Scrimmage Bullets

What was there to see at today's scrimmage? Dave Biddle shares his thoughts on what happened today.

Here are some random thoughts and opinions from Saturday's jersey scrimmage:

  • On Lydell Ross' 80-yard touchdown run, Ashton Youboty seemed as though he was going to track down Ross from behind, but couldn't make it happen. Ross stayed one step ahead of Youboty, who finally dove for Ross' legs around the Scarlet 40, but whiffed. … Ross made it a really long day for Youboty, running over the young cornerback on a seven-yard gain later in the scrimmage.
  • Mike Nugent was 5 of 6 on field goal attempts. He made kicks of 45, 30, 47, 49 and 47 yards. His one "miss" came on a block from E.J. Underwood after a bad snap from Kyle Andrews. … Overall, Andrews was not as sharp as he has been the last two seasons. He had several low snaps today.
  • Josh Huston lined up for just one FG attempt, but holder A.J. Trapasso could not handle the snap on what would have been a 40-yard attempt. … It seems fairly clear that Kyle Turano will win the holder job as he was flawless on his holds today (held for all of Nugent's attempts).
  • As expected, Branden Joe got some carries at tailback. He only finished with four carries for 14 yards (and one reception for 12 yards) but he continues to prove he is one of those backs that rarely goes down on first contact and always falls forward.
  • Freshman tailback Antonio Pittman also looked good, finishing with 15 carries for 41 yards. Not impressive stats, but he usually made the most of what was there. Pittman has very skinny legs, but he's quick and he's not afraid to throw his body in there. He should be able to help right away this year.
  • As he always seems to do in these scrimmages, senior RB Roshawn Parker put on a good show, finishing with eight carries for 49 yards and one reception for 45. The joke among some reporters was that Parker is a "Scrimmage All-American." However, he rarely gets a shot when it really counts.
  • None of the quarterbacks looked especially great, but they all got the job done. … Justin Zwick is clearly going to be the starter and more than anything else he impressed by looking calm and in control today. He seems to have good command of the offense and looked very sharp throwing the ball in the underneath routes. Where he still needs a lot of work is the deep balls, including the deep outs. He did not do a very good job of leading his receivers with the ball on the timing routes. … Zwick is a deceptively good scrambler, but needs to work on his slide if he wants to avoid injuries. … Zwick's final numbers were: 11 of 26 for 116 yards, one touchdown, one pick.
  • Troy Smith put on a good show towards the end of the day with some excellent scrambles. However, his fumble on the last play of the afternoon on a scramble got the attention of Jim Tressel who said that Smith needs to do a better job of "tucking" the ball when he runs. … Smith had the most impressive stats of the QBs, finishing 11 of 18 for 118 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran the ball 11 times for 52 yards.
  • Boeckman did about as well as you could expect for a young guy. He's a little slow getting out of the pocket, but the arm is definitely there.
  • It was not a very good day for the young receivers. Devin Jordan dropped at least two passes (arguably three) and Tony Gonzalez dropped one as well.
  • Bam Childress and John Hollins definitely have the inside track to remain on the two-deep. Childress made a couple nice plays – including a one-handed grab over the middle, followed up with a touchdown catch in the flat in which he juked a DB out of his shoes.
  • Santonio Holmes had a quiet day for the first part of the scrimmage, then came on with four catches towards the end, including a nice touchdown pass from Smith on a fade route.
  • Roy Hall did not make a catch that counted. He made a nice grab early in the scrimmage going high for the ball, but the play was called back because of a false start.
  • The starting offensive line of LT Rob Sims, LG Doug Datish, C Nick Mangold, RG Mike Kne and RT Tim Schafer looked very solid all afternoon. This could be one of the nice surprises of the team this year. … Ross had a big hole to run through on his TD run, thanks to a nice pull block from Kne.
  • Some of the players held out of the scrimmage due to injuries included: David Patterson, Marcus Green, Joel Penton, Mike D'Andrea, Dustin Fox, Redgie Arden and Mo Hall. … A.J. Hawk was cleared to play and participated in about 20 snaps.
  • Only one injury to report: Kirk Barton went down with a left ankle sprain early in the day and did not return.
  • Brandon Mitchell came up and made a couple of nice hits from his safety position.
  • Anthony Schlegel is just what this team needs at middle linebacker. The guy plays with an attitude (much like Matt Wilhelm) and seems to be very good at getting off blocks and disrupting plays. He finished with six tackles, as did fellow transfer linebacker John Kerr.
  • Converted safety Thomas Matthews led the defense with nice tackles from his outside linebacker spot. He has been kind of a forgotten man, but could come on during this his senior season.
  • With Patterson and Green out, Sian Cotton got the start at DT and faired well. He is very quick for a big man – but what else would we expect from the guy who started at center on LeBron James' high school basketball team? Cotton is definitely a player to keep an eye on.
  • The other starting DT Quinn Pitcock also looked solid out there. Like Tim Anderson, Pitcock is never going to be a guy that puts up big statistics. He's just going to be a solid player that gets good push and will demand double teams, freeing up the linebackers to make plays.
  • The defensive ends looked pretty solid. Simon Fraser and Mike Kudla started, but we didn't hear much from them. Probably the best of the bunch was Marcel Frost, but he was going against third-team offensive linemen for the most part.
  • Underwood had a very impressive day, picking off a pass from Zwick, blocking a field goal and always seeming to be in the right place defensively. … Just how high is the coaching staff on Underwood? Check out this quote from Jim Tressel after today's scrimmage: "E.J. has as much ability as anyone I've ever seen at that position."
  • Reserve safety Rob Harley had a big day. He saved a touchdown by batting away a pass from Zwick in the end zone and later intercepted a Boeckman pass. Somewhere, Chic Harley is smiling tonight.
  • Freshman linebacker Marcus Freeman faired pretty well, batting down one ball and making a few tackles. He's still a year away from helping the defense, but he's definitely a nice prospect.
  • The scrimmage lasted for about two hours, 20 minutes (from 1:50-4:10). … In a change from the last couple of years, Tressel opened up the gates of Ohio Stadium to the general public and the south stands was packed with Buckeye fans.

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