Ohio State Offense In Flux This Spring

Three starters are gone and four more suspended, leaving Jim Tressel and staff much work to do when spring football practices begin Thursday. BuckeyeSports.com offers a quick rundown of how things look before the action starts.

Ohio State starts spring football practice this week with the unusual task of developing essentially two offenses for the coming season.

Not only will head coach Jim Tressel, offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and the rest of the staff be looking for new starters to replace graduated wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher and guards Justin Boren and Bryant Browning, they need to find a second No. 1 player at four spots held by returning starters who are suspended for the first five games of the regular season because of NCAA rules violations.

That puts a lot of jobs in play this month as the only positions untouched by graduation or disciplinary measures are fullback and tight end.

"It's just like all of our processes from 15 practices in the spring to 29 before the season, so you've got 44 practices to figure things out," Bollman said in February. "So naturally that has to be in your mind somewhere but how fast that will happen, I don't know."

Quarterback figures to get the most attention as four players enter a derby to earn the No. 1 spot while senior starter Terrelle Pryor is suspended.

The eldest member of the group, fifth-year senior Joe Bauserman, might start the spring atop the depth chart but he is certain to get a serious push from sophomore Kenny Guiton, redshirt freshman Taylor Graham and true freshman Braxton Miller.

At running back, a quality quartet of junior Jordan Hall, sophomores Jaamal Berry and Carlos Hyde and redshirt freshman Rod Smith should stage a spirited battle to earn the carries All-Big Ten tailback Dan Herron will miss while he sits out.

Hall, Berry and Hyde all flashed potential in small doses last year, but program insiders are intrigued by Smith's potential.

New wide receivers coach Stan Drayton will spend spring getting to know a green group of prospects looking to fill in for the suspended DeVier Posey and take Sanzenbacher's spot.

The only returning player with anything resembling significant experience is Corey "Phillie" Brown, who caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown during his freshman campaign last year.

One other receiver returns from the depth chart published for the Sugar Bowl: Chris Fields. A 6-0, 185-pound sophomore from Garfield Heights, Ohio, Fields has been getting good reviews from Tressel and former wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell for two years.

Redshirt freshmen T.Y. Williams, James Louis and Verlon Reed along with sophomore James Jackson also will look to earn playing time.

Finally, there is the offensive line, where there should be no shortage of repetitions for Bollman to hand out as only eight scholarship players are scheduled to be available, including suspended All-Big Ten left tackle Mike Adams.

While seniors Mike Brewster, an All-Big Ten pick, and right tackle J.B. Shugarts look entrenched at center and right tackle, respectively, Bollman will work out tackles Andrew Norwell and Marcus Hall along with guards Corey Linsley and Jack Mewhort in an effort to find his best five players.

Also joining the offensive line will be early enrollee Tommy Brown of Akron Firestone.

"There are seven veterans coming back and we have to be able to get ready to go without counting on any newcomers, so guys are going to need to learn to play multiple positions," Bollman said.

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