Practice Notes (Free)

You always hear about who might be the next Chris Spielman. Will it be A.J. Hawk? Charles Babb thinks it very well could be after checking him out today in practice.

B.J. Sander was booming punts to start off practice. Huston appears to be serving the role as backup punter.

Roy Hall showed his worth at the wide out position. Roy has the size and hands to play extensively in 2004 and maybe even some in 2003. He made a nice one-handed grab in drills and as has previously been mentioned ad nauseam, Roy will be able to push defensive backs around like little children.

Santonio Holmes continues to impress with his ability at wide receiver. He showed nice hands on a pass a little over his head and out front. I look for he and Carter to create difficulties for defenses in 2003. Both have great speed, excellent athletic ability, and can turn a 10 yard catch into a 60 yard touchdown with just the slightest slip on the part of a defensive back. Line those two up beside Michael Jenkins, and the Buckeyes have multiple threats wreaking havoc in a defensive secondary.

Brandon Schnittker and Grant Miller (freshman walk-on) were playing fullback this afternoon. Each provides enough bulk to make a charging linebacker think twice before challenging them mano y mano.

The coaches seem to be rotating the linebackers around quite a bit. The battle for playing time seems to be far from over at this position. One linebacker continues to stand out though and that is A.J. Hawk. Standing there observing his play, I am not certain if Ohio State has had a linebacker as instinctual as this young man since #36, Chris Spielman. I normally am not big on putting that kind of pressure on a young man, labeling him with comparisons to college football greats. However, Hawk appears to be ready to live up to that type of reputation. It seems like he ends up in the middle of the fray most every down.

I hereby nominate myself for the ill-advised comment of the week. I recently stated that I thought Mike D'Andrea's knee looked like it would hamper him for at least the next several weeks. At Saturday's scrimmage he hobbled toward the sidelines like an old man missing his cane. Boy was I wrong. Today he showed up to practice looking for all the world like he was healthy as a horse. Aside from a very slight hitch in his stride, he was able to take contact and move laterally without much problem.

Quinn Pitcock, Jay Richardson, Joel Penton, and David Patterson comprise the second team defensive line at this point. When you have players of this caliber not starting, you know you are building quality depth. This is part of the reason there were so many sacks in Saturday's scrimmage. The second and third team offensive lines appear to be overmatched by the talent on the other side of the football. All four of those players would start at many Big Ten schools right now. Again - more good news for the Buckeyes considering Anderson, Scott, Smith all will finish their eligibility this fall.

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