Thursday, August 18, 2011


Bauserman, left and Miller
AP/Terry Gilliam
COLUMBUS — Ohio State head football coach Luke Fickell insists there isn't a quarterback depth chart in place as of yet, but once again on Thursday morning it was fifth-year senior Joe Bauserman and true freshman Braxton Miller who were manning the first and second units in practice.

"No!" Fickell grinned Thursday, when asked if there's any particular pecking order going on under center.

Perhaps the first-year coach was meaning he doesn't have a starter at this point. Although Joe Bauserman ran the most reps with the first-team offense on Thursday, Miller was used a little more with the starting unit and even led the ones in the final two-minute drill of the day.

The battle looks to be heating up going into Saturday's jersey scrimmage, where game-like conditions could make the decision easier for Fickell and the coaching staff.

"It's the time where the coaches are going to back off a little bit and they're going to play like they would in a game," Fickell said. "It's your time to shine."

Fickell did hint that Saturday's jersey scrimmage will go a long way in deciding a specific order, being that it will be the first completely live action of the fall for the each of the signal callers.

"I think every day is a critical moment for them guys," Fickell said of the quarterbacks. "Just showing their poise and showing their leadership and showing their competitive nature. There hasn't been a lot of time (thus far) where you're completely live. That jersey scrimmage is when you'll go live."

It certainly appears as if Bauserman and Miller have separated themselves from the pack. This was the second straight practice — available to the media — that the Buckeyes ran Bauserman and Miller with the first and second units, while Ken Guiton and Taylor Graham splits reps with the third-team offense.

Both Bauserman and Miller looked comfortable guiding the first unit, although there were some protection issues for each player, forcing them to move around in the pocket for much of the scrimmage drills.

Miller's athleticism was apparent on Thursday and could eventually give him the nod when things go live Saturday.

The jersey scrimmage will take place at Ohio Stadium at 10:15 a.m. It is closed to the public.

STEPPING UP THE GAME ... True freshman wide receiver Evan Spencer looked like a three-year starter on Thursday, snaring pass after pass in scrimmage drills.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound native of Illinois — and son of former Ohio State star Tim Spencer — had his best practice of his young career, displaying great hands and athleticism, while showing the ability and willingness to catch the football in traffic.

He and fellow freshman receiver Devin Smith (Massillon) have each impressed thus far in fall camp and look to possibly push for playing time this season.

BACKFIELD BATTLE ... The competition in the Buckeyes' backfield is beginning to really heat up and Saturday's jersey scrimmage will also be a critical moment for each of the runners fighting for playing time this season.

On Thursday, junior Jordan Hall was running with the first unit for much of the day, with sophomore Carlos Hyde and red-shirt freshman Rod Smith mixing in with the second and third units. Sophomore Jaamal Berry was inactive with a minor injury.

Smith looked the most impressive of the group Thursday, showing his power and tackle-breaking abilities. He had one run late in practice that if live, probably would've been a touchdown.

PLAY OF THE DAY ... The offense took the honors for the play of the day on Thursday. In two-minute drills late in practice, Bauserman threw a corner route in the end zone to red-shirt freshman receiver T.Y. Williams, who went up high and snatched the football while managing to get his feet down for a score.

Williams had a few drops earlier in the day, so the big grab late helped salvage a rough day of camp for the native of Cleveland.