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Inconsistency plagues play in spring scrimmage

At the end of Saturday’s spring game, two things were evident: satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Ohio’s most formal scrimmage of the spring campaign brought plenty of positive outcomes on both sides of the ball, but general and specific needs for improvement also highlighted a day that saw no unit produce at its full potential.

The Bobcat offense, in white uniforms, scored 20 points during the running-clock contest with 12-minute quarters. By the fourth quarter, the green-clad defense made the adjustments necessary to limit the white unit’s productivity. 

“I think we accomplished a lot,” tight end Zac Clark said. “Spring ball is just trying to work out the kinks. So far, we’ve done a nice job with the offense and the plays that are being called.”

The triumphs and troubles began and ended with quarterbacks Tyler Tettleton and Kyle Snyder. Tettleton played under center with the first-team offense for most of the day, as Snyder mostly took snaps with the second and third strings. Tettleton found success early, completing six of his first eight passes, including a 23-yard touchdown pass to Clark. He finished the half with 103 yards on 8-for-12 passing.

Tettleton continued to dominate early in the second half. Replacing Snyder on third-and-six midway through the third quarter, Tettleton found wide receiver Rob Anzuini for the first down. On the next snap, he fired a rainbow down the middle of the field that Anzuini caught 41 yards later. Tettleton then connected with Clark for a one-yard score — the duo’s second touchdown of the day.

But that was the extent of Tettleton’s success. His final six passes fell incomplete, giving him a modest 11-for-21 figure by day’s end.

Snyder’s aerial assault was less frequent and less precise. He threw for 65 yards on 5-for-12 passing and ran for another 44 on 11 carries to lead all rushers.

Both quarterbacks threw errant passes, but receivers’ inability to corral the pigskin led to more incompletions. Neither quarterback threw an interception or fumbled, but the green unit nearly picked off a pair of passes.

“They need to keep improving, but I like what they’ve been able to do so far,” coach Frank Solich said. “You can see movement, and that’s all I need to see at this point and time.”

With Donte Harden not playing, Ryan Boykin became the first-string running back. He gained 29 yards on seven carries. Ricky Pringle and Beau Blankenship combined for 31 yards on the ground, but Pringle opened the second half with a fumble. 

Despite limited depth, the tight ends provided a consistent presence during the spring game. Former quarterback Derek Roback caught three passes for 34 yards to augment Clark’s performance. Returning starter Jordan Thompson did not play.

Ohio executed 75 plays in the 48-minute scrimmage during which the clock rarely stopped. Clark said the tight ends have made adjustments to accommodate the fast rate of play.

“We, as tight ends, have to be in even better condition with the shuttling back and forth,” he said. “Our mindset is totally different off the field, too, because you have to stay so focused and aware on every single play.” Linebacker Blake Jones had five tackles, and defensive end Kyle Kozak anchored the line with four tackles, including three sacks.

Ohio finishes its spring season with three practices this week.

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