Ohio State Buckeyes: 5 takeaways from the first day of preseason practice

Greg Studrawa coaches the Ohio State Buckeyes offensive line as they began preseason camp for their 132nd season Aug. 4, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. Harry Miller (76) is back from injury.
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Greg Studrawa coaches the Ohio State Buckeyes offensive line as they began preseason camp for their 132nd season Aug. 4, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. Harry Miller (76) is back from injury.

Credit: Marcus Hartman

Credit: Marcus Hartman

Ohio State football returned to the practice field Wednesday morning.

The first day of the preseason offered a few answers to some lingering questions, but many remain.

ExploreQuarterbacks pass first test

Here are five takeaways from day one:

1. Health of the team is good with one exception.

More than a handful of veterans were out or limited in the spring, but they are all back now.

However, head coach Ryan Day said senior defensive end Tyler Friday has joined the injured list and will remain on it for most of the season as a result of an injury the coach declined to identify yet.

That could put an onus on hotshot freshmen Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau to be ready to play sooner.

Jack Sawyer as the Ohio State Buckeyes began preseason camp for their 132nd season Aug. 4, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.
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Jack Sawyer as the Ohio State Buckeyes began preseason camp for their 132nd season Aug. 4, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.

Credit: Marcus Hartman

Credit: Marcus Hartman

2. Nothing new with the quarterbacks.

As has been his policy since the race to replace Justin Fields began, Day said little of substance about the quarterbacks, but he did like how C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller III and Kyle McCord threw the ball.

“We’ll see what that means, but they certainly did a lot of work this summer because I think when we threw the first routes on air, the ball didn’t touch the ground,” Day said. “That’s a very very good sign, but we’ve just got a long way to go.”

Stroud took the first snaps in drills during the portion of practice open to the media.

Hotshot recruit Quinn Ewers is not on the roster yet, and there was no update on when he might join the team after announcing he would skip his senior season of high school football in Texas.

3. Harry Miller appeared to be the No. 1 center.

A five-star recruit from Georgia, he was viewed as the center of the future upon signing in the class of 2019, but he had an up-and-down season at guard last year and missed spring practice recovering from a surgery.

Day said he had a positive summer.

“He’s worked really, really hard on his body and is getting healthy, so we’re going to start with him at center and go from there,” Day said.

The left guard spot he vacated appears to remain open with the top competitors being Josh Fryar and Matt Jones.

Sophomore Paris Johnson Jr. was at right guard in place of All-Big Ten performer and NFL Draft pick Wyatt Davis.

4. They have added another five-star talent at linebacker.

Palaie Gaoteote took part in practice wearing a red jersey with No. 21 on it.

He is a former five-star recruit who transferred from USC, but his role this season remains up in the air as he and the school await word on whether or not the NCAA will deem him eligible to play.

“He still has to get a waiver, so we’re trying to take it slow with him,” Day said. “So just day one running around out there. We’ll see.”

The 6-2, 248-pound Gaoteote played in 20 games with 14 starts for the Trojans and was credited with 105 tackles, including 7.5 for loss. He missed the end of last season after suffering a concussion.

USC transfer Palaie Gaoteote (21) as the Ohio State Buckeyes began preseason camp for their 132nd season Aug. 4, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.
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USC transfer Palaie Gaoteote (21) as the Ohio State Buckeyes began preseason camp for their 132nd season Aug. 4, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.

Credit: Marcus Hartman

Credit: Marcus Hartman

5. Day is encouraged by what he saw from the tight ends.

While veteran Jeremy Ruckert is a known commodity, the rest of the players in the tight end room are not.

Cade Stover, Ohio’s Mr. Football as a senior in the fall of 2018 at Mansfield Lexington High School, showed some signs of being ready to step into a larger role.

“He had a really good summer,” Day said. “So we know we need him to replace Luke (Farrell), and that’s really what we’re looking for. We have Mitch Rossi who is really talented. He can do more things in the backfield and move around a little bit. We have Gee Scott, who has moved inside (from receiver), and then we have some young guys in Sam Hart and Joe Royer who both need to really come on.”