Ohio State had its Student Appreciation Practice today at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, and it was a chance to judge the progress the Buckeyes have made in retooling their offense.

An emphasis this spring has been on improving the deep passing game, which was mostly non-existent last season. When Buckeyes quarterbacks had time to throw today – and they often didn’t because of consistent defensive-line pressure – there were hopeful signs, particularly with the backup quarterbacks.

Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins got first-team reps in addition to J.T. Barrett. Burrow threw long touchdown passes to tight end A.J. Alexander and wide receiver Johnnie Dixon. Haskins connected for a score with tight end Luke Farrell.

Freshman Tate Martell didn’t take snaps until a red-zone drill at the end of practice. He threw a nice dart to Farrell over the middle for a score.

Demetrius Knox, the front-runner in the battle to play right guard, did not practice for unknown reasons. Interviews were not permitted afterward.

Matthew Burrell took first-team snaps in Knox’s place. Malcolm Pridgeon was the second-team right guard.

Cornerback Kendall Sheffield, a junior-college transfer who’ll battle for a starting spot, also did not practice.

Safety Erick Smith, competing for a starting job after a career beset by injuries, had a couple of nice pass break-ups. Linebacker Dante Booker, who missed the final 12 games of the season with a knee injury, intercepted Burrow in the end zone.