Jard Work: Allen Impressing And More

It is the end of the week and time for BuckeyeSports.com writer Adam Jardy to compile his weekly notebook. Get updates on Dionte Allen, Carlos Hyde, Roderick Smith, Tyler Moeller, Cameron Heyward and lots more in this edition of "Jard Work."

Dionte Allen is starting to show his new Ohio State teammates that he can play. The former Florida State cornerback transferred into the program at the end of fall camp and will spent the year working on the scout team before playing his final season next fall.

As the Buckeyes prepared to host Ohio University, Allen gave the team such a good look that he was named the defensive scout team player of the week. Sophomore safety Orhian Johnson said he has been impressed with his new teammate.

"Dionte has definitely been working hard," he said. "He's coming in where they played a lot more man at Florida state. He's definitely giving the scout team a lot better look. He's going out and working hard each and every day. He's going to be an asset."

One player who already knew that was wide receiver Taurian Washington. The two were prep teammates at Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's, along with fifth-year senior safety Aaron Gant.

Both Allen and Washington were four-star prospects in the class of 2007 according to Scout.com. Allen was rated fifth nationally at his position, while Washington checked in at No. 40. The cornerback issued his verbal commitment to the Seminoles in August of his senior season but still took an official visit to OSU that winter.

Washington said he did not work too hard to convince Allen to change his mind because his former teammate had always dreamed of playing for FSU.

"Our freshman year I didn't (pressure him) but we all knew that we should've gone to school together but he ended up going that route," he said. "That was his dream school so you can't pressure or knock a person for that. A little bit after that when he was calling me and telling me some stuff I was telling him, ‘It's not too late. It's never too late.' I'm just glad he made the decision to transfer and come over here."

The wideout said Allen's decision was partially driven by the desire to be closer to his family. The two friends and former teammates have been matched up against each other a few times in practice so far.

"It's like old times," Washington said. "He's getting better. Even though he's sitting out this year he's taking every rep seriously and counting down the days. His game has gotten a lot better. He's improved."

Johnson said the biggest adjustment Allen has faced is the fact that the Buckeyes do not play as much man-to-man defense as the Seminoles. The cornerback is not currently on scholarship but could eventually get one from OSU, a team spokesperson confirmed.

Washington said Allen did not need to be named the player of the week to prove that he belonged.

"I think they know that he can play because obviously they wouldn't let him come over here and give him a scholarship if they didn't think he could play," he said. "Every rep, even though he's redshirting he is taking serious and playing like he's playing this year. I think the biggest thing is they know he can play."

Moeller's New ‘Do – As he was finishing his Tuesday press conference, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel was asked about Tyler Moeller's new Mohawk.

"Is that a Mohawk? I think that was a fast shower," Tressel said with a laugh.

The senior defensive back defended his new look, saying, "I like my haircut. I wanted to change it up and get a Mohawk this year and maybe it'll help me out with my swagger."

Defense Still Impressive – At his final press conference of the week, Tressel said the team had 11 players grade out with winning performances on the defensive side of the ball against Ohio.

Moeller, who was named the defensive player of the game, said one area in which the unit is hoping to see improvement is tackling.

"The one thing that we always talk about every game was we need to improve on tackling," he said. "Last week we were at 90 percent and we always want to get that up and get better and be one of the best tackling teams out there."

Johnson said the team's goal is 100 percent, but he admitted that such a goal is likely impossible.

"We know we can't go out there and have missed tackles but that's a part of the game," he said. "We try to keep it down to a minimum. We try to go out every game and if it is a missed tackle have somebody else be there.

"It's as hard as you want to make it. If everybody just goes there and makes the tackle then it would be easy. We're working on a lot of other things but that's something that we want to improve on."

Heyward Impressing – He might not have the number of tackles many have expected, but that does not mean senior defensive lineman Cameron Heyward is not putting together an impactful season.

After turning down a chance at the NFL for one more season with the Buckeyes, Heyward has five tackles through three games. Two of them are for loss, and he has both an interception and a fumble recovery.

The recovery came against Ohio and left junior defensive lineman Nathan Williams impressed.

"The way he hustles motivates me to hustle and motivates the next guy to hustle," said Williams, who has three tackles and an interception this season. "He was on the complete opposite side of the field from the fumble and since he hustled across the field the ball happened to be right there and he picked it up and got it. It shows all of us to never give up and you can make plays 20 yards downfield if you run to the ball."

The Reserve Backs – Buckeye fans are clamoring for more carries for Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry, but two more backs are toiling behind them on the depth chart.

Freshmen Carlos Hyde and Roderick Smith can both be classified as long-shots to see significant snaps at running back this season for different reasons. Hyde is still battling his way back to health after suffering an ankle injury in his lone carry this season while Smith missed all of fall camp as he awaited final academic clearance from the NCAA.

Hyde returned to practice this week, and running backs coach Dick Tressel said his best bet to contribute this season will be on special teams.

"We're hopeful because he's a good football player," the coach said. "Our season keeps getting longer and you need all 85 guys ready to go. I don't think he views himself as a running back only. He's a football player. I think you can look around and say hey there is one football. To be a running back only you might not get to play as much as you want."

Hyde apparently re-injured the ankle during practice. He is now healthy, his position coach said, but still sore.

As for Smith, he continues to play catch-up.

"It's almost impossible to say, ‘Hey I'll catch up,' " Dick Tressel said. "He's not going to catch up, but right now he probably understands one pass protection and two types of runs. He gets to do those in practice and see himself on film. He's going to have a fall of being able to become a better football player.

"I would say that to really have a role, some other guys are going to have to get banged up. Realistically. He's getting a chance to get started in school and get started in football so it's really important that he's here."

Payback – Although Jim Tressel boasts 232 career victories as a head coach, just one of them have come against Eastern Michigan. In all, the current OSU head man went 1-4 against the Eagles while coaching I-AA program Youngstown State for 14 seasons.

Two of those wins for the Eagles came while current OSU athletic director Gene Smith was working the same job for EMU.

"(In) 1986 we were up 14-3 with four minutes to go and they threw the same route like seven times and we kept covering the tight end and they kept hitting the dig and they beat us 17-14 at the buzzer," Tressel said. "Then they ran a fake punt in '89 and beat us.

"Does (Smith) remind me of that? No. Had he left by '90, when we spanked them?"

Smith remained at his position with EMU until 1993.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories