We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice, man. Not a game, not a game, not a game. We're talking about practice.
OK, so "AI" might not think much of it, but for Ohio State fans, spring ball is a big thing. It's the April appetizer to the fall feast. The fact that 70-80K will be at the spring game tells you everything you need to know.
The Buckeyes got things rolling today at the WHAC, their first time on a football field together since the Fiesta Bowl.
They practiced in shells, so it was a somewhat uneventful day. Making matters worse, only the last 45 minutes of practice was open to the media. So, since we can't report on, "Which young safety made the best open field tackles," and "Which of the backup tailbacks broke the most tackles," we'll tell you what we do know.
WHO PASSED THE JOHN COOPER
- Tim Anderson looks huge. You look at him and you think that he's the perfect build for a nose guard. Strong legs and upper body. I think he is a lock for team captain and All-American (first team, second or third). By the way, Anderson is listed at 289-pounds, but is up to 305. Overall, he is the strongest guy on the team according to Al Johnson.
- Rob Sims and R.J. Coleman are noticeably bigger in the upper body. Coleman is lining up as the second team right guard. Sims is second string left tackle, but no one really considers him a backup.
- Marcus Green seems like he has finally trimmed down a little bit. He and Quinn Pitcock will be a nice D-Tackle combo off the bench. In fact, with Darrion Scott out with a shoulder injury, Green and Pitcock are taking turns running with the ones.
- Ivan Douglas looks trim and in very good condition.
- Branden Joe, who was already plenty big, seems to have bulked up even more. Same goes for Roy Hall.
- Expect to see a lot of Jay Richardson and Joel Penton off the bench this year. Both of those guys are looking real good. Richardson is strictly a defensive end and Penton is lining up at tackle and end.
- Maurice Clarett participated in all drills today. He will be held out of live contact drills this spring. Clarett was looking smooth catching passes out of the backfield. What you forget about Clarett is how fast he is for a 240-pounder.
- The quarterback battle between Justin Zwick and Troy Smith is in full swing. At first, it's strange seeing Zwick in the No. 2 jersey, but after a while it grows on you. Seems like a good fit for him… OK, enough about uniform numbers. Who looked good? They both did, but especially Zwick. He stands so tall in the pocket and the passes I saw him throw today were on the money. Also, Zwick is always somewhere near Craig Krenzel, listening to any tips the veteran might give him.
- There are two new No. 4's: Will Allen and Santonio Holmes. Holmes is going to see the field a lot this year. Every time I hear Jim Tressel talk about the receivers, he mentions Holmes somewhere early in the conversation. On the deep balls, Holmes gets great separation from the DBs. He has that extra gear he can kick in.
- There is one minor correction to the depth chart that was released on Tuesday: Brandon Mitchell is the backup strong safety and Nate Salley is the backup free safety. They were reversed on the depth chart.
- Dustin Fox is staying at corner. Period. Allen will start at free safety and Tyler Everett will start at strong.
- It was nice seeing Air Force transfer Anthony Schlegel out there working at middle linebacker. He was obviously running with the backups, but leadership oozes from him. I noticed him pointing people in the right direction a couple of times. Does he already know the defense that well? I guess compared to flying a fighter jet, even Mark Dantonio's complicated defensive schemes aren't that difficult to figure out.
- Chris Gamble worked mostly with the defense, but did get some reps with the receivers as well. I think we can expect what we saw in the Fiesta Bowl from Gamble next year (full-time corner, full-time punt/kick returner, part time receiver).
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