OSU Jersey Scrimmage Goes To The Offense

The scarlet jerseys will remain with the offense at least until August after the Ohio State scoring unit outpaced the Buckeye stop troops 55-44 at chilly Ohio Stadium on an overcast Saturday morning.

Overall, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel sounded content with his scrimmage, which lasted about 125 plays.

"A lot of guys got a lot of good reps," he said. "It seemed like the hitting was good. It was good to get out there under some duress in terms of a little bit of wind, a little bit of clock and a script about what you have to do during certain sets.

"I think we got a lot accomplished and we'll find out (after watching the film)."

None of the quarterbacks produced outstanding numbers, but Todd Boeckman and Antonio Henton both threw for touchdowns. Unofficially, Boeckman completed 10 of 21 passes for 150 yards and hooked up with Brian Hartline on two different occasions, while Henton was 7 for 16 passing for 27 yards and a solitary score. Redshirt freshman Joe Bauserman, who is locked in a battle with sophomore Henton for the backup job to Boeckman, was 4 of 9 for 18 yards.

"On the surface, I would say Todd played pretty well," Tressel said. "He came up with some big throws, and in a game if you can come up with big plays as a quarterback and not have turnovers we're going to have a chance to win. I think both those things were true."

Tressel felt the two backups had some moments where they showed they were making progress and others when it was clear they have a lot of work to do.

"Todd was pretty fair and the others were pretty average," he summed up.

The defense got off to a solid enough start, as the No. 1 unit forced a three-and-out that included a Nader Abdallah sack, but the highlights would be few and far between for Abdallah and the rest of his crew, which did not force a turnover.

The second and third offenses also sputtered on separate turns before Boeckman and Hartline had their first hookup of the day, a pass play that covered 53 yards and saw Hartline leave Malcolm Jenkins in his wake.

"Once that safety went inside I knew it was all over because I knew Hartline was going to get him in cover-2 because Malcolm kind of sits outside and has to worry about the flat a little bit so I knew it was over when that safety kind of went inside," Boeckman said of the play.

Henton then led a pair of unsuccessful series for the second offense. There was a three-and-out followed by a series that gained a first down only when Thaddeus Gibson was flagged for tackling Henton by the back of his shoulder pads. Under rules set to take effect this fall, that now qualifies the defense for a 15-yard personal foul.

Bauserman got the next crack but fared no better. He led a six-play effort that also was kept alive only by a defensive personal foul, this one a facemask penalty on Solomon Thomas.

Worse for the offense, the first play of that drive saw Ray Small helped off the field by two members of the training staff after the junior wide receiver's ankle got caught in the pile as he blocked on the edge for walk-on running back Bo Delande, who gained two yards on the play.

The drive ended near midfield when Bauserman was sacked by Tom Ingham and Bryan Gray.

With the first team back on the field, the play had a similar look as Boeckman was sacked by Cameron Heyward, who bested Saine's attempt to slow him down along the way. That drive also did not yield points but did feature a noteworthy play when Boeckman found Saine, who had lined up in the slot, for a 6-yard gain on fourth-and-6. Saine made a nice diving grab along the sideline to make the conversion, but the drive later ended with a dropped pass by Dane Sanzenbacher.

Two more drives passed without points or significant defensive plays until Henton led the a 50-yard scoring drive he capped with a 12-yard touchdown to walk-on receiver Ricky Crawford, who went airborne at the goal line to haul in the pass.

That score made it 26-18 in favor of the offense, and the defense never really threatened to take the lead again. The offense found itself in position for Henton's pass to Crawford thanks in large part to walk-on running back Joe Gantz, who picked up 38 yards on four carries along the way.

The offense later struck again when Boeckman stood in under a heavy blitz and lofted a pass to Hartline in the right corner of the south end zone. Hartline eluded Kurt Coleman, who was alone in coverage against him, on a post-corner route and dove in the end zone to make the grab.

"I knew they were going to get some pressure on us so I had to get the ball out quick," Boeckman said, noting that he read man coverage in the secondary. "I knew he had a corner there I just had to let that go as soon as I could. At first I thought I overthrew him but he made a great diving catch."

For the final touchdown of the day, the offense marched 70 yards. Sophomore tailback Brandon Saine capped the drive with an impressive display of many of his skills. He first left defensive end Lawrence Wilson in his dust at the line of scrimmage then jetted down the sideline, where it looked like his run would end inside the 5-yard line until he burrowed through an Anderson Russell tackle and into the end zone for a 22-yard score.

"He's got a gear, and he's powerful," Tressel said. "When Brandon sees a crease, or he sees the goal line or he sees some yards to be had, he's pretty special. What I like is he can do so many things."

As starter Chris "Beanie" Wells sat out to protect a surgically repaired wrist, Saine led all rushers by totaling 55 yards on 14 carries, including a 22-yard touchdown. Redshirt freshman Dan Herron picked up 38 yards on 11 carries, Gantz had 39 yards on five carries and senior Maurice Wells had six carries for 12 yards.

With the wind swirling and pass protection suffering from absence of several starting offensive linemen, the passing game did not have much of a chance to get going. Only two scholarship receivers had catches: Hartline and sophomore Grant Schwartz.

Not only did Hartline lead all receivers with 110 yards on his five catches, he was the only one to pick up more than 18 yards. Walk-ons Kyle Ruhl and Crawford both hit the latter total.

Schwartz caught one pass and gained one yard.

The defense got consistent pressure on all the OSU quarterbacks and totaled nine sacks.

However, the lack of turnovers made points hard to come by for the defense in the modified scoring system that awards just about everything that can happen on the field, including three-and-outs, sacks and first downs.

"It bothers you a lot," senior linebacker James Laurinaitis said of the lack of turnovers. "We put a lot of emphasis on it and will continue to stress it but unfortunately sometimes it just happens that way. Balls will get tipped around and no one is there to catch it. If we keep working on that we'll fix that up and it will just happen naturally."

Three kickers combined to make 2 of 3 field goals and all four point-after-trys attempted. Aaron Pettrey was 1 for 1 on PATs and made field goals of 37 and 43 yards while walk-on Devin Barclay missed from 37. Ryan Pretorius was 3 for 3 On PATs.

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