Day One Event

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Last updated: 03/05/2014 8:34 AM
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Football
Spring Football:
The Day-One Event
By John Porentas

The Buckeyes have had one spring practice. It was in shorts, no pads, and did not involve contact, which means very little actual football was played. Yet here you are, reading this in the hopes of finding out something about the Buckeyes that may have somehow escaped you.

Yes, I'm talking to you, and you know I'm right. You're hoping this will bring you some ray of hope or reason for optimism for the 2014 season.

The realist in you knows that there just isn't enough data yet, that one pseudo-practice just isn't enough, but you still are hoping. OK, I'll give it a whirl, but you have to promise one thing. You have to remember that this was your idea, not mine, because I don't think you can know much after one day.

That's a problem really, particularly since I'm not the world's best practice observer to begin with. I'll get the big picture, maybe better than some others will, but I'm not going to be able to tell you who the third string left guard is, and I know there are those of you out there who want to know that. I'm just not motivated to make the effort to get that kind of detail right now for a couple of reasons.

For one, it really doesn't matter, because spring is a time for mixing and matching and experimentation to a large extent, so what you see on day one could be totally different on day two. It's just the way it's always been with spring ball, and knowing that makes it kind of hard to put much effort into collecting details that could very well change by the next practice..

For two, attending a spring practice probably isn't how you envision it. Reporters and photographers are confined to one sideline (the north one in the WHAC) and are also required to stay on the west end of the field. There are orange cones set up at the 30-yard line which can't be passed, meaning that things at the east end must be observed from no closer that 60 or 70 yards away. The truth is, you can't really see much from field level at that distance, so getting a lot of details is difficult and mistakes can easily be made. The OSU offense did much of it's practicing at that end of the field, so getting details on the offense was tough.

Things were even tougher for photographers. They were allowed to photograph the first few five-minute periods, then everyone had to put away their cameras when the interesting stuff started. It makes it tough to get good pictures, but our guys did the best they could.

A very wise colleague (who will go unnamed) said to me yesterday that the only thing to cover in sports that is worse than covering track is field, and the only thing worse than covering field is covering spring football. On the surface that sounds like a case of uber-cynicism, but the truth is that all the reports being ground out and presented all over the internet today have a very real potential of being meaningless in 48 hours, yet here we are you and I, me writing and you reading

Now that all the disclaimers are made, here's what I saw in my three hours at the WHAC yesterday.

1) There is going to be really serious competition at the receiver spots. I was very, very impressed with Corey Smith, Jeff Greene and Michael Thomas. They looked like play makers out there. I know, I know, it's just one practice, and I agree that is not enough, but that's what it looked like at least yesterday.

2) DB Gareon Conley was impressive. He was always around the ball. He made some plays, but even when he didn't make the play, at least he was there and making it tough for the receiver. I know, I know, it's just one practice, and I agree that is not enough, but that's what it looked like at least yesterday.

3) Gerd called it in his position forecasts. Darron Lee looks like he is currently with the first team defense as a linebacker. I saw him standing next to Trey Johnson and to my eye Lee looks bigger. OSU lists Lee at 6-1, 225. Meyer says he is a legit 4.5 - 4.4 guy. I know, I know, it's just one practice, and I agree that is not enough, but that's what it looked like at least yesterday.

4) The athleticism of Johnnie Dixon and Curtis Samuel is apparent on the football field. Even when surrounded by great athletes they stand out for quickness and the ability to cut and change directions. I know, I know, it's just one practice, and I agree that is not enough, but that's what it looked like at least yesterday.

5) Jeff Greene caught a number of balls and looked good doing it. He looks like a tight end but plays like a WR. I know, I know, it's just one practice, and I agree that is not enough, but that's what it looked like at least yesterday.

6) Dontre Wilson had a good day catching the ball, but appeared to have rolled an ankle and was favoring it some. I know, I know, it's just one practice, and I agree that is not enough, but that's what it looked like at least yesterday.

7) You could see why everyone was excited about Jalin Marshall. Had a good day catching the ball and was impressive after the catch. Meyer called him "a completely different football player from last year." I know, I know, it's just one practice, and I agree that is not enough, but that's what it looked like at least yesterday.

8) Probably the biggest thing we saw was Darren Lee running with the first team linebackers. He has come from out of nowhere to be a factor in repairing a unit on the defense that is in need of repair. For the most part, he looked like he knew what the was doing. I know, I know, it's just one practice, and I agree that is not enough, but that's what it looked like at least yesterday.

Those are kind of the big strokes of what we saw yesterday. It may not be the detail you were hoping for, but if anybody tries to tell you they got a whole lot more out of yesterday's practice that you can really hang your hat on they may be pulling your leg just a little. After all, it's spring ball, and it's just one day.

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