On the surface, everything seemed to stay the same.
As Ohio State practiced for the final time during Fall Camp, the coaching staff continued to weave in and out of the warm up lines, encouraging their players prior to the beginning of regular season practices when classes start on Tuesday.
However, instead of the bellowing sounds of head coach Urban Meyer in the middle of the huddle prior to the first period of the final practice, it was Ryan Day as the acting head coach.
Despite all of the national attention surrounding Ohio State, with the ongoing investigation of Meyer by the university and his knowledge of domestic abuse allegations made against former assistant coach Zach Smith, the Buckeyes still have a game to prepare for. Ohio State will open the season on Sept. 1 against Oregon State, two weeks after the end of fall camp.
After the practice update Day released Friday, there were not many surprises on the football field.
On the offensive line, with sophomore Thayer Munford and fifth-year senior Brady Taylor sidelined, the first team had junior Michael Jordan in the middle at center, flanked to the left by redshirt junior Joshua Alabi and fifth-year senior Malcolm Pridgeon and with fifth-year senior Demetrius Knox and senior Isaiah Prince on the right.
Freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin was seen throwing, still with limited movement inside the pocket and with a brace on his left knee as he continues to recover from an ACL injury. In Friday’s update, Day said the Lake Travis, Texas native “will not be 100 percent for another couple of weeks.”
Freshman safety Marcus Hooker was also sidelined and not in pads for Saturday’s practice and had a sling on his right arm.
In drills, running backs coach Tony Alford had his position group, participate in catching drills, highlighting the ability of both sophomore J.K. Dobbins and freshman Master Teague in that element of the running game.
For the tight ends, Kevin Wilson led his group in blocking drills to start the day. With the amount of attributes in the tight end room, with redshirt sophomore Luke Farrell coming in as primarily a blocking tight end and freshman Jeremy Ruckert, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound athlete coming in with hype involving his pass catching ability, Wilson began with blocking drills, something that, no matter what the offensive scheme is in the tight end room, could be vital to the run-heavy attack Ohio State has had in the past.
During the warm-up period, first-year safeties coach Alex Grinch continued to get in the faces of players, saying over and over “It’s a depth chart day.”
Even with the focus on football, there still seemed to be something missing on the practice field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. With two weeks to go before the first game against the Beavers, it is still uncertain if that will continue into the regular season.