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Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton looks for an open pass during last year's annual spring game at Peden Stadium. The inter-team scrimmage is part of a four-week practice season for the Bobcats. (Maddie Meyer | FILE)

Football: Offense shines as defense fails to deliver

Ohio’s offense was so efficient in Saturday’s scrimmage that it could make most Arena Football League teams jealous.

The Bobcats wasted no time piling up yards against their own defense and scored on all seven possessions behind strong performances by some of the team’s younger members. Reserve quarterback Derrius Vick and walk-on running back Chris Tarrant led the squad past a defensive unit that was missing some of its starters.

“That’s the first time on offense where we just finally had it all clicking, and with the no huddle that’s kind of how it works,” Vick said. “If you get in a groove right off the start, we’ve got good rhythm and then just kept that up and then just kept the defense on its heels.”

Ohio finished the day with 500 yards of offense and a number of impressive individual performances. Wide receivers Bakari Bussey, Tyler Futrell and Chris Johann all had nice downfield catches to help Vick finish the day 13-for-21 for nearly 200 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who likely will start for the second straight season, finished the day with 76 yards through the air. He completed four of his six pass attempts, including one touchdown. He also ran for a score.

“The thing that I really liked was the deep throws down the sideline,” coach Frank Solich said. “The touch on the throws was great by the quarterback, and the receivers really went up and got the ball, and we had not seen that up until this point.”

Meanwhile, the Bobcats also took care of business on the ground. Freshman running back Daz’mond Patterson broke a handful of tackles on his way to a 31-yard gain, and Tarrant rumbled for a 35-yard carry. He finished with a team-high of 62 yards.

The offense also looked remarkably polished considering that the current unit has only had three weeks of practice together. The squad got off 62 snaps from scrimmage with only two false-start penalties and kept the defense a half-step behind. The only third-down stops ended in either fourth-down conversions or field goals, and kickers Matt Weller and Josiah Yazdani made all of their extra-point and field goal attempts.

Tight end Jordan Thompson, the team’s only returning captain, said the Bobcats are determined to work as quickly as possible without making mistakes.

“Coming out to spring ball, it takes a little while for the offense to catch up to the defense just because you have a lot of new guys and there’s a lot to go in the playbook,” he said.

A strong offensive performance never quite feels the same when it comes against the team’s defensive unit. Although Solich lauded the offense’s efforts, he noted some concerns on the other side of the ball.

“This was the defense’s worst scrimmage of the spring,” he said.

Several defensive starters, including safety Josh Kristoff and cornerback Travis Carrie, did not play in the scrimmage. Former starting cornerback Omar Leftwich is no longer on the team because of academic reasons.

Regardless of the reasons behind the poor defensive effort, both squads will be ready to go once again next Saturday for the annual Green and White spring game.

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