In a departure from many spring football days, Ohio State football coach Ryan Day started his press conference Tuesday with actual news.
Cade Stover was back at tight end after dabbling in defense, a story you can read more about in Wednesday’s paper or here.
The head coach talked about plenty more, though, so here is a rundown:
Stover always saw himself as a linebacker and loved it when he got the chance to play there against Utah. Plus they had a need on defense, so that was why he moved. He might see that moving forward he has a huge ceiling at tight end, and Day said he has practiced well and can bring some more utility to the offense.
He praised the leadership Stover has displayed since the Rose Bowl, and he agreed he needs to find a position to focus on.
Entering the spring, Day said his main concerns would have been installing the new defense and how the offensive line looks under a new coach. So far, so good.
Asked about changes to the coaching staff impacting the program overall, he said there is always a balance to maintain between continuity and diversity in thought when it comes to a coaching staff.
The tight ends are all getting better. It is still the same group as last year minus Jeremy Ruckert (plus freshman Bennett Christian). They aren’t looking yet at how they can use each guy individually. Now is about developing skill sets.
Oklahoma State transfer Tanner McAlister is most like a player/coach at nickel safety. His experience in the Jim Knowles’ defense really shows, and he feels comfortable in the style of defense they are playing.
Day had no complaints about using four natural offensive tackles in the starting lineup last season, but he admitted there is some value in having thicker guys at guard. The projected starters Matt Jones and Donovan Jackson are built differently than the guys last year. Jackson, a five-star sophomore from Texas, is very athletic, gifted and smart. He is improving with each rep.
Day feels good about the young receivers, but they need to keep working to see how they develop. It takes time even though we have seen how talented they are and how good they looked good in the Rose Bowl.
He wishes senior safety Josh Proctor could do more. He is just getting started doing some limited work on the field after breaking a leg early last season. Day does not expect Proctor to do any full-team work this spring, but he can do some position stuff.
Dawand Jones considering going pro, but the right tackle came back to be a first or second round pick. He has the ability to do that, but he has a lot to accomplish this season. That includes building consistency.
Day likes the talent Mitchell Melton has demonstrated. He is getting a look at rush end, and they are still seeing what he can do.
He was asked about the value of having a set lineup on the offensive line after there was a lot of shuffling up front last year, and Day said it depends. If you can build chemistry that certainly improves consistency, which is good. Some guys are better being told they have a spot and not having to look over their shoulder while others need to be in competition all the time to get the best out of themselves.
Taron Vincent is having a good spring. He has a good work ethic, attitude and production plus he has developed physically. (Read more)
In spring there is an emphasis on fundamentals, and they do some scheme experiments, but they don’t want to linger too long on any experiment. They try to see if it’s going to work or move on quickly.
Day is impressed with how the defense is challenging the offense every day. Knowles has a unique way. He is an efficient teacher.
Overall, the Buckeyes are not ahead or behind where he wants them to be. They just need to keep doing the work.
TreVeyon Henderson is more confident with a year under his belt. The sophomore running back has a good look in his eye. He’'s a very serious guy with some leadership ability. Playing running back is tough in the spring because you don’t get tackled much. That leaves lots of time to practice blocking and picking up the offense and whatnot. They want each guy to get better individually at this time.
They have to figure out how many guys deserve to be on the field. Then they will figure out how to use them. There are guys with different skillsets such as Mitch Rossi and Miyan Williams.
Overall the more a guy can do, the more he will play so they don’t have to specialize. The more guys who can do many things, the better they will be.
He had a lot of good things to say about Josh Proctor. He is rangy and extremely physical. He can blitz. He has good ball skills. He is all over the place when he is playing well.
To make it at this level you need to be tough mentally and physically. Some need to be coached differently than others, though. Some need a pat on the back and some need a push. (This was not about any specific player.)
The roster is more experienced this year than last year, but they are still pretty young.