Spring Notebook: QBs Get Work With Smith Sick

With Troy Smith home sick, freshman quarterback Todd Boeckman moved up and got reps with the second team during spring practice today at Ohio State. Head coach Jim Tressel discusses that development and more after the Buckeyes completed day five of spring ball. Click here for more.

Spring practice at Ohio State reached the one-third mark on Thursday with the team's fifth practice session. Media were permitted to watch the last half hour of the practice, which the team conducted in shells (helmets, shoulder pads and shorts).

Notable today by his absence was sophomore quarterback Troy Smith, who was ill.

"We have one who is sick in bed," OSU coach Jim Tressel said of Smith. "Troy Smith came to the early morning meeting and wasn't feeling real good. He saw the trainer and was sent home to bed."

Otherwise, though, it was a sunny but blustery Thursday afternoon at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

"It was a tough day to throw it out there," Tressel said.

With Smith out and walk-on Matt Trombitas sidelined as he recovers from shoulder surgery, sophomore Justin Zwick and freshman Todd Boeckman shared all of the work at the quarterback spot.

"Todd, I think, has some natural qualities where he is able to find the open guy a lot," Tressel said. "Right now, I don't think he even knows exactly why he was open. But he has good vision. He's a big guy and very instinctive. I've been impressed with Todd Boeckman.

"When you only have three guys who are getting reps and one of them sprains ankle or a guy is sick in bed with the flu, a guy gets more reps. That's the way life is. But I feel good about some of the things all of them are doing and I don't feel as good about some of the things they are doing."

Tressel then discussed the rotation at middle linebacker, where Anthony Schlegel is listed with the first team and John Kerr and Mike D'Andrea, being held out of all contact drills, are with the twos.

"I think Anthony Schlegel having been here longer (than Kerr) -- he was here last spring -- knows a little bit more about the season," Tressel said. "It was just for a learning standpoint, but there are a lot more reps before we make final decisions at a lot of positions.

"I think Anthony is doing well. It's an exciting time and an anxious time. He's one of those guys on days like today when we're in shells and you're not allowed to tackle them and smash each other he's not as happy as when we're in full pads and going at it."

Tressel was asked who had impressed him through the first five days of spring practice.

"I've been impressed with the guys on the offensive front, just from a quickness standpoint," he said. "There have been some times during the live drills where maybe we haven't been perfect with where we're headed or what we're doing. But I've felt pretty good about the quickness we have shown up there with guys like Doug Datish, R.J. Coleman, Andree Tyree. I've liked some things that Tim Schafer has done, too.

"We're anxious to get Kirk Barton into contact. That's going to be next Tuesday. I think that's going to be important for him."

Also Notable

* Tressel revealed that cornerback Dustin Fox got "banged up on the third day of contact" with a concussion. He did not participate in the seven-on-seven drills Thursday.

* Without Fox in there, the first-team defense on Thursday appeared to be Simon Fraser and Mike Kudla at the ends, Sian Cotton and Quinn Pitcock at the tackles, D'Andrea at MLB, A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter at the OLB spots, Harlen Jacobs and Ashton Youboty at the corners and Donte Whitner and Nate Salley at the safeties.

The second team appeared to be Marcel Frost and Jay Richardson at the ends, Brandon Maupin at a tackle spot, Schlegel at MLB, Marcus Freeman and Thomas Matthews at the OLB spots, Rob Harley and Brandon Mitchell at the safeties and E.J. Underwood and Michael Roberts at the corners.

Besides Fox, several other key defensive players were sidelined, including safety Tyler Everett and defensive linemen Joel Penton and David Patterson.

* During the seven-on-seven drills, Underwood made a nice diving interception of a deep pass. Boeckman drilled a deep ball to walk-on Derek Harden, who beat Youboty. Zwick had a hard-luck interception go off Lydell Ross' hands right to Carpenter for a touchdown.

In the red zone, Boeckman threw a nice slant to Devin Jordan for a score and Zwick did likewise with Roy Hall. But D'Andrea victimized Boeckman for a pick near the goal line.

In the end-of-the-game drill, the offense went two-for-three with Zwick completing a pass to set up a 55-yard game winning field goal by Mike Nugent. Nugent's kick banged in off the left upright. Boeckman also completed a throw to set up a 53-yard game winner by Josh Huston.

* Schlegel regaled reporters with a number of stories after practice, including one where he described going wild boar hunting. Stay tuned for more on that as well as on Schlegel's bid to win the MLB job.

* The team will have two events open to the public next week. First is the special teams scrimmage on Thursday at 3 p.m. at Ohio Stadium. Then, the jersey scrimmage will be held at 1:45 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets remain on sale through the OSU ticket office and web site for the April 24 spring game at Ohio Stadium, set for 1 p.m.

* There were a number of recruits at the Thursday practice, including signee Kyle Mitchum and potential grayshirt Aaron Pettrey. Others spotted included Plain City Jonathan Alder OL Zach Hennis, Westerville South's OL Phillip Pollard and WR J. Sharps and Washington C.H. Miami Trace sophomore QB Miles Schlichter.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories