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Ohio running back, Devon Hunter (41), during practice before the Spring Scrimmage at Peden Stadium, April 20, 2024, in Athens.

Football: Ohio makes progress in annual spring game

While Ohio's spring game was more of an open practice than an organized game, the spring game showed signs of improvement for Ohio, according to Ohio coach Tim Albin.

"From practice number one, March 19th to today (April 20th), we've made a lot of progress," Albin said.

Ohio football head coach, Tim Albin, during practice before the Spring Scrimmage at Peden Stadium, April 20, 2024, in Athens.

Ohio's spring game featured several drills that engaged nearly every position. Ohio's quarterbacks CJ Harris, Parker Navarro, Callum Wither and Jacob Winters made one-on-one sideline throws to wide receivers during the first drill. Wither, the redshirt sophomore quarterback from Mississauga, Ontario made several impressive throws during this drill. Both Wither and Winters were players that impressed Albin during the day.

The veteran quarterbacks, meanwhile, remain in what Albin described as a 'great competition' for the starting role, with both players being capable and experienced.

Kendall Bannister and Mekah Ryder were both players that stuck out to Albin from the secondary in the spring game along with Jalen Thomeson.

Among the notable players who made plays during the spring practice were the players who were sidelined with injury, one injured Bobcat was center Parker Titsworth.

"Parker Titsworth had a scope on his knee ... He was put through a more grueling spring practice than the team with his rehab," Albin said. "He probably could've practiced the last five days, but we just kept him with our trainers so he'll be fine."

Although his absence wasn't expected, Ohio has been without former defensive coordinator Spence Nowinsky for over a week. Nowinsky's loss may not be ideal for the Bobcats, but Albin knows it comes with having success.

"I talked to the staff on defense and told them what we're going to do," Albin said. "When you have success like we've had, you're going to lose good coaches. That's not going to be a problem; we're going to hire good coaches, just like when we got Spence."

Dating back to the end of last season, Nowinsky is not the only departure on one of the Mid-American Conference's best defenses. Ohio also lost its two starting linebackers and leaders of its defense, Keye Thompson and Bryce Houston. One of the players Ohio will turn to is redshirt junior linebacker, Shay Taylor who knows the importance Thompson and Houston had on the defense.

"It's definitely tough losing those guys; they were obviously amazing playmakers," Taylor said. "(Keye Thompson) him being the Mike (Linebacker) and handing me the torch was really awesome and then Bryce's leadership outside of the field was something I don't want to take for granted because it was meaningful to me."

Ohio football team practices before its Spring Scrimmage at Peden Stadium, April 20, 2024, in Athens.

On the field, Ohio will try to continue its improvement as a young team throughout the offseason. One position group that has seen much improvement since the start of spring practices, according to Albin, is the offensive line group. The offensive line will be tasked with blocking for one of Ohio's deepest position groups, its running back position, which Albin described as being four or five players deep.

One of Ohio's running backs, Duncan Brune, made multiple plays during the scrimmage out of Ohio's backfield. Brune, a freshman from Cologne Germany, also ran track as a short-distance runner in Germany. Look for Brune to provide Ohio with an explosive option out of the backfield behind star sophomore running back, Rickey Hunt.


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