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Football: Observations from the Bobcats' first fall camp practice

Ohio practiced Friday morning for the first time in its 2021 fall camp. Practice was conducted in periods at Peden Stadium, with a total of 24 periods lasting two hours and 10 minutes. Here are The Posts observations from day one:


Not present: Keye Thompson and Julian Ross were not present at practice for undisclosed reasons.

Attendance notes:

  • Offensive guard Joseph Habinowski hurried to the sideline toward the end of practice and became nauseous. He was given water and cooled down with a wet towel. Habinowski remained on the sideline for the final half hour of practice.


Sights and Sounds

  • Due to the NCAA’s guidelines on acclimation to full-pad practices, the Bobcats practiced in helmets, jerseys and shorts. Quarterbacks wore black jerseys, the offense wore green and the defense wore white. All players wore a simple black helmet with an Ohio logo on the back.
  • Instead of traditional football gloves, cornerbacks wore boxing gloves during 7-on-7 drills. This is a measure brought in by Ohio to to clamp down on defensive holding penalties.


  • Kurtis Rourke’s weight and speed training in the offseason has paid off. Rourke took the majority of snaps and completed passes to Cam Odom, James Bostic and Jake Neatherton. He practiced with an air of confidence during the 7-on-7 and seems quicker on his feet compared to last season.
  • Armani Rogers struggled with several of his passes, but otherwise remained sound. The competition for the starting spot between Rogers and Rourke is still palpable, but Rourke seems to have inched ahead in terms of progression during the offseason.
  • C.J. Harris showed growth from his brief appearance against Bowling Green last season. He completed several passes and appears to be the early shoo-in for the third-string spot. 

Wide Receivers:

  • Bostic, a redshirt senior transfer from Vanderbilt, practiced with the first string during the 7-on-7. Bostic caught two passes from Rourke and was visibly giddy throughout practice.
  • Jerome Buckner received a decent amount of attention in practice and caught several short passes from Harris. After the transfer of Shane Hooks, Isiah Cox is assumed to take the role of Ohio’s deep threat, although Buckner might be poised to become a strong backup.

Offensive Line

  • From left to right, the starting offensive line was T.J. Jackson, Habinowski, Nick Sink, Hagen Meservy and Jay Amburgey. Jackson is the largest lineman on Ohio’s roster at 6-feet-7-inches tall and 375 pounds, so his immediate jump to the forefront was expected. 
  • Sink and Meservy are the two veterans for Ohio. Both have had consistent starts since 2019 and will be a solid foundation for Ohio this season.
  • Habinowski, a redshirt freshman, is the youngest of the starters but played against Bowling Green last year and showed enough promise to get first dibs at left guard. Kurt Danneker, although absent from the initial starting line, shared time at left guard before Habinowski headed off the field. It’s still unknown if Danneker and Habinowski are rotating the spot or if positions are set in stone.


  • The defensive line ran drills focused on its run defense. Last season, the Bobcats allowed an average of 193.7 rushing yards per game, and the defensive line hopes to bring that number down.
  • Jett Elad is poised for another productive season. Elad led the Bobcats with two interceptions last season and almost forced one during the 7-on-7. The Bobcats secondary is focused on turnovers this season, and Elad says the path to forcing those turnovers is by becoming more technically sound. 

Next Up:

The Bobcats return to practice tomorrow at Peden Stadium at 9:05 a.m. Practice is open to the media.


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