Peterson, Beckman Know All About RedHawks

Ohio State's John Peterson and Tim Beckman each know a lot about the Miami University football program. Peterson coached for the RedHawks and Beckman spent many nights game-planning against them while at Bowling Green. We caught up with both coaches who gave their thoughts on Miami, some of OSU's surprise players from preseason camp and more.

Recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach John Peterson and cornerbacks coach Tim Beckman each met with reporters following Ohio State's practice on Thursday.

Both men have a lot of experience in dealing with Miami University. Peterson was the offensive line coach at MU for five seasons (1999-2003). Beckman coached at Bowling Green for seven years (1998-2004), the last six as defensive coordinator. Therefore, including the 2003 Mid-American Conference championship game, he game-planned against the RedHawks eight times.

Peterson believes new Miami head coach Shane Montgomery will do a fine job with the program. Montgomery spent the last four seasons as MU's offensive coordinator.

"It's his first year as a head coach and there will be an adjustment for the team," Peterson said. "I know Shane will do a great job there. He's an excellent football coach and an excellent offensive mind."

Peterson has been working with a new tight end in practice recently. Linebacker Bobby Carpenter has been asked to fill in since the Buckeyes are facing depth concerns at the position.

"He's working. He's doing a good job," Peterson said. "Bobby is a very talented football player and has skills on both sides. I think there will be a good chance (that he will play some offense)."

One surprise when the depth chart was released was Doug Datish listed as the starting left tackle. Steve Rehring was expected to begin the season as the starter, but he is now listed as a reserve.

"I think that's the beauty of camp: the competition," Peterson said. "We're very fortunate to have competition at that position and we feel very good about both of those guys. Doug has had a little more game experience and came out a little bit on top this week."

But what separates Datish from Rehring? Why did he win the job coming out of camp?

"Oh, they're different types of players," Peterson said. "Steve's as big as a house and Doug has a little more quickness and athleticism. They both bring different styles of play to the offensive line and both will be great contributors for us."

Peterson is pleased with the offensive line has a whole. He doesn't see a weakness.

"I think they are a very powerful, athletic group," he said. "I think the whole crew has a combination of speed, quickness and power and experience. Having two captains up front is exceptional and I think that speaks for itself."

True freshman tackle Alex Boone is trying to work his way into the rotation.

"Alex is working hard," Peterson said. "He's doing a great job, but it's a tough position to come in and master within 29 practices. He's moving and progressing very well."

* As for Beckman, he knows Miami will have some new wrinkles offensively, but overall, he expects more of the same from Montgomery and crew.

"Shane was a big part of Miami football and has been a big part of the championships they've won there," Beckman said. "So, offensively, some of the things that they are going to be doing – I've known Shane my whole life – we expect to see some wide-open things. I don't think they will stray from what they've been doing. But we'll see some new things."

Miami quarterback Josh Betts is a talented passer with a big arm. But he's not someone who is going to beat teams with his legs. He prefers to stay in the pocket.

"He's not a big sprint-out guy," Beckman said. "He's a drop-back guy and he's got great touch with the deep ball. We've seen him throw the ball 68 yards in the air. He's got a good strong arm and he puts everything into it when he throws it."

Beckman and linebackers coach Luke Fickell will coach from the press box this season. Defensive coordinator Jim Heacock and safeties coach Paul Haynes will coach from the sidelines. Beckman was asked for the plusses and minuses of coaching from the box.

"Well, last year, I got to experience both because I did come down to the sidelines," he said. "I had always been a coordinator that called things from the box. I just personally needed to do that because I needed everything out in front of me and I had to be sitting and those types of things.

"But going down on the sidelines, I thought it was great to be with the kids and be eye-to-eye with them and grab them if I needed to do and get them ready and those types of things.

"So, I've been a box guy and I like to see up in the box and kind of evaluate the game. Just like you play any game, you've got to figure it out on the run and you better figure out what you're doing."

In the spring, Heacock said he would likely call games from the box. But when Beckman was hired, they did some shifting around.

"Well, I think that's the way they did it in the spring (Heacock in the box) and then we decided – since I've been up there – I can help a little bit up there," Beckman said. "And Jim likes to be on the sidelines with the kids, so Paul (Haynes) and Jim will be on the sidelines. I think he'll call a great game from the sidelines and we'll just be talking to him a little bit and throwing our tidbits in here and there and he'll make the call."

There is a pair of true freshmen in the two-deep in the secondary: safety Jamario O'Neal and cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. Saturday could be the start of outstanding college careers for both of them.

"Well, they came in prepared," Beckman said. "That's the first thing. They got here a little early. Jamario was here for some summer school. With the NCAA rule we were able to get him in here. And then Malcolm came in early too. So, they got to experience what it was to be a college football player at the age of 18. I think their experience and being in-shape and those kinds of things has given them the ups on some of the other freshmen. They came in and they were productive during two-a-days. When you see them out there picking balls off, making tackles in the secondary, that gave them the opportunity to play this year. And you'll see both of them out there in the game on Saturday."

Lawrence Wilson was nursing a sprained knee this week, but Beckman thinks he might be ready to go on Saturday.

"He's doing fine. He's OK," he said. "He was out there running around (Thursday) and he's a special kid too. He's got a lot of God-given talent and he's going to be very good football player here."

Redshirt freshman cornerback Brandon Underwood has also worked his way into the two-deep.

"I've been very impressed with Brandon," Beckman said. "Again, I didn't get to coach him in the spring. I know he didn't go through a bunch of stuff in the spring because of injuries. But he's come back. He covers well. He's stepped his game up and has become more of a mature football player. He's doing things right now. He was making plays during two-a-days, so that's why he's kind of got the edge over Mike (Roberts) right now."

Beckman feels like a player again. Saturday marks his first game coaching at Ohio State and he's excited.

"It's good to be on the other side, I know that," he said with a laugh. "Like I told you when I first got hired here, it's a dream come true. To be an Ohio-raised guy and a coach's son too – my dad (Dave) is probably more excited that I am. But I am totally excited about getting out there. I've learned something every day from (head coach Jim) Tressel."


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