End of Camp Update
August camp for the Buckeyes wrapped up on Saturday. The committee investigating Urban Meyer finished their inquiry Sunday. The decision on his job is expected sometime this week. I think it’s a good idea to give an update on some on-the-field happenings, before the storm begins once the announcement is made that Meyer is keeping his job.
Interim head coach and offensive coordinator Ryan Day released a letter updating the various position battles on Friday. Saturday morning the team held a scrimmage to mark the end of August camp. The first three practice periods were open to the media, before the scrimmage. Here is a little bit of what we now know:
- Offensive line starters Thayer Munford (left tackle) and Brady Taylor (center) are nursing injuries and were limited participants at Saturday’s practice, as was true freshman tackle Max Wray. Defensive linemen Haskell Garrett and Jerron Cage were limited participants as well.
- The most interesting thing, to me, about the quarterbacks is the news of true freshman Matthew Baldwin not expected to be 100% for another few weeks. That means there is a very good possibility the third string quarterback for the September 1st opener against Oregon State will be walk-on sophomore Kory Curtis. This leads me to wonder just how much we’ll see Tate Martell used in special packages designed for him. Considering Curtis recently had his black stripe removed, it is obvious the coaches are pleased with what they see from him. But, do I really want to see a walk-on as the back-up to Dwayne Haskins if Martell gets hurt? Not really. However, I do hope the Buckeye coaches allow Curtis to play a series or two, if the Buckeyes blow out Oregon State. The fact Curtis chose to walk on at a school loaded with quarterbacks, at the time, tells me he isn’t afraid of competition. Some playing time would be a great reward for him.
- When writing about the receivers, Day mentioned the usual suspects of Austin Mack, K.J. Hill, Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell, Binjimen Victor and Terry McLaurin. He, also, included C.J. Saunders in that group. I don’t expect Saunders to be a part of the regular rotation because he is third on the depth chart at H-back, behind Campbell and Hill. But, I think you’ll see him get playing time here and there. His teammates rave about him and certainly think he deserves to be on the field. As for the younger receivers, there’s such a glut of talent, I’m not sure if any of them will see regular playing time. However, if any of them do, look for it to be true freshman Chris Olave. He’s already had his black stripe removed and Day mentioned him in his letter. I see his name popping up here and there when talk turns to special teams.
- Many feel the starting center position is Brady Taylor’s to lose. But, when I see Day writing about how well Malcolm Pridgeon is progressing at guard, I really wonder if there is an impending move to center for Michael Jordan. It is always the goal of Urban Meyer to get his five best linemen on the field. If Pridgeon is playing that well, Jordan may make the move to center from left guard, where he was All-Big Ten last year.
- Defensive line may have the most depth of any position on the team according to Day. He feels a couple of the true freshman have put themselves into position to work their way onto the depth chart. I’ll take that to mean Tommy Togiai and Taron Vincent are everything they’re advertised. Togiai lost his black stripe in the spring; Vincent had his removed last week.
- From the way it sounds, Tuf Borland won’t be ready for the season opener, at least. Baron Browning and Justin Hilliard are battling for Borland’s MIKE (middle linebacker) position.
-At cornerback, consistency with technique and how everything on the defense fits together is the theme Day is stressing. Based on the information in his letter, if the season began today, Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette would be the starters, with Jeffrey Okudah rotating regularly.
- Isaiah Pryor and Jahsen Wint appear to be the front runners for the starting safety spot opposite Jordan Fuller. Pryor is no surprise, but I didn’t expect to see Wint’s name mentioned as a possible starter. Coming out of spring practice, I thought it would be Amir Riep pushing Pryor.
- Demario McCall, who lost 2017 to injury, is always first in line for punt return drills. I like hearing this because he’s lightning fast and is dangerous any time the ball is in his hands.
- Defensive end Tyreke Smith, tight end Jeremy Ruckert and running back Master Teague all had their black stripes removed over the weekend. If you recall, Teague had an excellent spring game.
With the camp portion of preseason practice having ended, the Buckeyes turn their attention to preparing for Oregon State.
Are We Thinking Of The Same Guy?
Any Ohio State fan knows the treatment Urban Meyer has received from ESPN and other media outlets since Brett McMurphy’s story with Courtney Smith was released on August 1st. ESPN, in particular, has just about assassinated Meyer and jumped on any small detail that might make him look bad, while ignoring Jeff Snook’s story with Lynn Bruce and Tina Carano. In Snook’s story, Bruce says Meyer knew of the alleged abuse and handled it all quite properly. Ohio State fans are, also, well aware of ESPN’s um, shall we say……arrangement with the SEC. Let’s not pull punches here, the “four letter network” is in bed with them and worships at the altar of Southeastern Conference football. So, it should come as no surprise there is an article in the latest edition of ESPN The Magazine detailing what a great guy Alabama coach Nick Saban is. Fourteen separate tales of the wonderfulness of King Crimson.
Wait…you mean the same Nick Saban, who, when coaching the Miami Dolphins in 2005, stepped over a player who had passed out and was convulsing? After Dolphins lineman Jeno James had passed out and went into convulsions, Saban, quite literally, STEPPED OVER HIM like he wasn’t there. Or the same Nick Saban who has had, at least, six of his Alabama players arrested for felonies, but not one has been suspended for even a practice, much less a game? Quite possibly is it the Nick Saban who accepted a transfer player, after he had been dismissed from his previous school when accused of domestic violence? As near as I can tell, I’m thinking of the same “great” guy ESPN is writing about.
It will come as no surprise there is no mention of these things in the article. I’ve come to know, now more than ever, ESPN only reports what suits their needs. Anything else is an inconvenient truth. Saban made a lot of enemies and left a bad taste in the mouths of people at LSU and Miami (his two stops before Alabama). We all know him as a scowling, unpleasant, egomaniacal scumbag. But, to the worshipers at ESPN, King Crimson is a great guy, who can do nothing wrong.
Prepare yourself for the faux politically correct outrage from the media, when Ohio State’s Board of Trustees decide to retain Urban Meyer. Regardless of what the Board decides, the Buckeyes open the season in less than two weeks.