COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State returned to the practice field Monday, and there was a noticeable absence.
Middle linebacker Tuf Borland, who took over the starting role at that spot midway through the 2017 season, missed practice with an undisclosed injury. He finished the 2017 campaign with 58 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss.
He was replaced at middle linebacker in practice by Justin Hilliard, a former 5-star recruit in the Class of 2015. The second team reps went to Baron Browning, a former 5-star recruit in the Class of 2017.
Here’s what else we saw in practice.
- Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow once again split reps at quarterback, with neither one appearing to have an edge in the position battle. All quarterbacks wore black non-contact jerseys.
- Safety Jordan Fuller participated but was limited with an orange non-contact jersey.
- Practice opened with a punt period again, and Demario McCall took the most reps at punt returner. He was joined by wide receiver Terry McLaurin. In the first practice of the spring, the punt returners were McCall, wide receiver Johnnie Dixon and wide receiver C.J. Saunders. The punt returner from 2017, K.J. Hill, is missing spring practice with a shoulder injury.
- The Ohio State defensive line is full of monsters. All three primary defensive ends — Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper and Chase Young — looked impressive, and defensive tackle — led by Dre’Mont Jones — is deeper than ever.
- During one drill, Jones discarded backup center Josh Myers and got into the backfield almost effortlessly. One play later, it was Cooper raiding the backfield.
- Jones and Bosa both spent time by themselves getting individual pass-rush work. With both players experienced and valuable, it makes sense for Ohio State to limit the amount of contact they face in practice.
- Austin Mack had a great practice during the media viewing period, catching multiple touchdown passes and looking like a rising star.
- The progression at running back appeared to be J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber and Antonio Williams.
- Left tackle Isaiah Prince and left guard Michael Jordan weren’t participating during the media period. Additionally, right guard Branden Bowen remains out with a broken leg. The first-team offensive line from left to right was Josh Alabi, Malcolm Pridgeon, Brady Taylor, Demetrius Knox and Thayer Munford. The second-team offensive line from left to right was Matthew Burrell, Gavin Cupp, Myers, Wyatt Davis and Munford.
- With Munford playing first and second team and Burrell playing out of position, it’s pretty clear how thin Ohio State is at offensive tackle.
- The Buckeyes had some visitors for practice.
A few visitors here at Ohio State’s practice today:
– 2019 DB MJ Devonshire (offered)
– 2019 DB Moses Douglass
– 2019 LB Jamir Thomas
– 2019 DT Isaiah Gibson
– 2019 OL Solvauhn Moreland
– 2018 signee Taron Vincent
– 2018 signee Alex Williams
– More coming soon
— Ryan Donnelly (@L10Ryan) March 26, 2018