COLUMBUS, Ohio — The best-looking throw at Ohio State’s eighth spring football practice on Saturday came from Joe Burrow to the other quarterback who came with him in the 2015 recruiting class.
Burrow and Torrance Gibson hooked up for a 40-yard touchdown pass during the live scrimmage portion of the Buckeyes practice on Saturday, which was also Student Appreciation Day. It was the first time this spring that the media got to view the team in a live scrimmage setting.
Burrow and Gibson came in together as quarterbacks in 2015, and the anticipation was that they would someday battle for the starting job once J.T. Barrett is gone. Burrow is the No. 2 quarterback right now, and Gibson looks locked into receiver. On Saturday that tandem worked well with Burrow leading the second-team offense on a couple of scoring drives against the second-team defense.
The 40-yard bomb to Gibson down the left sideline was a good sign for the Buckeyes, who have been on the lookout for a consistent deep threat for the last year-plus. It’s important to note that Gibson was working with the second-team receivers, so he still has a way to go, but he looked natural running that deep route on Saturday.
Here are more observations from the scrimmage period:
• Pat Elflein and Billy Price didn’t participate in the live scrimmaging that we saw. They were on the sideline, presumably because they’re just high on reps right now and they’re being held out of some contact drills.
So Brady Taylor played center, and Demetrius Knox played right guard. Jamarco Jones was at left tackle, true freshman Michael Jordan at left guard and Isaiah Prince at right tackle.
That line struggled against the first-team defensive line, particularly the right side with Prince and Knox. Defensive end Jalyn Holmes was in J.T. Barrett’s face a lot.
• Here’s how the second-team offensive line looked on Saturday:
LT Kyle Trout, LG Matthew Burrell, C Aaron Parry, RG Evan Lisle, RT Branden Bowen.
• Barrett had his struggles, which wasn’t entirely his fault. He had bad protection from that young offensive line and without Ohio State’s real top three receivers (Noah Brown, Curtis Samuel and Corey Smith),Barrett didn’t have much in the way of open options.
• With Brown, Samuel and Smith out, here’s who rotated in at first-team receiver: Austin Mack, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, James Clark and Johnnie Dixon.
Clark made the best catch of the day, going full extension on the sideline to reel in a Barrett pass and get a toe down in bounds for a big gain on third down.
• K.J. Hill, who’s still in a non-contact orange jersey with a cast on his left hand did run full-speed with second-team offense. He obviously can’t catch, so when the ball came his way he just batted out of the air.
• The jet sweep is not dead. The first-team offense tried one to Dixon on a third-down call near the goal line that didn’t go anywhere.
• Both Mike Weber and Bri’Onte Dunn worked as first-team running backs, though the first-team offense didn’t run the ball very much. There was more run game with the second-team offense.
• True freshman running back Antonio Williams stood out on the second team. He ran hard, showed good vision and on one play churned up 45 yards down the sideline. He’s been talked about a lot in the early going of spring. It’s hard to tell if he’ll actually see time in the fall with so many ball-carrying options ahead of him, but Williams looks like he can be a player.