Scrimmage Report - Defense wins

Dave Biddle was in attendance at today's scrimmage, and he sent us a report and some thoughts on who looked good today.

The Buckeyes had a spirited, two hour and 40 minute "jersey scrimmage" today in Ohio Stadium with the Scarlet (defense) coming out on top of the Gray (offense) 93-80.

The rules gave the defense the clear advantage, especially early in the game. 

Defensive points were scored like this: Forcing a punt (1 point), tackle-for-loss (2 points), quarterback sack (2 points), safety (2 points), denying a two-point conversion (2 points) and turnover (5 points). Note: There were no actual punts, the single point was awarded by not allowing a first down after three downs… The sack rule was especially unfair for the offense. The quarterbacks were not allowed to be hit today, so if a defender got two hands on the QB, that was a sack. You can imagine how much Will Smith liked this rule. He had at least three sacks.

Offensive scoring went like this: First down (1 point), extra point (1 point), play 25 yards or longer (2 points), two-point conversion (2 points), field goal (3 points) and touchdown (6 points).

The offense began the game at its own 20 yard-line. As the game went on, the coaches decided to let the Gray begin their drives further and further up the field. Some drives were started as far up as the Scarlet 10 yard line. I would say the average starting position was the Gray 40 yard line.

Which players stood out today? Maurice Clarett didn't have a whole lot of running room, but looked great catching passes out of the backfield. On one particular play, Clarett caught a swing pass, juked a defender at the line of scrimmage, bolted up the sidelines and flattened Dustin Fox who was trying to make the tackle. The play, which would have covered 20 yards, was called back because of a hold, but Clarett proved on that play that he has the total package.

I kept stats for all four quarterbacks and none of them looked especially sharp today. Craig Krenzel started the game and his final numbers actually look pretty good: 12-of-17, 116 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions. Krenzel's numbers look better than they way he played. He seemed a little tentative to me. Scott McMullen was the next one in. McMullen's stats look like this: 11-of-19, 96 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions. He also didn't seem that sure of himself. Justin Zwick played pretty well: 13-of-19, 130 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions. Zwick went mostly against the freshman defense, but did get some reps with the second team. If I had to say which of the quarterbacks looked the best, it would be Troy Smith. He didn't get too many opportunities, but when he did, he produced. Smith's stats look like this: 3-of-7, 93 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions. What still stands out to me about Smith is the effortless way he throws the ball. And I don't think there is any question who has the best arm on the team… Smith does.

As for the receivers, Michael Jenkins definitely looked like the best of the bunch today. Jenkins has great hands and is able to get those balls that seem to be a couple of feet over his head. The 6-foot-5 receiver made several tough catches today. The "slippery" Bam Childress also stood out today. The Bucks need to get the ball in his hands a few times per game because he can make things happen on his own. Freshman Santonio Holmes had the longest offensive play of the day when he and Smith hooked up on a beautiful 48-yard score. Holmes showed good acceleration when the ball was in the air and the pass was thrown perfectly by Smith.

Maurice Hall was rotating with Clarett as the No. 1 tailback (Lydell Ross and Ja Ja Riley did not play). The more I watched Hall and Clarett today, the more I thought that we are set at tailback for the next few years. These guys are the real deal. I already touched on Clarett a little bit, I like that he has the total package, but Hall was nearly as impressive today. There wasn't much running room at all (and the majority of the plays were passing plays anyway), but every time Hall touched the ball you could see that special burst that he brings to the table. And if you think Hall is just a speed back, you will be happy to know that he was running the ball with authority up the middle today. I simply love the tandem of Clarett and Hall. Not sure where that leaves Ross, but he is definitely falling behind these guys… Who got the most carries today? None other than walk-on tailback Mike DeMaria… At fullback, Brandon Schnittker disappointed me today. He does not run with much quickness and was unable to break a tackle all afternoon. Get ready to see a lot of split tailbacks and three-receiver sets this year.

Other standouts? Mike Doss returned a McMullen pick for a 90-yard touchdown. Chris Conwell, Rob Reynolds and EJ Underwood also hauled in interceptions. Underwood looked really good out there, he is a better tackler than I thought he would be. He definitely has a slight build, but can still hit pretty good. Earlier in the week, I thought Nate Salley looked like the best of the frosh DBs, but today it was definitely Underwood.

Defensively, the entire line took turns harassing the quarterbacks. They must have racked up about 12 sacks out there. Matt Wilhelm was back as the starter at middle linebacker and was flying sideline to sideline and making big hits. Cie Grant and Reynolds were also looking good. They did not miss a tackle. As for the DBs, Donnie Nickey played a little bit (was not expected to) and looked solid. Will Allen continues to impress me every time I see him. He was coming up and making some nice hits today. At corner, Fox and Rich McNutt lined up as the starters and didn't do much to stand out. Conwell, Bobby Britton and Harlen Jacobs all look like very solid backups… Of the freshmen, Mike D'Andrea definitely stood out the most. He was popping people all day. Most of the time, the freshmen were just scrimmaging against each other, but D'Andrea was in there with the upperclassmen a few times.

Adrien Clarke did not suit up today. He still looks like he is having trouble just walking around. The starting O-Line looks like this right now: LT: Ivan Douglas, LG: Mike Stafford, C: Alex Stepanovich, RG: Bryce Bishop, RT: Shane Olivea… Adam Olds is now lining up as the backup center. Olds can also play guard. Doug Datish is playing right tackle and Rob Sims is playing left guard.

As for the placekickers, Mike Nugent was 2-for-3 on field goals (Made: 39, 29; Missed: 49) and 3-for-3 on extra points. Jeremy Uhlenhake made his only field goal attempt (31) and his only extra point.

The Bucks have two more scrimmages (regular; special teams) before Texas Tech comes to town two weeks from today.

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