Campwatch - 8/12

The Buckeyes continued with two-a-day practices on Monday. Head coach Jim Tressel said that Tuesday would be the end of the "hard dog day" practices. In other words, two-a-days are almost over.

The Bucks have a kicking scrimmage on Wednesday and a "rehearsal" scrimmage on Thursday. In the latter, the team will actually practice things like running on the field together.

Notes from Monday's afternoon session:

Craig Krenzel continued to work just with the first-team offense and Scott McMullen worked just with the twos. Tressel said afterwards that, if there was a game tomorrow, Krenzel would start, but McMullen would play "some."

Krenzel looked decent today. He has been bothered by an abdominal strain, which might explain some of his errant throws during Saturday's scrimmage, but he still needs to be more consistent. That is what Tressel keeps preaching.

Shane Olivea had his best day of camp so far. Big Shane was moving well and was able to plant and stand his ground against some strong bull rushes from the D-Line. Olivea seems to be playing with more confidence now on that ankle.

Marcus Green was showing excellent push today. Green is out of shape right now, something he might battle his entire career, but he can be effective if he's just needed for a play or two during running situations. And with the stacked D-Line, I can't imagine he'd be needed any more than that.

Chris Gamble and Mike Doss continued to rotate as the punt returners. Tressel is on record saying Doss will "have the chance" to return kickoffs and punts in the opener against Texas Tech.

Alex Stepanovich missed the afternoon session (infection from knee brace), so Adam Olds was running as the first-team center. It appears that Olds, who can also play guard, has beat out Andree Tyree for the backup center job.

Coach Tressel was asked which of the true freshmen have a good chance of cracking the two-deep. He prefaced it with his trademark "if we had a game tomorrow," and then mentioned Maurice Clarett, Rob Sims, Nick Mangold, Mike D'Andrea, Bobby Carpenter, AJ Hawk, EJ Underwood and Nate Salley. I thought it was interesting he mentioned Sims and Mangold, but not Doug Datish. Tressel also stressed that the three linebackers will be used a lot on special teams this year.

As for Clarett, he ran primarily with the first-team offense today. Maurice Hall lined up with the second team. I think most of us expect these guys to share the bulk of the load, but it was interesting to see Clarett lining up mostly with the starters… Some of us practice observers gave Clarett a nickname today. He's not a fullback, he's not a halfback, he's a "AFF Back." That's A.F.F. as in "Always Falls Forward." On one running play, Donnie Nickey came up and made a nice hit, but there was Clarett rolling off of him for an extra yard or two… Also on the running back front, Lydell Ross returned to practice today and looked fairly quick hitting the hole. Can Ross find his way back in the running back derby? Tressel thinks so. "I've seen Lydell do it over there in Ohio Stadium, so I know he can do it," Tressel said.

Tressel singled out cornerback Harlen Jacobs for having a nice camp. We can expect to see Jacobs a lot this year. And if Rich McNutt's ankle keeps him out, it looks like Jacobs will be the starter opposite Dustin Fox. Also in the mix are Chris Conwell (who is also having a strong camp), Bobby Britton, Underwood and Salley. 

"Forgotten man" Jason Caldwell was working with the first-team offense today during two tight end sets. Caldwell seems be emerging as Ben Hartsock's backup… By the way, Hartsock is looking great. He is a solid blocker and I haven't seen him drop a pass all camp.

One final note: Justin Zwick missed the entire day with a sore arm. That means that Troy Smith saw more reps at quarterback today than he has all of camp. Smith, coming off his impressive performance in the scrimmage, continues to give fans reasons to be excited. His strong arm has been well documented, but Smith also throws the ball with very good accuracy on the move. He is especially accurate rolling to his right (he is right handed).

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