Two-Minute Drill: Post-Practice Updates for Saturday
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes held their fifth practice of the spring, and it included a full-on scrimmage. The media was allowed in for the last 20 minutes or so of the scrimmage. Afterward we spoke with linebacker Joshua Perry and offensive linemen Antonio Underwood and Darryl Baldwin.
Also, Marcus Luttrell, the retired Navy SEAL and author and subject of the book and movie "Lone Survivor" spoke with the team following practice, reinforcing the idea of being a strong unit and helping each other out when things get tough.
+ Curtis Grant was still at #1 middle linebacker, which doesn't look to be changing. He made redzone tackles on the first two plays that I saw, and a third a few snaps later. A few plays after that he stuffed a runner (I think Warren Ball) inside the five-yard line for a three-yard loss. A couple of series later, Grant went down with a left leg injury, but got back up while the offense was trying to hurry. Luke Fickell then began yelling at him to "stay down if you're hurt!" A play or two after that Grant then stuffed Ezekiel Elliott up the middle.
+ Cornerback Doran Grant was out again today, and the first-team cornerbacks were Gareon Conley and Armani Reeves. Conley was tested frequently, while Reeves was hardly thrown at while we were watching.
+ Neither quarterback was terribly accurate downfield today, and Cardale Jones was frequently high and long. They were doing mostly redzone work while we were watching, so Jones almost appeared confined by the close quarters. Both Jones and Barrett had nice 15-yard runs or so, with Jones' run ending in a touchdown following a nice juke of defensive end Rashad Frazier. Barrett was "tackled" at the one-yard line.
+ Tailback Bri'onte Dunn was given four carries inside the 10-yard line and picked up a few yards with each carry. On third and goal from the one-yard line, Chris Carter stifled the entire middle of the offensive line and stopped the play before it could get started. Dunn was running with the ones during this series. On fourth down cornerback Eli Apple was penalized for taking a swing at receiver Devin Smith. Dunn then scored on the next play.
+ The defense won the scrimmage. They were leading 66-50 prior to the Dunn touchdown, but I have no idea of the final score.
+ There was a lot of rotating in with the first teams, but freshman middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan remained with the second team while we were watching. Camren Williams got a few snaps with the ones in place of Curtis Grant. Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith and Bri'onte Dunn were all getting snaps with the ones. Smith and Dunn also got snaps with the twos. Cardale Jones is still the #1 quarterback. Jacoby Boren and Billy Price rotated with the ones at center. The offensive depth chart was essentially unchanged, however. Tyquan Lewis and Steve Miller got some snaps with the ones at defensive end, and Miller had a great tackle for loss on a swing pass to Rod Smith. Donovan Munger and Tommy Schutt also got some snaps with the ones at defensive tackle. Receiver Johnnie Dixon was again with the ones, and injured veteran Evan Spencer was coaching him up after several plays.
+ H-back Dontre Wilson had some nice grabs over the middle for 10-15 yard gains early on, but the accuracy of the quarterbacks waned later.
+ Receiver Corey Smith was back healthy and playing. He was with the twos and the ones.
+ Joshua Perry cleared up some of the changes at linebacker. I asked him if they had indeed gone to a "field" and "boundary" designation with him and Darron Lee, which he confirmed. Perry is now the boundary (short side) linebacker, which they call the "Will" (Ryan Shazier's old spot) and Lee is the field (wide side) linebacker, or "Sam". He said the linebackers are allowed to be more aggressive right now. He also said there will be a nickel back added into the mix eventually, but they haven't put in any nickel or dime. He said that despite the fact that they are always in their base defense with three linebackers, they are able to hold up fairly well against OSU's spread attack. That's a credit to their understanding, but also to Darron Lee's ability to cover the slot.
+ Listening to Marcus Luttrell address the team he told them that not making a decision was worse than making a decision, which is something that the coaches have been preaching to their defense all spring long. He told them that the worst thing you can do is not make a decision and that "Fear is a helluva thing", and it will force you to make a decision whether you want to or not, so it's best to understand everything you're doing and have all of the information you could need to make the proper decision. He also talked to the team about being part of a pack, telling them "You have to embrace that animal, that pack mentality." He said that there is no room for disagreements in a cohesive unit and if there are issues between teammates, they need to talk it out. If that doesn't work, then they need to take it out back and settle it like men. He said the coaches probably didn't like him saying that, to which Urban Meyer grinned a bit and shook his head. He also talked to the team about finding your opponent's weakness and exploiting it.
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