Along with scrimmage day at Ohio State fall camp came the potential for a newly helmed Buckeye offense to show some spark, and for the quarterback battle to finally be put to rest.
Neither of those took place Saturday, as head coach Ryan Day said the defense dominated the offense throughout a scrimmage where no quarterback moved the needle to win the starting spot under center.
“The defense got after the offense today for sure,” Day said. “Offense turned the ball over too many times. Didn’t run the ball the way they should. So the defense won the day for sure.”
While Day said Ohio State does not keep track of score during preseason scrimmages, the defense was able to cause four turnovers, including two fumbles and two interceptions.
Day said he was “very disappointed” in the lack of ball security on offense, which left him less than enthused about the the group of quarterbacks battling for the starting job.
“I thought after today I’d have a better feel,” Day said. “I didn’t. Nobody went out there and won the job for sure.”
Though a clear cut starter wasn’t decided Saturday, Day said he hopes someone will step up and win the job by this time next week.
The scrimmage consisted of approximately 40 plays with the first string players, 40 with the second and 30 with the third. Day said they began by moving the ball up and down the field before getting into situational sets that included third down and red zone work.
The eighth practice of Ohio State’s fall camp was the first where players were hitting and tackling to the ground, Day said.
The two interceptions were made by sophomore cornerback Sevyn Banks and sophomore linebacker K’Vaughan Pope, who both returned them for a touchdown.
“Proud of those guys,” Day said. “Those are two guys, Sevyn Banks and K’Vaughan Pope, had good camps. They’ve done really good things and lo and behold they’re starting to make plays.”
Though Day said he would revisit the scrimmage film before going into detail about players that stood out, he highlighted the play of junior linebacker Baron Browning, who he said has been making rapid progress.
In terms of reasoning for the discrepancy in offensive and defensive performance, Day said the defense’s experience may have played a role. Beside a program first-year quarterback at the helm, Ohio State returns just one regular starter on the offensive line in junior tackle Thayer Munford, while the defensive line returns three.
Day said if one side dominates the other throughout camp it is a problem, but added that the offense and defense have mostly gone back and forth up until this point.
As the former Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Day appeared more perturbed by the turnovers than he was excited about the defensive playmaking.
However, Day likes the direction the group is going and said the defense’s performance is indicative of an attitude change coming off one of the worst statistical years in program history.
“I just like that spirit they have about them right now,” Day said. They have something to prove every time they step on the field and I think that makes for good football. So I just like being around those guys. They’re tough right now and I think they just can’t wait to play.”