Jard Work: Comfortably Numb

What injury did Ross Homan play through during Ohio State's victory against Wisconsin, and how did it affect him? How are OSU's freshmen cornerbacks progressing? And where the heck was Steve Rehring against the Badgers? These topics and more are covered in this week's edition of Jard Work.

When Ohio State took to the road to face Wisconsin in week six, it got an impressive game out of sophomore linebacker Ross Homan. The native of Coldwater, Ohio, finished with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery in the team's 20-17 victory, earning team defensive player of the week honors.

Just as impressive is the fact that Homan accomplished that after suffering a shoulder injury early in the game that caused his arm to feel numb for nearly the entirety of the game.

"It was a little numb feeling, but I was expecting it at some point in the game from the two big backs they had," he said. "Once the adrenaline takes over, you don't feel much. I kept it quiet."

Homan said he suffered the injury when he made a hit on P.J. Hill, Wisconsin's bruising tailback.

"Any time you take on P.J. Hill, who is a 240-pound running back, it's tough," Homan said. "It's fine. My shoulder got a little bit banged up, but I'm fine now."

At his weekly press luncheon, OSU head coach Jim Tressel praised Homan's effort against the Badgers.

"He did an excellent job," Tressel said. "It was a hard-fought game. Your linebackers are going to need to make plays and he did and he battled away and was the defensive player of the game."

Despite the injury, Homan said facing down a back like Hill is what makes him want to play the game.

"You'd better bring it back, or else you'll get run over," he said. "Any time a downhill running back comes at you, that's football. I live for these kinds of games, the physical, nose-to-nose ones. Big linemen, downhill running … every linebacker has to love those games."

Still Working: Often overlooked in OSU's 2008 recruiting class is a pair of defensive backs who came in as three-star prospects – but not both at the cornerback position.

Orhian Johnson and Travis Howard both are locks to be redshirted this season, but that has not stopped them from working hard in other ways according to cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson. Howard suffered an injury during fall camp after reportedly impressing teammates with his play and Orhian Johnson has not dressed for all the team's games this season.

"It's been a little tough and frustrating more than anything because they are competitors and they want to be out there," Taver Johnson said. "Those guys, they understand and know that we have to move forward and the season is moving forward but at the same time we're still on those guys about being aggressive with their rehab and making sure they're learning in the classroom and it's not just wasted time when they're in meetings or at practice."

Johnson is currently practicing but Howard is not. Although he is listed by Scout.com as a quarterback prospect, Orhian Johnson was primarily a defensive player in high school. An under-the-radar type of recruit who selected the Buckeyes on National Signing Day, the freshman is a player OSU fans do not know much about.

His position coach is plenty impressed with him, however.

"He's very athletic," Taver Johnson said. "He has a range. He's 6-3 and close to 200 pounds now. Very fast. I recruited him, so I know him a little more. We like him because he has good ball skills, being an offensive player in high school.

"The thing we're trying to figure out, especially when you move quarterbacks, is can he be physical? Will he come up? He has the size to do it. So far from the preseason and when he's practiced, he'll bring it a little bit. That's encouraging."

Seeking It Out: A big part of OSU's victory against Wisconsin was the play of junior tailback Chris Wells, who goes by the nickname "Beanie." His 22 carries for 168 yards played a big part in the Buckeye win as the focal point of the OSU rushing attack.

The key word in the previous sentence is the word "attack." On Wells' 33-yard touchdown run, he found an open path to the end zone with one defender to deal with.

Sensing that Wisconsin strong safety Shane Carter did not want to attack the ballcarrier, Wells decided for a little role reversal.

"I saw him and he had the complete angle on me," Wells said. "I tried to stutter-step, and he didn't come attack so I attacked him."

Running Rehring: In his return to the OSU lineup after suffering an injury against USC, senior offensive lineman Steve Rehring saw action on the right side of the offensive line as the Buckeyes continue to juggle linemen.

However, Tressel said Rehring was pegged to play a more significant role than the one he ultimately filled against the Badgers. For that, he has no one else to thank but himself.

"Rehring only got in a dozen or so plays … he missed an 11-play drive," Tressel said. "He had to go to the restroom, and so he probably would have played closer to half of the time, but he missed an 11 and then he missed like a 10(-play drive)."

Tressel elaborated a bit, saying there were multiple bathroom breaks.

His teammates were not all aware of the situation, but senior left tackle Alex Boone appeared amused.

"I'm sitting on the sidelines and someone goes, ‘Where is Steve going?' " Boone said. "I look over and he's running. I was like, ‘I don't know why he's running. Maybe he forgot his mouth guard or something.' I heard he was going to the bathroom and I was like, ‘Who leaves a football game to go to the bathroom?' It's Joe Paterno style."

Boone said he had never had to leave a game to use the bathroom, but that has not held him back from relieving himself during game action.

"It depends on what you have to do," Boone said. "If it's No. 1, you just go. If it's No. 2, you hold it. On the field, if it's cold you just kind of let it go. I've never had to leave the game because of it. I think that's kind of weird.

"When you've got to go, you've got to go I guess," he said.


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