Talkin' Tressel: Barclay Pressed Into Action

In a shorter-than-normal final press conference of the week, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel announced that junior walk-on Devin Barclay figures to earn the starting spot at kicker this weekend. Get the latest on the position as well as updates on Dexter Larimore and Justin Boren, among others, in this update.

Following a week's worth of practice, walk-on kicker Devin Barclay has won the right to replace the injured Aaron Pettrey for Ohio State.

With the Buckeyes going through their final preparations before Saturday's road contest with Penn State (3:30 p.m., ABC), head coach Jim Tressel told reporters that the former Major League Soccer player figures to get the nod against the Nittany Lions. A junior, he had battled redshirt freshman Ben Buchanan for the spot.

"If we were kicking today, Devin Barclay would handle the field goals and kickoffs," Tressel said at his final press conference of the week. "I think both have done well this week. Unless something happens that I'm not aware of, Devin will handle those chores."

Beaver Stadium boasts natural grass, and Tressel said Barclay is familiar with the surface after having spent five years playing professional soccer. When Pettrey was injured last week against New Mexico State, Barclay replaced him and converted three extra points. He was 1 for 3 on field goal attempts, connecting from 29 but missing from 47 and 36 yards.

Buchanan was unavailable for the game and was dressed in sweats on the sideline.

Asked if he had a nervous feeling in his gut about going into a key Big Ten showdown minus his senior kicker, Tressel said, "You know, I really don't. Maybe I should, I don't know, but it is what it is. Those are the cards we have right now.

"We're fortunate that a guy like Devin Barclay wandered onto our campus."

Buchanan saw his first action of the season in week three against Toledo when senior punter Jon Thoma missed the game with the flu. He averaged 42.8 yards per kick on four punts, but has missed some time at the beginning of the season with leg soreness attributed to some overuse.

Tressel said the recent time Buchanan has missed has not been related to his early-season soreness and that he was not sore last week.

"Ben has missed some time and he had a little bit of an issue last week," he said. "He missed a good bit of last week. He had a little bit of an injury at the end of the preseason and Devin has taken advantage of the opportunity."

Going forward, Tressel said he expects good competition between Barclay and Buchanan in the future. He added that Barclay can connect from 50 yards, but that his range will be determined by in-game situations.

Thoma will hold for Barclay, who switched his jersey number from 12 to 23 in case backup holder Dane Sanzenbacher – who also wears No. 12 – is pressed into duty.

The Buckeyes will get junior defensive tackle Dexter Larimore back in uniform. A stalwart in the trenches on the line, Larimore suffered a knee injury Oct. 3 against Indiana and has not played since.

"I asked him (how he's feeling) after practice yesterday and he said, ‘I'm feeling great (but) I'm not playing well,' " Tressel said. "That's just Dex. I asked (defensive line coach Jim Heacock) this morning … and he said he's playing fine. I expect him to help us.

Junior guard Justin Boren has taken part in every drill this week after missing the New Mexico State game, Tressel said, and will be full-go this weekend as well. He will be blocking for three running backs the coach said they plan on using almost equally: junior Brandon Saine, an almost-fully healthy Dan Herron and freshman Jordan Hall.

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