With 29 practices about to get underway before the season-opening game against Marshall on Sept. 2, the battle for a number of positions will commence. Arguably none of them have received more attention than left tackle, where a departed senior started the team's final six games.
When fall camp begins, junior Mike Adams will be the starting left tackle. That will last exactly one day, the head coach said.
"I'll say this: the second practice it will probably be somebody different because we want to get them used to working with each other," Tressel said at the Big Ten Football Media Days.
Adams started four games at left tackle last season after Andy Miller started the first three contests at the position. Both will factor into the position, as well as J.B. Shugarts – who started 10 games at right tackle last season – Marcus Hall and potentially incoming freshman Andrew Norwell.
Getting some consistency from the tackle position will help settle the offensive line because Tressel said junior center Michael Brewster is growing as a communicator from the inside of the line. The challenge now is getting those further from center to relay their news to the man in the middle.
"Justin (Boren) likes to just go block somebody and sometimes forgets there's 10 others," Tressel said. "He's got to get better at that."
In addition, Tressel cited redshirt freshmen Corey Linsley and Jack Mewhort as guys who will help provide depth now that they have settled into positions: Linsley at center and Mewhort at guard. The two rotated at both spots during the spring.
Tressel said no players will miss out on the start of fall camp due to physical limitations and added that the team does not figure to lose anyone due to academics as well. Hall was rumored throughout the summer to be questionable from an academic statement, but Tressel said he will be fine and report with the rest of his teammates.
The status of two members of the backfield are less clear. Sophomore running back Jermil Martin is listed in the team's 2010 spring media guide distributed to the media, but Tressel said Martin has not been practicing with the team this summer and will not be there for fall camp.
In addition, incoming freshman Roderick Smith is still waiting for final academic clearance after taking some summer classes back home.
"I'm hoping he'll be here," Tressel said of Smith. "I think he's done (Tuesday), so our goal is to be able to get all the paperwork. Now it becomes a paperwork issue, but we hope he comes on the 5th."
The Buckeyes also will welcome back Tyler Moeller after the senior missed all of last season after suffering an offseason injury that put his career in jeopardy. Now fully recovered, Moeller figures to immediately assume a role in the team's nickel alignment.
"I'd say if you had a game tomorrow, (safeties coach) Paul Haynes would tell you he'd play your nickel and you'd probably leave Jermale Hines at safety," Tressel said. "Jermale played that nickel last year because Tyler was hurt. We'll see how it looks in the preseason. He also will play safety, but I think his primary thing would be he'd be your starting nickel and obviously a big part of your special teams."
In all, 16 starters return for an OSU team pegged to win a share of its Big Ten record sixth straight league crown. Tressel said he has one key hope for this group as fall camp begins.
"My No. 1 thing that I would hope can happen with us is that we can keep all of our eyes and ears and minds going in the same direction," he said. "Sometimes when you have more guys coming back, it's ‘Oh, I already know this stuff, I don't have to pay as close of attention' or ‘I'm far enough along that I might start thinking about where I'll be a year from now.' You can get distracted with experience.
"Sometimes when you're inexperienced, they know they don't know so they're glued in. It's not a concern, but it's a reality that we all need to be glued in and marching to the same beat."