Hazell: Gentry Able To Move Toe On Left Foot

It began as the usual Wednesday night briefing with the two OSU assistants labeled as "experts" for this week's opponent, Michigan State. But receivers coach Darrell Hazell opened his interview session by proudly stating that injured walk-on Tyson Gentry was able to move a toe on his left foot Tuesday. Click here for more on Gentry as well as for comments on the Buckeyes and this week's game.

Ohio State wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell told reporters Wednesday night that walk-on wide receiver/punter Tyson Gentry, who has been partially paralyzed since he was injured during an awkward fall in OSU's spring practice, was able to move a toe on his left foot on Tuesday.

That is obviously considered to be a great sign. It is noteworthy, an OSU spokesman said, because it is the farthest point from Gentry's injured neck.

"We had some good news today," Hazell said. "Tyson moved one of his toes on his left foot. That's huge. That's really big. That gives him a lot of hope. He is ecstatic and his family is ecstatic. That is a good feeling right now that he has been able to do that."

Hazell said he received a text message from Gentry's father, Bob, about that development.

"He said that last night, his sister took his shoe off and he was able to move his second left toe," Hazell said. "That's huge."

Gentry suffered what was described as a fracture to the C4 vertebrae causing doctors to fuse the C3 and C5 vertebrae together. It was reportedly previously that he had movement in his arms and some of his upper body.

Gentry appeared in a wheelchair at the Penn State game several weeks ago, joining former PSU player Adam Taliaferro who suffered a serious neck injury in a game at OSU in 2000.

According to Hazell, Gentry has remained close to the program.

"I call him all the time and he wants to know, ‘When can I come and watch film?' " Hazell said. "He's been a great inspiration for all of us. It's been awesome."

Hazell said the players were excited to hear about Gentry's progress.

"I wrote it on our tip sheet," he said. "I put it on the back of the tip sheet, ‘He moved a toe.' There was an emotional rush for the guys. That's huge."

An OSU spokesman also confirmed that senior defensive tackle David Patterson underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his knee today. OSU team physician Dr. Chris Kaeding performed the surgery.

Comments From Hazell

Hazell also addressed some football-related topics, including:

* Moves by opponents to keep the ball away from Ted Ginn Jr. on returns -- "They're smart. Teams have done a good job of keeping the ball out of Teddy's hands, especially in kickoff returns. You try to not be frustrated. You try to be sound. You try to do some things to get him the ball by moving him around. To their credit, teams have done a really good job.

"Last week, the punter punted out of bounds 20 yards downfield four times. It was like we were gaining two first downs. Every time they punt, you want to catch the ball and get one first down after the catch. We got two first downs practically every time there.

"Ted understands, though."

* On Ginn's breakout three-touchdown game at Michigan State two years ago -- "You get a lot of predictions. But he was right on with that one. He said he was going to score three touchdowns and hopefully he'll have a big game this Saturday. (When he said it), I said, ‘Let's go.' "

* On Ray Small's similar prediction he would score last week vs. Bowling Green -- "He didn't say it to me. He said it to Coach Tress and a couple of other guys. He said he was going to score. I never heard it until after the game.

"Obviously, he's got a long way to go to be a real good receiver. But he has all the tools he needs to be a great one. He's explosive, he's fast, he can catch, he's able to get off the jam."

* On whether the staff considered redshirting Small -- "It never crossed our minds. We're just going to use two or three footballs at one time. We knew he could help us out. As we continue to go on this season, he's going to help us out a lot. He's in the plan."

* On the emergence of Anthony Gonzalez -- "The expectations were very high for him. When he goes into the slot, I think that's probably his best asset. You try each week to create mismatches and match-ups so they can be successful. When he goes into the slot and he's playing against linebackers and safeties, I think that helps us tremendously.

"It's hard to double an inside guy. You can't put a corner on him because then you're vulnerable outside. It's a hard position to play. You have to bring the nickel or the dime in. Hopefully, they're good enough to play against him. He's a surgeon inside. He studies the game more than anybody I have."

* On Michigan State -- "They are scary. They have a lot of good players. They have obviously struggled the last couple of weeks, but they are a good football team. They are very well coached. It should be a good football game. It should be a good test for us."

* On the fun of this season -- "It just keeps getting better every week, it really does. There are new challenges and the guys are into it. All 105 guys are into it and they understand the expectations. It's fun to have a lot of guys playing."

* On the return of Roy Hall -- "His leadership never left, which is good. He has helped out (Brian) Robiskie and the younger guys. He brings a physical presence in the run game and he's getting better each week. He still is a guy who can continue to get better and help us out down the stretch."

* On the third receiver -- "I think we have three or four number two guys, which is good. I am comfortable with any of those guys on the field."

Haynes' Take

Safeties coach Paul Haynes, a former Michigan State assistant, also stopped by after practice. He discussed several topics, including:

* His ties to the current MSU staff -- "I still talk to a lot of the assistants. Of course, our families are still friends. I talk to them off and on."

* On the challenge for the coaches -- "The big thing right now is that we're getting ourselves better. We have to continue to get better to be where we want to be at the end of the year. That's continuously what we're harping on. This is a grind. The second half of the season, the kids have started school, bodies are banged up, minds are going all over the place. To keep them focused is a little bit harder. But then they also start to think about the deal at the end of the year and where we want to be at the end. I think they're into it, but I think you also have to kick them in the butt a little bit."

* On Jamario O'Neal filling in for the injured Anderson Russell at safety -- "I think he is improving. He's getting better. Jamario is the type of guy who has to get a lot of reps. I think last week and the week before has helped him. The more reps he will continue to get, that will help him be a lot better.

"With him, it's a lot of the mental part and that comes along with the reps. You see he may make some mental mistakes because it's something he hasn't seen before. His athletic ability is awesome. He's got it all."

* On the status of Nick Patterson -- "He's still a backup. What we did with Nick was we moved him to the Star as a backup Star and now he's a backup safety. We have four or five guys that any one of those guys has to be ready to play. Right now, depth is an issue. All four of those guys have to be ready to step in and play."

* On MSU quarterback Drew Stanton -- "He's like Troy (Smith). He can beat you with his feet or by throwing the football. He is a well-rounded athlete and a competitor. He will never give up and he never lets his team give up. To me, this is the best offense we will face all year. They are unbelievable. They have great talent. Their receivers are unbelievable.

"Jehuu (Caulcrick) is running with a lot of confidence right now. Before, even when I was there, he tried to run around you and not over you. Now, he's trying to run over you.And he has the speed to run around you."

* On the MSU offense and the challenge for OSU's defense -- "They are well balanced now with the run and the pass. I am excited to see it. He's the best quarterback we've faced and these are the best receivers we've faced. It will be a huge challenge for us."

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