Practice Notes - 8/16

We have some practice notes for you from Dave Biddle, who had a chance to take in today's practice. Dave talks about who ran with the first and second teams, who looked sharp, and the high energy the new coaches bring to the team.

Ohio State's second practice of the day was open to the media Monday. Here are several notables.

Running with the first team offense was: Justin Zwick (QB), Lydell Ross (TB), Stan White Jr. (FB), Santonio Holmes (WR), Roy Hall/Bam Childress (WR), Ryan Hamby (TE), Rob Sims (LT), Doug Datish (LG), Nick Mangold (C), Mike Kne (RG), T.J. Downing/Tim Schafer (RT).

Running with the second team offense was: Troy Smith (QB), Antonio Pittman (TB), Brandon Schnittker (FB), John Hollins (WR), Tony Gonzalez/Devin Jordan (WR), Rory Nicol (TE), John McLaughlin (RT), John Conroy (LG), Steve Winner (C), R.J. Coleman (RG), Kirk Barton (RT).

Erik Haw also got a few snaps with the 2's.

The first team defense lined up like this Monday: Simon Fraser (DE), Quinn Pitcock (DT), Joel Penton (DT), Mike Kudla (DE), Bobby Carpenter (SLB), Anthony Schlegel (MLB), A.J. Hawk (WLB), Dustin Fox (CB), E.J. Underwood (CB), Nate Salley (S) Tyler Everett (S).

The second team defense looked like this: Jay Richardson (DE), Sian Cotton (DT), David Patterson (DT), Redgie Arden (DE), Marcus Freeman (SLB), Mike D'Andrea (MLB), Thomas Matthews (WLB), Ashton Youboty (CB), Harlen Jacobs (CB), Brandon Mitchell (S), Donte Whitner (S).

Wearing yellow non-contact jerseys were fullback Branden Joe (ankle), tight end Marcel Frost and defensive tackle Marcus Green.

It looks like Jim Tressel did an excellent job filling his staff in the offseason. All three of the new full-time assistant coaches - Darrell Hazell (receivers), John Peterson (tight ends/recruiting coordinator) and Dick Tressel (running backs) - seem like solid hires. They are all energetic and their players respond to them.

In one of the drills Monday, Hazell was working with the receivers in a blocking drill. He was teaching them how to take the legs out from under defenders. There was a tackling dummy set up and the receivers had to shoot in low and drill the dummy. Well, just to be sure there was no confusion, Hazell stepped in there and did it himself several times at full speed. The former Muskingum standout and Rutgers coach looks like he could suit up and play.

And anyone who is worried about Dick Tressel shouldn't be. This guy knows his football and he was running around with as much energy as Hazell, Mark Snyder and the rest of the young coaches. This might sound crazy, but there is a good chance the Buckeyes upgraded at running backs coach this year. Tim Spencer was a great player and solid coach, but something tells us that Dick Tressel is going to be excellent in this role. He is a teacher.

Peterson is helping Jim Bollman with the offensive line and his expertise is a nice shot in the arm for the young line. Peterson looks like a future head coach.

Ted Ginn Jr. and Santonio Holmes rotated as the primary punt returner and each of them looked good. The days of averaging 4-5 yards per punt return are over.

Ginn worked about four periods with the offense and the rest with the defense. In some drills, he switched back and forth from offense to defense. It seemed like he was always on the field doing something. As Steve Helwagen pointed out, you can get tired just watching Ginn.

Of the true freshmen offensive linemen, Ben Person stood out. He is running with the third team right now, but don't expect that to last. He will likely be second team soon.

The quarterbacks all looked solid today. Zwick showed nice touch on the long balls, including a nice touchdown to Gonzalez. Zwick and Hall also hooked up on a couple nice crossing routes.

Smith still needs to work on touch, but he looked great on the out routes. He gets it there quickly and with authority.
Todd Boeckman is just solid. He doesn't have as quick of a release as Zwick and Smith, but he is very accurate and stands in the pocket like a veteran QB.

Zwick will open the season as the starter, mark it down, but the Bucks won't miss a beat if one of the other two have to play.

In the one-on-one, receiver vs. defensive back drills, Mitchell had what looked to be blanket coverage on a streaking Ginn. Well, it was blanket until Ginn decided to kick in that extra gear and blow right past him. Mitchell didn't want a touchdown scored on his watch, so he grabbed Ginn and was flagged for pass interference (OSU hires officials to come out to practice and monitor certain drills).

Childress was basically uncoverable during these drills, but that is par for the course. He always looks good in practice.

Former Buckeye and Dallas Cowboy running back Michael Wiley took in practice.

Pittman and Haw both look like they are ready to contribute. I thought there would only be room for one of them and the other would likely redshirt (most likely Haw), but I am backing off that statement. It looks like both of them will play this year. Maurice Hall is still out there banging it around, but Haw looks like a better choice for the third-team tailback.

Sian Cotton is a man-child. He is extremely disruptive on the D-line, showing good strength and quickness. He reminds me of Darrion Scott, but bigger. In fact, the two most impressive DTs were running with the second-string: Cotton and Patterson. That's nothing against Pitcock (who also looks good) and Penton, that's just a tip of the cap to Cotton and Patterson.

The offensive line had all kinds of trouble slowing down the D-line in one-on-one drills. More often than not, the tackling dummy (set up as the quarterback in the pocket) was getting knocked around. Sims and Mangold were two of the few that were able to keep their man at bay consistently.

Youboty got some snaps with the first-team in nickel situations. The nickel back job is his to lose.

Richardson rotated in with the first team on occasion, spelling Kudla. D'Andrea and Schlegel also rotated.

The offense worked on a lot of three-wide sets. Very rarely did it line up in the I-formation. If a fullback was in there, it was more in an H-back role. White and Schnittker played that role quite often.

In full-contact, 11-on-11 goal-line drills, Ross had a nice run in which he juked three defenders and picked up some tough yardage, giving the punter some room to work with. Ross looks a little quicker than last year and seems to be running with better vision.

Josh Huston is the first-team punter right now, although neither he nor second-teamer Kyle Turano looked good Monday. Cross your fingers and/or say a nice prayer Buckeye fans. If the punt is the most important play in football, this will be an interesting year. Huston usually gets better length than Turano but doesn't have the hang-time of Turano.

In field goal drills, Mike Nugent looked like an All-American, connecting on all of his attempts. Huston is the backup kicker and missed on most of his attempts.

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