COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes held a spirited practice Thursday afternoon, and afterward we got updates on the cornerbacks, kickers and tight ends from Kerry Coombs, Tim Hinton and assorted players.
Two-Minute Drill: Thursday's Post-Practice Updates
By Tony Gerdeman
+ Coombs said that the Buckeyes have taken every snap on defense this spring in press man coverage. Aggressive pass defense is a base concept this year, where as last year it was more of an adjustment. "We're playing a style of defense that is very appealing to me as a cornerbacks coach."
+ Doran Grant said that he thinks he played "average" last year, but Coombs rated him above average. He said his improvement has been "dramatic". He said Grant's NFL Combine numbers next year will be as impressive as anybody in the nation.
+ I asked Coombs if they were deeper at cornerback than last year. He said "Not yet," but that they will be because they have to be. The style of play will dictate that four guys will have to play.
Doran Grant return an interception vs Purdue.
+ Grant is the team's boundary cornerback, which means he has more responsibilities defensively. He is adjusting to them well and is having a very good spring. He said the simplicity of the defense right now has everybody flying to the ball.
Photo by Jim Davidson
+ Coombs said it has been great working with safeties coach Chris Ash, and again talked about the unit being much more cohesive, and communicating much better than they have in the past.
+ Coombs said that Armani Reeves is the hardest-working cornerback on the team, and nobody ever doubts his 4-6 seconds. When the Buckeyes go in nickel, Reeves slides down to nickel and Gareon Conley comes in at cornerback.
+ Coombs said Conley wasn't physically strong enough to play last year, but this year he is explosive. His length makes him a very good press corner.
+ Coombs said it has been great having Urban Meyer in the defensive meetings this spring. He said that Meyer asks questions with an offensive mind, and he also asks question as a motivator, wondering how he can make things better in that regard.
Tight End Updates
+ Hinton said it has been a very good spring for his group, even despite the loss of Jeff Heuerman to injury. He said that Heuerman won't lose much by not practicing, only conditioning.
+ Nick Vannett said that he has stepped up in Heuerman's absence, and Hinton agreed. Urban Meyer has praised Vannett several times this spring, and Hinton said that it has been warranted.
+ Both Hinton and Vennett raved about the abilities of redshirt freshman Marcus Baugh. Vannett said that Baugh had a rough start in his career, but all of the tight ends rallied around him and kept his spirits up.
+ Vannett said the offense is still trying to find its identity given the losses of guys like Carlos Hyde and Philly Brown. He said that Cardale Jones has really matured from a season ago.
+ Coombs said that punter Cameron Johnston is as talented as any punter in the nation, but is still learning the game.
+ He said that freshman kicker Sean Nuernberger is a little inconsistent at the moment and sometimes the pressure buckles him every now and again. They are throwing everything they can at him now so that he'll be ready for it this season. He said he hopes there are 5,000 students surrounding him at Saturday's open practice (for students), and he also hopes those students are yelling nasty things at him.
Photo by Jim Davidson
+ Coombs said that walk-on kicker Kyle Clinton is having a nice spring, but like Nuernberger, he is missing too many kicks.
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