Ohio State football: 5 takeaways from first day of spring practice

COLUMBUS — Ohio State returned to the practice field Tuesday, 66 days after a season-ending loss in the Peach Bowl to Georgia.

The Buckeyes lost some big-name players but have plenty in reserve, and reporters were allowed to watch the first few periods of practice.

Here are five things to know from day one of spring ball:

1. Head coach Ryan Day offered nothing new on the quarterbacks.

“It’s just day one in the books,” Day said when the first practice was over.

Kyle McCord took the first snaps in early practice position drills, as expected of the junior-to-be who was the No. 2 quarterback behind C.J. Stroud last season.

Redshirt freshman Devin Brown followed him (newly wearing No. 33) while Oregon State transfer Tristan Gebbia followed.

The coach likes having three scholarship passers on the roster with a fourth on the way in freshman Lincoln Kienholz.

“There’s a lot of reps to go around, and it’s just the first couple days here then we’ll go on break and then we’ll come back and really dig in,” Day said.

2. Tegra Tshabola is in the mix at right tackle.

The redshirt freshman from Lakota West was a backup guard last season, but he enters this spring competing with third-year sophomore Zan Michalski to be the new right tackle.

Fourth-year junior Josh Fryar was seen at left tackle after he served as the sixth man on the line last season, and that appears to be his spot to lose.

Redshirt freshman Carson Hinzman and transfer Victor Cutler Jr. were seen snapping the ball and appear to be the top two candidates to replace Luke Wypler at center.

3. C.J Hicks a future Jack?

The sophomore-to-be from Alter High School is in a unique spot. He was the highest-rated recruit in last year’s class but saw little playing time as veterans Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers locked down linebacker. They are back this season (with senior-to-be Cody Simon also in the mix), so snaps could be hard to come by again in 2023, but defensive coordinator Jim Knowles (who also coaches the linebackers) again praised Hicks for his attitude and said he has a bright future.

Knowles also did not rule out taking a look at Hicks at the hybrid “Jack” position that is part defensive lineman and part linebacker but also unique to Knowles’ scheme.

4. Davison Igbinosun looked the part.

Among the key offseason acquisitions for Ohio State, Igbinosun is listed as a 6-foot-2, 187-pound cornerback from Union, N.J.

He is wearing No. 20, the number Sonny Styles wore last season, so it was easy to mistake him for a safety on his first day in scarlet and gray.

But Ohio State cornerbacks rarely look like him, and Igbinosun looked comfortable in backpedals with the cornerbacks.

Knowles said he has a certain “Jersey swagger” to the room after a freshman All-America season at Mississippi last year.

5. Since Day already identified many of the players who are out for spring, one of the surprises of the first day was a player who was in.

Mitchell Melton was among those practicing with the defensive ends less than a full year after suffering a knee injury in the 2022 spring game.

He came to Ohio State in 2020 as a four-star linebacker but spent time with the line last spring before his injury. While Melton won’t be doing full-team drills this spring, Knowles said he could be a candidate for the Jack position this fall.

Eichenberg, running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Evan Pryor, receivers Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming, center Jakob James are all expected to be out for spring while recovering from injuries.

About the Author