Practice Report & Notes - 8/28

Dave Biddle was at practice today and he has some observations and quotes.

The Buckeyes practiced in full-pads today for the first time since the Texas Tech win. Here are some highlights and observations, followed by some quotes from Jim Tressel.

Maurice Clarett's big game is not going to his head. Today, he finished first in all the sprints with his group. He always plays at 100 percent.

Fullback Branden Joe is back and is looking pretty good. Joe has a nice body for a fullback; very thick in his lower body. Now it's just a matter of how quickly he can catch up because he can definitely help this team this year. And don't forget that Joe was an all-state tailback in high school, so he will probably be a better (quicker) runner than the average fullback.

Starting receivers Mike Jenkins and Chris Gamble were looking fantastic today during one-on-one fly pattern drills against the DBs. Jenkins has great body control and catches everything in site (including the balls that look a tad overthrown)... Gamble can turn on that extra notch of speed and the more I watch him, the more I'm impressed with his hands. He definitely has some sticky fingers… Chris Vance did practice today, but is expected to miss one more game due to suspension.

Right tackle Shane Olivea seems to be getting closer and closer to 100 percent healthy. Tressel said about two weeks ago that Olivea was playing at about 85 percent. However, he was running around pretty good today and we all know how well he played in the game. Olivea was named the Buckeyes offensive lineman of the week. He was also unofficially named OSU's best "post-game trash-talker." Hey, someone needed to call out the Red Raiders for running their mouths.

Adrien Clarke continues to inch along. He participated in the entire practice today, which is the first time he's done so this season. It was nice to see Clarke get about 15 snaps against Tech. He gives us that sixth offensive lineman and all six are going to be needed during the long, 13-game grind.

Cie Grant was wearing a yellow no-contact jersey today (minor knee injury). Matt Wilhelm was moved to OLB and Fred Pagac worked with the ones as the MLB… Also on the injury front, Mike D'Andrea did not practice today. His injury was not released, but is not expected to be serious.

Justin Zwick is still missing practice time due to his bum shoulder. In his place, Troy Smith is getting some very valuable snaps. Remember, coming in to camp, Tressel said that Smith wouldn't be getting many snaps at quarterback. He said there were only enough snaps for one QB, and that would be Zwick. However, Smith is making the most of his time (named scout team offensive player of the week) and would probably be the Bucks No. 3 QB if needed.

Left guard Mike Stafford is clearly the fastest of the offensive linemen (yes, even faster than Clarke). He finished first in all of the O-Line sprints today.

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Dave King took in practice today. It was King's first time checking out the Buckeyes and he said he wants to see a game in the Horseshoe sometime. He called Columbus "a great sports town."

As for Tressel, here are some clips from yesterday's press conference.

Will you continue to play two tailbacks at once? (i.e Clarett at fullback)
"Yeah, I think we'll keep doing that," Tressel said. "In fact, we had Lydell at some fullback in the ballgame as well. Probably the guy who won't be playing any fullback is Maurice Hall, but you might see Maurice Hall out wide a little bit. Actually, you might see any one of the three out wide because I think all three of them bring to the table excellent ability from a pass reception standpoint. We've got to keep as much speed on the field as we can and we'll do that with multiple receivers at times and we'll do that with multiple tailbacks at times."

Clarett seems very level-headed and unselfish for a budding star. Is that accurate?
"Yeah, I think that's him. He's a guy who the most important thing to him is winning. And he really cares about his teammates, he wants to have their respect and he earns that because of the way he works and they way he plays. But he also wants to have their respect by the way he treats them. He's just one of those guys that you love having on board and he's going to get better and better as we go."

Looking back, what are you most pleased about regarding the Texas Tech game?
"The players prepared extremely hard, as our coaches did, and they came out after it from the opening kickoff."

The team seemed to be in midseason form against Tech. Did you feel that way?
"Hopefully, we'll look a lot better than that my midseason. But, our guys were focused in and really knew how much time and effort they put into it and they wanted to show just where we are now and we want to show down the road just how much better we can get."

What stood out when you watched the film?
"The thing that really showed up in the film in my mind was that everyone was really trying to do things the right way. Technique is everything and we always say that technique film always jumps up at you and I thought our kids really tried hard. As the game got in the fourth quarter, like it can on a hot day, we weren't quite as crisp. The score was a little lopsided and I don't know if we were quite as crisp in that fourth quarter, but I don't think we ran out of gas. We were pleased, but we know we have a lot we can build on."

How do you reward your team for its accomplishments without getting overconfident?
"We've got to make sure we give them the kudos where they deserve them and I think it's in the effort that they gave to prepare and improve. And then also be very realistic as we watch the film; we get to watch the sideline and the endzone copy and we get to see the difference between a six-inch step and a three-inch step and try to become as good as we can. And also remind each other that there's 12 big ones left and there's a bunch of teams on that schedule that's probably better than the one we just played. Our work is cut out for us, but let's be proud of what we did as long as we take it and build off of it."

What was the biggest surprise in the game?
"I wouldn't have bet on 300-plus yards of rushing. Texas Tech plays in a good league with a lot of good, physical running teams. I thought if we were going to reach 400 yards of total offense, it would be 200 and 200 (rushing/passing). But sometimes when you stun people with a good haymaker like our people did on the opening kickoff, and then the three-and-out and return the punt to the 34, all of a sudden it's 7-0 in Ohio Stadium and Ohio Stadium was loud."

How well did the Buckeye defense play against Tech?
"I thought our defensive staff and our defensive players did an extraordinary job. With as many formations and things that you have to prepare for Texas Tech, to be able to come in with as thorough a plan as we did and handle all of the adjustments, I thought our guys did a great job. (Kliff) Kingsbury really never had time to sit and throw the football."


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