After two weeks of preseason practice, Ohio State interim coach Ryan Day provided an overall update on the team’s progress since the start of camp August 3.
He also highlighted some of the things the players have done off the field to keep things light as they practice without coach Urban Meyer, who is on paid administrative leave while the school investigates how Meyer handled allegations assistant coach Zach Smith abused his wife in 2015.
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Here is a summary of Day’s thoughts on the defense, where there will be a lot of new faces receiving playing time this fall:
- Despite heavy losses to the NFL, the defensive line might still be the deepest on the team according to Day. He praised the leadership of Wayne graduate Robert Landers, All-American Nick Bosa, Dre’mont Jones, Jashon Cornell, Davon Hamilton, Jonathan Cooper and Chase Young. The freshmen have impressed the coach as well, though he did not name names.
- Linebacker is probably the position with the most question marks this offseason, but Day said it is coming together for coach Billy Davis. There is competition at all three spots as Baron Browning and Justin Hilliard vie for time in the middle while Tuf Borland continues recovering from an Achilles injury, Dante Booker and Pete Werner compete at SAM linebacker and Malik Harrison and Keandre Jones show what they can do at the WILL.
- At cornerback, Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield “are poised to continue the tradition of great Buckeye CB play” while sophomore Jeffrey Okudah is coming along well after his spring was wiped out by recovery from a shoulder injury. Redshirt freshman Shaun Wade also received a shoutout from Day.
- Returning starter Jordan Fuller has in the eyes of the coaching staff established himself as a leader for the defense while Isaiah Pryor and Jahsen Went compete to start opposite him. Sophomores Amir Riep and Brendon White are pushing them while true freshmen Josh Proctor and Marcus Hooker are also having “encouraging” preseasons.
The Buckeyes have reached the midway point of the preseason and will wrap up camp with a scrimmage Saturday, two weeks before the season-opening game against visiting Oregon State.
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Meyer remains on leave as an expected 14-day window for the investigation winds down.
OSU president Dr. Michael Drake indicated Thursday in an interview with WOSU the investigation will take as long as it needs to.