As the Buckeyes endure the busiest practice week of the season, they will do so without a few familiar faces and with a few others at different positions.
With less than three weeks until Ohio State opens the 2007 season at home against Youngstown State, they will be preparing to do so without senior linebacker Curtis Terry and sophomore wide receiver Ray Small – for now at least.
"I don't think there's really anything too serious," offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said. "People are missing a little while here and there. Nothing that's going to keep anybody out for a super long, long time."
Small suffered an undisclosed ankle injury during practice. He entered the season listed as the primary backup to Brian Hartline at the flanker position but was likely to be on the field when the Buckeyes utilized three wideouts.
His injury appears to be slightly more severe than Terry's. The coordinator said he does not know whether or not the 6-0, 175-pound Small will be available for the season opener Sept. 1.
"I think that we'll be conservative bringing him back," Bollman said. "But it's not like he's going to miss half the year or anything like that. We'll get him back."
Terry suffered a right ankle injury. He entered camp as the projected backup to outside linebacker Larry Grant but can also line up on the defensive line in the "Leo" spot in the OSU defense.
Grant said he knows Terry has his work cut out for him as he rehabs to get back on the field for the first game.
"It's going to take some extra rehabbing for him and probably some whirlpool and everything that needs to be done, but I'm pretty sure that Curtis is ready to accept all challenges right now and he should be ready for the first game," he said.
In addition, the Buckeyes will still be without junior offensive linemen Kyle Mitchum and Jon Skinner for at least part of the season. While Bollman did not set a timetable for the return of either player, both are expected back this season.
Bollman said Skinner suffered the injury during spring football when his knee was rolled up underneath him.
"Certainly it's not as bad as it might have been because he had his knee braces on," Bollman said. "Those have saved us a lot of time over the years, believe me."
Not all players are being shifted around as the result of injuries, however. Freshman cornerback Devon Torrence has now been moved to the wide receiver position. The decision was made independent of the injury to Small, and puts Torrence at a position where he frequently lined up during high school.
After spending the summer playing minor league baseball, Torrence reported to OSU just in time for fall camp. Having not taken part in summer conditioning or drills, he appeared to be clearly behind the other players his age on the depth chart as he grew accustomed to the OSU system.
Now at wide receiver, Bollman said he's not sure if it is easier to move a player in Torrence's position or to wait until he is more comfortable at school.
"I think that this is the point of the year when you'd have a chance to make those kinds of moves," Bollman said. "Devon's a good, young, skilled athlete who we thought coming in might be able to go on either side of the ball. We'll take a look at him here on offense. I think he has a chance to help us there."
Torrence is not the only player to move around. The Buckeyes brought in two linebackers in their class of 2007 who appeared destined to wind up playing in the secondary, but Grant said both Brian Rolle and Jermale Hines are lining up with the linebackers now.
The 5-11, 210 Rolle in particular has impressed Grant in spite of his size, citing a performance he put on in the team's annual hoot ‘n' holler drill.
"He's a little guy but he's very powerful," Grant said. "He got off a block, picked somebody up and scooped them. It was great."