Practice Report - 10/15

Dave Biddle was in attendance at practice today, and he checks in with some observations, including Craig Krenzel looking sharp, Maurice Clarett looking quick, and more.

Quarterback Craig Krenzel and the Buckeye offense worked on a lot of hand-signals at the line of scrimmage today. This was to prepare for the noisy environment they'll be facing at Camp Randall Stadium.

Krenzel continues to show improvement in terms of arm strength and always seems to throw the ball with a tight spiral nowadays. This is a far cry from earlier in the season when Krenzel was having trouble with his throws slipping… The Buckeyes didn't work on the long ball as much as I thought they would today, but Krenzel was pretty accurate on the few bombs he attempted… The OSU receivers ran a lot of out routes today. During 11-on-11 drills against the scout team defense, Krenzel hit Mike Jenkins and Chris Gamble about six times each on the out routes… Ben Hartsock also stood out today. Krenzel hit him with a couple of nice throws down the middle of the field, each good for 20 yards or more.

This is one thing that we hear the coaches talk a lot about, but Krenzel has excellent command of the offense. You can just see his confidence when he steps to the line of scrimmage. According to the coaches, Krenzel will be responsible for calling some of the plays this week against Wisconsin. And when you see the Bucks go to the shotgun formation (K-Gun), all of the plays are called by Krenzel. 

Backup QB Scott McMullen was accurate as usual today. McMullen has a great arm and a super quick release and is definitely establishing himself as one of the best second-stringers in the conference.

Rich McNutt was out there coaching today and was staying very active. He even pulled aside captains Mike Doss and Donnie Nickey one time to explain something. McNutt also spent a lot of time talking with E.J. Underwood, the man taking his spot in the starting lineup. It's good to see that McNutt is still a Buckeye, even though his playing career is likely over.

Harlen Jacobs and Nate Salley worked as the second-team corners today. Will Allen and Tyler Everett are still the backup safeties.

Gamble also worked with the DBs a little bit today. Hopefully, the Bucks will have a big fourth quarter lead over Wisconsin and won't need him, but if the game is close and the Badgers are throwing the ball, you can bank on No. 7 being in there on defense… Also of note, punter Andy Groom worked in with the cornerbacks today. I don't think we'll be seeing Groom out there, but he was having some fun with it today.

It looks like the offensive line is getting healthy just in time for the meat of the schedule. The five juniors (Ivan Douglas, Adrien Clarke, Alex Stepanovich, Bryce Bishop, Shane Olivea) lined up as the starters today.

The backup line looked like this: Rob Sims, Andree Tyree, Nick Mangold, Scott Kuhnhein, Mike Kne… Mike Stafford was at practice and was not wearing a yellow non-contact jersey, but did not take part in any of the drills.

The D-Line, on the other hand, is a little banged up. Will Smith did not practice today and is doubtful for the Wisconsin game. Smith was walking with a noticeable limp on his sprained left knee… Tim Anderson practiced full-go and seemed to be moving around just fine. There was some concern that Anderson's calf injury could linger for some time, but the big tackle was looking good today. 

As for who will start on the D-Line in place of Smith, the Bucks have two options. They can insert Simon Fraser into Smith's spot, or they could go big by sliding Darrion Scott down to end and bringing in David Thompson at tackle. They will be sure to mix it up against the Badgers, but the numbers are running low. This is a line that suddenly needs contributions from Marcus Green and end Mike Kudla.

Lydell Ross did not take part in drills today; he was nursing some sort of injury to his left leg. Maurice Hall got all the snaps as the backup tailback. Hall always shows that great burst, but isn't hitting his cuts as sharp as I'd like to see. Maybe playing on the fast track at Wisconsin will be a good thing for the speedy Hall. 

Maurice Clarett always looks good to me at practice, but today he was looking especially quick. He already has the label of a "bruiser," but maybe he'll surprise the Badgers with his speed.

Fred Pagac Jr. did practice today, but is suspended for this week's game.

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