COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State football had its second day of fall camp Friday in preparation for the 2022 season.
The Buckeyes’ second practice gave a glimpse of what the starting lineup could look like when Notre Dame arrives in Columbus on Sept. 3. This preview contains the answer to a question that pops up at every OSU fall camp: Coaching staff toward experienced guys or young, talented players who might have the higher cap?
Here’s everything we saw defending on Matchday 2:
• For the most part, Ohio State’s starting 11 matched what we discussed on our “Mark it Down Monday” podcast in the back seven. But the first four have some surprises in store:
Defensive line: Jack Sawyer, Ty Hamilton, Tyleik Williams and JT Tuimoloau
• Sawyer and Tuimoloau are five-star rookies entering their second year with all the hype and potential in the world to be Ohio State’s next big rushers. Zach Harrison and Tyler Friday followed while two guys – with Javontae Jean-Baptiste – also expected to be contributors. But putting the two youngest on the pitch means both could be ready to take the next step in their development. More importantly, perhaps Larry Johnson is ready to push them to the fore to do so.
• Johnson will spin the guys from the inside, but starting Hamilton and Williams on Jeron Cage and Taron Vincent means as much as starting Sawyer and Tuimoloau on the edge. They mixed and matched the guys on drills with Mike Hall and Jaden McKenzie also in the mix.
• Caden Curry was the only true freshman who seemed to get reps with any group outside of the two, which isn’t surprising considering he’s the only one who signed up early. He, Sawyer, Kenyatta Jackson and Omari Abor also had stand-up moments.
Linebacker: Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg
• While the starting linebackers aren’t surprising, the way they operated during practice may have opened the door for Jim Knowles to prioritize. The linebackers were split into two groups: the Wills (Chambers, Chip Trayanum and CJ Hicks) and everyone else.
• The Will group did drills that were geared towards a player preparing to be more of a playmaker on Saturdays. The drills required them to react quickly, play in space and attack a ball carrier.
• The other group consisted of the Mikes (Tommy Eichenberg, Cody Simon and Gabe Powers) and Sams (Teradja Mitchell, Gaoteote and Reid Carrico), spending most of their time doing more traditional linebacker drills.
Cornerback: Denzel Burke and Cameron Brown
• As the two began to enter the court, JK Johnson shared a side with Brown while Jordan Hancock shared a side with Burke. IF Ohio State ends up with a four-man rotation, this is what it will look like in terms of who rotates with whom.
• In drills, Burke went first, followed by Brown, Hancock, Johnson, Jyaire Brown, Ryan Turner and kicker/cornerback Jake Seibert.
Security: Ronnie Hickman, Josh Proctor and Tanner McCalister.
• Yesterday’s security groups held firm in terms of who was with whom and in what order. But the positional group functioned much like the linebackers when they split. The villains (Proctor, Kourt Williams, Jaylen Johnson and Sonny Styles) went one way while everyone else went another.
• The fitters (Hickman, Lathan Ransom, Kye Stokes and Jantzen Dunn) were joined by Nickels (McCalister and Cameron Martinez) performing traditional safety drills. The bandits also did these exercises, but also implemented unique game elements.
• Whether at linebacker or safety, a similar concept seemed to be in play for how to classify groups within positions: Point guards versus Do Your Job guys.
The point guard guys (Will and Bandit) always do things that require them to be in that mindset. Whereas the Do Your Job guys function more like quarterbacks for their units.
• It’s also what it looks like for a coach who spent the last four years of his Big 12 career playing against happy offenses joining the Big Ten. This approach – in addition to having periods dedicated to the looks of three linebackers – prepares you for when it is time to face a heavy team like Wisconsin or a team that relies on its tight ends in the passing game. like Our Lady.
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