Hamby Talks Tight End Play

Junior Ryan Hamby's spot as the number one tight end is not in jeopardy, but the number two spot still appears to be up for grabs. Could true freshman Rory Nicol wind up getting that spot? Hamby discussed Nicol's performance so far as well as his thoughts on today's scrimmage.

Junior tight end Ryan Hamby has been impressed with the play of his young protégé, Rory Nicol. Both players had a solid afternoon as Hamby (unofficially) caught four passes for 26 yards while Nicol reeled in four catches for 43 yards.

Most tight ends are not physically ready to play as true freshmen, but that is obviously not the case with Nicol.

"Rory, if you look at him, he's a solid 245," Hamby said. "He's a big kid and I think he's doing real well. He's learning the plays and knows what he's supposed to do and we have confidence in him. We just need Marcel to get healthy and I think we'll be all right.

"Rory is farther ahead than I was as a true freshman, which is pretty impressive. He knows the plays and picks up on a lot and I definitely think he's going to help us this year."

There were a lot of passes thrown Saturday, but that could be a case of Tressel wanting to get the cobwebs out. Don't expect so many passes in real games.

"I hope we throw the ball a lot like we did today," Hamby said. "Sometimes that's just how scrimmages play out, but I'm all for passes coming my way and hopefully Coach Tressel sees it and feels that way too."

Teams might blitz Zwick a lot this year until he proves he can deal with the pressure. That means Hamby and the receivers will have to be ready for hot routes.

"Yeah, with hot routes, the linebacker is coming off the edge and you have to look quick," Hamby said. "Teams are going to blitz us, which means you've got to turn quick, get the ball and turn upfield. We did a lot of that today as you saw."
Although he is now the veteran of the tight end corps, Hamby is not feeling any additional pressure.

"I don't feel any pressure, just because obviously I had a good mentor in No. 88 (Ben Hartsock) and I think he taught me wise," he said. "He taught me to help guys along the way and just go out there and play ball."

Hamby wants camp to be over with, but feels it has been productive.

"Overall, I think we've had a real good camp," he said. "We just try and keep improving every day and just go from there."

Like Zwick, Hamby did not attempt to downplay winning the jersey scrimmage. He was pleased to keep the scarlet jerseys.

"Pretty proud of it," Hamby said. "I didn't want to lose the scarlet jersey because everyone knows when you go out to practice, it means something. I'm happy we kept them and I don't want to lose them the rest of the time I'm here."

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