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Football: Observations from Ohio's first scrimmage

Saturday wasn’t the end-all-be-all decision day for Ohio, but it was a good start.

The Bobcats participated in their first preseason scrimmage Saturday. They have another chalked up for Aug. 21, but the first scrimmage is arguably the most important. It sets a new precedent for what is expected of the Bobcats.

Coach Tim Albin now has progress markers for the Bobcats in game situations. First-stringers and players showing promise might soon take priority on snaps as opposed to the entire depth chart. As the next week of practice looms, the Bobcats can prepare to tackle it head on.

Ohio has 11 practices remaining in fall camp. Time is of the essence, and it has a better understanding of how to prioritize that time. Here are The Post’s takeaways from Ohio’s first scrimmage of fall camp:

Ohio is becoming more physical

Perhaps the physicality is fueled by frustrations from last season’s abrupt ending, or maybe strength and conditioning coach Jake Miller’s shakeup of the training regimen is what the program needed.

Either way, the Bobcats are putting on weight. Good weight. And they’re not afraid to use it.

Their size has given them the confidence to not fear tanking hits. The Bobcats’ deep running corps and use of Armani Rogers’ knack for rushing the ball may lend to that assessment as well. Extra meat on the bones never hurt anybody and certainly not the Bobcats.

Armani Rogers has confidence

Rogers has struggled with timing his throws in the first week of camp. Ohio’s scrimmage Saturday changed that. 

The redshirt fifth-year felt confident in his passing. He arrived late to Ohio last season before he could become comfortable with its system, but Rogers has had time to sit down and study in the offseason. Rogers understands how Ohio works and is confident that he fits its mold now.

“I feel like I did a great job learning the playbook last year, but now it's more second nature,” Rogers said. “I have a whole season springboarding off of and another fall camp under my belt.”

Rogers threw a pair of good passes to Cam Odom during the scrimmage and flashed confidence as a decision maker. He is decisive when given the ball and doesn’t feel pressure. Although he hasn’t buffed out every scratch, Rogers is executing at the level Ohio expects of him.

Young players make a splash

As if Ohio needed another running back in the mix. Sieh Bangura, one of Ohio’s true freshmen running backs, was handed the ball in redzone situations during the scrimmage and showed a wealth of physicality. Bangura is 200 pounds and, despite his age, matches the power and size of veteran backs like De’Montre Tuggle and O’Shaan Allison.

Freshmen like Torrie Cox Jr. and Nife Oseni show Ohio a lot of defensive intelligence. Cox is agile and possesses good instincts on the field after the snap. In a cornerbacks unit rife with young talent, Cox stands out.

Oseni, on the other hand, has glints of promise despite his age. Oseni is one of four underclassmen in the safety unit and has popped out during camp and Ohio’s scrimmage. He’s nimble and might see more action thanks to his performance Saturday.

@thejackgleckler

jg011517@ohio.edu 

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