Ohio State football training camp: 10 top storylines from QB competition to play-calling

As Ohio State opens preseason training camp on Thursday, here are 10 storylines to watch over the coming practices:
April 15, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA;
Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord (6) warms up with the scarlet team for the Ohio State spring football game Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch
1. The duration of the quarterback competition
Justin Fields and C.J. Stroud maintained an aura of inevitability before prevailing in past competitions. That isn’t the case with Kyle McCord. Though the backup for two seasons and holding an edge in experience over Devin Brown, he wasn’t the clear front-runner when spring practice ended in April, and Buckeyes coach Ryan Day has said this battle is closer than previous ones. Fields and Stroud were each named the starter exactly 12 days before Ohio State’s season opener. Could this last longer, carrying past camp?
Mar 9, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Devin Brown (33) throws during spring football practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch
2. Devin Brown’s surgically repaired finger
A fractured pinky finger on his right (throwing) hand sidelined Brown for the last week of spring practice before he resumed throwing in May. Day said last week that Brown has had a “great summer” since his return. “He was ready to go and hasn’t missed anything,” Day said. “He’s put on some weight. He’s gotten stronger. He’s throwing the ball well.” If the redshirt freshman’s health holds, it’ll keep the competition closer.
Apr 15, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, United States; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Miyan Williams (3), running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) and running back Chip Trayanum (19) take the field during warmups for the Ohio State Buckeyes spring game at Ohio Stadium on Saturday morning. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Scheller-The Columbus Dispatch
3. TreVeyon Henderson’s recovery
One of the players Day mentioned he is most excited to see in camp is Henderson, who has recovered from surgery in December to repair torn ligaments and a broken bone in his left foot. “You really didn’t get a chance to see a healthy TreVeyon last year,” Day said. The foot injury limited Henderson, cutting his carries nearly in half after he came within 155 yards of J.K. Dobbins’ single-season freshman rushing record the previous fall. Dobbins also dipped as a sophomore before bouncing back as a junior. Could Henderson follow a similar career trajectory? Preseason practices will provide some early clues.
Nov 26, 2022; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) points to a first down after a catch against Michigan Wolverines in the first quarter of their game at Ohio Stadium.
4. Where Marvin Harrison Jr. is positioned
In a handful of spring practices, Harrison lined up inside, positioning that looms as a potential mismatch for slot corners assigned to cover the 6-foot-4 receiver. It’s possible the Buckeyes were only experimenting with a receiver who figures to remain outside for a majority of his snaps, and with their full complement of receivers available for camp that exercise might be over. Or the staff might have uncovered a new way to utilize the All-American.
Mar 7, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Carson Hinzman (75) lines up during spring football drills at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch
5. Key offensive line battles
There is a lot to sort out in the trenches with the Buckeyes replacing their left and right tackles in the same offseason for the first time since 2016 and another starting spot open at center. None of the position battles were settled in spring practice, and the ones at right tackle and center are only more open. Josh Simmons, who transferred from San Diego State later in the spring, enters the mix with Zen Michalski and Tegra Tshabola at right tackle. Jakob James, the backup at center last season who had an undisclosed injury keep him out in spring practice, is said to be at full strength and due to compete with Carson Hinzman and Louisiana Monroe transfer Vic Cutler to anchor the offensive line.
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Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Mitchell Melton (20) lines up during the spring football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on April 16, 2022.
6. The use of the ‘Jack’
A staple of Jim Knowles’ defense at Oklahoma State was a hybrid defensive end-linebacker role that had an ability to penetrate into the backfield. The disruptive position, branded as the “Jack” at Ohio State, didn’t wreak much havoc last season, and it was shelved for spring practices as Jack Sawyer moved back to end on a full-time basis. But the return of Mitchell Melton, who has recovered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered over a year ago, leaves open the possibility that it could be reintroduced this month.
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7. Denzel Burke’s progress
On the heels of a disappointing sophomore season that saw Burke battle hand and shoulder injuries, he is said to have shined in spring practice. The staff praised him at every turn, and he stood out in multiple scrimmages by breaking up passes in coverage. Burke shut down several of the top receivers in the Big Ten as a freshman in 2021 that provided glimpses of his potential. If his strong offseason continues, the secondary figures to be in better shape and less prone to surrendering the explosive plays that crippled the Buckeyes late last season.
Oct 8, 2022; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Lathan Ransom (12) celebrates his interception with safety Josh Proctor (41) in the first quarter of the NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium.
8. The safety configuration
Cameron Martinez and Josh Proctor joined Lathan Ransom with the first-string defense in spring practice. Martinez lined up as the nickel safety with Proctor at free safety. Will Knowles and safeties coach Perry Eliano stick with this trio or explore other options? There is depth behind them in Ja’Had Carter and Sonny Styles. Carter, a veteran slot safety at Syracuse, is versatile enough to fill other spots, and Styles began displaying his physical gifts as a 6-4 safety as a freshman last fall.
April 15, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA;
Kicker Jayden Fielding (38) kicks off the first quarter of the Ohio State spring football game Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch
9. Kicking competition
Who will kick field goals with Noah Ruggles gone? Jayden Fielding, who handled kickoffs last fall, and Parker Lewis, who redshirted after transferring from Southern California, are in the mix. Whoever proves to have the more reliable leg could gain an edge. Special teams coordinator Parker Fleming said the Buckeyes are looking for consistency, a trait shown by Noah Ruggles, who missed only four of his 41 attempts over two seasons with the Buckeyes and none from within 35 yards. “You got to be dependable,” Fleming said.
10. Sorting out play-calling on offense
Day is open to handing over play-calling to Brian Hartline, the wide receivers coach who was elevated to offensive coordinator this offseason, as he looks to balance those responsibilities with his duties running the program. But it’s unclear how much Day, who remains regarded as one of the brightest offensive minds in the game, will ultimately delegate. It’s a dynamic he said the two of them will sort out over the first two weeks of camp.
NOTES:
Nigel Glover, a freshman linebacker from Northwestern who entered the transfer portal two weeks ago, has committed to Ohio State.
Glover announced his decision on Tuesday evening after visiting Columbus in recent days, among other reported trips to Kentucky and Michigan.
His entry into the portal came in the aftermath of a hazing scandal within the Wildcats' program that led to the firing of Pat Fitzgerald, who had been the second-longest tenured coach in the Big Ten. If a coach is fired at a point outside of the winter or spring transfer window, undergraduate players are eligible to put their names in the portal for a period of 30 days.
After signing with Northwestern in December, Glover had only been enrolled at the school for a matter of months, making him younger than most available transfers. He'll join the Buckeyes with four seasons of eligibility.
He figures to help the Buckeyes in the long term at linebacker after they signed only one at the position in the 2023 recruiting class in Arvell Reese, a four-star from Glenville High School in Cleveland.
Glover is also a native of Ohio as he's from suburban Dayton and attended Northmont High School in Clayton, where he drew interest from the Buckeyes, but did not ultimately receive a scholarship offer from them before settling on Northwestern.
The composite rankings from 247Sports had Glover as a four-star recruit who was the No. 335 overall prospect and No. 30 linebacker in his class.
Developing depth at linebacker is a priority for Ohio State as it is heavy on veterans at the top of the depth chart. Returning starters Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers are seniors, as is Cody Simon.
Glover becomes the 10th transfer to join Ohio State since last season.

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