With preseason camp now a week old, the 2019 Ohio State Buckeyes held their first scrimmage of camp on Saturday. Media was not permitted to see any of the scrimmage, but head coach Ryan Day fielded questions on what he learned on Saturday following the practice.
Asked who has stood out to Day so far in camp, he said today’s scrimmage was the first day of truly live practice, and that he needed to watch the film to really assess where the team currently stands. However, Day said there was a clear winner in today’s scrimmage.
“The defense got after the offense for sure,” Day said of the scrimmage. “The offense turned the ball over too many times, they didn’t run the ball as well as they should. So, the defense won the day for sure.”
On whether the turnovers were due to bad execution from the offense or a product of a play-making defense, Day said he felt it was a “little bit of both” and said that was something he wanted to get into the film and find out.
Day said he wasn’t sure if one side of the ball was further ahead of the other at this point in the camp, saying it has gone back and forth throughout the first week of camp, which he said is “healthy.”
“If one side is dominating the other throughout camp, we have an issue,” he said. “But right now, it’s been a good battle.”
In particular, Day said the defensive line did a great job at creating penetration throughout the scrimmage, and the secondary was forcing turnovers and turning them into scores as well. He singled out linebacker Baron Browning as a guy who stood out throughout the scrimmage.
“He plays fast, he’s very athletic, he’s physical, big and strong,” Day said of Browning. “I think (linebackers coach) Al (Washington) is doing a great job with him in terms of understanding and diagnosing plays and being in the right spot at the right time.”
Day went on to say he felt all the linebackers were performing well and “off to a good start.”
As for the competition at right tackle, where redshirt senior Branden Bowen and redshirt freshman Nicholas Petit-Frere are battling for the starting job, Day said they are “neck and neck” right now. However, as he has said previously, Day reiterated that if both show they are ready to play, both will do so.
During his opening press conference of camp, Day suggested naming a starting quarterback would require a couple of weeks in camp. However, Day said he expected to have a better feel for that competition following today’s scrimmage but that didn’t happen.
“Nobody went out there and won the job for sure,” Day said. “Again, it’s still a work in progress. Hopefully, at this time next week, someone steps up and wins the job.”
Similar to the quarterbacks, the backup running back job remains unclear. Day said he was hopeful someone would step forward in today’s scrimmage and claim the job but did not see it. Master Teague has been sidelined with an injury during camp. Steele Chambers, Marcus Crowley, and Demario McCall are also vying for carries.
The Buckeyes will be off tomorrow before returning to the practice field on Monday. Day is scheduled to meet again with the media on Wednesday, as is new co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who was hired in January after spending eight seasons at Michigan.
Stay tuned to The Gazette for further coverage of the Buckeyes’ 2019 preseason camp.