Ohio State Begins Fall Camp
The football season is almost here. Today, Ohio State begins its fall camp at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, and are 29 days away before they kick off the regular football season against Minnesota. They are now done with the summer workouts, which Ryan Day has said the team has worked really hard to create leadership and get ready to play in their first game. As of now, things are running “as usual” this off-season, after having a shortened season last year and still making it to the National Championship game against Alabama.
There is not the same sense of revenge like there was after 2019, and the loss the Clemson still running bitter in the hearts and minds of the Scarlet and Gray, but there is a focus for the team. Get to Indy. If Ohio State is able to take care of business and win the Big Ten East for the 5th straight season, they will have the chance to play in Indianapolis to defend their title, and then have a chance to make the playoff for the third straight year. If they are then able to win their semi-final game, which will be at either the Cotton Bowl or the Orange Bowl, they then will get to play in the CFP Championship Game which will be in Indianapolis. Indianapolis is the heart of their goals this year, and the closest a Championship Game can be for the Buckeyes in the longest time.
With the start of fall camp, there are questions and areas that will be focused on and are hopefully a little more clear before the Buckeyes head to Minneapolis on September 2nd. Here are our top 3 questions (and a bonus!) that we are hoping to get the answers to for this years Buckeye team.
1. Who will be the starting Quarterback?
This is the most important question for the Buckeyes this season as they have 4 quarterbacks now with the addition of Quinn Ewers who will be battling for the starting spot, and fill int he shoes that Justin Fields left. The quarterbacks had the opportunity to speak with the media yesterday about the quarterback room, and the competition, and just based on their responses, they are ready for it, and excited for the challenge, CJ Stroud, who many feel are the front runner for the starting job, is taking the mindset that he is in the back, like he is last, and has a chip on his shoulder. Kyle McCord felt that enrolling early in January, and having the time to work with Mickey Marotti and the rest of the strength and conditioning staff has really helped him shape his body, and a chance to dive into the playbook. Jack Miller said he has gotten over his spring game performance, and has this to say about the quarterback room: “I think this is the place you want to come if you want to be developed by the best quarterback coach in the country. This is where you come to be a quarterback.” Quinn Ewers, who is finishing his last high school class before enrolling, is ready to make the change to college, and be taught by Ryan Day and Corey Dennis, and has the highest ceiling in an already deep quarterback room.
To think Ohio State needs to pick one might be true, if there was any lessons taught from the 2015 season on how the quarterback situation was handled with JT Barrett and Cardale Jones, but Ryan Day wants Ohio State fans to also remember the season before, and that we might need all quarterbacks to be ready. “We’re going to need that entire room to be strong. Last time they won a national championship around here, it took several guys to go and win it, and I know thats probably going to be the case this year.”
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Ohio State roll with more than one quarterback to start off the season, but January is a long way away, and the Buckeyes hopefully have a full season to work that out.
2. Who will start at running back?
Master Teague leads the running back room at the moment, and would expect to be the starter for the Buckeyes in their opening game, but this position group might be overlooked when it comes to the offensive skill players because of the depth on the quarterbacks and the wide receiver groups. But the running back will be just as important, and will be a group where we could see a running back by committee emerge. Last year, there was a lot of change ups with the result of injuries and a short off-season to work out some of those questions until Trey Sermon broke the Ohio State single game rushing record to help the Buckeyes win their 4th straight Big Ten title, and was able to repeat a stellar performance against Clemson to get them to the national championship game. Does Ohio State need a JK Dobbins or an Ezekiel Elliott to win a national championship? Potentially, but the running back room has a lot of talent untapped, and there could be 2018 running back room feel with Dobbins and Weber splitting carries because of their skill sets.
A name that seems to be popping up a lot is freshman Treyvon Henderson, who was the number one running back in the 2021 class. He has drawn a lot of comparisons to Maurice Clarett, and could be the next break out star. Evan Pryor is another talented player, who was the number two all purpose back, and could be playing a role similar to Curtis Samuel in the run and pass game. Then when you include Marcus Crowley and Miyan Williams, there is a lot of talent to go around, but only one football. Ohio State has a good problem with the running back room, but it will be important to make sure they have the right player in place.
3. Who will step up at defensive back?
Ohio State’s pass defense last season was one of the worse it has been ever in its history, and there were several factors as to why that was the teams achilles heel. This year, with a full off season and spring training, this group will look to bounce back to their “BIA” status with a lot of talented, but unproven defensive backs to take that next step. Matt Barnes was moved up to fill in the roll as the secondary coach to help Kerry Coombs. The projected starting safeties for the Buckeyes are Sevyn Banks and Josh Proctor. Where things get interesting is at the cornerback position. Cameron Brown, who recovered from an torn Achilles, and Lathan Ransom could be the leading candidates, and there is a group of players behind them that could make this camp interesting with Lejond Cavasos, Ryan Watts (who had a great spring game) and Cameron Martinez. With any luck, and based on how Ohio State might be approaching it’s defense this season, we could see at least 5 start at a time for their base defense package to help combat a more pass heavy game, but all will need experience to keep the players fresh. We could see them rotate similar to how Larry Johnson handles the defensive line. With Shaun Wade leaving and being drafted in the NFL, this group will be looking for its next break out star, and that time cant come soon enough.
Bonus: Beard or no Beard?
Ryan Day was clean shaven for his interviews yesterday when the media had the opportunity to ask him questions about the quarterback situation, but at Big Ten Media days, he had a full beard. We have seen Ryan Day be clean shaven during the regular season, and the clean shaven look could be a symbol of him getting ready for that. a “clean start” if you will. But will he shave it after this point? NHL players are famous four their playoff beards as a form of superstition, and we will be tracking if Ryan Day shares that same ritual.
Let us know if you have any other questions who you like to get the answers to with this fall camp. or any other feedback you have! It is exciting to be talking about football again, and September 2nd can’t come soon enough! Go Bucks!
Photo Credit: 247sports – Bucknuts