Carpenter, Defense Want Scarlet Jerseys Back

Senior linebacker Bobby Carpenter discusses today's jersey scrimmage at Ohio Stadium. He also talks about the staff shakeup this week on the defensive side of the ball.

Ohio State will hold its jersey scrimmage today at Ohio Stadium, and senior linebacker Bobby Carpenter has a goal.

"The defense, last year, we kind of got embarrassed and lost the Scarlet jerseys," Carpenter said. "That's the first time that's happened since I've been here, so we're kind of anxious to get them back."

The offense took a rare 72-53 win in the jersey scrimmage at the end of preseason camp, giving then the nod to wear the coveted scarlet practice jerseys. That is, until today, when they will be back on the line.

Carpenter noted that it will be neat for the team to return to Ohio Stadium for the first time since a 37-21 win over Michigan last November.

"The last game we had there, we were pretty successful," he said. "It will be kind of special to be back over there. We want to carry that on and play like we did before."

There was some upheaval in the OSU camp this week as defensive coordinator Mark Snyder left OSU for the head coaching job at Marshall, his alma mater. Carpenter was not happy to see Snyder leave, but he has faith in assistants Jim Heacock and Luke Fickell. Heacock will be the new defensive coordinator, while Fickell, Carpenter's position coach with the linebackers, will be the co-coordinator.

"Coach Heacock is a quality coach and he has been around a long time," Carpenter said. "Coach Fickell is also a quality coach. He knows about the system and is an Ohio State guy through and through. We're excited with what we have here. We're not going to let something like this hold us back."

Carpenter shared some of Heacock's words of wisdom to the defense as he took over the coordinator's job.

"His big thing was we have the ingredients to be a special team right now," Carpenter said. "We have a lot of players on defense that are good individual players. We need to work on our cohesiveness as a defense to be successful."

Carpenter agreed that it is nice to have so much experience coming back. But the Buckeyes must be consistent and get the job done all season long if they expect to contend in 2005.

"We have nine starters back, but we're coming back from an 8-4 season," he said. "That's not something we're proud of. We finished up strong and we just want to build off of that. We'd like to play every game this season like we played those last two games."

With middle linebackers Mike D'Andrea and Anthony Schlegel out for contact drills this spring, Carpenter discussed some of the players OSU has pressed into action.

"We've got some experience, but this also gave us the chance to move some guys around," he said. "We are getting a chance to see some of the guys who didn't get to play much last year. Marcus (Freeman), Chad Hoobler, Curtis Terry and Brandon Smith, they are all starting to excel now. It gives us a different feel for what we can do in different areas."


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