For weeks, the seniors had been dreading the possibility that defensive coordinator Mark Snyder -- the energetic assistant coach who recruited and coached a good number of them -- would be leaving OSU for the head coaching job at Marshall, his alma mater.
Their fears became reality on Thursday, when Snyder was introduced as the new head coach at Marshall. OSU head coach Jim Tressel acted quickly, elevating defensive line coach Jim Heacock to the coordinator's job and linebackers coach Luke Fickell to the co-coordinator's role.
Then, the defense went out on Sunday and, at least on the scoreboard, got pummeled by the OSU offense. The offense, which had only won two previous jersey scrimmages in Tressel's five years as the OSU coach, made it two in a row with a 93-39 win.
Senior linebacker A.J. Hawk came out after the scrimmage and dutifully answered questions on the coaching shake-up and the scrimmage.
"There are some good things that happened today," Hawk said. "We'll watch the film and go from there. I think you have to give the offense some credit as well. They played well.
"I think they took advantage of some situations and got some good match-ups. They had guys like Teddy (Ginn) and Troy (Smith) running the ball. The quarterbacks played well. We didn't tackle as well as we should have and when you do that you give up extra yards and first downs. That's what happened today."
The defense tallied three interceptions and one fumble recovery, but could not land the knockout blow it needed to turn the tide.
"We know we have to get turnovers," Hawk said. "I think we had three or four today. To be successful in this game, you have to take one of those interceptions back and score and get 12 points. We didn't do that. We got some turnovers, but we couldn't get them into the end zone. We just didn't get them stopped enough times three-and-out.
"I've been around here for a while and doing this. We just didn't get the turnovers we needed and we didn't get the three-and-outs we needed."
Hawk discussed the play of the OSU offense, which could be a surprise in 2005.
"Teddy (Ginn) had a nice play, where he spun out of some tackles," Hawk said. "He came out free and scored. The quarterbacks completed a lot of nice balls and all three of them played well. They find the open man really well. We didn't get enough pressure on them.
"That tests us as a defense to play guys like this. They have a lot of weapons. It wasn't as bad as it could have been. We needed to get off the field a few times on third down and couldn't get it done."
Hawk was asked which young defensive players impressed him.
"I think Chad Hoobler played pretty well," Hawk said. "He had a lot of nice hits and a lot of nice tackles. A lot of people showed flashes of playing well. The biggest thing is being consistent over the whole day. I don't think a lot of people did that today."
Regarding The Change
Hawk said he was fine with Tressel's decision to elevate Heacock and Fickell.
"It's great," he said. "Everybody loves it. We knew that if Coach Snyder left this would be the best thing. I have a ton of respect for him. He's the one who recruited me out of high school. We have a lot of respect for him and we love playing for him. We think he is going to help us become a tough, aggressive defense."
So how do Heacock and Snyder differ?
"Maybe Coach Heacock is not as animated as Coach Snyder," Hawk said. "Everybody knows Coach Snyder is a hyper guy who likes to jump around. Coach Heacock is just focused. He knows what we need to do to get the job done and we just listen to him. I'm glad he got the job. It's fun to play for him and we got a little bit of a jolt here at the end of spring ball and headed into the summer."
Hawk was glad Snyder returned for Sunday's scrimmage to observe and say goodbye.
"It was nice for him to come back and see him before he goes," Snyder said. "He really couldn't say anything because of the rules. He's excited and we're excited for him. Most coaches want to be head coaches and we're happy for him."
Snyder talked about his brief return to OSU.
"I sat in the box with Coach Heacock and observed," Snyder said. "I'll sit here and watch the film tonight and head back tomorrow."
Snyder discussed the OSU staff changes.
"I think it's great," he said. "What a great move. Jim will do a great job with Luke."
Snyder talked about the challenges he faces in taking control of the Marshall program at the end of spring football.
"The timing is a little different," he said. "I've talked to a lot of my buddies who are head coaches. It's hard for them to give me any advice. I am kind of a test case. Most of them came in in January and here I am coming in in April."
Snyder was asked if he planned to take any personnel from OSU.
"I don't know yet," he said. "I'm going to go back and assess things. We'll take it from there."
He also talked about getting Marshall back on OSU's schedule at some point.
"I think West Virginia is the first goal," he said. "It looks like that will be coming to fruition. Then, in a few years it would be good to come back here and play Coach."
Snyder talked about what he saw during the scrimmage and the state of the defense.
"I thought there were some big hits out there," he said. "I thought the hitting was crisp.
"I think the defense is very talented. The key will be the depth. The young depth has to come on, and then they'll be really good. You guys know the first group is pretty good. But those young guys have to step up."
Snyder shared some of his parting thoughts.
"Especially to the seniors, they came in and gave me everything we had and we won a lot of ballgames," he said. "We made some great relationships. I told them I love them and I told them if they ever need anything from me, I would be there for them."