COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a day off Sunday when the players spent time with their families and also had their team photo taken, the Ohio State Buckeyes resumed fall camp practices Monday morning at the all grass Coffey Road Fields, located directly west of Ohio Stadium. The practice was No. 15 this fall leading up to the 2017 season-opening football game Aug. 31 vs. Indiana at IU’s Memorial Stadium.
The team practiced for two hours under, at times, overcast skies and incredibly pleasant weather and other times in direct sunshine and heat. Afterward, head coach Urban Meyer met with the media in the team room at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Meyer opened by saying that its essentially a two-player battle between redshirt sophomore Joe Burrow and redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins for the back-up quarterback position behind senior J.T. Barrett. He also said true freshman Tate Martell is in the mix because he “gives us a weapon,” but that he is still getting a grasp on the offense.
Meyer’s updates to the assembled press and reporters also included:
What it will take to win the back-up quarterback position: “Consistency.”
Who’s playing right guard: “It’s not too early to tell, but you still have Malcolm [Pridgeon], you have Brandon Bowen we’re taking a look at right guard. He’s been playing pretty good. You still have Demetrius Knox and Matt Burrell.”
How fifth-year seniors benefit the team: “Yeah, you can’t put a price tag on that, and I saw that developing throughout the off-season and in the spring practice. It’s unusual. I don’t know if we’ve ever had that. You’d have to go back some years because we just don’t — usually don’t redshirt guys with the intent that they’ll be here in five years nowadays. I don’t know off the top of my head, I can’t remember who they are, but the ones I’m thinking of, they’re our best players.” (Note: Ohio State’s fifth-year seniors are QB J.T. Barrett, DE Tyquan Lewis, C Billy Price, LB Chris Worley, DT Michael Hill, TE Marcus Baugh and DT Tracy Sprinkle.)
J.T. Barrett’s advancement: “His accuracy and just his energy level right now is incredible. … He’s providing that energy for everybody. He’s always done that, but I can tell that this is — he’s got complete ownership and everything going on in that offense. His relationship with Ryan Day is incredible, and his skill set or the thing he’s most improved at right now is accuracy. Very accurate player right now.”
Coach Ryan Day Thoughts …
First-year Ohio State quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day met with the media following practice Monday. A former QB coach in the NFL under Chip Kelly for the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers, Day provided updates to the media about his quarterbacks.
On making a decision on the team’s backup quarterback: “Every day, you never know what’s going to happen. Someone could roll an ankle tomorrow, anything can happen. We’re just focused on one day at a time, getting better. We’re still in preseason camps. We’ll pick our head up pretty soon and figure it out.”
On improvements J.T. Barret has made this offseason: “Today I’m proud of the command he’s had of the offense and the quick decision-making he’s shown in practice. The ball’s coming out of his hand quickly, he’s confident in what he’s doing, his eyes are right. So the ball’s coming out on time right now, and you can tell that he has a rhythm about him when he’s playing the position.”
On having an experienced starter lining up at quarterback: “He’s been there before. He knows what’s real and what isn’t. When you put something on the board he can visualize it because he’s been there. When you take a rep on the field during practice, the higher you go as a quarterback, you have to play with imagination. Every time you take a snap it’s like being in the Horseshoe playing against Oklahoma on a Saturday night. It’s being at Indiana on opening night, it’s not just another rep on Coffey Fields. And he can do that because he’s been there.”
On how important arm strength/accuracy are in this offense relative to other quarterback traits: “It’s a piece of the pie. I wouldn’t say that it’s any more important than another area. When you take into account someone’s skill set, then you try to tweak the offense to fit what they can do. This offense has a lot of flexibility that way.”
On the relationship between he and his quarterbacks: “There’s a respect level there. I have a lot of respect for them, they’re very talented, and they’re very good in the classroom. So when we go in there together and have conversations about football I think they respect the fact that, what I tell them and what goes on in the meeting room happens on the field, and they can carry that over.”
Two deserving young men were put on scholarship by coach Urban Meyer following the team’s practice on Saturday: wide receiver Elijaah Goins and linebacker Zach Turnure.
“It was incredible,” Turnure. “It felt like all the hard work and the journey along the way was totally worth it. … (My parents) loved it. My mom was balling. They were just as excited as I was because they were with me along the whole journey.”
Goins said “On a scale of one to 10, it was a 100. I had a pretty good scrimmage and they just popped it on me. I was in awe.”
Goins is from Concord, N.C., and in his third year with the program. He initially walked-on as a safety but has moved to wide receiver. He is a two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-Big Ten Conference honoree who is majoring in pharmaceutical sciences. He is a Varsity O letterwinner who played in 12 of 13 games last season.
Turnure is a true senior majoring in communications. He is in his fourth season with the Buckeyes, having walked-on to the team during fall camp of the national championship season of 2014. Turnure was a high school lacrosse All-American at Christian Brothers High in St. Louis, Mo., before attending Ohio State. He spent a year with the Buckeyes’ lacrosse program in addition to his four seasons with the football team. He played in all 13 games last year for the Buckeyes and earned his first Varsity O letter.