More on Boeckman's status, practice notes

It was a surprise to many to see grayshirt QB Todd Boeckman on the practice field yesterday. Charles Babb caught up with Todd's father to verify Todd's status, and the plan is still the same, but Todd has the advantage of participating in several practices before he must sit out. Charles has more from Coach Boeckman as well as a few practice thoughts.

A strange thing happened at practice Monday afternoon. The passel of fans and beat writers on hand looked out to see #17 at quarterback. McMullen is #15, Krenzel #16, Smith #10, Zwick #2, and Otis #18 – but #17? Who in the world was that? After checking around and finding out that nobody had any real idea, one of the coaches passing by was asked, "Coach – one question – who is #17?"

"Todd Boeckman," he replied.

Of course, this set off another round of head scratching. Isn't he supposed to be grayshirting? Does this mean he is going to be a part of the team this fall? What is going on here?

Considering Jim Tressel answered no questions after practice and players are off limits for interviews until or unless the media is otherwise notified, this had the potential to be one of those annoying itches that could not be scratched for several days.

Thankfully, Tim Boeckman, Todd's father, added a little clarity to the situation from his home on Monday evening.

I asked him about Todd's status and if he would still be grayshirting.

"Yeah," Mr. Boeckman replied to the query. "What is basically involved with Todd is that he can come out and work out with the team and be a part of the team, etc. until school starts. Once school starts, in essence, he will no longer be a part of it. He cannot work out with the team. In a nutshell, that is the scenario here. His calendar as far as school will start one of two times: Either when he plays in his first game – which he is definitely not going to do this year – or when he enrolls in school full time, and he is not going to enroll in school full-time until January. That is when his scholarship will start."

According to the rule book, Todd can be in every meeting, take part in every practice, work out with the team and basically be deeply involved with the team until school starts. Since Ohio State works on a quarter system, Todd will actually get to experience nearly a third of the season before having to remove himself from the situation.

"School starts after the 4th game," Coach Boeckman elaborated. "He will be (there) up through the 4th football game – Bowling Green. He will be with the team and part of the team, but he definitely knows he is not going to get any snaps in a game and is not going to play. When school starts he will move off – he is not going to live on campus – he will live off campus. We are going to enroll him part time. That way he can get his feet wet there too and get a couple classes – about 8-10 hours I guess."

How valuable is this to a young Todd Boeckman? According to his father, very. Not only does it provide an extra year between his son and Troy Smith/Justin Zwick, but it also affords him a great learning opportunity to spend six or seven weeks around his future teammates learning some basics. Then there will be spring ball in which to get acclimated, and if that were not enough in of itself, consider what it would be like to be a freshman and be able to rub elbows with a proven winner at quarterback.

"The really nice thing about that is that his locker is right next to Craig Krenzel," Coach Boeckman said. "That really helps too when you can talk to somebody like that and just absorb. That is the big thing for him right now – just to go up there and learn as much as you can. There is no pressure; he knows he is not going to play this year."

So, #17 is Todd Boeckman and his decision remains the same. He will grayshirt in 2003 and join the team for good in January of 2004 when the Winter quarter begins.

Now, on to a few other practice notes and observations on Monday in addition to those Dave Biddle already filed…

· The Tight Ends received a good bit of work. Hartsock, Hamby, and Irizarry were all being tossed the pigskin. Louis Irizarry in particular looked impressive for a freshman. Do not be surprised if he sees the field a good bit this season when the Buckeyes need another target to pass to in the middle of the defense.

· There were a few new #35's out there putting in time at the fullback position. The only problem is nobody knew their names because they were not on rosters.

· Fox looked nice covering wideouts with the exception of a couple of plays. For the longest time, Dave Biddle and I waited for someone to score on him. For the longest time nobody did. Fox may get picked on by offenses this year since Gamble has the potential to be an absolutely incredible cornerback in 2003, but I would not expect Fox to be beat like a rented mule all too often.

· Ashton Youboty, Santonio Holmes, and Chris Gamble all were back returning punts. Gamble still looks to be the man there, but considering how early this is in fall camp – anything could happen.

· Quinn Pitcock absolutely ate up Zwick on one play. It was a big hit that drew serious attention.

· Bobby Carpenter is huge. This kid is as big as several Buckeye tight ends - no exaggeration.

· Sims looks big up top and in the legs, and well – he is just plain physically impressive. Granted, he is not in the same realm of an Olivea or Clarke at this point in his career, but he has obviously spent time bulking up in the offseason.

· Ira Guilford worked out with the running backs and looked good overall in the drills I was able to observe. He not only received handoffs but also was being thrown passes. I saw only one drop out of balls thrown his direction, and Ira was catching them with his hands and not his pads.

· Chris Gamble looks like he will be much more able to be physical with wide receivers this year. Expect him to jam and fight at times instead of having to just be more athletic and out-leap wideouts for the football once it is in the air.

· Stan White worked out with the offense today. He had several reps and was blocking rather than being sent out to catch balls, etc.

· One of the more "exciting" moments of practice for several observers (including myself) came when Drew Carter was running hard after a pass and it became clear that he would not be able to stop his progress before entering the crowd. Folks, you just do not realize how fast these players are moving until you have mere seconds to get out of their way before being run over. After catching the pigskin, Drew looked up to try and figure out which way to go. Seeing no clear path, he just tried to slow his momentum as best he could. It was then that Dave Biddle, Susan, and I all decided to make like the Red Sea and part for the oncoming Carter. Dave went one direction, while I went the other with Susan using me as her own personal human shield.

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