The flow of the competitive juices got the coach fired up, and the lack of such opportunities over the past calendar year is a concern he has expressed multiple times.
Day’s head won over his heart, though, and the Buckeyes will stick to plans to practice in only helmets Monday and Thursday.
They planned to put the pads back on Tuesday but wait until the weekend for another full-contact practice with tackling to the ground for a more game-like experience.
“We’ll pad again again on Saturday and just try to make sure those padded practices are really physical and really clean,” Day said. “We’re gonna do some situational stuff here in the middle of the week and then we’ll get into that scrimmage mode and really tackle and everything like that (on Saturday) as long as we stay healthy here going into the weekend.”
Of course, Day is the boss so he could order more contact if he wanted to, but he also indicated he knows there is more to building a football team than scrimmaging.
A little more than halfway through the spring, Ohio State is hoping to maintain the balance of building fundamentals and physicality — with an eye on putting it all together in late summer and launching another run to the Big Ten championship and College Football Playoffs.
Early indications are the Buckeyes have the talent to do so, but that ability remains raw in many areas.
“I think for me the biggest concern is still we just haven’t played a lot of football with younger players, and just our development there of playing the game,” Day said. “I am pleased with the effort. I’m pleased with how we’re coming along technique-wise, fundamentally. I think we’re growing. I like where the defense is headed. I like where we’re headed on offense, but still I’m just concerned that we just haven’t played a lot of football with some of the younger guys.”
He highlighted quarterback, linebacker and defensive back as positions most in need of seasoning at this point.
“We’ve just got to continue to try to put them in game situations and get more reps,” Day said.
Although he came away feeling good about what he saw during the scrimmage, it still served as a reminder veterans such as quarterback Justin Fields, linebackers Tuf Borland, Pete Werner and Barrett Browning and tight end Luke Farrell are gone.
The offensive line is missing standouts Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis while the defensive front lost Tommy Togiai and Jonathon Cooper and a handful of experienced players on that side of the ball are nursing injuries this spring.
“You miss these guys you just counted on, and now you have some of these younger guys that haven’t done it and really didn’t get a chance to play much over the last year,” Day said. “So the rush is on to get them ready. Not that it was bad, it’s just they haven’t played very much, so they just need a lot of reps, and the more we can get them, the faster they’ll learn because the good news is they’re all capable.”
Ohio State All-American passes
The Buckeye football family lost an all-time great last week with the passing of Mike Sensibaugh.
A member of the “Super Soph” class that was the backbone of national championship teams in 1968 and ’70, Sensibaugh was recruited out of Lockland High School in Cincinnati as a quarterback in 1967.
He quickly moved to the other side of the ball and became a three-year starter at safety, where he earned All-America honors twice and notched a school record 22 interceptions.
Sensibaugh, who also punted for the Buckeyes, played for the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals in the NFL then went into the pool business after his retirement.
He was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997 and picked to the OSU All-Century team by the Touchdown Club of Columbus.
According to an Ohio State news release, donations in Sensibaugh’s honor can be made to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston (361 Newbury St., 5th Floor, 02115) or at concussionfoundation.org.