Practice Report - 10/8

Dave Biddle checks in with some practice notes today, and he talks about Craig Krenzel, Maurice Clarett, Tim Anderson, Coach Fickell, and more.

The Buckeyes practiced in shells today as they prepare for their final non-conference game of the regular season.

The defensive line is back at full-strength as tackle Tim Anderson made his return from a calf injury. Anderson took part in all drills and was running around just fine.

Mike Stafford (leg) and Shane Olivea (shoulder) did not practice today, so the starting offensive line was made up of Ivan Douglas, Adrien Clarke, Alex Stepanovich, Bryce Bishop and Mike Kne. Stafford and Olivea are both questionable for the San Jose St. game.

Rich McNutt also did not practice today. It is not uncommon for him to sit out with his chronic ankle problem, but he is usually dressed for practice. Today, McNutt was in street clothes… E.J. Underwood worked with the first-team in his absence.

Something that deserves more attention is the job that long-snapper Kyle Andrews is doing. The sophomore has looked every bit as impressive as Mike Jacobs did last year and it's nice to know that Andrews has two more years left after this one. The Washington State game showed us just how important long-snappers can be at times.

The Buckeyes begin every practice with special teams drills and they do just about every drill you can imagine. Head coach Jim Tressel is always right in the middle of things during the ST drills.

Several different players worked on punt returns today including Chris Gamble, Chris Vance, Mike Doss, Bam Childress, LeAndre Boone, Santonio Holmes and even Troy Smith.

During one-on-one receiver vs. cornerback drills, Gamble worked just with the offense. I thought all four of the main receivers (Gamble, Vance, Jenkins and Carter) were looking good. Each of them present matchup problems no matter who they are going up against.

Craig Krenzel seems to be throwing the ball a little harder and with a tighter spiral. He and Scott McMullen were working a lot on getting rid of the ball quickly today. Tressel was preaching this as you could hear him yelling, ‘Now, now, now,' when it was time to let the ball go… This is one of McMullen's strengths, but Krenzel seems to be getting better at it. Frankly, there have been some practices that I've walked away from wondering how Krenzel was good enough to be the starter. But today he was looking sharp. I am seeing improvements in his game.

It looks like the coaches are planning on getting Bobby Carpenter, Mike D'Andrea and A.J. Hawk some more playing time against San Jose. All three of them worked more with the first-team defense than usual today.

Maurice Clarett is first in line at every running back drill. Clarett almost sprints from drill to drill. This is a kid that loves the game and loves to practice. He is coming off the worst game of his young career, but you can tell he is at home on the football field. He simply practices harder than anyone on the team. Good to know there is no Allen Iverson in Clarett.

Tight ends Ben Hartsock, Ryan Hamby and Redgie Arden always work with the O-Line during position drills (never with the receivers).

Two things stand out about special teams coach Luke Fickell… 1. How active he is at practice. Fickell is always getting in someone's grill, telling them how the job is supposed to be done… 2. How skinny ol' No. 99 has gotten. If you told a non-OSU fan that Fickell was an ex-college football player, they'd probably think he played wide receiver or something. No one would believe he was a nose guard. He's probably dropped 80 pounds since his playing days… The same could be said for Jim Lachey. In no way does he still look like a "hog."

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