So while the annual Spring Jersey Scrimmage is usually closed to the public and press, this year was a little different as The Senator opened today's event up to some media and a fortunate group of others to get a first look at the 2009 Buckeyes before they take the field for next week's Spring Game. I was one of the fortunate people to be in attendance this morning at The Horseshoe and figured I might as well share my observations from my first row, 50-yard line seats with all of our loyal 11W readers.
For those of you who are not familiar with the event, every spring the offense battles the defense in a scrimmage to see who will get to wear the coveted scarlet jerseys during summer practices. The losers have to wear the gray jerseys, which are actually white for whatever reason. JT gets to choose the starting ball spot for each possession as the first team, second team, and third team offenses square off against their counterparts. Each team stays on the field until they lose possession. Points are earned in a systematic way to level the field, as the scrimmage is solely offense against defense. 1 point is awarded to the offense for every first down they get, 2 points for a big play, 3 points for a field goal, and 7 points for a touchdown. The defense earns 1 point for stopping the offense on four downs, 2 points for a negative yardage play, 2 points for a safety, 5 points for a turnover, and 7 points for a defensive touchdown.
In this year's scrimmage the defense looked very impressive and came away with a 56-55 victory at the end of the contest, earning the scarlet jerseys. The game was not as close as the score indicates though, as the defense dominated early and the offense struggled to get things going. LiC finally got things moving though and with a little help from The Vest spotting the ball for the offense, the scarlet team was able to come back and make things close before Aaron Pettrey's game winning field goal attempt went wide right.
Some of the notable things to mention from the game include:
- Terrelle Pryor ended the game going 8-14 for 89 yards and an interception. Pryor started out slow, but I came away very impressed with how much he has notably improved over the off-season. Pryor is sharper in terms of having less air under his throws and clearly goes through his progressions much quicker than in his freshman year. There is still a ways to go if TP is going to be one of the nation's elite QB, but things are looking good right now.
- Redshirt Sophomore defensive end Solomon Thomas notched seven (yes, you read that correctly) sacks. The defense had 13 as a team, but Thomas made some noise on the second and third team defense today.
- Speaking of other defensive stand outs, Doug Worthington and Andre Amos really impressed me today. Worthington finished with 3.5 sacks and looked to be much quicker off the ball than in the past. Amos got the start with the first team defense and looked impressive, including an interception off a Joe Bauserman deep ball intended for Flash Thomas. Amos looks to be the answer opposite Chimdi Chekwa at corner back.
- Joe Bauserman did throw an interception, but his arm is looking strong. Most of his reps came with the second team, but as mentioned above, he did get some work in with the first unit. There won't be many better back ups in college football than Joe B.
- The offensive line looked sluggish in pass protection in the beginning of practice, but as the scrimmage wore on they stepped it up. Justin Boren seemed to be a vocal leader on the sideline and is really going to bolster the line this season.
- Finally, the offense didn't show much of a spark or any new tricks (JT may be saving them for next week), but one thing that I noticed was that Brandon Saine looked to have his burst back. Saine was hitting holes quickly and rally putting a licking on the linebackers and defensive backs. B-Saine finished with 77 yards on 15 carries and if he keeps this up there will certainly be a place for him on the field come September 5.
Overall, the scrimmage was a success and it was exciting to see the players on the field for the first time since the Fiesta Bowl loss to Texas. There is certainly some exciting things going on within the program this year and it will be interesting to see how the team performs once the black jerseys are taken off the QBs next weekend and LiC can run around a bit more to make some plays.