Campwatch 8/7

Dave Biddle checks in with his latest installment of Campwatch as he has some news, observations, and quotes.

Here are some notes and quotes from the first day of full-contact practices...

Quarterback Craig Krenzel is working mostly with the ones and looked pretty good today. His accuracy was a little off at the beginning of the afternoon practice, but he seemed to find his rhythm during 11-on-11 drills. Krenzel's best play of the day was when he hit a streaking Chris Gamble in stride for what would have been a 60-yard touchdown.

Scott McMullen was also looking pretty good today, but we are used to him looking good in practice. McMullen definitely has the quickest release of the QB's, but it's Krenzel who carries himself as the leader of the team. I will be shocked if Krenzel doesn't begin the year as the starter, but look for McMullen to get a few chances off the bench early in the year.

As for the freshmen, Justin Zwick was extremely accurate today. The only downside in Jay-Z's game right now is that he seems to be waiting an extra second to get rid of the ball. He could get away with that today, because the QB's were not allowed to be hit, but he needs to work on getting rid of the ball sooner.

We've heard a lot about Troy Smith's strong arm and those reports are definitely true. But the thing that stands out about Smith is the effortless way he throws the ball. It will appear as though he's getting ready to lob the ball somewhere, and then you'll see the pigskin rifling down the field. This kid has a lot of talent, now he just needs the seasoning.

Injury report: Shane Olivea returned to practice today, but Adrien Clarke is still out with a back injury. David Thompson suffered a sprained knee in the morning and had to miss the afternoon session. Kenny Peterson missed the entire day with the flu. Ja Ja Riley also missed the entire day and is being tested for appendicitis. Out with "minor" injuries were: Donnie Nickey, Andree Tyree, Josh Huston, Mike Kudla, Redgie Arden, Brandon Schnittker, Lydell Ross and R.J. Coleman.

The starting offensive line lined up like this today: LT: Ivan Douglas, LG: Mike Stafford, C: Alex Stepanovich, RG: Bryce Bishop, RT: Olivea. Tressel had some very nice things to say about Stafford (see below).

Chris Conwell lined up as a starting cornerback, opposite Dustin Fox. Running with the second team was Harlen Jacobs and Bobby Britton. Rich McNutt is still nursing his ankle injury, something that is probably not ever going to go away. Conwell was looking very good today during one-on-one passing drills against the receivers.

Mike Doss and Gamble rotated as the punt returners today. Chris Vance did not get any reps as a return man.

Coach Tressel addressed a variety of topics afterwards.

Tressel on the first day of hitting.
"It was a physical day. When you haven't hit since April, and they've been training hard in the weight room and learning and so forth, but there is nothing like hitting. There is nothing to get you ready for hitting except hitting. I thought the tempo was real good this morning and it was OK this afternoon, but you could tell they were a little banged up. We did a lot of things today. I think because the tempo and enthusiasm was good, the hitting was good."

Tressel was asked again about finding the ideal balance between hitting too much and not enough.
"You walk a tightrope and unfortunately there is risk with hitting. But there is also risk when you don't hit enough. We try to keep the right balance of it and tomorrow we'll go with one modified practice and then one banging pretty good practice. We won't have two hard practices in the same day like this here in the next couple or three days, but we'll probably have one or two of these next week."

Tressel on the injuries.
"We do have some guys bruised up. The only guy we were really kind of worried about was David Thompson and his MRI came back that he only had a knee sprain which is good because here he is a fifth-year guy and we want him to have one of those career years."

Is the coach getting frustrated with the Derek Morris situation?
"No, you can't get frustrated with those things. You just have to go through the process and, you know, it's a long season, it's a long career and you just have to follow the rules of order."

Does Tressel think Morris will eventually play for the Buckeyes this year?
"Yeah, I do." (Wow! This is the most Tressel has said about Morris. It's good to know that the coach expects Big D will join the team sometime).

Is there a timetable on when Morris will be here? 
"Well, if I was in charge of that it would have been three days ago. But, no, I don't know the timetable."

When was the last time Tressel spoke directly with Morris?
"He was over yesterday and I talked to him briefly."

What does Tressel expect from the "jersey" scrimmage on Saturday?
"A lot of reps. I would like to think we are going to get 130, 140 plays. A lot of guys it will be the first time in the stadium with a chance to bang against each other. You know, we want experience and we want as game-like of an experience as we can get over there. I think that will be our first true measuring stick. I think we will be able to come out here on Monday and talk about this guy has edged ahead of this guy and now we are going to challenge the guy who just got edged ahead of to re-up and that's how you get better. You keep competing with one and other."

Anyone stand out today?
"Well, you know, the guy who always shows up when you hit is Michael Doss. He's going to show up because he loves to hit and is so explosive. I thought Will Smith and Darrion Scott really showed up. I was pleased with some of the guys up front on offense pass-protection wise, I thought they did a good job there."

Tress on Shane Olivea.
"Shane is going to be a great player. But, no, he is not where he needs to be right now. When you miss all of spring and I'd say his training was maybe 80 percent if you took the whole phase one and two of our summer programs. And then he missed a couple days with the cyst, which was nothing, but you can't practice with those kind of things. So, he needs to get motoring, but I have every confidence that he is going to be a very good player."

Tress on Adrien Clarke.
"Everyday he doesn't practice, he gets further away from the point where he can help us. You know, he missed the whole spring (wrist) and now, gosh, this would be seven practices. That's seven out of the 29 that we're allowed to get ready for the game."

Who's been the surprise of camp so far?
"The guy that's really kind of fun to watch what he's doing is Mike Stafford because he's just a fighting guy, he's been here five years now and is just dying to become an Ohio State Buckeye and do anything. You know, he walks on the field and says, ‘What am I playing today?' And that's the kind of guy you love. I think he's stepped up pretty well."

Tressel on Krenzel's deep ball to Gamble.
"The neat thing about it was we always talk about the fact that when you step up, when you can slide up in the pocket, that means that you've got enough time to make something happen. You have to tip your hat to the protection and you have to tip your hat to the fact that Craig did step up and that Chris Gamble kept running. He ran by the guy that was supposed to cover him. Chris Gamble can run by you. We expect big plays out of him."

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