Offensive Notebook: Mangold, Sims, Lyons

The lopsided score in Sunday's jersey scrimmage took some people by surprise. Ohio State's offense won 93-39 and retained the scarlet jerseys until at least preseason camp. Today, we have comments from Nick Mangold, Rob Sims and Devon Lyons.

Amid all the praise for Ohio State's offense following its 93-39 jersey scrimmage win over the defense on Sunday, senior center Nick Mangold offered a more grounded point of view.

"We got our red jerseys and that's great, but we want to do it better and I don't think we did it as good as we could have," Mangold said.

Mangold was told that head coach Jim Tressel praised the play of the offensive line.

"Well, that's awfully nice of him. He does put on a good face," Mangold quipped. "You know, maybe looking at it – I haven't watched any film yet or anything – but coming away from it, I don't think we did bad. I thought we were somewhere right in the middle. Maybe that shows where we can be. If we're good and we're able to beat our defense, that's a plus. But I think having the guys that we have here, that drives us to be that much better."

Mangold felt that sophomore tailback Antonio Pittman was one of the standouts of the scrimmage.

"Tony did real well," Mangold said. "He made some great runs. I don't know if we opened enough holes for him to make better runs, but he made some real good runs off what he could.

"I think Erik Haw did pretty well too, doing what he had to do.

"So, I think tailback, I think we're really coming along. It should be a good year for them."

Mangold said the highlight of the day was a touchdown reception from Ted Ginn. Each player we've talked to has given a different distance for the touchdown (some say 25, or 30), but they all agree that Ginn's play stole the show.

"Teddy had a great run," Mangold said. "I think we were around the 35 or something, he had an excellent catch, ran into a group of guys and emerged out somehow and finished it up and scored. So that was a huge highlight."

Mangold was asked about the quarterback competition and he gave the type of answer you would expect from a savvy veteran.

"They're all great," he said. "You know, you've got Justin (Zwick), Troy (Smith), Todd (Boeckman) – they're some good players. They made some great throws, they made some great scrambles. All three of them had some nice scrambles; all three of them had some nice passes, some beautiful looking passes. You know, I don't got anything for you on who is above the rest, but they're all great."

Mangold says the Buckeyes need to keep their focus for the final week of spring ball.

"This last week is really a good test for us," he said. "I don't know if we're putting anything else new in. I think it's going to be more of a, ‘Let's protect things now.' I know we've got the coaches' clinic coming in at the end of this week, so we've got to be able to handle that, get those guys in and still get some great work on Thursday and Friday, leading up to the spring game. It's an intense week. You're trying to pile everything into one week that you can before summer hits."

* Senior lineman Rob Sims gave a more glowing review of the offense's performance in the scrimmage.

"I think we did very well," Sims said. "We got a lot of good reps. A lot of stuff we can learn from, but it feels good to keep the jerseys for the third time, so I'm happy about it."

Sims is glad that the offense has turned the tables on the defense. He lost his first three jersey scrimmages at OSU (fall 2002, spring '03, fall '03) and has now won three straight.

"Since I've been here, the defense has been kind of the people that's been leading the way," Sims said. "The offense, we just want to have our share and make it more of a 50/50 deal and come out here and play more complete games."

Despite its performance on Sunday, Ohio State has one of the best defenses in the country. Sims knows that the offense won't see many defenses better than the one it sees in practice every day.

"It just builds confidence," Sims said. "I've always felt that if we can do it against our defense, we can do it against anyone in the country. It's real good to be able to practice with those guys because you get nothing but better."

Sims was asked for the highlights of the scrimmage.

"The one where Teddy broke it," he said. "I mean, everybody thought he was down, he just got out of there somehow. You know, you always say he's electrifying, that was pretty electrifying to me.

"Marcel Frost had a couple nice plays, the quarterbacks played well and I thought the line blocked real well."

Sims also gave his take on the running backs.

"Pittman was hitting the holes very well," he said. "Erik Haw, he had a couple stretches to the outside and looked good. They both played well to me. I'm happy with what we did on offense (Sunday) and hopefully we can build on it and have a good spring game."

Mangold might have given a PC answer when asked about the quarterbacks, but he's got nothing on Sims.

"You've got three guys who could play anywhere else in the country and I'm just glad they all play for us so we get our pick of them," Sims said. "So, it's a blessing more than a controversy in my eyes. Whoever's back there, I'm going to block for them and I know he's going to get the job done."

Sims has been impressed with the play of sophomore fullback Dionte Johnson.

"Oh yeah. Definitely," Sims said. "He's not afraid of anybody and you need that in a fullback. He pretty much just picks somebody to hit and goes and hits them. He's been a blessing to have back there and he's been playing very well."

The versatile, 305-pound Sims is playing tackle and guard this spring. He started the last two years at left tackle (in addition to starting two games as a freshman in 2002) but could move to guard this fall.

"I'm doing a little bit of both," Sims said. "I can't tell you which one I like more, wherever I am, I guess I will like it. It doesn't matter to me if I play tackle or guard. I think I'm playing good at both. I need to get a little smoother at guard and we'll go from there."

* Sophomore receiver Devon Lyons felt the jersey scrimmage went well. He was greeted with a big hit from safety Donte Whitner, but other than that, Lyons was pleased.

"I had a few catches," Lyons said. "A lot of people like me got some experience today and a chance to go out there and get some reps. I'm going out there and I'm trying to get better and trying to get all the reps I can."

Lyons even hauled in a touchdown pass.

"It came a little cheap – about 10 yards," he said. "That was my first time actually scoring in the 'Shoe. Justin threw it."

Lyons says he is finally starting to feel comfortable in OSU's offense.

"Definitely, definitely," he said. "This is starting to come natural. I just feel like I've got to go out there and do what I need to do to help this team win."

Looking back, he probably should have redshirted last year, but the staff saw too much talent in him. Lyons chalks up his freshman campaign as a learning year.

"Playing-wise, I think I was able to play up to the level they expected," he said. "It was just learning everything. In practice, I did everything well, but that's when I had coaches monitoring what I did. But in a game, you're on your own and it's just about knowing everything."

Lyons is surrounded by a lot of talent at the receiver position. He has at least three players in front of him: Ginn, Santonio Holmes and Anthony Gonzalez. Albert Dukes is right there as well, and apparently the coaches feel that Roy Hall has had a good spring as well.

"Everybody is hyping up this receiver corps a lot," Lyons said. "We've got to live up to some great expectations, but it definitely feels good to be a part of some of the best receivers in the country. I think we've got a good group, but we've got to keep getting better."

Lyons explained his role on the offense.

"(Receivers coach Darrell) Hazell always stresses that we've got to make plays," he said. "You catch the ball and you turn it upfield and you get as much as you can. So, a big-play receiver. That's my role, I guess."

The 6-4 Lyons says he dropped down under 210 pounds last season.

"I lost weight at first," he said. "But now, I'm starting to gain it back in muscle. I'm about 216 right now."

The final week of spring ball is a time to work on the basics, according to Lyons.

"This last week is a slow down week in a way," he said. "We don't want to show too much because there will be a lot of fans there. We're still trying to improve and we're trying not to get too many people banged up. We've got a lot of people with nicks."


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