Bollman Discusses Offense, Line During Camp

OSU offensive coordinator Jim Bollman talks about the progress of his offensive line as well as the running backs and quarterbacks. Plus, he talks about the team's four freshman offensive linemen. Click here for more.

OSU offensive coordinator Jim Bollman met with the media a short time ago and covered a wide range of topics, beginning with the overall showing by the offensive line.

"I feel very good at the moment. We all know there are a lot of new faces. A lot of the guys have been around. It's been very easy for them, since they've been in the program a long time. I think they're making very good progress. We're starting to develop some depth, too."

Bollman then answered questions on a wide range of topics, including:

* The play of OSU's four freshman linemen -- "I think it's a little bit too early to evaluate what they're going to be able to do this year and not be able to do this year. They're just starting to get a feel for their assignments and be able to start to show some of their abilities. Physically, they are very impressive looking guys and I have no doubt they are going to be very good players."

* The notion that OSU's line will be more athletic this season -- "You still got to pass block and you've still got to run block. How you get them blocked, I don't know if it really matters. Maybe they'll be able to get involved with some plays where maybe they can run a little bit more and get on the edge a little bit more, maybe some of those things. These are more the kind of guys that we'll have ended up recruiting in the long run. It's still the same kind of situation where you will get a really good, bigger kind of guy.

"But overall, I think that there's a lot of guys in high school who are so big that their movement gets a little bit limited. I think there are kids who see the guys in the pros and feel they have to be that big tomorrow. That's not necessarily the case. A lot of times if you follow the suit of getting guys who are very good athletes but have the ability to be a big man, but doesn't necessarily have to be that way when they get here."

* The progress of the quarterbacks -- "I think they're moving along. I think everybody is moving along at it, working very hard and trying to do their job. I think they fall right in that mode. We are working hard at trying to be a team and working hard to try and contribute to the team."

Bollman said it is premature to assume the Buckeyes will tailor the offense to suit a particular quarterback, given Justin Zwick's ability as a pocket passer and Troy Smith's ability to run and pass.

"It's too early to say that yet. I wouldn't really pass judgement on that either way until that is finalized."

* On who has looked good on the line -- "I think Nick Mangold and Rob Sims are both doing what they need to do and certainly improving their play. I think Mike Kne and Doug Datish are off to some pretty good starts. I think all three of the guys at right tackle are competing and improving, (Kirk) Barton, (Tim) Schafer and T.J. Downing. One or two of those guys could end up helping us at other positions as we see how things evolve. John McLaughlin is another guy who has walked on who is backing up for us at left tackle. John Conroy, who has walked on, is backing up at left guard. We are fortunate to have those guys as some of these other guys are learning and developing."

* On who would start at right tackle if the opener was today -- "If we started today, Tim Schafer (would start). All of those guys are athletic guys. I think that what will end up happening will be who shows consistently over the long haul that they have the best ability to pass block. That may not happen for four or five weeks before that is finalized."

* On the ability to use seven or eight linemen -- "I would like to get to the point where we could use more than five linemen. That's always easier said than done because you have to have five guys who have proven they are capable of jumping in there and doing the job."

Bollman also discussed the likelihood players could change positions during the season.

"We have a chance to have a little bit more depth than we have. If somebody really catches fire, I'm not above shifting guys around to get the best five guys out there."

* On the depth and progress at the running back spots -- "At this point, it's nice to have some running backs. A year ago at this time, we could hardly practice. I think those guys are performing well. We have some depth at fullback. Those guys are doing a good job in all of the phases, including blocking and receiving."

* On tailback Lydell Ross -- "It's like a lot of guys that we've seen around here since I've been here. They're getting ready for their senior year. In the three past years I've been here, there have been some guys who have gotten ready to have a great senior year. At this point, it's real early. But he seems to be in that mold. He has had a great off-season. Certainly, we're anxious to see how he does when we get going.

"I've been more excited about the way he has been in the spring, this summer and now. He is obviously very focused on what he wants to do. He's doing a great job being a leader and encouraging the younger guys."

* On what Mangold and Sims are doing -- "They're trying to be more and more studious and finite about their techniques. They're trying to be more particular about the way they do things. For Nick, it may be the way he's making calls. He is just trying to take the next step to be better."

* On R.J. Coleman -- "He's competing for a backup spot at right guard right now. He worked hard this summer and is definitely showing some improvement. He has a good feel for what he needs to do and wants to do."

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