Devin Brown Ohio State Buckeyes Quarterback

Ohio State Football Notebook: ‘Whoever throws me the ball, that’s who I like’

The Opportunity Is Now

When redshirt freshman wide receiver Bryson Rodgers decided to take himself out of the transfer portal and come back to Ohio State this winter, he made a talented OSU receiver room even more talented.

That talent was on display this past weekend as Rodgers was one of a number of standouts for the Buckeyes during their annual Student Appreciation Day practice. His biggest play came on a 75-yard catch-and-run that showcased his route running, hands, and long speed.

One of the happiest people regarding Rodgers’ return to Ohio State was Buckeye head coach Ryan Day.

“I think we need him to play for us this year,” Day said. “He’s very quick in short areas I think he does a nice job in the slot in particular. I think he’s a mismatch for a lot of guys in there because of his quickness. He’s a very good runner.”

Rodgers is also able to do something with the ball after the catch, as he showed on Saturday.

“For the quarterback, he’s got excellent body language,” Day said. “He understands space really well and can operate in the short areas very, very well. So the challenge for him is to continue to get stronger and play on contact. But if he can do that, he’ll definitely contribute for us this year.”

Run The Damn Ball

For an offensive line, the phrase “Run The Damn Ball” is often considered a way of life.

For Ohio State center Seth McLaughlin, it’s also a way of helping.

In his previous stop at Alabama, McLaughlin believed in the motto so much that he sold hats with those four words written on them.

“So I’d always worn this hat going through high school and been wearing it in college,” McLaughlin explained. “Last year, I made my own as an NIL thing and I donated the money to the West Alabama Food Bank. I’m going to try to start that up here and we’re going to try to figure out a foundation to work with on that.”

As for the motto as an offensive line, it’s a mentality that has to become second nature.

“I love it. That’s embracing what’s hard,” McLaughlin said. “If you can run the ball, you can win football games. If you can’t, you’re probably not going to win big football games. So offensive lines really have to buy into being able to run the ball and doing whatever it takes to help the team succeed.”

A Biased Source

As you may have heard, the Ohio State Buckeyes are looking for a new starting quarterback. The competition is in full swing right now between Devin Brown, Will Howard, and Lincoln Kienholz.

All three quarterbacks have gotten reps with the ones as the coaches look for enough chartable plays to make an informed decision when the eventual time comes.

That time won’t be until fall camp — or beyond, though it does depend on who you ask.

As with all teams, cliques and favorites develop. Just as it is incredibly easy for any parent to tell you who their favorite child is, some Ohio State football players are just as definite when it comes to which quarterback they are favoring in the competition so far.

Take sophomore wide receiver Carnell Tate, for instance. He doesn’t bother hiding his preference.

“I like them all,” he said. “Whoever throws me the ball, that’s who I like.”

Downs Says Stock Up On JJ

Ohio State freshman wide receiver Jeremiah Smith has captured attentions and imaginations this spring with his early performances during camp.

By the end of last Saturday afternoon, Smith was trending on Twitter thanks to a couple of catches that were shared to social media. It was the first time Buckeye fans had gotten much of a look at Smith, but seeing him make plays like that was nothing new for his teammates.

“He’s a very elite athlete,” said sophomore safety Caleb Downs. “A very instinctual player. He has a great ball skills. He should have a big impact this year.”

Would Downs like to compare him to any past receivers he’s seen before?

“No. JJ is his own self,” he said. “JJ is his own man.”

Downs was also asked if he’s seen any other elite receivers so far this spring.

“I watched Emeka Egbuka a lot when I was in high school, watching the games. And then last year watching some of his film, he’s been an elite receiver,” Downs said. “He was an elite receiver then and he’s an elite receiver now. And Carnell Tate has had a great spring as well.”

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