48 yards,
but was sacked a few times and also fumbled once. After the way he
looked earlier in the week, it was disappointing to see him struggle
Braxton Miller was the fourth quarterback in the game, and went 4-6 for
43 yards. He completed his last three passes on his touchdown drive and
looked confident in what he was doing. It probably didn't hurt that
Terrelle Pryor was standing about twelve yards behind him on the field
when Miller was out there. After each play Pryor was in Miller's ear
talking about the last play and the one coming in.
The Best Player on the Field
Right now, that's Devier Posey. He had a drop today, but that was
because he was in the process of catching an eight-yard pass and trying
to turn it up on a third and 20.
Other than that drop, he has pretty much caught everything we've seen
thrown to him this spring. And he's making moves as soon as he catches
the ball. On the day, he finished with five catches for 83 yards.
He was clearly primed to have a 1,000-yard season, but will now have to
do it in eight or nine games instead of thirteen or fourteen.
The players were in pads and everybody was live, which always leads to
big hits. Some of the biggest of the day came from backup safety Jamie
Wood, who has a history of such brutish behavior.
The most notable hit from Wood came when he met up with 6'0" 238-pound
Carlos Hyde, stopping Hyde for a four-yard gain. The hit brought
various hoots and whoops from the defensive side of the field.
Etienne Sabino whacks TY Williams
Middle linebacker Etienne Sabino had a hit in coverage on receiver T.Y.
Williams that didn't look all that bad, but he caught Williams
somewhere around the ribs or breadbasket and knocked the wind out of
him. Williams was down on knee for a while before finally walking off.
Illustration by Tony Gerdeman
(Editor's Note: Like the Braxton Miller play, we wanted to put in a picture here, but weren't allowed to take any. You're going to have to make do with this instead.)
The defenders were happy the quarterbacks were live for a change, as
opposed to years past when Terrelle Pryor was off limits. Talking after
the practice, however, Nathan Williams said he would sack Pryor even
though he wasn't supposed to because Pryor needed it.
The first unit on the offensive line during the scrimmage looked like this:
LT - Mike Adams
LG - Jack Mewhort
C - Mike Brewster
RG - Corey Linsley
RT - J.B. Shugarts
Marcus Hall and Andrew Norwell, who have both frequently been in the
mix with the first team showed up on the second team with Hall at left
tackle and Norwell at left guard. There was so much mixing and matching
on the day, however, that drawing any conclusions from this lineup
today wouldn't be overly valuable.
Still, it's good to see that there is enough quality depth right now
that Hall and Norwell were on the outside looking in for a bit. Now the
Buckeyes just need to work on the quantity depth.
The first unit defensive line was such:
DE - John Simon
DT - Garrett Goebel
DT - John Hankins
DE - Nathan Williams
But as is usual for an Ohio State defensive line, there was rotation
all over the place. Adam Bellamy (who had a sack and forced fumble on
Guiton), Solomon Thomas, Evan Blankenship and J.T. Moore also got time
with the first team.
Melvin Fellows was lined up inside the Leo on the second unit and
provided a nice pass rush a few times, continuing the disruption that
we've already seen this spring.
Freshman Joel Hale was the strongside defensive end for the second
unit, and was also providing pressure. He was stout against the run as
well--he was the only defender on the day to stop Jaamal Berry at the
line of scrimmage. It continues to be clear that Hale is going to play
The Back Seven at the Forefront
Replacing Brian Rolle and Ross Homan is not going to be easy, even if
Etienne Sabino and Andrew Sweat end up making it look that way.
The Buckeyes didn't seem to miss a beat when Sweat was in for Homan at
the will linebacker last season, and most expect that to continue this
year. The unknown, however, was how Sabino would replace Rolle--or even
if he would be the guy. But he sure looks the part--all 6'3" 248 pounds
of him. More importantly though, is that he's also playing like it.
Etienne Sabino played like his hair was on fire in the scrimmage.
Sabino had several solid hits, but the key was that he wrapped his arms
around those hits and turned them into solid tackles. He was also in
the backfield very quickly. Basically, entering his fourth year in the
program, the redshirt junior is finally looking like everybody was
hoping he'd look from day one. You could even say that he looked like
he was playing with his hair on fire.
Illustration by John Porentas
(Editor's Note: You guessed it. No pix allowed, but
you should have seen him!)
Sabino mentioned after practice that he learned a lot by watching and
redshirting last year. He says he feels more comfortable than he ever
has. Now he just needs to show it during the actual games.
Walk-on Tony Jackson was the Sam linebacker with the first unit, and Chad Hagan was the Sam with the second unit.
Storm Klein was the second middle linebacker and Dorian Bell was the
second will. Right now, the coaches want the linebackers to be able to
play all three spots, so when Sweat moved to middle linebacker a bit,
Sabino slid over to Sam and Bell moved to up first-team Will.
But the fact that Klein or Bell aren't getting many (if any) looks at
the open Sam spot tells you how much the staff plans on using Tyler
Moeller and Christian Bryant at the star position this coming season.
Bradley Roby was working with the first unit at cornerback today,
alongside Travis Howard, who continues to show people that he's going
to be in for a big year in 2011. Dominic Clarke joined Dionte Allen
with the second unit.
With C.J. Barnett still being held back a bit, Zach Domicone joined
Orhian Johnson on the first unit. Nate Ebner and Jamie Wood were the
Kick Scrimmage Notes
Drew Basil is clearly the number one place-kicker, and will also handle
the kickoffs. Ben Buchanan will again be the punter, and he had a very
good day today.
Basil finished 8-10 kicking field goals on the day with a long of 50
yards. His two misses were a 50-yarder that went wide left, and then a
39-yarder that was slightly blocked by Dominic Clarke.
Drew Basil bounced one over off the crossbar.
Perhaps the kick of the day was a 48-yarder from Basil that bounced off
the crossbar and went through the goal posts, tying the scrimmage at
Illustration by Tony Gerdeman
(Editor's Note: Man, this was really photogeneic. Too bad we had to show it to you like this.)
But the highlight of the kick scrimmage was a 73-yard punt from
Buchanan backed up in his endzone. The ball sailed over Devier Posey's
head and was downed at the 25-yard line.
Backup punter Derek Erwin had four punts blocked on the day. Most of them coming while backed up in the endzone.
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