Buckeyes Pleased With Offense So Far

Members of the Ohio State offense were all smiles after a solid performance in Saturday's jersey scrimmage, but those questioned said that showing was not out of character for the offense this fall. Despite some high-profile personnel losses, the Buckeyes say they've been happy with the progress moving the ball and scoring points in camp.

For much of preseason camp, the Ohio State football players have been asked about change.

There's been the change of Jim Tressel's departure, with Luke Fickell taking over as head coach. There's been the change of abruptly losing three-year starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor and all sorts of other things that mean it's not quite business as usual at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

But tight end Jacob Stoneburner finally noticed a real change on the field Saturday morning.

In the team's annual jersey scrimmage in Ohio Stadium, the first-team offense behind Joe Bauserman put together a sustained drive down the field, culminating with a short field goal against the No. 1 defense.

To Stoneburner, that was change he can believe in.

"I can't remember any time during a jersey scrimmage we actually had a positive first drive," he said. "I think we had 10, 11, 12 plays. We felt like we were clicking all day."

Even better, Stoneburner said, was that the feeling was a familiar one from camp.

"Really, the whole camp on offense, we feel like we've been moving the ball pretty well," he said. "(We've been) finding our reads, running the ball well, blocking well, protecting when Joe or Braxton (Miller) needs to pass it."

Those should be calming words for an Ohio State fan base worried about how the team's offense – explosive at times last year – would fare after a number of high-profile losses.

Not only did Pryor leave but All-Big Ten picks Dan Herron, DeVier Posey and Mike Adams must miss five games because of suspension. Add in the graduation losses of Dane Sanzenbacher, Justin Boren and Bryant Browning and there has been reason to wonder just how the Buckeyes are going to move the ball on a consistent basis.

Though no official score has been released, it is believed the offense got the better of what is expected to be a dominating defense in the scrimmage via three touchdowns and only one turnover. It was enough to leave offensive coordinator Jim Bollman pleased.

"I feel pretty good right now," he said. "Not that we're where we want to be; I don't mean that, but I think the guys, their focus, their determination, their work ethic, their toughness, I think all those things are headed in the right direction.

"Is the job done? No. Am I optimistic? Yes."

Bollman has a couple of reasons for optimism. First, he says, the cupboard isn't as bare as it might seem on first glance, pointing to the team's depth at running back – where the Buckeyes have an embarrassment of riches in Herron, Jordan Hall, Jaamal Berry, Carlos Hyde and Roderick Smith – as well as a veteran offensive line led by seniors Adams, Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts.

"(Quarterback is) a new position and wide receiver is a new position," Bollman said. "Other than that, there's a lot of veterans. There's a lot of veterans are running back. They are newer but they've been in there some. There's a lot of experience at tight end and there's a lot of experience in the offensive line.

"It's not all that young, but the quarterback and receivers are guys that have to continue to develop and are working pretty hard and doing a pretty good job I think."

At quarterback, Bauserman has shown more big-play ability than in years past; he hit Corey Brown for a long gain on the opening drive in Saturday's scrimmage then found Devin Smith on a deep ball to set up his scrambling touchdown pass to Jeff Heuerman. He also threw the day's only interception, firing behind Brown in the end zone and into the arms of Travis Howard.

Miller, meanwhile, is a five-star prospect who has been growing by the day. The true freshman can evade pressure in the pocket while keeping his head downfield and had two touchdowns in the scrimmage – a deep ball to Chris Fields that the wideout adjusted on and then ran in for a score and then another toss that Evan Spencer turned into a score when he evaded a defender.

The plays made by the wideouts also have Bollman excited, with the 11th-year coach calling it perhaps the deepest group the team has had in years.

"There were some pretty good plays, a couple of pretty good deep plays," he said. "A couple of receivers made some very good plays after they caught the ball and there were a couple of good deep passes."

Add it all up and the Buckeyes are optimistic about how the offense will perform.

"I think we had a good day," Brewster said. "There are a lot of things we have to clean up but I think it's a good start. We've been working hard. We've been working really hard."

Buckeye Sports Top Stories