With spring practice well underway and the spring game quickly approaching, it is time to move from “way too early looks” at each position into some more informed analysis based on practice reports.
[Note: I apologize for not getting to the defensive backs in my “way too early looks”.]
This offseason has been a tumultuous one to say the least. The tattoo revelations leading up to the Sugar Bowl and the resulting suspensions guaranteed a shadow over the off season. The additional news concerning Jim Tressel didn’t exactly make that shadow go away.
Fortunately, time heals all wounds, and cracking pads on the field helps to speed up that process- at least for me. After some time off from writing following the Tressel news conference (which is part of the reason why I didn’t get to the DBs), my enthusiasm for football is back in full swing.
So what follows will not only be a look at the DBs for the first time, but also a review of all of the position groups with some updated thoughts based on news from practice. I apologize ahead of time if this ends up being lengthy.
My rebuttal: FOOTBALL!
My attitude this offseason has always been that no matter what happens, when the Buckeyes take care of business on the field everything else will fade into the background.
Redemption through wins.
Off field BS be damned.
Here is a look at how each position is looking heading into the spring game.
This morning I was fortunate enough to sit in on a 6 AM winter conditioning session held by the Ohio State football team. It was a shirt and shorts affair with plenty of running and various other drills deviously put together by strength and conditioning coordinator Eric Lichter.
Since there were no actual football drills that took place, it is difficult to draw many conclusions regarding the team. At the risk of being borderline creepy, however, I can provide some insight on the highly scientific “look test” as well as who stood out in terms of effort.
There were several notable guests this morning as well.
Cameron Heyward fully participated in the conditioning drills with the defensive lineman without a brace on his elbow. Here’s hoping he can get back to 100% in time to work out for the NFL scouts at the end of the month.
Bobby Carpenter also made an appearance at the end of the practice, but did not participate in any of the drills.
A random Georgia coach (or something, he was wearing a Georgia pullover) was spotted walking around.
Read on for the players that stood out, the players that could use a little extra conditioning, and various other observations that I was fortunate enough to make.
Coach Tressel jokingly requested that tape not be shown of the players who “lost their cookies”, but I hope I can still write about it. Read More
And now we need to go on the road and play better than we’ve played on the road. We head to Minnesota and it will be the first time for any of us on our team to ever have seen the stadium let alone play in it, so that will be exciting for us. And it’s an evening primetime game, and our guys will get excited about that. So now we’ve got to go back to work and understand that we’re facing a veteran quarterback in Adam Weber. We had him in youth camp. I thought he was outstanding then, and 10,000 yards later I think he’s still outstanding. And I think the school career passing record for us is a little over 7,000 and he’s got 10,000, just to put it in perspective what he’s been able to accomplish and he’s a heck of a player. He’s a competitor. He’s a senior. You can just hear in his comments that he doesn’t want to hear about coaching transition or this or that, this is still the 2010 Minnesota Golden Gophers and still the same team it was at the beginning of the year who has a passion to get some good things done, and through his leadership, you can be sure that they’ll never stop, and that’s the kind of leader that you want to have. And he leads a young group of receivers who I think are getting better and better and they’ve done a good job of giving you a lot of different formation looks, a lot of different personnel groupings.
Over on their defensive side, they were very young when they began, now they’re eight or nine games into it and they’re no longer — you no longer talk when you talk about a team of so and so had this many starters returning because that’s irrelevant now because they’re going into this point in the season.
And they seem to have dialed up a little bit more of their pressure package in this last game or so than they did earlier in the year. They did a similar amount against us a year ago, so it’s not like we haven’t seen it. It’s not like it’s anything brand new, but they are bringing good pressure. I think they’re playing a little bit loose and getting just excited to go out and hit somebody and see if they can create turnovers and so forth, so it will be a great challenge for us.
Special teams, we always say, is the key when we go on the road and I think if anyone has an interest in Big Ten football and doesn’t think that the special teams had maybe the biggest impact on last weekend, Wisconsin’s fake punt was probably the turning point in that game. Michigan State’s fake punt was probably the turning point in that game. I think Iowa missed a field goal, which was big, and an extra point, perhaps. The Cleveland Browns, I didn’t see it, but the little reverse pass or whatever they did was huge in their game, and on and on and on. Missouri, I think, didn’t they bring the opening kickoff back?
So special teams is something that we’ll never stop talking about and you’ll never be able to convince me of its relative impact on the emotion of the game, and football is an emotional game. And so we’ve got to make sure that despite the fact that we’ve had to go with a lot of different lineups due to injuries in the linebacker and DB areas, we’ve got to get better at special teams, especially on the road. It’s a huge impact. Purdue found that. Go full circle, Purdue found that out, coming over here, you can’t make two big special teams mistakes and think you’re going to win in someone else’s stadium.
I apologize. It was disguised as a pooch.
Fall camp always seems to produce the juiciest news of the year and this year has been no different. For the next couple weeks I will be scouring the Buckeye-sphere for all the interesting tidbits to share.
So far there has been almost nothing but good news coming out of the WHAC. Obviously the loss of Duron Carter plus the confusion regarding TE Nic DiLillo’s situation stings a little, but everything else has been overwhelmingly positive thus far. Let’s take a look.