Ohio State football: Coordinator happy with passing game

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Ohio State’s passing game should not be confused with the Great Wallendas, but at least it was an aerial show coming out of spring practice as compared with a year ago.

“I called the plays for the Scarlet team (in the spring game Saturday), and I think we were 100 percent pass and it felt OK,” offensive coordinator Tom Herman said yesterday. “We tried a little bit of that last year in the spring game, and it was the famously quoted ‘clown show’ (by coach Urban Meyer).”

Not so on Saturday, when quarterback Braxton Miller led the Scarlet to a 31-14 win at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.Herman’s confidence is buoyed so much that “I’m not frightened to call a pass play anymore. I think literally the thought of that sent shivers down my spine at times last year.”

Decker on top

After the spring game, Meyer expressed concern about right tackle. Chase Farris had trouble blocking Adolphus Washington. Taylor Decker was moved to left tackle because the Buckeyes rested Jack Mewhort, and Decker didn’t fare much better against Noah Spence. Washington and Spence combined for seven sacks, though not all came against Farris and Decker.

But offensive line coach Ed Warinner said he wasn’t fretting about right tackle. He said Decker, who will be a sophomore in the fall, has the edge.

“We have guys there who will do a fine job,” Warinner said. “What Coach is trying to say is that there’s no clear-cut ‘this is the guy; this is who the starter is.’ There are guys who can do the job, and they’re good players, and their time will come.”

Warinner said his only concerns about Decker are inexperience and inconsistency.“I like everything about him in terms of what his upside is and his ability and mindset,” he said. “The more he plays there, the better he’ll be.”

Perry gets nod

Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell said that strongside linebacker Joshua Perry would join middle linebacker Curtis Grant and weakside linebacker Ryan Shazier as starters in the base defense, if the season started now.“We put (Perry) into some uncomfortable situations to see if he could react and respond,” Fickell said. “I’m happy to say Josh has taken big strides from last year, and we’re looking forward to big things in the future.”

Work at running back

Running backs coach Stan Drayton was asked for a postspring pecking order.

“Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith have separated themselves,” Drayton said “Pick a day on Warren Ball and Bri’onte Dunn.”“These kids need to continue develop rather quickly,” Drayton said of Ball and Dunn. “They’ve got to prove their value to this football team. That’s what spring is for. And for me to still have some question marks as to what they can bring to the table, it’s not a complete negative, it’s not a disaster, but I would have liked to have known a little bit more about these two at this point.”

tmay@dispatch.com

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

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