"Braxton [Miller] had a good day. [He] played the entire practice at wide receiver ... He's full time. As far as skill set, attitude, dynamic ... Yes. Yes. Yes."
Urban Meyer spoke with the gathered media at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on the campus of the Ohio State University Monday evening with one of the most eagerly anticipated subjects of discussion the move of former Big Ten Player of the Year Braxton Miller to H-back.
In addition to clarifying Miller's status as a full-time receiver, Meyer added the following other gems:
- We won't know anything about the quarterback battle until either Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett steps under center for the first snap against Virginia Tech.
- Meyer said he could see three freshmen, linebackers Nick Conner, Justin Hilliard, and Jerome Baker, all potentially playing in 2015.
- Tyquan Lewis all but has one of two starting defensive end positions locked up. With Joey Bosa sidelined, Sam Hubbard, Jalyn Holmes, and Darius Slade are all in the mix for the other.
- Meyer added there's a chance senior linebacker Joshua Perry could be rushed off the edge while Bosa's out.
"In this clean but sparse two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,053-square foot apartment, the fourth-year safety from Bedford High School and fourth-year quarterback from Glenville High School share everything."
Four years ago, before either party was famous, before Ohio State won a national championship and before either even had a hope to start a game at Ohio State, Cardale Jones and Tyvis Powell moved in together. It was the summer prior to their freshman season at Ohio State, and the two had been living in dorms as early-enrollees since January. Over time, they developed a hilarious friendship filled with "a barrage of one-liners, taunts, jokes and elaborate and conflicting claims of parentage." They have gone through four moves together during their time at Ohio State, staying in their two-bedroom near the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for the past year.
These roommates were handpicked by Urban Meyer to speak at the morning news conference following the Ohio State Buckeyes’ victory over the Oregon Ducks in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Both Powell and Jones grew up around Cleveland, with Jones attending Glenville High School and Powell Bedford High School, but the duo did not know each other until they met at Ohio State. That has not hindered their close friendship, however, except for Powell’s consistent claim that he once picked Jones off in a seven-on-seven scrimmage. The two spend much of their rare free time playing video games together. While most of their possessions are shared, the PlayStation 4 belongs to Jones, and the Xbox to Powell.
The two competed for the master bedroom in the apartment in a one-on-one basketball game, which Jones won. In the living room, there is little to suggest that the two are members of a national title-winning squad, besides a single Buckeyes necklace hanging on the wall.
As for what will happen next year, when Jones will likely leave for the NFL Draft, Powell says: "I figure he’s going to miss me. It’ll be an emotional day. He’s gonna cry."
Ohio State football: New numbers and roster updates as Buckeyes open training camp http://t.co/yGVe3KbYUQ— Bill Landis (@BillLandis25) August 10, 2015
Here are some updates from this morning's practice for freshman, redshirt freshman and walk-ons:
With Braxton Miller, who is now listed as a QB/H-back, switching to No. 1, wide receiver Johnny Dixon will need to find a new number. Other number changes include defensive end Sam Hubbard, who is now No. 6, and cornerback Gareon Conley, who will wear No. 8.
Freshman longsnapper Liam McCullough, who was expected to grayshirt this season due to scholarship limits, participated in Monday’s practice wearing No. 49. With the departure of Mirk Jurkovic due to academic issues and Marcelys Jones transferring to Kentucky, the Buckeyes have a spot for McCullough.
As for injuries, the following freshmen did not participate in practice Monday morning:
- DL Dylan Thompson (knee)
- LB Kyle Berger (knee)
- DE Dre’Mont Jones (ACL)
- CB Damon Arnette (unknown)
Freshman wide receiver Alex Stump, who injured his foot during his senior season, participated fully in Monday’s practice.
"I was not surprised to hear that Ohio State’s Joey Bosa ended up on top of ESPN.com’s #CFBrank project. In fact, I have him ranked as the No. 1 defensive player in the country—even after his recent one-game suspension—and he’s likely to end up as a top-five pick in next April’s NFL Draft."
Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa’s one-game suspension is unlikely to hurt his draft stock come next April. With such outstanding strengths—his speed off the line, his agility, his pass rushing—NFL scouts may wonder what are those things Bosa does need to improve on? Bosa would likely have still been a top-ten pick in last year’s draft, so many of those things he could fix would be additive to his skillset, and not having them has thus far not detracted from his stock.
For starters, Bosa can work on playing lower. McShay points out that Bosa, at 6’5", 278 lbs., makes a big target for offensive linemen when he gets too high. Next, one of Bosa’s strengths is his ability to get to the ball fast. Sometimes, though, this can lead to overrunning the play and missing the ball on misdirection plays. Still, Bosa has been more aggressive than sniffing out the ball than reactionary, which is a differentiator among defensive linemen. If Bosa is able to tailor this aggression, he would have more control on some of those plays that he has missed in the past.
Nonetheless, Bosa’s outstanding sophomore season, during which he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-American, have helped to highlight his skills and brought on numerous comparisons. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg points out that Bosa has been likened to former Big Ten greats, like the Houston Texan’s J.J. Watt and the Washington Redskin’s Ryan Kerrigan by opponents and coaches alike.
"Shazier consistently wreaked havoc against the running- and short-passing games. He showed every bit of the speed that helped make him the No. 15 overall pick in the 2014 draft."
It is only preseason for the NFL. Superstars are resting, while young guns are fighting for their chance to make their respective rosters. Some players, however, are capitalizing on the preseason to cement their roles on their teams and to prove the haters wrong, including former Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier. Shazier was sidelined for seven games in the middle of last season with an MCL sprain, and only played in five games total, but has high expectations coming into his second year in the NFL.
Shazier, who is entering his second season with the Steelers, disrupted the Minnesota Viking’s first and second team offenses in last night’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, which kicked off the NFL preseason. While the Vikings are still without Adrien Peterson, Shazier stuffed backup Jerick McKinnon on a fourth-and-one play in the first quarter to turn the ball over on downs. He also had big plays against receiver Mike Wallace and a near interception in the second quarter. Overall, he had four tackles in the 14-3 loss to the Vikings.
The historically-dominant Steelers defense experienced some critical losses in the offseason, including retirements by long-time cornerback Ike Taylor and eight-time pro-bowl safety Troy Polamalu. Perhaps most importantly, 77-year-old defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau moved to Tennessee in the offseason. However, the Steelers have also taken steps to shore up their defense, like extending former Buckeye defensive end Cameron Heyward’s contract to make him one of the highest-paid defensive ends in the league. In January, they promoted linebackers coach Keith Butler to the defensive coordinator position to bring last year’s stagnant defense back to its former glory. Young talent, like linebacker Jarvis Jones and defensive end Stephon Tuitt, has also been brought in to bring new life to the defense. Now is the time for these young stars, and Shazier in particular, to step up.
"For me to come back, it’s a blessing for me to come back and to be around all this. We had a lot of successful games here. There were a lot of memories here."
Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was on the field at Ohio Stadium Friday for the first time since he was banned from Ohio State athletic facilities in 2011, but this time as a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, who hosted an "Orange and Brown Scrimmage" at the Horseshoe in front of nearly 50,000 fans. Pryor did not play in the scrimmage due to a hamstring injury, but warmed up on the field and threw warm up passes to some of his fellow receivers.
Still serving the five-year ban, Pryor was permitted to play in the scrimmage because it was not an Ohio State-sanctioned event—a fact that was clarified by the NCAA once the Browns picked up Pryor in June. Despite his less-than-happy departure from Ohio State in the midst of an NCAA investigation into the improper sale of memorabilia by players, Pryor was warmly welcomed back to the Hoseshoe, with fans lining up for his autograph at the stadium. He also got to meet head coach Urban Meyer in the end zone and briefly discuss the quarterback competition between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.
Other returning Buckeyes also received a warm greeting upon their homecoming to Ohio Stadium with the Browns. Receiver Brian Hartline joined Cleveland in the offseason after spending his first six seasons with the Miami Dolphins, and three-time pro bowl safety Donte Whitner is returning for his second season with the Browns. Both are Ohio natives, Hartline from Canton and Whitner from Cleveland, and both are expected to start in the Browns’ first preseason game Thursday.