Although the players were in shorts, and there was no contact, several players stood out yesterday in a controlled scrimmage environment. Again, there was no live contact, so yesterday was more of a combine setting, rather than real football.
This is a quick look at the offense, noting that the linemen were impossible to evaluate, so we concentrated on body-type and agility.
Terrelle Pryor: Showed zero effects of knee surgery, and was quick and accurate delivering the football. Threw mostly short passes, but showed plenty of zip, and his mechanics were sound throughout. Tressel's comment: "Terrelle was more relaxed, but still competitive, and much further ahead of where he was last spring. It's not so much the light coming on all at once, but rather it getting brighter and brighter, over time. The Rose Bowl game helped his confidence, but the preparation in bowl practice helped him more."
Mike Adams: Worked with the first unit and looked dramatically better, from a physical standpoint. He was quick in the drills and looked the part of a starter at tackle. He knows he's being counted on to deliver in 2010, and he looks ready to fulfill his enormous potential.
J.B. Shugarts: Another lineman who looks better physically, and also appeared quicker than last year, going through drills. Shugarts improved continually throughout 2009, and seems poised to have a big year in 2010. Physically, he looks like an NFL tackle.
Carlos Hyde: Day One wasn't a practice for runningbacks, as it was mostly throwing the football out of the shotgun, but Hyde looks nothing like the player he was in high school, and appears to be in great physical condition. Tressel's comment: "Carlos Hyde was very impressive, the way he moves at probably 230-pounds. We have a lot of depth at tailback, with Boom and Zoom (Dan Herron and Brandon Saine) as the starters, and (Jordan) Hall and (Jaamal) Berry, but that depth can change quickly, with a few injuries."
Grant Schwartz: Mr. Steady on Day One, as he caught everything thrown his way, and appeared to out-perform Taurian Washington, who dropped a few catchable balls, even though Washington was working with the first unit. Tressel's comment: "Grant's been playing the position for a few years now, and I thought he did real well today."
Chris Fields: Dropped the first pass thrown to him, going against the defense, but caught everything after that, and showed good hands and quick feet. Worked both in the slot and outside, and looked more comfortable than last year. Tressel's comment: "I thought both Chris Fields and James Jackson looked really good out there today, and we have high hopes for both guys."
Devier Posey: Posey is the man in 2010, and his mom reported that he's gained upper-body strength and is much stronger. Mom also said she's going to kick him in the tail if he drops another pass, and knowing her, I believe she's serious. Posey should be able to build on a solid year in 2009, and be one of the country's best in 2010.
Jaamal Berry: Judging from seeing him fly through drills and catching passes out of the backfield, it appears he is in near perfect health. He's far bigger than when he played in high school, and the burst is still evident. He will look for carries in an over-crowded backfield.
Bryant Browning: Marcus Hartman pointed out how much Browning has improved his body since coming to Ohio State, and I totally agree. Browning had a long way to go, coming out of Glenville, but he has turned himself into a major performer on the offensive line, beating out more gifted teammates.
Reid Fragel: Look out for this guy. Got deep on Nate Oliver, but the pass was overthrown by Joe Bauserman. Jake Ballard told me Fragel is the best blocker of the tight ends, and I saw him catch the football with ease yesterday in drills. I do not see Fragel ever moving to offensive tackle, and he probably will have a career playing tight end on Sunday in a few years.
Jake Stoneburner: Actually caught more balls yesterday than he did all of 2009, although that wasn't too hard to do. Stoneburner looked good, actually was at his best as a slot receiver, in a four-wide set, or as a flex-tight end. Still has the hands and the ability to get open he showed in high school. He's bigger and stronger, and looks the part of an Ohio State tight end.
Kenny Guiton: Looked far more comfortable and confident throwing the football yesterday, compared to when I saw him in the fall of 2009. He also looks stronger, and was quicker delivering the ball. Guiton is probably going to make things tough on the staff, deciding who is the number two quarterback behind Pryor. He looked better than Joe Bauserman yesterday, but it's a long way to September. I'm still hoping neither has to play in anything other than blowouts, but they need to be prepared to beat Miami or Wisconsin.
Overall, the offense seemed crisper and sharper than would be expected on the first day of spring camp. That can be credited to the play of the quarterbacks, who made quick decisions and were accurate throwing the football.
The depth at the skill positions is evident, and these position battles will be interesting to watch over the course of the next few months. Even though the starters are fairly set, there will be a lot of competition to land in the two-deep among several players.