Campwatch: Practice Begins

Today's morning practice for the freshmen was closed, but Dave Biddle was on campus and got some quotes from Mike D'Andrea and Justin Zwick about their first practice.

The Buckeye freshmen had their first practice this morning. We got some comments from quarterback Justin Zwick and linebacker Mike D'Andrea afterwards.

How's it feel for Mike to finally be on the practice field?

"It feels good," D'Andrea said. "It will feel better when the entire team is here and we're really into things."

What are the differences between Mike's personal trainer and what coach Johnson does at OSU?

"The basic stuff isn't too much different. I think every program is going to have different stuff here and there, but, for the most part, it's the same. They are the same philosophies, to get you faster and get you in shape."

His goals for the first year?

"Basically just go in there and do the best I can. I don't really have any long-term goals. I mean, yeah, I do want to get in the starting rotation, that is my main goal and everything, but I just want to take it day-by-day and see what happens.

I guess we can call cracking the lineup a "short-term" goal for Mike. And it was interesting that he said starting "rotation." D'Andrea obviously thinks that more than just three 'backers will be playing key roles for the Bucks this year.

D'Andrea mentioned yesterday that he prefers playing middle linebacker. Did the coaches move him around a little bit today?

"They are just putting me at Mike right now, as in middle linebacker, and then they said during some practices I'll get to try strong-side (outside) a little bit."

The final comment from "D'Animal" is a very interesting one. It seems as though he put in his fair share of homework over the summer and isn't that far behind the upperclassmen in terms of learning the playbook.

"Coach Snyder has been helping me out a lot with that. He gave me some papers to look at before I got here and every once and a while we would talk on the phone. Two weeks ago when I was down here for conditioning, I actually sat down with (Matt) Wilhelm and he helped me go over some of the plays. I feel really comfortable with the plays and everything."

As for Zwick, today couldn't have come soon enough.

"I've been ready all summer," Zwick said. "I've really been looking forward to it and I'm glad that it's finally here. It feels great to finally wear the Scarlet and Gray."

Is Zwick's body feeling good, even after playing in a few all-star games this summer?

"Yeah, I'm in really good shape. Arm feels great."

What does he expect when the upperclassmen join the freshmen on the practice field Friday?

"Everybody in an all-star game is a little faster than what you're used to. And that's basically what's going to happen here, except it's going to get a lot faster." 

Like D'Andrea, Zwick put in a lot of homework this summer.

"Before I left, I had been watching tape of last year's (Ohio State) games to pretty much see the routes. You know, what type of routes the receivers are running. How they are running it, what they are doing against different defenses. I was just trying to get an idea if they called this route, what the receiver would be doing. So, I kind of had a good understanding about that before I got here and I'm just hoping to continue that."

The fans, media and everyone else associated with OSU football have placed some lofty expectations on Zwick. What does he expect out of his first year?

"I don't know that I'm putting any expectations on myself right now. I just want to get through camp, learn things as quickly and see how it goes. You know, see if I get any playing time, get redshirted, or whatever. I'm not making any expectations on myself."

Redshirted? Doesn't Zwick cringe at the thought of that?

"If you ask any athlete, he'd say it would be disappointing to get redshirted, but there is up-side to that too, I guess. If you get redshirted for a year, that would give you a year to get in, get the offense down, get stronger and work on things. But, then again, I played four years of high school football and I don't want to sit out a year."

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