Impressions of Bryson Shaw and Craig Young
If a high school recruit signs a letter of intent with Ohio State, that is a pretty good indication that they can play football at a high level.
Incoming freshmen Bryson Shaw and Craig Young were two of OSU’s lowest-rated recruits, but their coaches have as much anticipation for them as they do the 5-star recruits.
Young could end up in a couple of different spots on the defense. At 6-foot-4 and 200-plus pounds, he looks like a lot of football players. His speed (10.7 100m) and athleticism (700 yards receiving last year) set him apart, however.
“Boy, he’s a great athlete,” co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. “I was watching him run the other day, wow he’s a great athlete.”
As to where he’ll be playing this season, he will likely start out at linebacker, but that can always change.
“A lot of times with a young guy it all depends on how mature he is in picking things up,” Mattison said. “He would be an example of right now. He’s got a lot of athleticism that you might put him in for one or two defenses if you could do that. Or one or two packages where you could get him to do some things that use his skill level.”
Meanwhile, co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley watched Shaw play lacrosse on national television a couple of weeks ago and continues to be impressed by both him and Young.
“Very athletic. Fast. Tough. Love football,” he said. “Look what Bryson just did in that lacrosse game. If you guys watched him move around, how athletic he was. He looked pretty good on TV. I watched his games and was excited for him. Great competitor.
“I think they’re two really good kids, so I’m excited. I can’t really tell you I’ve seen a whole lot of them playing football other than the film I watched when I got here since they were committed and signed. But I watched them work out and they’re talented guys. Very talented.”
Views From Jeremy Ruckert
Sophomore tight end Jeremy Ruckert spent some time this spring as a second tight end in multiple formations for the Buckeyes.
As the second tight end, he is freed up to run cleaner routes or block out in space. It is much different than lining up next to the offensive tackle and helping pass block. As Kevin Wilson said, a flex tight end is essentially just a big H-back.
Ruckert, who didn’t play tight end until last year as a freshman for Ohio State, is now getting back to his roots as a route runner. Being asked to line up tight and also flex out showcases his versatility because the two responsibilities are quite different.
“It’s a different position, obviously, because I’m not really attached to the ball or looking at the defensive technique and everything about that, so I’m just looking at either the coverage or something like that,” he said.
“I’m just trying to go play, so whatever they want me to do, I’ll just go play. We’ve got a lot of depth at tight end, so that allows me to do that. I’m learning from the older guys at H too, KJ (Hill), I’m learning a lot from watching him, and CJ (Saunders) too. It’s definitely something I’m learning and something I’m willing to do. Anything to help the team.”
Like Wind In the Air
When coaches and reporters are talking in the spring or during fall camp, there is only so many different questions that can be asked and answered. Invariably, speculative “what if” questions will be asked and some coaches may entertain them, but most won’t.
Coaches generally don’t like to get into speculation because it does them no good. Some will try to be polite and answer without really answering. Ohio State quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich, however, doesn’t see the need.
When asked how confident he was that quarterback Justin Fields would be ready for the season, he didn’t bother with any fluff.
“I don’t get into the world of predicting or how confident am I,” he said. “I do my job, take this day’s schedule, try to plan ahead and be organized and prepare our players the best we can. That’s the world I try to stay in.”
Similarly, when asked what he would have said if someone had told him ahead of time about the quarterback turnover he would experience in his short time at Ohio State, he dismissed the premise, choosing to remain focused on his actual job.
“That’s a speculative, gossip-type question, like what-ifs. I just try to do my job,” he said. “I’m trying to coach these quarterbacks to the best of my ability, give them as much information as possible. The rest of the stuff is a little bit of fluff for the bloggers out there. I don’t get into that. There’s a lot of things out of my control. For me to speak on those type of things is kind of like wind in the air.”