Football

Key Position Battles Heading Into Fall Camp

Move-in day has officially arrived at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Columbus, which means we are officially less than 24 hours away from the commencement of the 2022 Ohio State football season. The foundation for this season was constructed through the grueling winter workouts, and the framing was erected during the spring, but now, it is time to build the rest of the house, and that is what this next month is all about.

The 2022 edition of the Ohio State Buckeyes is loaded with talent from top to bottom. Many positions are occupied by future All-Americans and NFL draft picks, but there are more than a few vital roles up for grabs during training camp.

If the captain of the ship is incapacitated, there needs to be a competent First Officer ready to go at a moment’s notice. That fact is not lost on Ryan Day and Corey Dennis, and it has been a priority to ensure there is a capable understudy in the event of a catastrophe. Kyle McCord and Devin Brown are the two candidates and it will be a fierce battle between the two. McCord has the advantage from an experience standpoint, and per source, McCord is a “preparation and film junky” and “tough as nails.” But, Devin Brown may be the more physically gifted of the two players. However, he still tends to put the ball in harm’s way from time to time, which is pretty standard for a true freshman. I feel confident that this battle will continue well into the season with both players primed to battle for the starting spot in 2023. 

The safety room is one of intrigue and will be one of the most fiercely contested positions on the team. Tanner McAllister and Josh Proctor are the early favorites to start, with Hickman playing in three safety looks, but can they be pushed? The young guys, like Cam Martinez, Kye Stokes, and Jantzen Dunn, are chomping at the bit to get on the field. If either one of those guys has a big camp, the older guys need to handle their business otherwise they will be getting pushed. Knowles is in a fortunate position of coming in with a clean slate where he is loyal to no one player and is only thinking about getting the best eleven assembled. 

The biggest concern for most fans heading into the season is the linebacker play. To put it mildly, it was dismal last year, and it needs to be better this year. The new defensive scheme and organization on that side of the ball should help tremendously, but who is going to play? Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers seem to be the odds-on favorites to get the most snaps, but who else is in the mix? Cody Simon is an athletic freak and he can run, but can he stay healthy and get coached up? Will they move Kourt Williams down to linebacker? He is certainly athletic enough and is arguably the hardest worker on the team, but is he big enough and developed enough to step into that role? Can Teradja Mitchell have a Curtis Grant in 2014 type of year? Chip Trayanum, the transfer from Arizona State, will also be in the mix as well as Palaie Gaoteote. 

In any defensive back room, you need three corners who can play at a high level. The Buckeyes have two main candidates vying for that role right now, and they are two names who have been getting a lot of airtime right now, Jordan Hancock and JK Johnson. Both are long, fast, young, and athletic corners who the staff feel very strongly about. Without getting too over-the-top, the staff feels this could be one of the better corner duos Ohio State has seen in a while once it is all said and done. But, as of right now, they are both pushing to get on the field in that third corner role and it should be a battle all throughout camp.  

Based on reports from sources close to the team, this group is excited and ready for fall camp. They have had a bad taste in their mouth for the entire offseason and they are eager to get rid of that and assert their will in week one against the Irish. Training camp is a special time where special things happen. Get ready Buckeye fans, football is coming up fast.