It’s difficult for Ohio to pin down a definitive depth chart after a week of practice.
The goal thus far hasn’t been focusing on just the first-stringers but squeezing as many players as possible into two-and-a-half hour practices. It’s a balancing act the Bobcats have had to maintain. The act gets harder when players need to see different plays in order to not fall into repetition.
“Right now it's the early phase where we're just trying to get a bulk of the reps to as many guys as we can and try to mix up the different plays that they're getting so they're not getting the same plays over and over,” Tyler Tettleton, passing game coordinator and running backs coach, said.
It’s been a long adjustment period, but the Bobcats are an inch closer to clarity. Friday was Ohio’s final practice before its first scrimmage. Coach Tim Albin and his staff will have an important benchmark as to how their depth chart might take shape.
Friday raised questions as to how the few position battles raging at camp will be resolved over the coming days. Here are The Post’s observations from Ohio’s seventh practice of fall camp:
Armani Rogers needs to clamp down
Rogers has done what he’s been asked of him in fall camp, and he’s been producing at the level expected of him. His rushing ability is top notch, and he’s quicker to throw the ball than fellow quarterback Kurtis Rourke. However, his quick trigger comes with recoil.
Rogers’ throws are accurate, but a portion of them come up short or his receivers have to fight through traffic. Tettleton believes Rogers still has a few minor aspects he needs to nail down.
“It's just part of playing the position just like anything,” Tettleton said of Rogers. “I mean, you're gonna have your miscues here and there and so if you can just eliminate those miscues, you're gonna be fine.”
Rogers is on the cusp of finding his stride. Ohio’s first scrimmage Saturday might be what he needs to put the pieces of his passing game together.
Position battle for the No. 2 running back
O’Shaan Allison is between a rock and a hard place. He’s a talented running back who has competed with De’Montre Tuggle for the most rushing yards for Ohio in the past two seasons. Allison, Tuggle and Julian Ross rotate around the top of a deep pool of running talent, and the three have been given near identical time during team drills.
Tuggle is the probable starter this season, but where Allison and Ross fall behind him remains up for debate. Ohio has only been in full pads for practice once this week, so the two cannot be evaluated too closely.
Their performances become harder to decipher when the reps are diluted throughout the depth chart. Ohio has to give the other backs an opportunity on the field, which hasn’t given Allison or Ross the opportunity to eke ahead of the other.
Keegan Wilburn is showing growth
Wilburn isn’t a flashy receiver who makes one-handed grabs look easy, but that hasn’t been his forte. Wilburn spent the first week making solid catches and appearing where and when he’s needed. He hasn’t stolen the show. Instead, Wilburn presented himself as dependable.
He shared a few snaps with the first-stringers Friday and caught a pass from Rourke during team drills. Wilburn has made the reps he’s been given count.
The redshirt sophomore has put on a bit of muscle as well. He was a small receiver when he came to Ohio, but now he can take a hit. That extra weight may help Wilburn climb up the rotation as camp wears on.