It may have been Ohio State's fourth practice of fall camp at the Wood Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday, but it was the first workout session open to the media. BSB attended the three-hour practice, and came away with a full list of observations. Get the full scoop from today's practice inside.
Though Ohio State
had its fourth practice of fall camp at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday, it was the first practice the media was permitted to watch.
Following are the main takeaways from fall camp practice No. 4:
Buy the hype on Dontre Wilson – As is the case with most highly-rated prospects headed to Ohio State, the hype heading into their freshman seasons is typically enormous. In the case of offensive playmaker Dontre Wilson, the inflation of his reputation was at an unprecedented level heading into fall camp. What makes this case different from some other cases that turned out to be premature? A lot of that hype was produced by comments made by the team's head coach. Oh, and it was apparent immediately at Wednesday's open practice that he can play.
Meyer said recently that Wilson brings something to Ohio State that the team lacked last season – "Jets." Well, his immense speed was put on display multiple times on his way to the end zone, and he even beat out pursuing defenders multiple times who had angles on the tackles. A former four-star recruit of DeSoto, Texas, Wilson has already given Meyer reason to get him into the game by proving he'll always be the fastest player on the field.
So he has passed the first test, and that's showing that there's reason for the hype. Now he has to prove that he can hold onto the football and make plays in the clutch, which is what he'll spend the remaining portions of fall camp doing. The biggest overall point, however, is that Wilson left an immediate impression in the team's first open practice.
Targeting rule to have huge impact? – So the tally is out there – we've watched one practice and we witnessed one hit that could have wound up with an ejection had it happened in a game. That hit was delivered by freshman Chris Worley, who had helmet-to-helmet contact on tight end Nick Vannett. Known for laying the wood at Cleveland Glenville, Worley wasn't trying to intentionally hurt his teammate, but he was trying to make a statement early in his OSU career. To me this is proof – players aren't thinking about the targeting rule when playing the game, and senior C.J. Barnett confirmed those thoughts after practice when he said it won't affect his play. However, players need to be careful because I think this rule is going to come into play more than most people are anticipating. And if the wrong person gets ejected out of Ohio State's secondary, that could be the difference between a win or a loss.
Andrew Norwell injury reminds us of OL depth issues – Ohio State saw one of its starting offensive guards leave practice shortly into the workout when Andrew Norwell was carted off the field with an ankle injury. There's no report as to how serious Norwell's injury could be, but it serves as a quick reminder of the depth issues Meyer said he was apprehensive about in regards to his offensive front. Ohio State was fortunate to not suffer any major offensive line injuries, but in reality that is rare. It is imperative that the Buckeyes firm up some reliable backups, because now Norwell joins center Corey Linsley on the list of senior offensive line starters with foot injures.
Adolphus Washington emerging as major threat – Anyone who witnessed Adolphus Washington play high school football at Cincinnati Taft knew the big defensive lineman was as close to a cant-miss high school prospect there is. The only question mark with Washington was how long it would take to translate to the collegiate level. Well, after watching Washington on Wednesday, it looks like the wait won't be that long. He was in the opposing backfield all day, and he recorded two sacks during team drills toward the end of practice. Both he and Noah Spence are being relied on to firm up OSU's defense – remember, the Buckeyes lost all starters from their front seven last year – and it seems clear that Washington has progressed nicely.
Practice had a nice little edge to it – Those who witnessed offensive coordinator Tom Herman charge at Luke Fickell in disagreement during practice saw one of many examples of what was the theme of the open practice – competitiveness and edginess. That was one of many heated, but innocent disagreements that turned into scrums during the passionate practice. Though Barnett said Meyer hasn't tried to break the team down as much as he did a year ago – it was his first call camp at OSU – it seems as if the Buckeyes have fully bought into Meyer's way. Competiveness will lead to disagreements, and neither was lacking Wednesday.
Proof Meyer is recruiting well? – If you're looking for proof that Meyer is killing it on the recruiting trail but want to look outside of Scout.com's recruiting team rankings, you should have seen practice. I say that because there were freshmen contributing everywhere – it wasn't only The Wilson Show. Other freshmen I was impressed with included Jalin Marshall, Ezekiel Elliott, Vonn Bell, Gareon Conley, Eli Apple, and Worley.
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