COLUMBUS – Ryan Day met with reporters today to update OSU’s progress during spring practice. He also discussed the format of the spring game.
Day was asked to highlight any young players who might be standing out this spring but declined to do so on the basis that he might leave someone out and that would not be fair. He did say that a lot of guys were getting better across the board and that he is pleased with the overall progress being made.
Several freshmen lost their black stripes last week including freshman wide receiver Marvin Harrison and running back TreyVon Henderson. Day said that Harrison has exhibited great discipline and great attention to detail in his route running. Beyond that, they is always in the Woody Hayes facility watching film and trying to get better and makes plays on the practice field. It would not be a surprise to see Henderson getting snaps this year as a true freshman, particularly in the red zone where big bodies are an assett. Harrison fits that description and coupled with his route-running precision he could be a real assett in the red zone.
At running back Henderson has exhibited a tremendous work ethic to go along with his given talent. He has an attitude to succeed but is still lacking in experience especially since he did not play football in his high school senior year. Despite the prolonged absence from the game he has shown the coaches enough to the loss of his black stripe.
Starting right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere was not at practice today due to an injury that Day described as a “short term” situation. In his absence Dawand Jones was lined up at the right tackle position. Day said not to read too much into that. Jones can play that spot, but there are other players (such as Parris Johnson) who can man that position also. During spring ball however the Buckeyes like to mix and match different players at different positions to build versatility along the offensive line.
“Versatility has huge value for us,” said Day.
Johnson is currently working at right guard and doing very well at that position.
Day was asked if young players sometime have unrealistic expectations for playing time. Day very much embraced that question explaining that young players should want to play, but their main focus should be on developing. That is tough for them sometime, especially with outside pressure from friends, fans, media, and family members wanting to know when they will play. Day said that if a player is at Ohio State you can assume he is talented. What that player has to do now is enhance that talent with skill and discipline. In other words, he has to develop.
The spring game is this saturday and Day says the format of the game is still under consideration. The coaching staff has not yet decided if there will be tackling to the ground or if the contact will be limited to “thud” contact. It is likely that the team will be split up into Scarlet and Gray squads rather than playing ones on ones or twos on twos or any other depth chart combination. It is also likely that players high on the depth chart will not play in the second half.