Ohio State football pregame update: Quarterback Justin Fields tapes thumb for Sugar Bowl

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra

NEW ORLEANS — Here are some personnel notes and observations from pregame warmups at the Superdome, where Ohio State is set to face Clemson in a College Football Playoff semifinal on Friday night.

* Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields wore tape on his right throwing thumb after it was injured during the Big Ten championship game against Northwestern two weeks ago, but any limitations were not noticeable in warmups. Most of his passes sailed to wide receivers with plenty of spin and zip. In interviews earlier in the week, Fields said he expected to be good for the rematch with Clemson, as did Buckeyes coach Ryan Day who maintained he would be "fine."

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) gives a first bump to head coach Ryan Day prior to the College Football Playoff semifinal against the Clemson Tigers at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021.

* Matthew Jones is to start at left guard for the second time in three games in place of Harry Miller, who is among 16 Ohio State players listed as unavailable. Earlier Friday, Miller's mother said on Facebook that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. A redshirt sophomore, Jones was with the first-team offense at left guard in warmups, the spot he filled in at Michigan State on Dec. 5. That was when three of the five starters on the Buckeyes' offensive line were out, and Miller left the spot at left guard to replace Josh Myers at center. Paris Johnson, a backup at right tackle, also took second-team reps at left guard in warmups.

* Josh Proctor lined up as the single-high safety for the Buckeyes in warmups, even though Marcus Hooker is expected to be available after missing the Big Ten championship game with an undisclosed injury. 

* Reserve safety Ronnie Hickman, who was listed as a game-time decision on the availability report, went through warmups and appeared to be on track to be available against Clemson. The redshirt freshman made an impression on the Buckeyes' coaching staff with three tackles at Michigan State.