Football

Some Positions Are Settling for Ohio State, Others Are Not

 

A depth chart during spring camp for the Ohio State football team is only partially written in ink. The rest is filled in with pencil, hopes, and whispers.

With just two practices remaining this spring, there isn’t much more that the Buckeye coaches are going to see. What they have seen to this point is definitely shedding some light, however.

The competition at quarterback is still ongoing, and there are still things to work out at linebacker and safety. One spot that has been wrapped up this spring, however, is right tackle.

“[Thayer Munford] has earned a starting spot, so he’s had a great spring. He’s a great kid,” Urban Meyer said on Wednesday. Munford will still have to keep the job once Branden Bowen returns this summer, but Meyer and his coaching staff saw what they wanted to from the true sophomore offensive lineman.

Munford hasn’t been the only lineman to step up this spring. The Buckeyes are looking for a center and, as always, they’re also looking for depth. They are finding both.

“I think Malcolm Pridgeon is starting to earn a little playing time here,” Meyer said. “So the offensive line, we still don’t know how that’s going to shake out. Brady Taylor has had a very good spring.”

Taylor and Pridgeon are both fifth-year seniors, so if they are ever going to emerge, this is the time to do so. Pridgeon has been playing with the ones at left guard this spring while Michael Jordan is out following labrum surgery. He has made the most of his opportunities and is proving to his coaches that they can call on him when needed.

A position that has not had much said about it this spring has been tight end. The assumption was that fourth-year junior Rashod Berry would move into the starting role after being Marcus Baugh’s backup last season. Also competing for the spot is redshirt sophomore Luke Farrell. Meyer has provided an update here as well.

“Luke Farrell has kind of advanced in front of the other guys, but we’re still trying to finalize that,” he said.

Meyer said several times last season that Berry was held back by his lack of consistency. Earlier this spring, Meyer mentioned that Farrell had graded out as a champion in one of the Friday scrimmages. It would appear that Farrell has been the more consistent option so far.

On the defensive side of the ball, Meyer has been concerned since the winter about finding a safety to play alongside Jordan Fuller. That concern still exists with spring camp almost over.

Sophomore Isaiah Pryor ended the 2017 season believing that he would be competing to take over for Damon Webb at the field safety spot, but this spring Fuller moved there instead, vacating his boundary safety position. Now Pryor, Wint, and White are all taking reps vying for the starting boundary safety job.

“The field safety, Jordan Fuller is pretty secured on one,” Meyer said. “He played well last year and he’s been one of our best players in the spring. The other safety spot, between Isaiah, Jahsen Wint, and Brendon White, those are three names involved in that one. You also have Josh Proctor coming in and Malik Hooker’s brother, Marcus Hooker.”

Not all question marks bring concerns, however.

The Ohio State defensive line has dealt with injuries this spring, as well as limited reps for established players. Even though Meyer hasn’t seen them yet at full strength, he believes they will be a strength for the team this season, and he expects the depth that they want will eventually be there.

“I think we will. We don’t have it yet,” he said. “We have Taron Vincent coming in. Antwuan Jackson has been very limited. He had surgery on his foot about a month ago. He has not been where we want him. We have had some guys missing practice.

“Dre’Mont Jones has been elite. Even better than he was last year. BB Landers has done some very good things. Davon Hamilton has really grown up. So we are getting some depth. I think it will be a strength once we have everybody full speed by fall.”