Buckeyes Prep For Spring Practice

One week before the start of spring practice, Ohio State issued a release on what to expect this spring, data for the Scarlet and Gray Game April 23 and the pre-spring depth chart.

Earlier today, Ohio State issued a release to announce the start of spring football as well as the pre-spring depth chart.

Here is what was contained in those announcements:

The Ohio State football team, which closed out the 2004 season by winning five of its last six games including impressive victories over Michigan and Oklahoma State en route to an 8-4 record, opens spring practice Thurs., March 21.

The Buckeyes conclude spring drills April 23 with the annual Scarlet and Gray game at 1:30 p.m. in Ohio Stadium.

The latter will be telecast live in Columbus by WBNS-TV (Channel 10) and carried around the state on ONN. CSTV will carry the game nationally on a delayed basis. WBNS Radio (1460 AM) also will broadcast the game.

Tickets for the Spring Game are $5.00 each and can be purchased at the Athletics Ticket Office in the Jerome Schottenstein Center. The Department of Athletics will donate $1.00 from each ticket sold to the Central Ohio Food Bank in conjunction with WBNS-TV.

Coach Jim Tressel, who is beginning his fifth year at the helm of the Buckeyes, has 18 holdover starters and 45 returning lettermen on hand as he begins laying the foundation for the 2005 campaign.

"Spring is a time for teaching, for re-emphasizing fundamentals and for providing players with opportunities to step up and show what they can do," said Tressel. "It is an exciting time for players and coaches alike."

Gone from last year's starting lineup are All-America place-kicker Mike Nugent (the school's all-time leading scorer), punter Kyle Turano, tailback Lydell Ross, offensive guard Mike Kne, defensive end Simon Fraser and cornerback Dustin Fox (a three year starter for the Buckeyes).

In addition to filling those vacancies, the Ohio State coaching staff will be focusing on shoring up the depth at every position. The latter could mean a position switch here or there.

"We probably will do a little experimenting," said Tressel. "You always want to make sure you have your players at the position where they can be of the most help to the team."

There are nine starters and 22 lettermen returning on offense. The list of holdovers includes a trio of All-America candidates in center Nick Mangold, split end Santonio Holmes and flanker and return specialist extraordinaire Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn led the nation in punt return average and set a Big Ten record with four punt returns for touchdowns last year as a true freshman.

In Holmes, Ginn and sophomore Anthony Gonzalez, the Buckeyes boast a trio of speedsters on the flanks. All have proven capable of making the big play.

The Buckeyes also are talent rich at quarterback where juniors Justin Zwick and Troy Smith return along with redshirt freshman Todd Boeckman. Zwick started the first six games before being hurt last year and then started the bowl game against Oklahoma State. Smith was 4-1 during his time as a starter and rolled up 386 yards in total offense in the win over Michigan. The youthful Boeckman is good enough to make it a three-way race.

Up front, nine of the top 10 offensive linemen return, including veteran tackle Robbie Sims on the all-important left side. He and Mangold are the wheelhorses of the offensive line.

One of the more interesting battles in the spring will be at tailback where sophomore Antonio Pittman and redshirt freshman Erik Haw are vying for the starting spot. Pittman showed flashes of brilliance last year; Haw flashed his potential against the No. 1 defense. One of the two will have to step up.

Veteran Brandon Schnittker and sophomore standout Dionte Johnson will share the fullback duties.

There are also nine starters and 22 letter winners returning on defense, where the cast of all-stars includes linebackers A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter, defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock, cornerback Ashton Youboty and free safety Nate Salley. Hawk was a consensus first-team All-America pick last year, leading Ohio State and finishing second in the Big Ten in total tackles.

The Buckeyes' linebacker corps of Hawk, Carpenter, Anthony Schlegel and Mike D'Andrea is one of the best in college football, and one of the best in Ohio State history. D'Andrea will miss the spring while recovering from knee surgery that prematurely ended his 2004 season, but he should be 100 percent in the fall.

The secondary returns three of its four starters in Youboty, Salley and strong safety Tyler Everett. Everett will be held out of contact in the spring following a minor knee procedure. In one of those spring experiments mentioned earlier, Donte Whitner, who shared time with Everett at safety last year, will get a look at the corner spot vacated by Fox.

The 6-3, 295-pound Pitcock, who played terrific football last year in his first season as a starter, will anchor a defensive line that includes veterans Marcus Green at tackle and Mike Kudla at defensive end and returns virtually everyone from last year's two deep but the graduated Fraser.

In the kicking department, Josh Huston would appear to be the heir apparent to Nugent, and redshirt freshman A.J. Trapasso hopes to step in as the punter.

In addition to D'Andrea and Everett, John Kerr, Brandon Underwood and Kudla will be limited to light duty in the spring because of medical restrictions. All are expected back in the fall when Ohio State opens its 115th season of football by hosting Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 3.

Pre-Spring Depth Chart

Here is a look at OSU's pre-spring depth chart:

OFFENSE

SE 4 #Santonio Holmes** 5-11, 185, Jr.

8 Roy Hall** 6-3, 228, Jr.

18 Devon Lyons* 6-4, 214, So.

LT 77 #Rob Sims*** 6-4, 310, Sr.

71 Steve Rehring* 6-8, 315, So.

LG 72 T.J. Downing* 6-5, 305, Jr.

59 John Conroy* 6-3, 295, Sr.

67 Kyle Mitchum 6-6, 275, R-Fr.

C 55 #Nick Mangold*** 6-4, 290, Sr.

73 Steve Winner 6-6, 295, Sr.

RG 50 #Doug Datish* 6-5, 295, Jr.

69 Andree Tyree 6-3, 290, Jr.

63 Ben Person 6-4, 300, R-Fr.

RT 74 #Kirk Barton* 6-6, 305, So.

68 Tim Schafer* 6-5, 290, Jr.

79 Jon Skinner 6-5, 295, R-Fr.

TE 80 #Ryan Hamby*** 6-5, 250, 5th-Sr.

88 Rory Nicol* 6-5, 245, So.

89 Stan White Jr.** 6-3,242, Jr.

81 R.J. Coleman* 6-5, 295, Jr.

FL 7 #Ted Ginn Jr.* 6-0, 170, So.

11 Anthony Gonzalez* 6-0, 200, So.

82 Devin Jordan 6-2, 205, So.

QB 12 #Justin Zwick* 6-4, 225, Jr.

10 Troy Smith** 6-1, 215, Jr.

17 Todd Boeckman 6-5, 235 R-Fr.

TB 25 Antonio Pittman* 5-11, 190, So.

2 Erik Haw 6-1, 210, R-Fr.

FB 43 #Brandon Schnittker***6-2, 250, Jr.

49 Dionte Johnson* 6-0, 250, So.

89 Stan White Jr.** 6-3, 242, Jr.

DEFENSE

DE 99 Jay Richardson* 6-6, 270, Jr. or

97 David Patterson** 6-3, 285, Jr.

78 Alex Barrow 6-4, 245, R-Fr.

LT 94 #Marcus Green*** 6-3, 290, 5th-Sr.

95 Sian Cotton 6-4, 295, So.

93 Nader Abdallah 6-3, 295, Fr.

RT 90 #Quinn Pitcock** 6-3, 295, Jr.

98 Joel Penton** 6-5, 275, Jr.

DE 57 #Mike Kudla*** 6-3, 265, Sr.

50 Vernon Gholston 6-4, 250, So.

WLB 47 #A.J. Hawk*** 6-1, 238, Sr.

44 Curtis Terry* 6-2, 220, So.

33 John Kerr 6-1, 246, Jr.

MLB 51 #Anthony Schlegel* 6-2, 245,5th-Sr. or

5 Mike D'Andrea** 6-3, 250, Sr.

46 Chad Hoobler* 6-3, 215, So.

SLB 42 #Bobby Carpenter***6-3, 255, Sr.

17 Marcus Freeman* 6-2, 230, So.

54 Brandon Smith 6-3,240, R-Fr.

LCB 26 #Ashton Youboty** 6-1, 188, Jr.

30 Sirjo Welch* 6-0, 185, So.

RCB 9 Donte Whitner** 5-11, 200, Jr.

29 Shaun Lane 5-10, 180, R-Fr.

19 Brandon Underwood 6-2, 170, R-Fr.

FS 21 #Nate Salley*** 6-3, 215, Sr.

32 Brandon Mitchell** 6-3, 205, Jr.

SS 6 #Tyler Everett*** 5-11, 196, Sr.

35 Nick Patterson 6-2, 210, R-Fr.

SPECIALISTS

K 23 Josh Huston* 6-1, 195, 5th-Sr.

32 Ryan Petorius 5-10, 190, R-Fr.

P 15 A. J. Trapasso 6-1, 220, R-Fr.

LS 58 Drew Norman 6-0, 230, Jr.

56 Dimitrios Makridis 6-1, 225, So.

H 15 A.J. Trapasso 6-1, 220, R-Fr.

21 Tyson Gentry 6-2, 165, R-Fr.

KR 4 Santonio Holmes** 5-11, 185, Jr.

7 Ted Ginn Jr.* 6-0, 170, So.

PR 4 Santonio Holmes** 5-11, 185, Jr.

7 Ted Ginn Jr.* 6-0, 170, So.

Note – The player's eligibility as noted above is for the 2005 season

* Denotes letters won

#Denotes returning starters


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