August 11, 2011

Thursday Practice Thoughts



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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State football team strapped up the shoulder pads for practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Thursday morning. Though the team wasn't allowed to tackle, the Buckeyes brought extra intensity with the added protection.



Perhaps it was because Ohio State is just one day away from its hearing with the NCAA in Indianapolis, but Luke Fickell and the rest of the team looked solely concentrated on getting better on the football field.




The team's fate won't likely be decided tomorrow morning, but the program is hoping it can finally take approaching mid-Aug. as a way to put scandal in the rear-view mirror.




We'll do that here, too, as we provide you observations and notes from Thursday morning's practice:




  • Kenny Guiton brought it Thursday - If there was any one quarterback that stood out from the pack this morning it was Guiton. For the entire practice, he was the only signal caller that was continuously on point with his throws while seemingly picking up his reads without hesitation. Whether it was deep routes or short/intermediate throws, Guiton couldn't seem to miss.




    There was one play in particular where Guiton hit senior DeVier Posey on a crossing route and Posey took it all the way for a touchdown. The ball was needled in between three defenders - not to mention it was a perfect spiral - and Posey took it all the way down the sideline for six. It was probably the most impressive offensive play of the morning.




  • Keeping tabs on all the quarterbacks - All eyes are on the quarterbacks this fall so we need to take a look at the others vying to earn the attention of the coaches. Starting with Joe Bauserman, who arguably had his best practice Tuesday, he didn't seem to carry over the momentum. He was off point quite a bit with his throws and fell victim to pressure on numerous occasions.




    When it comes to freshman Braxton Miller, he showed average command on his throws. But the wild card with Miller is that he's the only one who can use his legs to escape pressure and move the chains. Though there were occasions where all quarterbacks ran with the ball, Miller was the only one who legitimately dodged defenders and showed off his speed by taking it down field. That will be hard for the coaches to ignore, though he's clearly still a novice in terms of understand in the playbook.




    Finally there was Taylor Graham, who escaped pressure early in practice and made a nice throw on the run to tight end Jake Stoneburner. But for the most part, pressure was getting to him and if they were allowed to tackle him he would have been sacked on numerous occasions. His ability to make decisions before the pressure gets to him is the biggest key for him to be a viable option on this team. He has an incredibly strong arm, but speed and confidence is a must.




  • Carlos Hyde making a statement? - Perhaps the most impressive running back on the field Thursday was Hyde, who actually became somewhat of an afterthought during spring football. Mostly thought of as a short-yardage back, Hyde showed incredible quickness while running with authority. He showed ability to be elusive yet he was never afraid to run through people. He also was very efficient as a receiver out of the backfield during the times they found him on outlet routes and got more reps with the first team than any other back on the team.




    There was one play where Hyde broke the line of scrimmage and had a big run that seemed to be on its way for a touchdown, but he did fumble it down field and it was recovered by Christian Bryant. Doc Tressel kept hammering this point home to Hyde: "Don't worry about touchdowns, protect the football. Touchdowns will come."




    Odds & Ends



  • Bradley Roby again got to run with the first team at cornerback opposite Travis Howard, but he continued to work in and out with Dominic Clarke.




  • Dan Herron has really grown as a patient runner with good vision. He once was known for running up linemen's backs, but now he has perhaps the best ability on the team to cut back before the line of scrimmage and find open spaces.



  • Jamie Wood, Jeremy Cash, and Solomon Thomas all were wearing yellow injury jerseys. We saw Cash get banged up last practice, but Wood must have suffered something yesterday when we weren't watching.




  • Etienne Sabino was playing Sam LB in the base defense and Mike in nickel defense. Storm Klein was Mike in base. It seems like Sabino is still ahead in that battle.




  • When talking to wide receivers coach Stan Drayton he acknowledged T.Y. Williams has a "weakness" right now holding into the football. But he said the most important thing with Williams is learning how to use his body as leverage. As far as catching, he has been working in the Jugg machines and Drayton isn't worried about his ability to grow from that standpoint.




    Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.








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