"To me, it's not that damn hard. Just wear your mask. We all want to play football"— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) October 7, 2020
- Baker Mayfield
We haven’t done a mask reminder in awhile, so I thought we were a due. Especially considering NFL players and teams are beginning to get a little lackadaisical with their quarantine rules. This pandemic, despite what Florida seems to believe, is far from over, and frankly, as Mr. Mayfield so eloquently put it, it’s really and truly not that damn hard to wear a mask, wash your hands and limit your social engagements. I want things to go back to normal, people. This is the only way that’s going to happen.
With that out of the way, let’s jump into today’s updates from inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility and beyond.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Gene Ross, LGHL
Death, taxes and Brian Hartline snagging the nation’s best wide receivers.
Matt Tamanini, LGHL
A shortened season, a quarterback with an arm and two strong backs with different strengths coming off injuries. That’s not exactly a recipe for a 1,000-yard rusher. But as Matt writes in his column: “who cares?” It might take three guys in Justin Fields, Master Teague and Trey Sermon to move the ball down the field, but the important thing is...the ball will be moved down the field.
Gene Ross, LGHL
Before we get into updates from Larry Johnson and Ohio State’s defensive line, check out yesterday’s Buckeye Bits to hear from running backs coach Tony Alford about the position battle, followed by Teague and Sermon.
From around the gridiron...
The next position group to face the Ohio State media was Larry Johnson and his defensive line, who took to the podium Wednesday afternoon to discuss camp progress.
To begin, Johnson praised the doctors at Ohio State’s medical center for taking care of senior tackle Haskell Garrett after he was shot in early September, adding that they’re in a “wait-and-see” mode in regards to his return to the field. He called it a “sensitive situation.”
Larry Johnson said Haskell Garrett is at practice and meetings and is in good spirits but just can't do certain things.— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) October 7, 2020
Johnson had a lot of good things to say about sophomore defensive end Zach Harrison’s work ethic and improvement. Harrison is considered to be Chase Young’s “replacement,” however Johnson wants his guys stray away from that mentality and to be their own player.
Johnson says he tells players not to try to live up to the standard of being "the next Bosa" or "the next Chase Young."— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) October 7, 2020
They need to worry about being their own player and the best they can be.
Going off the idea of one player replacing Young, Johnson is doing things a little differently this year, as he said he has five guys in Jonathon Cooper, Harrison, Tyreke Smith, Tyler Friday and Javontae Jean-Baptise who could start right now.
Johnson adds that its impossible for defensive ends to play 60 plays at full-speed, so he’ll instead use his depth to rotate players and keep them fresh.
Larry Johnson on Ohio State defensive ends Jonathon Cooper, Zach Harrison, Tyreke Smith, Tyler Friday and Javontae Jean-Baptiste: “You got five guys right now who could start anywhere in the country.” He said he's treating all five of them like they're starters. They'll all play.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 7, 2020
Next up at the mic was junior defensive end Tyreke Smith, who said this is an important year for him. He’s been taking care of his body, rehabbing more often, watching more film and trying to learn as much as he can from Johnson.
He also praised junior tackle Tommy Togiai on his leadership.
More from Smith:— Lantern Sports (@LanternSports) October 7, 2020
-On social injustices: "What's going on is not right and we know that."
-Said he's been trying to become more of a student of the game this offseason.
-Said that the five D-Ends are very close with one another and give each other constructive criticism.
After Smith came Antwuan Jackson, who discussed potentially playing in both the 1-tech and 3-tech spots this season. He said the two positions aren’t all that different in Ohio State’s defense.
Ohio State defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson meeting with reporters now.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 7, 2020
Jackson said he's learned a lot about how to play 3-technique from Dre'Mont Jones, Haskell Garrett and Jashon Cornell.
On playing at both 3-tech and nose: “I really like that he trusts me to play both.” pic.twitter.com/pYb9ate2WT
Jackson also had good things to say about Nick Petit-Frere, Wyatt Davis and the Buckeyes’ stacked offensive line, calling it “a war every day” to go up against them.
Jackson says Nick Petit-Frere has done a really good job this fall.— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) October 7, 2020
He says "it's a war every day" going against Wyatt Davis in practice.
He's looking forward to seeing them hit other teams instead of him: "I can't wait for them to knock people out."
Earlier in the presser, Johnson explained that nose guards aren’t usually viewed as pass rushers because they get double-teamed, with DaVon Hamilton being the exception last year. However, he expects Togiai to make an impact as a pass rusher as well.
Once it was Togiai’s turn at the podium, he reiterated Johnson’s comparison.
Tommy Togiai says he learned a lot from DaVon Hamilton and Robert Landers last year when it comes to rushing the passer from the 1-tech spot. pic.twitter.com/DzP1Yi1BBb— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) October 7, 2020
Togiai also agreed with Jackson, saying Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis and Harry Miller are probably the best offensive linemen he will face and going against them every day makes him a better player.
Togiai went on to talk about the younger guys who have stepped up, naming tackles Ty Hamilton and Jaden McKenzie specifically.
Togiai continued:— Lantern Sports (@LanternSports) October 7, 2020
-On the unit's confidence: "We're going to get after it this year and raise the bar even more."
-Said the inside of the D-Line have excellent depth and that the younger guys have stepped up in practice.
During Jean-Baptiste’s availability, he was asked to provide a scouting report on himself, to which he responded that he’s not the heaviest DE, but his length and speed — which he said is his greatest strength — should counteract that.
He also expanded more on Johnston’s comment about depth at the defensive end position, saying the group has come to an understanding that sharing snaps actually benefits them. The better each DE gets, the better they are as a whole.
Jean-Baptiste says "you just come to understand that it's perfectly fine" to get fewer snaps in a rotation, because you're able to make the most of the snaps when you're on the field.— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) October 7, 2020
Next up was Zach Harrison, who agreed with Jean-Baptiste and Johnson that the defensive end position probably isn’t going to be a one-man show this fall like it has been in recent seasons.
Ohio State defensive end Zach Harrison meeting with reporters now.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 7, 2020
Harrison said he's trying not to think about the comparisons of former Ohio State defensive end greats like Chase Young and the Bosas, just on doing his job now as part of the unit. pic.twitter.com/13rkLNhgBQ
As he was looking back at his freshman year performance, he said there were so many things he could have done better, and he’s spent the offseason improving on all of those things, even during lockdown.
Harrison says a couple things he wants to improve this year are his pass rush and his consistency of play.— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) October 7, 2020
In the pass rush, he says he needs to work on his hands, feet, and hips to sharpen all of them.
Last but not least, Tyler Friday talked about the improvements he’s made, and that, he, like Jackson, could potentially play two positions this season.
Could Tyler Friday play both defensive end and 3-tech this year?— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) October 7, 2020
"I think I could definitely do both."
He says the pass rushing element is a little different, but his size, speed, and weight make it possible for him to do both.
Reiterating what the other defensive ends have said, Friday says the biggest thing for the group this season is that they’re “a bunch of no-names.” There’s no “Bosa” or “Young.”
He says they’ve each made it their mission to be the best defensive ends they can be, while also hinting at what we may see from Smith come October.
Why can Tyreke Smith have a breakthrough season?— BuckeyeScoop (@BuckeyeScoop) October 7, 2020
Tyler Friday says "the way he gets off the ball is something beautiful to watch." He says if Smith was playing anywhere else, he'd already be considered a star.
From around the hardwood...
Yep. These are IT.
In addition to brand new home and road uniforms, sources tell me the Ohio State basketball program will wear the home version of its 1980s throwback uniform for select games this season. pic.twitter.com/WlGNQOxumg— Andrew Lind (@AndrewMLind) October 7, 2020
From around the league...
After completing 32 of his 45 pass attempts for 314 yards— both career-bests— Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been benched.
The switch from Dwayne Haskins to Kyle Allen is performance related, according to a person w knowledge of the situation.— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) October 7, 2020
“Performance related,” he says. Interesting. I’ll let you guess which quarterback below is Haskins.
Choose your NFL quarterback:— Gene Ross (@Gene_Ross23) October 7, 2020
QB1: 61%, 939 Yds, 4 TD, 3 INT
QB2: 60%, 930 Yds, 4 TD, 7 INT
QB3: 61%, 889 Yds, 2 TD, 5 INT
QB4: 60%, 792 Yds, 3 TD, 4 INT
Not only is Haskins no longer QB1, he’s not even QB2.
I can’t wait until the day that we can all point and laugh at The Washington Football Team and Ron Rivera after Haskins has landed on a team who actually took the time and energy to build their offense around him. We as Buckeye fans know what the kid can do, and one lucky NFL team is about to find out themselves.
Imagine being a second-year QB in just your 11th start and having the best game of your career against one of the toughest defenses in football and your new coach still hates you so much that he benches you and makes you the third-string QB. #Justice4Simba https://t.co/E6FwRG53to— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 7, 2020
Why do I feel like this is only the beginning of a rampage of positive tests in the league?
Stephon Gilmore is the only #Patriots player to test positive from Tuesday's round of testing, per source. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year now joins Cam Newton on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. https://t.co/MWOpsyjhsk— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 7, 2020
Oh, that’s why!
SLATER SCOOP: Miami Dolphins have been given clearance to go to full capacity of 65,000 fans at Hard Rock Stadium, Gov. DeSantis’ spokesperson tells me.— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) October 7, 2020
The team, though, says their current plan of 13,000 fans remains the same for their next home game on Oct. 25.
From everywhere else...
The MAC is BACK, with each team playing three weeknight games to start the season. First up: Bowling Green vs. Toledo. (If you’re BGSU, this is a much nicer way to begin the season than with their previously scheduled opponent)
I have never had it, but the hype surrounding this announcement made me think I should probably include it here?