Biddle's Blog: OSU Scarlet And Gray Game

Check back periodically throughout today's Scarlet and Gray Game as assistant editor Dave Biddle provides updates on the game as well as stats and opinions on what he sees in his first Biddle Blog. We have impressions of Chris Wells' debut at the Horseshoe. (Final update: 3:40 p.m.)

Welcome to the first-ever Biddle Blog as we will track today's Scarlet and Gray Game at Ohio Stadium.

Every 15 minutes or so, we will update this story with new observations, opinions and stats on today's Ohio State spring football game. This should be a lot of fun and we will get started shortly.

12:25 p.m. -- Good afternoon! Great day for football in the Capital City. SID Steve Snapp just said there were around 40,000 pre-sale tickets sold. Could be upwards to 50,000-60,000 in the Horseshoe today. ... My prediction for the game is 27-17 Scarlet. (Respectfully disagreeing with Steve Helwagen who has it pegged 26-24 Gray.) I like the Scarlet offensive line with Steve Rehring, Tim Schafer, Tyler Whaley, Jon Skinner and Kyle Mitchum. That could be a starting line for some lower level D-I teams. I also like the Scarlet tailback tandem of Erik Haw and Chris Wells. They will pound the ball all afternoon. ... On the other side, if Maurice Wells gets injured for the Gray, there is not a true tailback behind him. ... It will be interesting to see how Scarlet quarterback Rob Schoenhoft plays. He's got a huge arm and was impressive in the Big 33 game last summer. But he's still learning the offense. Some were surprised that Gray's Todd Boeckman was the first QB taken in the spring game draft, but Boeckman has actually been in the program two years longer than Schoenhoft, even though they are only one year apart in eligibility. ... Defensively, it looks like a wash. I will be paying close attention to the young players on both sides. We've heard nothing but good things out of the Gray's Anderson Russell. He could be a starting safety this fall. We know a little more about the Gray's Marcus Freeman and Lawrence Wilson, but we'll see how dominant they are today. ... Some of the young defensive players on the Scarlet side that have been impresive this spring are Donald Washington, Ross Homan, Jamario O'Neal, Todd Denlinger, Kurt Coleman and Vernon Gholston. ... Scarlet will have a huge advantage with A.J. Trapasso at punter. ... The Gray will go with walk-on freshman John Thoma. ... We'll also be paying close attention to the kicking battle between Ryan Pretorius and Aaron Pettrey. ... That's all for now. I'll check back in about 10-15 minutes into the game.

1:15 p.m. -- Pettrey's opening kickoff went 5-6 yards deep in the end zone for a touchback. ... Troy Smith to tight end Rory Nicol over the middle for 21 yards on the first plce of the game. ... Smith to Nicol for 9 yards on the third play, first down at the Gray 45. ... Nicol is going to be a nice target for the Buckeyes this fall. He and Marcel Frost should be a good tandem. ... Smith showed his hose on an out pattern to Brian Hartline for 11 yards. Laser. ... Smith is on fire. Just hit Anthony Gonzalez on a crossing pattern for 18 yards. ... Smith just made everyone in the stadium nervous with a 7 yard scramble. Can't get him injured during a scrimmage! ... Haw 4-yard touchdown run. Impressive nine-play, 80-yard drive from the Scarlet. Pretorius' PAT was good, 7-0 Scarlet.

1:25 p.m. -- Pretorius' kickoff went to the goal line and was returned by Russell for 15 yards. So far, it looks like Pettrey has the stronger leg for kickoffs (small sample size, I know). ... Justin Zwick to Roy Hall for 10 yards on the first play of the drive. ... Still not a big fan of Mo Wells, but I will say it looks like he's running harder between the tackles this year. ... Homan is calling the defensive signals. ... The Buckeyes are throwing to the tight ends today. Zwick-to-Frost for 7 yards and a first down. ... Sack from Vern Gholston, who beat Alex Boone on the play. Gholston is going to play a lot for OSU this fall, whether he starts or not. ... Jay Richardson sacks Zwick on 3rd-and-14. ... Thoma's punt traveled 44 yards to the Scarlet 30.

1:32 p.m. -- Schoenhoft is in for Smith at quarterback. ... Beanie bulls for 7 yards on his first carry, much to the delight of the OSU faithful. Wells broke at least two tackles on the play. ... Two incomplete passes from Schoenhoft end the drive. ... Trapasso uncorked a 55-yard punt, which was foolishly fair caught by Malcolm Jenkins at the 7 (would have likely be a touchback).

Mo Wells is going to have to be a workhorse today as the only scholarship tailback on the Gray roster. Homan popped Wells on a one-yard carry up the middle. Homan is already standing out today with three tackles. ... Zwick hits Brian Robiskie for 10 yards on 3rd-and-10. Another tackle for Homan. Robiskie has been one of the standouts of spring and could be the Buckeyes' No. 4 WR this fall. ... End of the first quarter, 7-0 Scarlet.

1:45 p.m. -- Zwick underthrew Ginn on a fly pattern. Ginn beat O'Neal on the play and was open, but had to come back for the ball and wasn't able to haul it in. ... Zwick then threw into double coverage on third down for an incompletion. ... Thoma's punt traveled 50 yards.

Chris Wells is not going down on first contact. He just broke a tackle from Brandon Mitchell and trucked his way for 9 yards. Have to like what we're seeing out of Beanie thus far. ... I isolated on center Tyler Whaley for a couple plays and he definitely gets good push on every play. ... Lawrence Wilson with a rejection, er, batted pass. He might be one of the few people Schoenhoft has a tough time throwing over. However, Wilson was called for a 15-yard penalty for hitting Schoenhoft in the head after batting the pass. ... Even the tailback dives to Beanie are exciting. He just slams in there. Four carries for 21 yards thus far. ... Schoenhoft incomplete to Hartline on third down. ... Trapasso hits a nice 48-yard punt, downed at the Gray 1.

1:56 p.m. -- Todd Denlinger made an excellent play and tackled Mo Wells for a safety. Denlinger threw Jim Cordle out of the way and dropped Wells three yards deep in the end zone. 9-0 Scarlet. Denlinger is going to need to provide depth at DT this fall and he looks good so far today. ... Schoenhoft and the Scarlet take over at the 35 following a muffed catch on the free kick. ... Schoenhoft showed his hose with a 15-yard strike to Hartline over the middle. ... Jon Skinner is playing right tackle for the Scarlet and looks good. He can play any of the five positions on the line. ... Haw is being bottled up so far. Six carries for 17 yards (and the TD). ... Looks like over 60,000 in the Horseshoe today. Probably 65,000. They should announce the attendance in the second half. ... The gamblin' Scarlet goes for it on 4th-and-5 from the 32, and Schoenhoft hits Hartline for 6 yards and the first down. ... Haw made a nice run for 8 yards. He now has 8 carries for 24 yards. ... Anderson Russell looks good at strong safety for the Gray, wearing Nate Salley's old No. 21. ... Pretorius made a 38-yard field goal. 12-0 Scarlet.

2:10 p.m. -- Scarlet continues to gamble and surprised everyone with an onside kick. Well, everyone except Gray cornerback Andre Amos who recovered the ball near midfield. ... Jay Richardson looks good today. He just blew past walk-on tackle Doug Ebner for a sack. ... On 4th-and-8, Boeckman made a nice pass to Roy Hall for a 10-yard gain. ... Boeckman followed that up with an excellent 26-yard pass to Hall on a deep corner pattern. Hall ran a good route and Boeckman hit him in stride. ... Boeckman to Hall again for 9 yards and a first and goal at the 6. ... Hall has 5 catches for 65 yards. He is going to surprise some people as the No. 3 WR this year. ... Fourth-and-goal at the 1, four seconds left in the half. Looks like Gray is going to go for it. Boeckman QB sneak was stuffed by at least four Scarlet defenders. Looked like he was in from the press box, but the officials didn't see it that way. 12-0 Scarlet, halftime.

2:33 p.m. -- Here are some halftime stats: Chris Wells: 4 carries, 22 yards. Erik Haw: 8 carries, 24 yards. Mo Wells: 5 carries, 6 yards. Troy Smith: 4 of 4 passing for 62 yards. Rob Schoenhoft: 2 for 8 for 22 yards. Justin Zwick: 4 of 6 for 32 yards. Todd Boeckman: 5 for 8 60 yards. Roy Hall: 5 catches, 66 yards. Marcel Frost 2 catches, 12 yards. Brian Robiskie: 1 catch, 10 yards. Brian Hartline: 3 catches, 33 yards. Rory Nicol: 2 catches, 33 yards. Anthony Gonzalez: 1 catch, 18 yards. A.J. Trapasso: 2 punts, 51.5 average. John Thoma: 2 punts, 46.5 average.

2:38 p.m. -- Announced attendance is 63,649. Steve Helwagen believes that is a record for the spring game. (Ohio State does not keep official attendance records for the spring game.)

2:48 p.m. -- Pretorius' kickoff traveled 2-3 yards deep in the end zone and Russell returned it to the 17. ... Three-and-out for Boeckman and the Gray. Robiskie dropped a pass on third down. ... 42 yard punt from Thoma (who looks very good today).

Chris Wells ran for 7 yards on first down and Amos made a nice open-field tackle, wisely going low on the bruiser. ... Schoenhoft hit Hartline for 5 yards on 3rd-and-2, but the freshman QB needs to show more touch on the short patterns. ... Beanie catches a pass out of the backfield, jukes Russell and goes 9 yards for another first down. ... The Scarlet has decided to go with a steady diet of Wells to open the half. Two tough yards up the middle on first down. ... Chad Hoobler knocked down a pass on third down.

3 p.m. -- Boeckman opens up the drive with a 24-yard strike to Robiskie on a corner out. Robo ran a good route and Boeckman hit him in stride near the sideline. Boeckman doesn't have the arm strength of Schoenhoft, but he definitely has a better grasp of the offense at this point. But, again, Boeckman has been in the system for two years longer than Schoenhoft. ... Both sides are running a lot of option plays today. Mo Wells just ran one for five yards. ... Homan is the game's leading tackler at this point with seven stops (official defensive stats are not being kept by OSU). ... Boeckman throws an incomplete pass on 4th-and-3 from the 22 to end the drive. The score remains 12-0, Scarlet with 2:25 left in the third quarter.

3:05 p.m. -- Haw broke off an 11-yard run for the Scarlet on the first play of the drive. Ohio State will finally have a stable of running backs this fall with Antonio Pittman, Chris Wells, Haw and Mo Wells. Keeping them all happy will be a chore, but those things have a way of working themselves out with injuries, off-the-field issues, etc... James Laurinaitis intercepted Schoenhoft on third down. Laurinaitis jumped in front of the route and made the juggling catch. He is tied with Homan with seven tackles. ... End of the third quarter, 12-0 Scarlet.

3:15 p.m. -- Scarlet cornerback Kurt Coleman made a nice interception just in front of the goal line off a Boeckman pass. It gave Scarlet the ball at the Gray 1. Coleman is one of the youngsters battling for playing time in the secondary and the coaches think he has been solid this spring. ... Chris Wells runs for 11 yards on 3rd-and-6. He now has 10 carries for 48 yards and has not disappointed anyone in his Ohio Stadium debut today. ... There is 8:07 left in the game.

3:25 p.m. -- Gray needs two late touchdowns to win. Let's see if Boeckman can get it done. ... He just hit Albert Dukes for a 20-yard gain. The Buckeyes are running a lot of corner out patterns today (on both sides). ... Cordle is still in at center for the Gray. He's been in there all afternoon and has held up well, except for the safety. ... Frost just dropped a touchdown pass in the north end zone (save the Ryan Hamby jokes). ... Homan ran down a scrambling Boeckman and sacked him on fourth down. He now has, unofficially, eight tackles and one sack. ... That might be all she wrote. 5:44 left in the game, 12-0 Scarlet.

3:40 p.m. -- On 4th-and-10, Devon Lyons made a nice diving reception off a Schoenhoft pass for a first down. It was the best catch of the day for Lyons, who was orginally a WR, was then shifted to safety, and is now back at WR. ... Schoenhoft hooked up with Hartline for 19 yards over the middle. ... Nader Abdallah drilled Schoenhoft for a 7-yard loss. Abdallah is one of the players that will need to step up this fall and provide depth at defensive tackle. But he has not been overly impressive this spring. ... Schoenhoft hit Hartline for another 19-yard gain. Hartline shows no fear going over the middle. ... On the next play, Hartline caught another pass from Schoenhoft, but lost a fumble. Gray has the ball at the Scarlet 17 with 2:37 remaining in the game. Russell recovered the fumble. ... Larry Grant just forced an incomplete pass with good pressure. Grant hasn't made many tackles today, but he has been around the ball a lot and has showcased his excellent speed and quickness. ... O'Neal intercepted Boeckman with 1:23 left in the game. ... Final score: Scarlet 12, Gray 0.

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