Ohio State practice observations: Why 2016 could be the Year of the Tight Ends
Ohio State held its third day of fall camp Tuesday, and for the second and final day the media was allowed to attend for warmups and the opening four periods.
The Buckeyes actually began practice on the far side of the football complex, obscuring the view of the circle drill. However, the Ohio State football Twitter account posted a video of true freshmen Rodjay Burns and Demario McCall taking part in the drill.
Young guys getting a little intro to the circle drill this morning ?? pic.twitter.com/RN1aKESQMM
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) August 9, 2016
What follows are observations and notes from the first half hour of Ohio State’s practice:
- Ohio State began the practice with ‘The Difference,’ an exercise brought to the program by Chris Ash that emphasizes hand placement and leverage. You can watch a 2015 video of Chris Ash talking about it here.
- The offensive line remained the same, with Jamarco Jones (left tackle), Michael Jordan (left guard), Pat Elflein (center), Billy Price (right guard) and Isaiah Prince (right tackle) making up the first team.
- Speaking of the offensive line, Ohio State is still taking it easy on Elflein as was the case in the fall camp opener. He took part in a number of drills but by the time the media left he was once again working individually on the side with assistant strength and conditioning coach Jeff Uhlenhake.
- The team started Period 1 with field goal block, as opposed to Sunday’s opener with punt team. Buckeye fans who lost sleep over the kicking woes last year won’t have many reasons for more optimism this year if Tuesday’s practice was any indication.
- I spent a good bit of time watching Ed Warinner coach the tight ends because I was curious as to how he would approach it, and that decision did not disappoint. He was a quarterback in college and has never been a tight ends position coach, but you would never know it watching him out there. The attention to detail is masterful, and he has no problem making someone run through something again if he doesn’t see what he wants. The players responded to him well, which is something you always want to watch when a position has young players and a new coach. This has become somewhat of a broken record, but I think the tight ends could be due for a breakout season — especially since their position coach is the one calling the plays.
- As players changed drills, two of Ohio State’s three freshman tight ends, Luke Farrell and Kierre Hawkins, left Warinner’s group to catch passes with the wide receivers while Jake Hausmann stayed and continued to work with Marcus Baugh and A.J. Alexander. Does the Cincinnati Moeller star have the edge for early playing time?