07 April 2011
Before I get started with some practice news I want to mention that a player who I have talked about on this blog, 2012 offensive lineman Ryan Anderson from Kent Roosevelt , has been diagnosed with cancer. Please keep this young man in your prayers.
Putting together reports I am getting from spring practice:
If you polled practice observers the one big surprise is Joel Hale. If you have been following my blog you will know I have been high on him from the start. I expected this kind of an impact, but this early is definitely a surprise. He has pushed himself into playing time as a freshman. The Buckeye staff always maintained that he could be a a strong side end. He has played well there but has moved around and made an impression wherever he has lined up. What flexibility he offers the staff. His flexibility means at least four players, Simon, Bellamy, Melvin Fellows and Hale, who can rotate between SSDE and the three-technique tackle. You notice I throw the name Melvin Fellows out there. He has come into spring as healthy as he has been while at Ohio State, and it shows. What depth.
I am concerned about Philly Brown. He is still dropping too many catchable balls. He is a big play player with the ball in his hands. When he is dropping catchable balls it goes from a big play to a negative play. A no yardage play is a negative play. Woody Hayes said that no back is worth two fumbles a game. We all agree with that. How many dropped passes a game before we decide that a receiver is not worth it? I don't have a number in mind. All I know is we saw how much it hurt when DeVier Posey had a season full of drops. I think it is crucial that we find a way to get Brown past this. We do not have anybody on the roster who can do what Brown can do. T.Y. Williams has stood out. He is a split end so asking him to run the same routes as Brown is asking too much.
Quarterback battle. Drumroll please. The winner is............................................Taylor Graham. So far Graham has been the one who stands out. Joe Bauserman has been solid too. Kenny Guiton has had his moments too. Miller is playing just fine. No worries there. It is very early and he is, ......, is he 18 years old yet? I don't know. He will be the starter here and likely the benchmark for future quarterbacks. It is a matter of when not if. It still might be this year. Right now the veterans have the edge.
Rod Smith is everything he has been cracked up to be. He is a special runner but he is going to cut into the available reps because he is such a good receiver. That does not keep the other backs from taking a run at him. The Buckeyes have four backs who could not only start most anywhere but be stars.
Dionte Allen has been penciled in as the corner opposite Travis Howard. It appears that assumption is premature. We saw Dominic Clarke play awfully solid football in the Sugar Bowl when forced into action. I heard in off-season drills that the confidence he found from that performance has carried over. He looks like the starter if the season started Saturday. Clarke was frustrated. I always heard that term in regards to how he was coming along. Lack of confidence is a byproduct of frustration. A little bit of success can work wonders.
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