The-Ozone Fall Practice Insider: The Calm Before the Storm

Ohio State Football Practice 8.5.17

Saturday marked the first official scrimmage of fall camp for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and while the media was only permitted to watch three periods of warmups, there was an increased energy from the coaches on the day.

While the team was stretching, both Zach Smith and Kevin Wilson were talking to Malcolm Pridgeon, who is battling with Matt Burrell and others for the starting spot at right guard. Smith could be heard telling Pridgeon “It’s gonna be a good day for Malcolm.” It appeared that both Burrell and Pridgeon were sharing preparation with the first unit.

Smith was also walking up and down his row of receivers telling his players to visualize today’s performance. He was also giving them their stats for a scrimmage that was still about an hour away. “Eight catches, 159 yards, 7-for-7 in opportunities,” he told sophomore receiver Austin Mack.

The Injury Front

Running back Mike Weber is still not practicing. He was jogging up and down the sideline and also working in the sand pit. He continues to be held back by a minor hamstring issue. Tight end Marcus Baugh was also still out as he is dealing with a relatively minor foot issue. Safety Jordan Fuller was also in the sand pit. We will have an update on him later, as we will speak with the safeties following practice.

Sporting limited orange jerseys were linebackers Baron Browning, Malik Harrison, and Keandre Jones. Offensive lineman Gavin Cupp was also in orange. These players still participate in drills, but not contact. Offensive lineman Joshua Alabi was also jogging on the side and watching drills.

Have That Moment

Being that today is when the depth chart really begins to take shape, Urban Meyer spoke with the team prior to sending them to their various unit groups. We couldn’t hear much, but what we could hear revolved around the players taking advantage of what today meant. “Have that moment,” Meyer could be heard telling his players.

The Many Movements of Demario McCall

Sophomore running back Demario McCall was expected to move to H-back in the spring, but it never happened. Running backs coach Tony Alford didn’t really talk about it being a possibility, but the expectations persisted. Today, McCall was working with both the running backs and H-backs.

Meyer said in Chicago that McCall would be moved around and they will put him wherever he best helps this offense. I have said in the past that if McCall moves to H-back, it will also be because of J.K. Dobbins coming in and showing he’s ready to play. With Dobbins getting his black stripe removed, it’s not a surprise to see McCall getting looks at H-back now.

As to the permanence of the move, who is to say. Just expect to see McCall all over the place because he has the skill set to take advantage of a large number of defenders.

How Deep is Too Deep?

While Larry Johnson was working with most of his defensive linemen, Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper, and Chase Young were off working with the punt teams. When they finally arrived to do some drills, they got into line but Johnson left Cooper and Bosa hanging because he didn’t see them join the group.

In other words, you know you’re pretty deep on the defensive line when you forget about a pair of former 5-star defensive ends waiting in their stances, ready to take their respective reps.

Some Practice Clips

One Response

  1. I know it sounds crazy to some but you can be too deep and it can hurt you. It takes a velvet glove to handle the locker room implications of this because murmurs can become gripes that can become resentment which can cause dissension. I can see this possibility at DE, at QB and possibly at RB right now.

    Ironically, we seem to have a similar problem at WR except it is a logjam of mediocrity as opposed to playmaking. WR is a position that requires timing, familiarity and confidence. We seem to get none of these and every receiver seems to be looking over their shoulder. I blame Smith for this. It’s like he can’t make a decision between pie and cake so he orders both. Not a good look for a coach. This is a pivotal year for him.

    I look for OSU to be in the Championship game this year and winning solves alot of these problems, but if we slip look for some problems to surface. Then we’ll see how Urby handles it. My solution: just win, baby!

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