Ohio safety Devin Jones tackles Western Michigan wide receiver Daniel Braverman during a game on Oct. 17, 2015. (FILE)
“Run where you’re goin’!” wide receivers coach Dwayne Dixon boomed across the field multiple times this past week at Ohio’s practices.
This phrase from Dixon perfectly describes Ohio’s first week of practice since classes resumed: fast-paced, yet an attention to detail, that would make former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning blush.
Ohio opens its season in a little less than a week, playing Texas State on Sept. 3 in Athens.
Texas State is a fast-paced team that wants to run as many plays as possible. It averaged 26.9 points per game last season, which was good for eighth in the Sun Belt, a conference that is known for its high points per game averages.
Despite Texas State’s speed on offense, Ohio was ranked fourth in defense in the Mid-American Conference, allowing 25.3 points per game last season.
“Practice in the heat, full pads, a whole lot of plays, a whole lot of reps,” defensive lineman Tarell Basham said about Ohio preparation for Texas State.
Basham said Texas State wants to stick to one personnel group, rather than multiple substations that could hinder momentum.
“It’s easy for them to stay in one personnel and easy for them to keep the ball going when they don’t have to sub,” Basham said.
During practice, Ohio has done a drill that helps it create an up-tempo style. It’s essentially a two-minute drill, and the team has sometimes started practice with it.
Though Ohio’s defense will need to catch its second wind quick, the team’s offense should thrive. Texas State gave up 39.2 points per game last season, when its defense ranked No. 9 in the Sun Belt conference.
Ohio will start redshirt senior Greg Windham at quarterback, but like in past seasons, Ohio fans will likely see the team use two quarterbacks.
This season Ohio’s No. 2 quarterback is redshirt freshman Quinton Maxwell. Throughout practice this past week, Maxwell has gone through his reads quickly, scanning the defense as if he’s preparing to start.
“I would love to get (Maxwell) in that first game, rain or shine,” said co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Scott Isphording. “[There’s] a good chance the No. 2 quarterback is going to play, and meaningful snaps no matter how well the starter’s doing.”
Texas State is going to come out wanting to speed up the game—that’s just the kind of team they are.
But no matter what Texas State tries to pull on the offensive end, Ohio seems to be prepared to do one thing: run.