Creating space

Ohio offensive lineman Gary Hoover goes through pre-practice drills during the Bobcats' 2019 Fall Camp earlier in August inside Peden Stadium. 

Frank Solich thinks the Bobcats have had enough.

Well, enough full contact in fall camp anyway.

Ohio’s head coach said there will not be a third scrimmage this week. He confirmed as much after Tuesday’s sweltering afternoon practice inside Peden Stadium. The Bobcats practiced hard for two hours in shoulder pads and helmets.

Solich wants fresh legs for Ohio’s first game week of the season. He wants everyone as healthy as possible heading into the first of what he hopes will be 14 games this season.

Those are the reasons why Ohio will not have another full scrimmage before the Aug. 31 opener against Rhode Island. It’s also why the Bobcats will have an ‘off’ day — well, no on-field practice at least — on Wednesday. That break came as a surprise as the team will also have consecutive days off from practice on Saturday and Sunday.

That will mean three days without practice in the final five days of camp. Ohio will begin regular game-week preparation on Monday when Ohio’s fall semester also begins.

Would Solich like more hitting over the course of a three-week camp? Probably. He’s long since learned the value in having healthy bodies, especially at a program in the MAC where one bad injury can drastically impact the course of an entire season.

The Bobcats have avoided major injury in this particular camp. Defensive linemen Amir Miller (wrist/hand) and Jeremiah Burton (wrist/hand) have had the most serious setbacks in camp, but both are expected to be available at some point before the midway point of the year.

Solich doesn’t feel like pushing his luck with more contact than absolutely necessary.

Here’s a rundown of some of what I saw during Tuesday’s practice. Full disclosure: I caught this one from the upper deck in Peden under some shade. It was that hot.

— WR Tyler Tupa is banged up again, this time he was in a shoulder harness after tweaking the joint making a diving catch in Monday’s practice. There’s no timetable for his return just yet, but it’s expected to be a matter of days, not weeks.

— WR Jerome Buckner sat out Tuesday’s practice. Although he’s not been spotted in any kind of gear — braces, wraps, etc. — he’s missed as much practice time in camp as any WR near the front of the rotation.

— CB Tariq Drake (leg discomfort on Monday) and WR K.J. Minter (minor leg injury on Saturday) both remained out for a second straight day.

— Cornerback depth continues to be strained as both Ilyaas and Xavior Motley remained out. Projected starters Marlin Brooks and Jamal Hudson took first team defensive reps on Tuesday. With Drake out, and Justin Birchette dinged up during practice, it again left a lot of reps on the plate of guys like John Gregory, Kel Davis and Keniuel Gates.

— LS Devin King will miss the entire week as he’s off to handle military responsibilities. Justin Holloway will handle the snapping duties this week, but King is expected to be available for every game week this season after this week of service.

— Ohio ran a pair of two-minute drills during one of the team portions of practice. The first team offense vs. defense ended when S Javon Hagan picked off Nathan Rourke on looked to be a throw to the skinny post. As penance, Rourke did a full 100 yards of rollers — rolling on the turf with a pair of balls tucked away — after practice.

— The second two-minute drill featured Kurtis Rourke at QB and three critical plays resulted in a touchdown. Rourke found TE Alec Burton on a big gain on the skinny post his brother was intercepted on. Slot receiver Ty Walton made a fine diving grab on a deep in to move the ball to the one. On fourth down, WR D.L Knock tracked down a lofted pass in the left corner of the end zone for the score.

— For the first time in camp — excluding scrimmage days — the young players didn’t get their own team periods at the end of practice. Instead, for the first time in camp, Ohio incorporated some scout team looks.

— OT Gary Hoover continues to get looks on the second team offensive line. I’m not sure if this is an indication of his improvement, or an indictment of current backup tackles Felipe Fernandez and Samson Jackson, but those are the three top options at tackle behind starters Austen Pleasants and Marques Grimes.

Email at jarkley@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @JasonAmessenger

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