No separation in Ohio State quarterback competition, Ryan Day says
Quarterback C.J. Stroud took first-team repetitions during an 11-man offensive drill during Ohio State’s latest spring practice on Monday morning.
It mirrored other recent practices in which Stroud was often the first of the Buckeyes’ passers to go through drills or periods, ahead of fellow redshirt freshman Jack Miller and early-enrollee freshman Kyle McCord who are vying with Stroud to replace Justin Fields behind center.
But coach Ryan Day downplayed the order of the rotation and said there has been little separation among the three as they enter the final week of spring practice.
“Guys have had good days, guys have had not-so-good days,” Day said. “Guys have good reps, not-so-good reps. That's what happens when you have young quarterbacks. There's a lot to improve on with all three guys. They need a million reps.
“The minute you think one guy is taking a step forward, he does something foolish and then somebody else will make a play and they're coming on. Then it flips the other way. But that's expected, and you know that going in.”
Stroud has not exclusively been the first quarterback in line during drills.
In a red-zone passing period later in Monday’s practice, Miller was the first quarterback in the rotation, going ahead of Stroud and McCord.
Day has not been definitive on a timeline for picking a successor to Fields, but it appears likely that the competition will continue into the summer and preseason training camp in August.
“There’s been good progress,” Day said, “but still a long way to go.”
Chris Olave, Dawand Jones, more players statuses
Chris Olave was at practice on Monday after being absent in the two most recent practices that were open to reporters.
Day said the Buckeyes’ star wide receiver had been out due to an illness that was not related to COVID-19.
It appeared Olave was a full participant in Monday’s workout, going through drills with the first-team offense alongside fellow receivers Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
In other player availability news, reserve offensive lineman Dawand Jones also returned.
Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa said last week that Jones had been “banged up,” but that he expected him to be back for the final week of practices.
Jones replaced Nicholas Petit-Frere at right tackle during repetitions with the first-team offense.
Petit-Frere is out with a “short-term” issue, Day said when asked about the returning tackle’s status.
Freshman defensive lineman Tyleik Williams also appeared to be rehabbing an injury with a team trainer rather than participating in position drills.
Miyan Williams sees first-team offensive reps for Ohio State
As Master Teague III began practice with a group of players who were going through rehabilitation, his spot in the running back rotation was taken by Miyan Williams.
Williams also saw first-team reps during last Monday’s practice that was open to reporters.
While appearing in only half of the Buckeyes’ games in 2020 and qualifying for a redshirt, he made an impression during the College Football Playoff semifinal win over Clemson when he showed the wiggle of an elusive runner, gaining 21 yards on three carries.
Elsewhere on offense, more redshirt freshmen spent time with the first-team offense, including Josh Fryar at left guard and Luke Wypler at center.
With Harry Miller limited this spring to non-contact periods, Wypler is splitting reps with Matthew Jones at the position.
Marvin Harrison Jr. progresses
Wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was the first freshman to see his black helmet stripe removed last week.
During a red-zone period early in practice, it was easy to understand why Harrison has made an impression this spring.
He caught a pair of touchdown passes and provided the Buckeyes’ quarterbacks with a sizeable pass-catching target at 6 feet 3.
Day said other factors have gotten his staff’s attention, as well.
“A lot of discipline,” Day said. “Excellent attention to detail with his routes. Somebody who cares a lot. He's in here after hours. He's here early in the morning. He takes a lot of pride in his work, and he's making plays. Again, just a freshman who has a long way to go. But early impressions have been excellent.”
Latest on Marcus Hooker
Ohio State safety Marcus Hooker, who was suspended by the team last month after he was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence and has not been at spring practice, pleaded guilty on Monday in Franklin County Municipal Court, according to online court records.
As part of a plea agreement, Hooker is required to pay a $375 fine and his driver’s license will be suspended for a year with limited driving privileges. He also had a three-day jail sentence suspended.
Before Monday’s arraignment, which was continued from March 19, he completed a driver’s education program.
No update on Hooker’s status with the team has been given by Day since late March.
Without Hooker available during spring practice, Josh Proctor has been taking all of the first-team reps at free safety.
What’s next for Ohio State?
After Monday’s practice, the Buckeyes are scheduled to next practice on Tuesday and Thursday, leading into the spring game on Saturday.
With spring drills wrapping up, OSU coach Ryan Day wouldn't mind more practice time with his team / XC