Tressel Talks Ohio State Spring Ball

After day one of spring practice concluded, the Ohio State head coach updated local reporters on several personnel matters, including Duron Carter, Jonathan Newsome, Tyler Moeller and Jamel Turner.

On a Thursday afternoon that could be characterized as unusually warm for the first day of April in Ohio, the Ohio State football team began spring football practice, but one could be forgiven for thinking it looked as if the Buckeyes had never really stopped.

A handful of senior starters were gone, but otherwise not a whole lot looked different from the last time the team convened for what head coach Jim Tressel termed "football time," a 26-17 Rose Bowl victory over Oregon exactly four months earlier.

Junior Mike Adams manned the first-team left tackle spot for coordinator Jim Bollman's offense, while sophomore Jake Stoneburner entered the lineup at tight end, but Michael Brewster was back snapping the ball to quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who was able to throw passes to receivers DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher.

The backfield came back intact, too, with the likes of Brandon Saine, Dan Herron and Zach Boren, and the third receiver was Taurian Washington, who took over that role prior to the team's trip to Pasadena.

Defensively, Etienne Sabino spent most of the time as the No. 1 strongside linebacker while the top two safeties were Jermale Hines and Orhian Johnson.

Up front, Nathan Williams took most of the first-team reps at the weakside defensive end (or leo) position while John Simon entered the starting lineup at defensive tackle alongside returning starter at nose tackle Dexter Larimore and Cameron Heyward at the other end.

Ross Homan and Brian Rolle took their familiar linebacker spots from a year ago, and the corners wore the familiar guises of Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence.

All in all, day one of Ohio State spring football practice was essentially void of surprises for those who follow the team closely.

That did not mean the afternoon was absent of intrigue, however.

Head coach Jim Tressel said sophomore receiver Duron Carter was back in school but might not be able to join the team for spring practice. Carter missed the Rose Bowl and organized team workouts during the winter after he was declared ineligible at the conclusion of fall quarter. Exactly what would keep him out now with Ohio State's spring quarter beginning this week, Tressel did not specify, although he did reveal that another sophomore - linebacker Jonathan Newsome - was not present on Thursday, either.

When asked if the two were in the same situations, Tressel replied, "Similar."

Meanwhile, the team reported to camp relatively healthy as the only players who appeared limited were junior linebacker Andrew Sweat, senior safety Tyler Moeller, sophomore running back Jermil Martin and sophomore cornerback Travis Howard.

Moeller was back on the football field roughly eight months after emergency surgery to stop a subdural hematoma that caused him to miss all of the 2009 season and raised doubts - at least initially - he would ever play football again.

Thursday Moeller wore a blue noncontact jersey over his normal scarlet jersey and took reps as a safety with the second team defense alongside sophomore C.J. Barnett.

"I think what we've decided is the plan is to get him involved in moving around and the natural bumps that happen but don't put him in the full-out, go-after-it contact," Tressel said. "He's naturally going to have elbows smack his head, maybe a shoulder occasionally, but as long as he goes with that and with the running part without any incident, I have high expectations" for what he will be able to do this fall.

Pryor might not see a lot of contact, either, but that is nothing out of the ordinary for a quarterback during spring practice.

Tressel said Pryor's offseason surgery would not limit what the coaches would do with him.

"We will limit the quarterbacks, but he'll do everything that everyone else does," the coach said.

In a personnel note regarding a player not scheduled to show up in Columbus until later this year, Tressel did not seem to express much concern for the situation of 2010 signee Jamel Turner, a four-star recruit who is reportedly no longer enrolled at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy.

"He's trying to finish his high school degree," Tressel said. "He's not the only guy - obviously all of our guys need to finish their high school degrees. He's the only one I think who has changed venues, but we'll have to see how it goes."

Asked if Turner is back in his hometown of Youngstown, Tressel said, "Yeah, from what I gather."

As for what the team hopes to accomplish this spring, Tressel said, "You want to start trying to figure out how you can become the group that you want to become as a team. The only way you can do that is spent time together. They've spent time in the weight room and they've spent time doing things in the winter. Now they'll spend some football time together."

The Buckeyes are scheduled to practice 14 more times this spring, including the annual Scarlet and Gray Game set for the afternoon of April 24 at Ohio Stadium.

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