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Redshirt freshman Jerome Buckner (No. 8) carries the ball ahead of Ohio’s first scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019.

Football: 5 thoughts after Ohio's first scrimmage

It’s hard to get excited about the results of one scrimmage, but if Ohio’s scrimmage Saturday was any indication of the Bobcats’ upcoming season, there will be plenty to be happy about.

Here are The Post’s thoughts after Ohio’s first scrimmage of fall camp:

1. Running back room is tough and talented

After their media day on Wednesday, the Bobcats made it clear that they would deploy a committee approach to their running back situation this season, and Saturday’s showing had promise.

Redshirt freshman O’Shaan Allison took the field with the first team and made the most of his first drive as he cutback for a 10-yard touchdown. In total, Allison had nine carries for 29 yards.

Other backs that impressed Saturday were De’Montre Tuggle and Ja’Vahri Portis.

Tuggle led all rushers with 12 carries for 64 yards paired with a 5-yard reception. Portis had 10 carries for 33 yards.

Although those numbers came against a mix of second and third-stringers on defense, all three backs ran hard and brought different skill sets to the offense.

The running back room was without Julian Ross, Jake Neatherton and Jonathan Barna. Ross and Neatherton will likely appear at the top of Ohio’s depth chart when the season begins, but they have been limited in practice, as they both are coming back from injuries.

2. The Nathan Rourke-Cam Odom connection

Rourke had a stellar Saturday as he went 9-for-10 with 171 yards and a threw a 59-yard touchdown to Odom, who will likely begin the season as the No. 1 wide out.

With such youth and inexperience within the skill positions on the offense, the duo of Rourke and Odom should be a crutch as Ohio finds its identity throughout the nonconference schedule.

3. Linebacker depth showed itself

Ohio’s starters in Jared Dorsa, Dylan Conner and Eric Popp saw minimal time during Saturday’s scrimmage and allowed one of the deeper position groups on the Bobcats to show their skills.

Instead, names like Bryce Houston, T.J. Robinson and Ben Johnson were solid and took advantage of the live action reps. They had a combined 10 tackles, and Houston had one tackle for loss.

Johnson, a true freshman, didn’t show any signs of being the new guy, as he was confident and quick in his reads.

4. Despite the lack of stars, the secondary was bright

All-Mid-American Conference First Team safety Javon Hagan, safety Jarren Hampton and cornerbacks Jamal Hudson and Ilyaas Motley didn’t partake in the scrimmage, but their absence created opportunities for others to have a chance to stand out.

Cornerback John Gregory, in particular, took advantage of the playing time. The redshirt freshman had a highlight-reel Saturday with an interception and a couple pass break-ups.

Fellow redshirt freshman Jamison Collier had a bright day that was highlighted by a 35-yard interception returned for a touchdown.

5. Solich was surprised, which is a good thing

Admittedly, coach Frank Solich usually has the thought of how things are going to work at the conclusion of the first scrimmage.

That thought didn’t cross his mind Saturday, as he was upbeat and positive about his team’s performance against each other.

“I think we’re ahead of where we normally are at this time, especially with the guys who have been around for a little bit,” Solich said. “The execution level was pretty good.”

Despite not having some of his best players out there, Solich can feel a little more optimistic about some of the youth that is in certain spots of the team.

Next up

Ohio returns to Peden Stadium for its ninth practice of fall camp on Monday. Practice is scheduled to start at 9:05 a.m., and it is open to the public.


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