The first day of spring football practice is always full of information, and that was no different this week at Ohio State.
New head coach Ryan Day had plenty of nuggets for reporters after his first spring in charge of the Buckeyes kicked off Wednesday.
>>READ MORE on the offense’s outlook for spring
Here are five things to know:
1. Two starters are out.
One veteran on each side of the ball will be sidelined for the entirety of the spring, and a handful of others are not full-go as spring gets going.
Day said Jordan Fuller, a two-year starter at safety, will not be practicing this spring because of what he called “a lower extremity issue,” while left tackle Thayer Munford is out because of “a bit of a back issue.”
Additionally, running back Demario McCall and defensive linemen Taron Vincent and Jerron Cage are limited for now but expected to be ready to go when the Buckeyes return to practice after spring break.
2. Day does not want to rush things with the quarterbacks.
Although Georgia transfer Justin Fields appeared to be on top of the depth chart on the first day of spring practice, Day said he and redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin will compete for the job.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Day said. “The way that we kind of look at it is this is spring practice, but it’s the first practice leading up to the first game of the season and it’s a progression along the way.”
Day expects new quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich to split up reps as spring goes on.
"I thought it was a good start, though,” Day said. "The guys are learning this offense. Matt’s been in it for a year but he hasn’t really run it with the (first team). He had an opportunity today to do that. That was good. Justin’s a quick learner, he’s a sharp guy. He’s done a nice job in the meetings. So it was good to get out there and kind of feel what this group can handle.”
3. The guy who wins the job might not be in the shotgun 100 percent of the time.
Urban Meyer changed a lot about Ohio State football after replacing Jim Tressel as head coach, and having the quarterback in the shotgun all the time was perhaps the most visible example.
Day’s Buckeyes will probably use the shotgun primarily — that’s become the norm at all levels of football — but we might see the return of getting under center, at least occasionally.
“We will look at a lot of different things,” Day said. “What does this team look like? We always try to be on the cutting edge of different things. We have studied a lot of people’s film. We’re going to try and find what is the next step for us. What is the thing that keeps us ahead of everybody else.
“We will look at some under-center stuff this spring.”
4. Add the head coach to the list of folks expecting big things from Josh Myers on the offensive line.
The Miamisburg native was anchoring the No. 1 group at center on day one, as expected.
“Josh, we were ready to have him play some center down the stretch for us in the bowl game and move (starting center) Mike Jordan to left guard (late last season), so we were ready to do that,” Day said. "He had worked all season for that opportunity. It never quite presented itself down the stretch for us, so this is a huge spring for him to go win a job.”
Myers was the No. 1-ranked recruit in Ohio two years ago and is one of seven area players on the Ohio State roster this spring.
5. J.K. Dobbins should have a busy fall — but a boring spring.
The first running back to go over the 1,000-yard mark in each of his first two seasons at Ohio State doesn’t have a lot left to prove on the practice field in Columbus.
He also doesn’t have Mike Weber to share carries, which sounds like it is fine with the junior-to-be from Texas.
“Give me all the carries!” he said jovially when asked about potentially getting overworked this fall.
Between now and then, most of the work for running backs figures to go to his potential backups: McCall, Master Teague and Marcus Crowley.
“I had a nice conversation with J.K. the other day,” the head coach said. “I think he will tell you a little bit last year he was looking for home runs because he was splitting reps with Mike. He’s going to have to make those 5- and 6-yard runs where he is going to finish them for 7 or 8 and not try and make that home run.
“His carries will be up and he will be the lead dog. We have to find some depth there. There are a lot of guys behind him who haven’t done anything. They have to prove themselves and win some backup positions. The more we can get those guys going this spring, we can create some more depth and take some off his plate.”
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