Ohio State football: On quarterbacks, WR-DB competition, a local standout and more

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 12:53 PM

Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow weighed in after the Ohio State spring game on their battle to be the starter.

Ohio State wrapped up spring football with a surprisingly dry and entertaining spring game Saturday. 

The quarterbacks got a lot of the attention, but there was a lot more going on. 

Here are some other takeaways from the spring, starting of course with the quarterbacks. 

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1. I was really impressed with Joe Burrow, but I still think Dwayne Haskins will be the starter. 

Why Urban Meyer said the quarterback competition remained open all spring was not hard to see. Burrow, Haskins and redshirt freshman Tate Martell all did good things Saturday. 

Haskins might have the highest ceiling, but Burrow made more plays. That is significant, but was it enough? 

RELATED: No starting QB decision yet from Urban Meyer

A scheduled spring wrap-up meeting between Meyer and the media for Monday was canceled. 

I have no idea if that was related to Meyer not wanting to say anymore about the quarterback derby, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was because it’s probably still too close to call and he has already said that multiple times. 

While I think being No. 2 on the depth chart at the end of last season and leading the Buckeyes’ comeback at Michigan will ultimately break a tie between Haskins and Burrow, I don’t think there was enough difference this spring for Meyer to declare a starter before training camp, either. 

2. I am extremely skeptical Martell will actually have a special role in the offense this year. 

A red zone package might make sense because it makes calling plays easier when the quarterback is a talented runner, but the other two are good enough with their feet I’m not sure this is necessary. 

Giving Martell touches anywhere else on the field requires taking away opportunities from players such as J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber, Demario McCall and Parris Campbell, so that doesn’t make much sense, either. 

Martell is dangerous in the open field, but less so than all of them, and the older quarterbacks are enough of a run threat to keep the defense honest, which is really all that is necessary for the offense to function. 

3. I want to see the receivers and defensive backs against someone else. 

Ohio State threw the ball all over the yard Saturday, which meant many chances to watch the young receivers and defensive backs battle each other. 

Both sides had their moments, so it will be interesting to see what that translates to on each side of the ball this fall. 

RELATED: Who are the top 10 Ohio State quarterbacks of all time?

More than a couple of offensive chances were converted against tight coverage where the throw and catch were just too good to stop, so that should be a good sign. 

Sevyn Banks, a true freshman, got a trial by fire and gave up some plays, but he kept fighting until the end. Sophomores Amir Riep and Marcus Williamson also flashed at times. 

4. Believe the hype on Demario McCall

Sometimes guys who become media and/or fan favorites early in their careers don’t pan out. I am betting McCall will.

He looked like much more than a running back trying to play receiver Saturday, showing the ability to get open from more than one area, tracking the ball well and finishing plays. 

The only question with McCall is whether or not he can get enough touches considering the top six receivers are back and Campbell is also a running and recovering threat at the H position. 

5. Josh Myers looked fine in the middle. 

The five-star prospect from Miamisburg started at center for the Scarlet team and looked solid in pass protection and the running game. 

Brady Taylor is likely to be the starting center this fall, but it sounds like Myers will be part of a second unit that Meyer said he likes better than any he has had since he got to Columbus. 

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Harvey delivers worst performance since joining Reds rotation

Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 2:57 PM

Reds starter Matt Harvey reacts after giving up a home run against the Pirates on Sunday, July 22, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Reds starter Matt Harvey reacts after giving up a home run against the Pirates on Sunday, July 22, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

In his second-to-last start before the trade deadline, Matt Harvey delivered his worst performance since joining the Cincinnati Reds.

Harvey allowed eight earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park as the Reds tried to avoid a three-game sweep. He left the game after facing three batters in the fourth.

Six runs scored against Harvey on four home runs, the most Harvey has allowed in a game in his career. The Reds trailed 8-0 after the fourth.

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» PITCHING UPDATE: Reds will use six-man rotation

The trade deadline is July 31, and Harvey is expected to be a popular name in trade talks.

Despite this start, Harvey has pitched well for the Reds. In his last four starts, he was 4-0 with a 1.86 ERA. In his last five starts, he had allowed a total of six earned runs and no home runs. He had not allowed a home run since giving up three against the Cardinals on June 6.

Before the game, interim manager Jim Riggleman said Harvey was enjoying pitching in Cincinnati and not allowing trade talks to bother him.

“I think he likes it here,” Riggleman said. “His performance indicates he’s getting better and better. We hope he stays here. We’re fortunate to have him. It was a great acquisition for our front office to get him.”

» HAL McCOY: Reds honor 2018 Hall of Fame class

Riggleman hopes the Reds don’t trade Harvey and said he hasn’t seen any indication they will.

“As good as we’ve seen Matt, I think he’s just getting healthier and healthier,” Riggleman said. “You may even see a healthier guy next year.”

Harvey gave up a two-run home run to Gregory Polanco in the first, back-to-back home runs to Corey Dickerson and Starling Marte in the second and a solo home run to Sean Rodriguez in the fourth inning.

Harvey’s ERA jumped from 4.63 to 5.21. This was the first time he failed to last four innings in 13 starts with the Reds.

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UD provides inside look at arena renovation

Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 12:54 PM

The $72 million renovation of UD Arena is in phase 2 with two shifts of construction workers tackling the big project

The University of Dayton shared a video updating the progress of phase two of the three-year, $72 million UD Arena renovation on Friday.

The video shows the seats in the 300 and 400 levels have been removed. They will be replaced by padded seats with cupholders.

» EARLIER COVERAGE: Phase two of renovation may be busiest

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UD Arena Director Scott DeBolt walked fans through the changes going on inside and outside the arena. 

“The main concentration of phase two is expanding the north side and east side of the building,” DeBolt said.

» RELATED: One of Dayton’s biggest events staying at arena

DeBolt mentioned the expanded concourse area, improved restrooms and an elevator that will provide access to a new landing at the top of the east side 400 level. That area will contain restrooms, expanded handicap seating and concession options.

“The area will provide guests with a dynamic view of the playing floor and the river,” DeBolt said, “all while maintaining the intimacy of the arena.”

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Tony Sparano, former Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders head coach, dead at 56

Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 1:39 PM

Tony Sparano, head coach of the Miami Dolphins during the Thanksgiving Day game at Cowboys Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Sparano died unexpectedly in 2018. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Tony Sparano, head coach of the Miami Dolphins during the Thanksgiving Day game at Cowboys Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Sparano died unexpectedly in 2018. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Offensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings Tony Sparano died Sunday morning at age 56.

The Vikings said in a statement Sunday that Sparano died unexpectedly.

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Before coaching with the Vikings, Sparano was the head coach for the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. He started his NFL career in 1999 as an offensive quality control coach for the Cleveland Browns. Throughout his career, Sparano has coached with the Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys, Jets and 49ers, according to NFL.com.

Related: Photos: Notable deaths 2018

“Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony,” Vikings Owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in a statement. “Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony's presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony’s family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts.”

Sparano is survived by his wife, Jeanette;  his two sons, Tony and Andrew; his daughter, Ryan Leigh; and four grandchildren.

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Riggleman confirms Reds will use six-man starting rotation

Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 12:04 PM

The scene at Great American Ball Park before the Reds play the Pirates on Sunday, July 22, 2018, in Cincinnati.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
The scene at Great American Ball Park before the Reds play the Pirates on Sunday, July 22, 2018, in Cincinnati.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

The Cincinnati Reds will use a six-man starting pitching rotation at least until the trade deadline July 31, though interim manager Jim Riggleman hopes the Reds hang onto Matt Harvey, the player most likely to be dealt.

“I’ve got no indication that he’s going to be traded,” Riggleman said Sunday.

» HAL McCOY: Reds honor 2018 Hall of Fame class

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Harvey (5-5, 4.63 ERA) makes his 13th start with the Reds on Sunday, facing the Pittsburgh Pirates in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park. He would make one more start with the Reds if he stays with the team until the trade deadline.

Entering Sunday, the only question with the rotation was who would start Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals after Homer Bailey (1-7, 6.68) returns to the rotation Tuesday. Riggleman confirmed that starter will be Sal Romano (5-8, 5.19).

“If we absolutely need (Romano) today in the bullpen,” Riggleman said, “he would pitch today, but we would really try to limit that and see if he would then be able to pitch Wednesday as a starter.”

» RELATED: Votto gets extra day off; Gennett reflects on All-Star experience

The six-man rotation could test the bullpen if the Reds stick with it for long because it means the Reds will have one fewer reliever than normal.

“We would not say with six for a long period of time,” Riggleman said. “I guess we could if we run into a period of very few off days and those guys are giving us six innings because if they’re not then we’re really putting a strain on the bullpen.”

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