Football

Ohio State Football Notebook: ‘We’re in a slow process, but we’re pushing him’

Zach Harrison Ohio State Defensive End Buckeyes

Zach Harrison Working on Technique

For a freshman defensive end who should still be in high school, Zach Harrison is doing pretty well.

Heck, after the three sacks he had in practice on Friday, he may be doing pretty well for a third-year sophomore.

Harrison possesses all of the physical attributes a coach could want, but a player who only relies on his athleticism is working at half capacity.

Reaching the full capacity of his abilities is going to be a process, as it is with every player.

How long that process takes for Zach Harrison, however, might be a bit different than most players.

“He’s doing really well,” OSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson said of Harrison. “I’m really pleased with him. It’s going really well. We’re in a slow process, but we’re pushing him. What we’re really trying to make sure is that his technique is really sound before we can push him more. Once he can master the technique and how to play fast, everything is there. He’s got the talent, now he just has to learn how to play fast.”

Jeremy Ruckert Understands How Things Work Around Here

The lack of catches for tight ends at Ohio State has been a topic just about every year since the forward pass was invented.

Jim Tressel used to respond to questions about the topic by saying that it’s not going to be easy to find catches for the tight ends when his quarterback has players like Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez, Roy Hall, Brian Hartline, and Brian Robiskie to throw to.

No, those six never saw time on the same field together, but it does give you an idea of why the available options haven’t gone the tight ends’ way.

Things didn’t get much easier under Urban Meyer for the tight ends, as Devin Smith, Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall, Curtis Samuel, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon, and more commanded the attention of their respective quarterbacks.

Ohio State sophomore tight end Jeremy Ruckert understands the pecking order and how things have worked in the past. He also knows that with such a deep group of tight ends this season, that pecking order could end up getting shuffled a bit.

“It doesn’t really surprise me because when you think about Ohio State, they put their best players in situations to make the best plays,” he said. “Whoever is the best player is going to get the ball. That’s how Coach [Ryan] Day is, that’s how Coach [Kevin] Wilson is, so us coming in and having a great winter was huge. Our group is really deep, so I think it’s very possible it could happen this year and we’ll keep fighting for it.”

Ryan Day Needs to See More From His Quarterbacks

A week ago or so, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day was asked if there had been any separation between quarterbacks Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin. He said they were just getting ready to start counting up things like completion percentage to see if either player was ahead of the other by a noticeable margin.

Speaking with reporters following an open practice on Friday, he was asked if the data mining was complete and if he now believed he had any separation between his two quarterbacks.

“Not really,” Day said. “Looking at it, the completion percentage is pretty close right now with those guys. We’ve been playing a little more zone coverage, so the completion percentage has been on par with what Dwayne was last spring. So we want to keep working on that towards the last week here.

“I think we should be a little higher than we were last spring just because of the style of defense we’re going against. But today was an opportunity to move the ball up and down the field a little bit more and play more situational stuff, so I thought the guys competed really well and they both did a good job.”

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