Richardson Steps Up At End For OSU

Junior defensive end Jay Richardson had five tackles, a sack, a fumble forced and a pass break-up in last Saturday's spring-ending Scarlet and Gray Game. It's all in a day's work, Richardson said, as he works to nail down a starting assignment on the OSU defense.

One area Ohio State will look for improvement in 2005 will be with the pass rush. One player who may be able to help there is defensive end Jay Richardson.

Richardson, a 6-6, 270-pound junior from nearby Dublin Scioto, spent the spring battling classmate David Patterson for the open end spot opposite senior Mike Kudla, who was out for the spring due to injuries.

He capped his spring with a sack of quarterback Troy Smith in the spring game. On the play, Richardson forced a fumble. Smith recovered it after a 14-yard loss. That play was among five tackles – 1-1/2 for losses – and a pass break-up that the active Richardson had in last Saturday's game.

Getting the football – and just making big plays, period – will be a point of emphasis for the defensive line this year, Richardson said.

"Last year, we didn't put as much emphasis on causing turnovers as we should have," Richardson said. "This year, we have separate drills where we focus on turnovers and stripping the ball and knocking balls down."

Richardson saw action in nine of OSU's 12 games a year ago, working as a backup at end. He ended the season with 15 tackles, two tackles-for-loss and one sack.

Coming into the spring, the coaching staff moved Patterson to end to create some competition for Richardson. He said he accepted the challenge and, in his mind, had a good spring.

"I thought I did a lot of good things this spring," he said. "I thought I proved I could be consistent and rush the passer. I tried to get out and make some plays. My goal this spring was to solidify myself as a starter and show the coaches that's what I want to be."

Richardson said he was glad to see his position coach, Jim Heacock, elevated to the defensive coordinator's role after Mark Snyder's departure for Marshall in mid-April.

"We were all real excited to hear that Coach Heacock is the coordinator now," he said. "I like what he brings to the table. He has a little bit of a different style. I know with him we will be aggressive and attacking. He knows what our D-linemen do best. I'm sure he'll find ways for us to utilize our individual skills."

Richardson also said he was impressed with the improvement of the OSU offensive line this spring.

"We have some huge offensive linemen and some good offensive linemen," he said. "We've got some depth. It starts with Nick Mangold and Rob Sims. But I thought Kirk Barton really stepped up. He's probably one of the best right tackles out there.

"We also have some backup guys who get in there and play like Steve Rehring and Andree Tyree. It's good to know we have a lot of offensive linemen who can play."

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