Ohio State held its first major scrimmage of the preseason Saturday, and though it was closed to the media, a couple of details did dribble out, including one about freshman quarterback Tate Martell.
“Offense, some of the young players – Tate Martell, he had a good day,” safety Damon Webb said. “Our first team defense, (middle linebacker Chris) Worley, they all had good days. We’re just trying to get better and better each day.”
But Webb dropped in that nugget about Martell, considered No.4 in the quarterback queue behind starter J.T. Barrett and upperclassmen Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins Jr., and it was like tossing a worm into a bass pond. It attracted follow-up questions from the media, like what did Martell do well?
“He’s definitely a run threat, so – we do the option, he’s real good at that,” Webb said. “And he’s real shifty (and difficult) to tackle in open space, so he’s going to be real good.”
Martell made things happen in the spring, too, after being one of the freshmen who enrolled early. The consensus national player of the year after going undefeated as a three-year starter at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nev., he’s made use of his opportunities.
Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“He’s definitely a playmaker,” Webb said. “You can’t deny that.”
One of the reasons was obvious Saturday. Though he was the only one of the four scholarship quarterbacks allowed to be hit, “nobody got a good hit on him,” Webb said, smiling.
He wasn’t discounting the play of Burrow and Haskins, though, in the key battle to be the backup to four-year starter Barrett.
“You know Dwayne and Joe, they always look good,” Webb said. “They go out each and every day, they make spectacular plays, too.”
As for defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, the only coach made available to the media, his view of the scrimmage was more general.
“It was good, a lot of guys got to play a lot of plays,” Schiano said. “We’ve performed better but that’s what training camp is for, to learn, get better. We’ve had some really good practices. Today wasn’t our best but we have good players, they’ll do a good job.”
Jordan Fuller, who is battling Erick Smith for the safety job vacated by Malik Hooker, was sidelined because “of a little tweak on his leg” but is expected back for next practice, Schiano said.
Listen to the BuckeyeXtra podcast: