Holmes First Player Taken In Spring Game Draft

Flanker Santonio Holmes was the first player taken in today's draft of teams for Saturday's Scarlet and Gray Game at Ohio Stadium (1 p.m., WBNS-TV and ONN). Plus, there was a surprise in the selection order at quarterback as well. We also have comments from Jim Tressel on Dareus Hiley, Ira Guilford, Adam Olds and Maurice Clarett. Click this free link for full details on the draft.

There were a few surprises as the Ohio State football seniors chose up sides Wednesday afternoon for the spring-ending Scarlet and Gray Game, set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

It was no surprise, however, that flanker Santonio Holmes was the first overall choice by the Scarlet team. There were a few murmurs in the room when the Gray team opened the quarterback position later in the draft by taking listed backup Troy Smith over listed starter Justin Zwick, who will play for the Scarlet. (Third-team quarterback Todd Boeckman will play for both sides as needed.)

"I think what went into that decision is that Troy can do so many things for us," said Gray captain Dustin Fox. "They will be playing their base defense and he can break out of the pocket and get the ball downfield. He'll do a good job of making plays with his feet when he gets a chance."

OSU coach Jim Tressel was asked for his take on the draft order of the quarterbacks.

"I think our guys know both those guys have done some good things and, if you asked them some questions about Todd Boeckman, they would tell you he's done some good things," Tressel said. "If I had to read something into it, I would say it's fairly obvious that no one has emerged as the guy yet, and I think that's accurate. I think the team has been paying attention."

Those personnel decisions are just one reason why Tressel asks his seniors and assistant coaches to draft two separate teams for the spring game.

"Nothing ever surprises me with the draft," Tressel said. "I always like to get a feel for what the players are thinking. You don't know how much the coaches' suggestions influence it. But I thought the amount of thought that went into the selections tells you they feel good about a lot of people at a lot of positions."

Regarding the game, Tressel said there won't be one area where the offenses or defenses will be concentrating, as there has been in years past.

"It won't be all pass," he said. "We've had ones at times where we've said it would be 70 or 80 percent pass. I don't think we'll do that. I would imagine the rules will be structured such that there will be a lot of passing for those quarterbacks."

Tressel was asked for his role and his goals for Saturday's game.

"I will be a casual observer," he said. "Sometimes we go spend a minute on the radio or TV broadcast. Just hoping there are no injuries, that is my role. We want to be healthy when we get out and I want them to have some experiences out at the stadium with some people there in some gamelike conditions."

Dividing Them Up

Prior to the draft, Tressel placed his assistants and support personnel on the two opposing teams. Quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels will coach the Scarlet, while secondary coach Mel Tucker will coach the Gray.

Then, the seniors are placed on each side. Also, at positions where there may be just one senior and one backup, the backup is then automatically placed on the other squad. The linebacker and defensive end positions were drafted separately, while the receivers, offensive tackles, guards and centers, cornerbacks and safeties were drafted as groups.

The Scarlet team won the coin toss and had the option to open the first position. The team with the turn to choose selects a position. All players at that position are exhausted before the other team can begin the selections at another position.

Before the draft, it was determined that OT Kirk Barton, TB Michael DeMaria, FB Steve Fender, TB Maurice Hall, LB Joe Bradley, LB Mike D'Andrea, S Tyler Everett, CB Dustin Fox, DT Marcus Green, DL David Patterson and DL Joel Penton would all not play. TE Ryan Hamby, FB Branden Joe, SE Devin Jordan, DE Redgie Arden, WLB A.J. Hawk, WLB Curt Lukens, LB Trever Robinson and S Antonio Smith would all play limited reps due to injuries.

Because senior Thomas Matthews was assigned to the Scarlet at WLB, Hawk and Lukens were assigned to the Gray.

There was also no draft at fullback. Joe and Stan White Jr. were assigned to Scarlet, while Brandon Schnittker and Ryan Franzinger were placed on the Gray.

The specialists were also assigned with K Josh Huston, P Kyle Turano and long snappers Drew Norman and Dimitrious Makridis on the Scarlet and K Mike Nugent, P A.J. Trapasso, J.D. Bergman and Gruber and long snapper Kyle Andrews on the Gray.

Here is a position-by-position look at the draft as it unfolded, with seniors placed on each squad also noted:

* WR -- (Scarlet assigned John Hollins, Gray assigned Bam Childress) Santonio Holmes (S), Roy Hall (G), Tony Gonzalez (S), Devin Jordan (G), Derek Harden (S), Brent Ullery (G), David Lisko (S), Wes Scott (G).

* C -- Nick Mangold (G), Steve Winner (S) and Justin Whaley (S).

* SLB -- Bobby Carpenter (S), Marcus Freeman (G) and Knake (G).

* QB -- Troy Smith (G), Justin Zwick (S), Todd Beckman (will play for both teams as needed).

* DE -- (Simon Fraser placed on Gray) Jay Richardson (S), Chris Schlichter (G, but later traded to Scarlet for Redgie Arden).

* TE -- (Jason Caldwell placed on Gray) Louis Irizarry (G), Ryan Hamby (S) and Jordan Hoewischer (S).

* OT -- (John McLaughlin placed on Gray) Rob Sims (S), Tim Schafer (G), T.J. Downing (S), Steve Rehring (G).

* Leo DE -- Mike Kudla (G), Marcel Frost (S), Reggie Smith (G), Redgie Arden (S, but later traded to Gray for Chris Schlichter).

* Safety -- Nate Salley (S), Donte Whitner (G), Brandon Mitchell (S), Rob Harley (G), Antonio Smith (S).

* DT -- Quinn Pitcock (G), Sian Cotton (S), Brandon Maupin (G), Derek Coker (S), Caesar Buie (G), Joel Penton (S).

* CB -- (Harlen Jacobs placed on Scarlet, Fox placed on Gray) Ashton Youboty (S), E.J. Underwood (G), Michael Roberts (S), De'Angelo Haslam (G).

* OG -- (Mike Kne placed on Scarlet) Doug Datish (G), Andree Tyree (S), R.J. Coleman (G), John Conroy (S), Danny Dye (G).

* TB -- (Lydell Ross and Michael DeMaria placed on Scarlet, Roshawn Parker and Maurice Hall placed on Gray) Antonio Pittman (S), Colby Staubs (G) and Matthew Johnson (G).

* MLB -- Anthony Schlegel (G), John Kerr (S).

Also Notable

* Following the draft, Tressel addressed the status of tailback Ira Guilford and flanker Dareus Hiley, who have not been practicing this spring.

"(They're) not practicing this spring. We'd like them to be (back this summer)," the coach said.

When asked why, he said "department policy."

When pressed further, he said, "It means, according to the Ohio State athletic department policies, they can not be engaged in spring practice."

* Tressel also announced that offensive lineman Adam Olds' career appears to be over due to a recurring hip injury.

"Medically, I think he has already appealed for a medical (waiver), which means he would be able to continue his career academically and scholarship-wise and all of that," Tressel said.

* Saturday's game will begin at 1:05 p.m. It will be televised locally by WBNS-TV (Ch. 10) and across the state on Ohio News Network. Tickets ($5) are available at the OSU web site (ohiostatebuckeyes.com) and will be available at the stadium ticket office beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday. Gates will open at 10 a.m. Last year‘s game drew in excess of 50,000.

* Tressel was asked for his take on Maurice Clarett's plight. The coach said he had not spoken to Clarett since January and considered it highly unlikely he would be able to return to Ohio State.

"You'd have to invest some time to see what that would take and see if it's conceivable," the coach said. "Certainly, we would research that. They asked the question what's the probability? I said, from an academic standpoint, unless the NCAA really changes its posture about academics, I would think it would be difficult.

"I would think that would be far-fetched because of the academic end of things and not being in school for so long.

"The reaction you have is this is just a reminder that life is a process. You have to go through the process. I guess my initial reaction is I wish he didn't have to go through all of these processes. But that's the way it is. It will be interesting to see how it plays out."

Clarett has not been in class at OSU since fall quarter as he prepared for the draft. Just to become eligible academically, he would have to take heavy classloads this summer. Plus, he would still have to regain his eligibility stemming from the issue of extra benefits.

* The two teams entertained several trade offers, but none were accepted. The coaches made the Arden-for-Schlichter trade to improve the depth on the Scarlet team.

* Fox referred to Kerr is "Mr. Irrelevant," the tag always assigned to the last player chosen in the NFL draft.

* Ross, speaking for the Scarlet, was happy with his team.

"We are very satisfied with our team," he said. "We feel we have good depth at all positions. I think we made some good decisions and now we're going to go out and play ball."

He also discussed taking Zwick at quarterback.

"We feel like we're solid," Ross said. "Justin Zwick has been doing a good job. He's been proving himself all spring and we think he'll prove himself again Saturday."

* Fox was also happy with his Gray squad.

"We're happy with our selections," he said. "We have a play maker at quarterback. We think he can do anything we need him to do. We have a corner (Underwood) who can lock down anybody. We have some good linebackers with A.J. Hawk, Anthony Schlegel and Curt Lukens."

Fox talked about his team using its first position selection of the draft to get Mangold at center.

"It's important to have a guy in the middle and get good center exchanges," Fox said. "Mangold is an excellent player for us. He's one of the better offensive linemen on the team and we're happy we got him."

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