COLUMBUS, Ohio – It is still more than a week away from the annual Spring Game but the Buckeyes have made it through nine of 15 practices for the spring period and players are catching the eye of Urban Meyer and the coaching staff.
The Buckeyes will not have too many spots to replace on the starting lineup and there are a lot of players hoping their number will be called in the fall but that journey covers a lot of ground in the spring.
Meyer met with the media on Tuesday to update the status of his team. He went through most of the position groups and it is better to let the head coach take it away from here as he goes through position-by-position. Several players who have been held back by injury were not mentioned but this list is no indication if someone is losing ground by omission.
USA Today Sports Images
How is the position battle going behind J.T. Barrett? I would say that Joe (Burrow) is ahead of (Dwayne Haskins) but they are both getting reps. Tate (Martell) had his best day the other day in the scrimmage. So it is a good competition there and it brings out the best in people. We all know what happened here a couple of years ago, all of a sudden someone taps you on the shoulder and says you are the starter and go beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game, and they did it. That position is a key guy and everybody appreciates that and I think that Ryan Day… deep ball percentage has been the best that it has been since we have been here, last week. We are charting everything and J.T. (Barrett) and the boys did a really good job. We did not catch all of them but as far as accuracy, at almost 90-percent and that is what we are looking for.
JK (Dobbins), he had a little rolled ankle today but he will be fine. He had a really good scrimmage the other day. Antonio (Williams) has just been hurt, he has not really had many opportunities this spring. The other guy that is doing well too is Demario (McCall). Mike Weber is separating himself, he is having an exceptional spring. It is about where you should be. This time last year, ironically I was talking to him about it today, he is 100-percent the player that he was last year, in everything. He is doing a very good job.
Parris (Campbell), Terry (McLaurin) is having an excellent spring. Ben Victor, has a little sore shoulder so he has not been as active today, but he is coming on. Austin Mack has a little hamstring but he is coming on. K.J. Hill is having a very good spring. Johnnie Dixon, is competing his tail off for playing time. I know I am kind of giving you a lot here, but you asked.
That is the most improved position on the team right now. AJ Alexander is really coming on. Luke Farrell is a little bit ahead of Jake Hausmann but they are both very comparable. The most improved position on the team.
Demetrius Knox is running with the ones, and Malcolm Pidgeon is still learning the offense. Matt Burrell is probably one of the most improved offensive linemen at this point. The other guys are much improved as well. Very pleased where we are at with the offensive line. Still not where we need to be in the 2s, nowhere close. You wish you could get a little more competition out of those guys, but that is not happening yet. Other than names that I just said.
USA Today Sports Images
The four defensive ends are elite players. That is Tyquan (Lewis), (Nick) Bosa, Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard. They are all very experienced guys and we are being very cautious. (Jonathon Cooper) has not practiced much, he had a hamstring and just has not practiced much, we are supposed to get him back on Thursday. Inside guys, probably Dre'mont (Jones) is the most improved and then you have Landers, who is doing very well. Mike Hill is doing fine. (Tracy) Sprinkle is the one, he is going to be the X-factor in there, I have got a feeling. The other guy had surgery on his foot, Davon Hamilton, he is done this spring and will be fine in a couple months.
(Chris) Worley is on the inside and having a heck of a spring. (Dante) Booker is on the outside and Jerome Baker is playing WLB. Justin Hilliard, it is good to see him make a little bit of a push. Malik Harrison is going to play. He is done for the spring, he had shoulder surgery and he will be a lot like Baron Browning, they are both standing next to each other out there, they are both going to play. Very athletic guys, and Malik was having a tremendous (spring) and he is going to compete for a starting spot.
Damon Webb is a much improved player than he was (before). His weight is down, he is doing very well. The other position is still a toss-up. Erick Smith is doing fine, he has got to keep coming. Jordan Fuller is in the hunt for that as well. Then you guys know about the corners, there are four young freshmen that are competing with Denzel Ward and Damon Arnette. Damon Arnette has had an excellent spring and so has Denzel.
Fans will have a chance to see this team in action on April 15th at Ohio Stadium in the Spring Game at 12:30 p.m. (EDT). Tickets can also be purchased in person at the OSU Athletics Ticket Office, or by calling 1-800-GOBUCKS (select option 3). Group tickets – $4 for groups of 50 or more – are available by calling the Group Sales Office at 1-800-GOBUCKS (select Option 2). Fans requiring wheelchair accessible seating are encouraged to purchase accessible seats in advance.