Day: OSU scrimmage doesn't clarify QB spot

Joey Kaufman
Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day watches the quarterbacks during practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus, Ohio on August 6, 2019. [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch]

Ohio State finished the first week of its preseason training camp without naming a starting quarterback.

The team had an intersquad scrimmage Saturday morning, but the format did little to push coach Ryan Day much closer toward picking a starter.

“I thought after today, I would have a better feel,” Day said. “I didn't. Nobody went out there and won the job for sure. So it's still a work in progress. Hopefully at this time next week, somebody steps up and wins the job.”

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Day said last month that he hoped to settle the competition after two weeks of preseason camp but has not otherwise issued a firm timetable. Quarterback Justin Fields is widely expected to win the starting job over fellow transfers Chris Chugunov and Gunnar Hoak.

During the media viewing portions of practice, Fields has often been first in line among the quarterbacks during drills and was the first passer to work with the first-team offense in the 11-on-11 period of practice Saturday before reporters were ushered away.

Fields was a decorated high school recruit before transferring from Georgia after one season.

The first and second teams each saw about 40 plays during the Buckeyes’ first preseason scrimmage. The third team also took about 30 snaps. No score was kept, but Day said that the “defense won the day for sure.” He recalled there were at least two interceptions.

“The defense has been really opportunistic throughout camp,” Day said. “They've done a great job getting hands on balls.”

Two interceptions were returned for touchdowns by sophomore cornerback Sevyn Banks and sophomore linebacker K'Vaughan Pope.

Day did not specify who threw the interceptions. Speaking with reporters, he both offered praise for the defense while expressing some concern with the passers. He suggested they were a bit too carefree.

“There's some things we could have cleaned up and been a little bit careful,” Day said. “What happens when you play quarterback in practice there's no real ramifications for throwing it late in the down, throwing it downfield. If a play is made, it's made. If not, it's the next play in practice.

“But when you're in a scrimmage, you're in the game, we obviously know it could be detrimental. We tried to create that environment today, and hopefully some learning lessons.”

At times during the scrimmage, Day sounded like he had some frustration with the offense.

“I got after the offense today for sure,” he said. “Offense turned the ball over too many times, didn't run the ball the way that they should.”

Day attributed some of the turnovers to poor ball security. The team began practicing in full pads only a few days earlier, noting they were still “working out the kinks.”

Injury report

Senior receiver Austin Mack has been out because of an undisclosed injury and is not expected to return for another week, Day said. Mack had been seen among a group of rehabbing players in recent days.

Some of the other rehabbing players included redshirt freshman cornerback Tyreke Johnson, sophomore linebacker Teradja Mitchell and running back Master Teague. Linebacker Justin Hilliard, who has an Achilles injury, is also out.

Left tackle Thayer Munford has been on “volume control” in preseason camp, according to Day, after he missed spring practice with an injury.

“He's coming back strong,” Day said. “He looks really, really good. We’re not just going to throw him out to the wolves early on. We’re going to try to ease him back.”

Munford is the only returning starter on the offensive line.


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