Ohio State Spring Gradebook: Offense

Spring drills are finished, and though April's showers have not yet given way to May flowers, the Buckeye Sports Bulletin staff has reviewed our notes and handed out grades for the work Ohio State football team put in on the practice fields at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and inside Ohio Stadium.

The offense was in a unique position as every position but tight end featured competition for significant playing time this fall.

We did not see much from an X's and O's standpoint, but the Jimmys and the Joes were hard at work every day showing why they deserve to represent the Scarlet and Gray this fall.

Without further ado, here is what we thought about the progress of each position on offense this spring. Look for the defensive gradebook in the near future.

We will start with our top-rated units and work backwards.

Running Back: A

This was the easiest position to grade by far.

Want to talk about an embarrassment of riches? Ohio State looks like it has five running backs worthy of carries anywhere in the Big Ten. How position coach Dick Tressel chooses to deploy Dan "Boom" Herron, Jordan Hall, Jaamal Berry, Carlos Hyde and Roderick Smith this fall remains to be seen, but there is a lot to like about each one.

Herron was an All-Big Ten performer last season and has a solid all-around game, but he is suspended for the first five games of the season, leaving Hall, Berry, Hyde and Smith to fight over who takes his place.

Not only are they all talented, they all excelled at ball security during open practice sessions and scrimmages.

Meanwhile, fullback remains in capable hands with starter Zach Boren, backup Adam Homan and converted defensive end David Durham.

Tight End: A

A strong group looked like it got better last month.

While Reid Fragel picked up where he left off last fall when he showed he has the size to be a great blocker and good enough hands to help in the passing game, Jake Stoneburner's return to health was a welcome reminder of just how dangerous he can be when he can operate at full speed.

True freshman Jeff Heuerman joined that duo and gave a glimpse of good things to come as he caught three passes for 14 yards in the spring game.

Offensive Line: B+

A dearth of available bodies assured a heavy workload for the offensive line, and there was a lot to like about what we saw of the top seven of Michael Brewster, Mike Adams, J.B. Shugarts, Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Marcus Hall and Andrew Norwell.

They form a versatile group that should be among the best in these parts in the past decade, but the unit overall has questions because of a lack of depth behind them.

Tommy Brown had some rough moments in open scrimmages, but that is to be expected of a youngster fresh out of high school, particularly considering the level of competition he had to deal with on a daily basis.

Wide Receiver: C-

This was an initial source of concern that seemed to ease late in the month.

DeVier Posey had a fantastic spring, surely his best as a Buckeye, but the senior's performance came in contrast to what his younger position-mates did.

While we like the speed of Corey "Philly" Brown and James Louis, the shiftiness of Chris Fields and Verlon Reed, and the size of T.Y. Williams, we were alarmed at their tendency to disappear during scrimmages and a contagion of "the drops".

Williams and Reed showed signs of breaking through, however, by catching touchdown passes in the spring game, so perhaps there is reason to be optimistic the group will make a better showing in August ahead of the games played for keeps.

Quarterback: Incomplete

The Buckeyes need a quarterback for the first five games of the regular season, making this a particularly important area of study for the coaching staff this spring. While no one appeared to remove himself from the race, we expect the coaches might feel a little better heading into summer if someone had stepped up to grab the reins.

As it stands, no one is quite sure if Joe Bauserman, Kenny Guiton, Taylor Graham or Braxton Miller will take the first snap against Akron on Sept. 3.

Graham and Miller both flashed intriguing potential along with some understandable inconsistency.

Despite their edge in experience and knowledge of the offense, neither Bauserman or Guiton took command compared to the youngsters, a potentially problematic development.

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