In the realm of how news is perceived, it’s interesting which bulletins jump off the page and which ones go almost unnoticed.
Take the past few days with the Ohio State football team. The news late Monday that redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett is expected to make his first start in the opener against Navy in Baltimore on Aug. 30 was the talk of the town.
That came at the same time it was revealed that Braxton Miller, headed into his fourth year as starting quarterback and the two-time winner of the Silver Football award winner as Big Ten MVP, was lost for the season after suffering another injury to his right shoulder.
But only a couple of days before, coach Urban Meyer had confirmed another Buckeye will gain the first start.
“Darryl Baldwin is the starting right tackle,” Meyer said on Saturday. “He is one of the most improved players on the team.”
As big of a moment the declaration was for Baldwin, a fifth-year senior who already holds a degree in business marketing, it became little more than a footnote from camp. Besides, Baldwin was the odds-on favorite for the job going into preseason camp after practicing with first team through most of the spring as Ohio State looked to replace four starters on the line.
“This is my third year on the offensive line,” said Baldwin, who came to Ohio State from Solon as a defensive lineman. “Even though I haven’t actually started yet, I’ll be ready for it.”
Last season, he was the reliever for Jack Mewhort, who became a second-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts, at left tackle. But when offensive line coach Ed Warinner moved last year’s starting right tackle Taylor Decker to the left side, Baldwin was slotted into the right side primarily because, like he said, he at least had some experience.
It shows, said former star Ohio State and NFL lineman Jim Lachey, the long-time analyst on the Buckeyes’ radio broadcast. And Lachey said that experience for Baldwin and the rest of the offensive linemen has been growing through camp as they have scrimmaged against what analysts have labeled the best overall defensive line group in the nation.
“Darryl is getting work in practice against Noah Spence and some of those other guys, and he’s doing a nice job,” Lachey said. Getting into the technical side, “From what I’ve noticed, he needs to get a little more violent with his hands, but it’s something he will learn. He definitely has the ability.”
Or, as Baldwin put it, “In terms of coming off the ball, it’s all about getting your hands inside.”
Technique, working in sync with four other linemen, and at times playing catch with a charging defensive lineman as he protects on pass plays are major parts of his day.
“I feel like I’ve come a very long way from when I switched to where I am now,” Baldwin said. “I’m just getting more and more comfortable.”