Two-Minute Drill: Post-Practice Updates from Thursday
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State football team has just about reached the halfway point of spring football with their seventh of 15 practices Thursday afternoon.
Following the hard-hitting session, we spoke with defensive line coach Larry Johnson, receivers coach Zach Smith and a few of their assorted players.
Zach Smith Updates
+ Smith said that he is excited about Dontre Wilson at the H-back and thinks that as things go along his ability will allow the offense to get more versatile with that position.
+ Smith said that he doesn't think the loss of Braxton Miller will hinder his receivers because they have their own things to work on.
+ He said it's his expectation, as well as the group's mentality, that they will be the best receiver group in the country. He said they need to remain consistent and make plays when they present themselves.
+ Smith said he's moving Devin Smith around to bring some adversity and create some difficult situations because Smith is "great when things are going great", but they need him to be great when things aren't going well also.
+ Smith said Dontre Wilson is performing at the highest level of his receivers. Wilson is the only receiver in the group that he would be okay with playing a game today. He said that Wilson is finally doing things that he wants his wideouts to do. He has bought in completely to the culture and the position.
+ Smith said the offense will make some new strides and there will be some natural enhancements, but if it's not broke, don't fix it.
+ Smith told me that incoming freshman Parris Campbell, who played running back in high school, will start out at receiver.
+ Smith said that he is really excited about the receiver group. They're not as deep as he'd like, which is always the case for spring.
+ He said freshman receiver Johnnie Dixon has been impressive. He called him a grown man with the way he is handling both his on the field and off the field stuff.
+ Smith said his receivers are moving around to different positions, but Michael Thomas has been the "X" for most of the spring.
Larry Johnson Updates
+ Johnson said his style is different than most because he's a teacher first. He is teaching his guys to get up field and be a factor in the passing game.
+ Johnson wants to play 8-9 defensive linemen in his rotation this season, but first that has to happen in practice.
+ He said it's not about X's and O's or a style, it's about playing hard and that's what this defense is going to do.
+ Johnson said that Adolphus Washington has had a very good spring and brings a pass rush to the interior.
+ He said the game has changed with a lot of spread and hurry up, so he wants to rotate as much as possible because of that. He needs guys playing as hard as they can on every snap, that's how you disrupt an offense. He said a defensive lineman can't play full speed at 70 snaps.
+ He said there is no first or second group because of the amount that he plans on rotating.
+ Johnson said he is building a home in Columbus "because it's home".
+ He said that Noah Spence is working very hard and doing great in the classroom. He is handling the adversity very well.
+ Johnson said that he doesn't necessarily have a top eight right now because he is mixing and matching with some situations. He said each guy will have a role.
+ He said Donovan Munger, Michael Hill, Tyquan Lewis and Tommy Schutt are all playing well right now. He said Lewis is weighing in at 257 or 260 right now. He said he had a great practice on Thursday.
+ Johnson said the key for Joey Bosa is that he doesn't stay the same. He said every time he steps on the field he has to be a better player because he is now a marked man.
+ He said Michael Bennett is a great leader. Guys listen to him right now when he talks, and that's what you want in a leader.
+ On Michael Bennett at nose tackle, he said he likes the quickness that he provides, which will help combat the spread offenses.
+ He said they are taking baby steps with Chris Carter. Teaching him how to play hard five plays here and seven plays there, etc.
Dontre Wilson Updates
+ Wilson said he is wearing #2 now because that's what he wore in high school and he couldn't have it last year because Jordan Hall and Rod Smith already had it. He told Urban Meyer that he feels like himself now that he's back in his old number.
+ He said he is now a pure receiver. He is up to 190 pounds now and has gotten stronger to help with blocking.
+ Wilson said he feels a lot better about his involvement in the offense. He said that the H-Back is the #3 most-prolific position in this offense behind the quarterback and running back.
+ He said he thinks the offense will be able to use the H-back all over the field more this year, including in the running game.
Devin Smith Updates
+ Smith said Corey Smith has gotten a lot better since last year, but needs to stay healthy. When he keeps his head right and stays into the game he's pretty good.
+ Smith said Johnnie Dixon and Jalin Marshall are ready to break out this season.
+ Smith said he has enjoyed his three years at Ohio State. He said he's made plays that people will remember forever, but inside he knows he still has more to give.
Joey Bosa Updates
+ Bosa said the difference between Larry Johnson and Mike Vrabel is attitude. Johnson is "more positive, I dare say. That's all I'm really gonna say about that."
+ Bosa said the defensive line will definitely be rotating more. He said there are ones, but you never know who will be in there the next series. He said they're no longer doing strong side or weak side, they are doing right and left end. Bosa is working on the left side now with Tyquan Lewis behind him.
+ Bosa said Larry Johnson is "super positive" and never tears them down.
+ He said right now the entire focus on the defense is just playing fast and worrying about mistakes later.
+ Bosa said the attention he has received after last year has been great, but he's still a freshman and his teammates still pick on him.
+ He said they didn't have enough defensive linemen to rotate as much as they'd like last year. He said they would get pretty tired at the end of games.
+ Bosa said they talk about getting back to being the Silver Bullets, but right now they're just focused on playing hard and competing against the offense.
Adolphus Washington Updates
+ Washington said that Larry Johnson is unique because he's always teaching and motivating, but "instead of using an angry approach to it, he uses more of a teaching approach."
+ He said he's "inside for good" at defensive tackle, which he admitted made him nervous when he first moved last year. He said he was nervous about the double teams. He said he's been doing very well against them this spring.
+ Washington said that Michael Bennett is the leader of the group, but when Bennett is having a rough day, he picks up the slack.
+ He said that when Noah Spence was first suspended, he would try to get Spence out of the house to get his mind off of it. He said Spence is over it now.
+ He said the DL is still in the building stage and they're still getting to know Larry Johnson and how he builds linemen.
+ Washington said he is 100% healthy right now.
Tommy Schutt Updates
+ He said Larry Johnson is pushing speed right now. He wants his defensive line going as hard as they can, and then rotating in and out so that they're always fresh and able to attack. Play 5 or 6 plays, and then come out and let somebody else do it.
+ Schutt said both Larry Johnson and Mike Vrabel are emotional, but Johnson is very encouraging and very positive.
+ Schutt said that Adolphus Washington brings versatility and mobility to the inside and said he expects him to make some plays this year.
+ He said he feels great right now following his foot injuries which limited him. He said he is 100% as well.
Michael Bennett Updates
+ Bennett said that Adolphus Washington is blowing through double teams right now. He said it takes a grittier mindset to play inside, and Washington has that now.
+ He said it's fair to expect this defensive line to be "very, very good" this year. He said there could be 9-10 guys who could start at any team in the country. He said redshirt freshmen Donovan Munger, Tyquan Lewis and Tracy Sprinkle have performed very well so far.
+ Bennett said there were games last year where he played 90 snaps, but Johnson wants them playing 40-50 snaps this year to keep them fresh. He said it will be nice not to be "as broken up" as he was at the end of last season.
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