It's moving day for The Ohio State football team. Players have arrived at their 'secret' location(not really/just up from the WHAC), and started moving-in their TV's, PS3's, and mini-refridgerators. Word on the street is that nearly everyone is at camp except Nic Dillilo, Rod Smith, and Jermil Martin.
Indications from Tressel and other sources make it appear as if freshman Rod Smith is waiting for his summer grades to go through. There seems to be a tempered optimism about Smith arriving at camp within the week. Rb Jermil Martin will be transferring, some have speculated to Tressel's old stomping grounds at Youngstown State, but as of yet, I have heard nothing official on where Martin will be taking classes. Nic Dillilo, three-deep at TE, is also a likely transfer candidate. He is not at camp, and will not be according to many sources.
The Buckeyes are experienced, but there will still be some serious competition battles this month.
The biggest battle will be at left tackle. Jr. Mike Adams(6'7" 305), and Sr. Andy Miller(6'6" 290) will rotate until one of them makes a statement(of the physical kind). True Freshman Andrew Norwell, and So. Marcus Hall should keep both of them on their toes. WHile Norwell isn't likely to start, he will remind the two upperclassmen that they aren't entitled to anything, and Hall is already listed as the back-up RT, and has starting experience(started against Iowa). Adams is the physical specimen, Miller the consumate professional, and Norwell/Hall the talented under-studies. I feel more confident about the OT spots than I have in years.
Many questions abound at the safety positions as Tyler Moeller has been cleared for full-contact. Tressel claims the slated 2009 starter is back to 100% after a serious off-the-field injury last July. Moeller instantly shakes-up a backfield chock-full of talented players vying for playing time. It's way to early for speculation, but what the hay.
Moeller will have to prove that he is mentally and physically ready to play football. He'll need to come back with the speed and bad intentions that he played with before the injury. Right now, I would pencil-in Moeller at the Star/Nickle spot. The position would allow him to slowly break back into the mold. The Nickle spot was only used on about 65% of the defensive snaps last season. At first glance one might assume that Tyler has a chance at a full-time safety spot, and he does, but I don't think the Buckeyes will be comfortable with the deep coverage in that scenario. Orhian Johnson will be in the mix somewhere, and the best bet would be at free-safety. Orhian has more speed than both Moeller and Hines, and could be a better coverman on deep routes.
Another position battle is for the 3rd go-to Wr. Posey and Sanzenbacher are the starters, but with the loss of Duron Carter, a new WR must step up and become a major contributor. Speculation has rFr. Chris Fields and Sr. Taurian Washington at the top of this list. Washington is 6'3" 200 lbs, and has played great in the last two spring games, but has had the occasional problem catching the ball in games and in practice. Fields is a quick guy with great hands, but stands only 5'11. Sr's.Grant Swartz and Ricky Crawford will get some playing time, and are capable, but neither is considered to be a serious threat to overtake Fields or Washington for that third spot. 3 Freshman could be longshots: Tyrone Williams(6'5" 205/ClevelandShaw), James Louis(5'11/180Fla/4.35), and local product Verlon Reed(6'3"190).
There is an open spot for the OLB position vacated by graduated Austin Spitler. At this spot there is a clear front-runner, and that front-runner is Etienne Sabino(6'4" 238). Andrew Sweat will not go quietly into the night. Dorian Bell and Storm Klein may want to get in on the act too. Sweat could push Sabino, but Etienne's physical presence is something that no other Lb on the roster provides.
THere is also a battle for Terrelle Pryor's back-up. Joe Bauserman appeard to be the man entering spring, but Ken Guiton's Scarlet and Gray performance was exceptional, perhaps enough to edge him into the lead going into camp. If I know Tressel - he has the two on an even playing field as of today.
We should see some pictures on the net here in the next 24hrs. Pryor has reportedly dropped about 15 pounds. He says he's around 225. Mike Adams looks a bit thinner too. The OL back-ups look exceptional - they definately pass the eye test. Personally, I'm most interested in seeing Norwell, and Jonathan Hankins.
More reports from camp as they come in.......
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