COLUMBUS — The clip is playful, only registers four seconds in length and offers just the briefest glimpse at the Ohio State offensive line.
And yet it might be the most revealing information about the group since the start of camp.
Or maybe it isn’t, since it’s devoid of any context at all about when in practice the footage was taken, what kind of drill the Buckeyes were doing and why one particular snap might have included a different rotation than projected.
But that quick social-media post by the Buckeyes still clocks a prolific rate of one-question-per-second about what could be the deepest, most-talented unit in the country.
- Is that Thayer Munford at right tackle?
- Why is Nicholas Petit-Frere now on the left side?
- Has Josh Fryar surged in the race at right guard?
- Would Matt Jones be the center if Ohio State played a game this weekend?
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) March 26, 2021
There are dozens of explanations for why one snap in spring camp might include a scrambled lineup or guys learning different positions. Everything is always a work in progress at this time of year, and seeing Fryar working with first-team tackles could have simply been a product of somebody like Dawand Jones needing to tie his shoe for a play or two.
So, it can be foolish to jump to any sweeping conclusions about any of the four questions those four seconds prompted. But it’s also a reminder of why it’s important for Ohio State to make any effort it can to open up practices whenever possible for professional journalists who can help put the big picture in perspective — particularly now that microscopic ones are offered up and broken down like the Zapruder Film.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day has been quite accommodating with the media during his tenure so far, and obviously the COVID protocols have prevented challenges for offering in-person access to reporters. If the Buckeyes are in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, nobody is expecting beat reporters to be given Tier-I access to the facility — and to his credit, Day has indicated that he was open to having workouts in the Horseshoe and/or finding ways for the media to cover a couple spring practices.
Everybody in the world has had to adjust over the last year, and that is completely understandable. This shouldn’t be mistaken as a complaint as much as a useful reminder of the value of access to practices and interviews to help put four seconds of footage into the broader context of a two-hour practice.
Eventually the world figures to return to normal. But until then, any clues Ohio State drops on social media will have to suffice — and at least provide some questions to ask for the next Zoom.