Notes from Today's Practice

By Chris Lauderback on August 26, 2009 at 9:28p
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The players were in shells today but still lots of good action to observe. There were 24 periods with the initial 5 minute sessions focused on stretching and individual position drills. The QB's worked on dropping back and scanning stationary receivers, the RB's ran various agility drills with high knees a chief focus. The WR drills targeted quick feet to jump over zig zagged pads before turning to catch the ball. The defense was mainly on the field furthest from where the media could assemble so I didn't see much there. I did see Small fielding a ton of punts. He's obviously the starting punt returner no matter what his summer school drama did to his status as the fourth receiver.

Since the defense seems to be further along and with less question marks than the offense, I spent most of the practice focusing on what the O was up to. Despite being in shorts, there was still plenty of head to head snaps whether it was 11 on 11, 7 on 7 or other variations (RB catching passes against secondary).

Here's some bullets based on what I saw:

Offensive Line: Boren is back. Who knows if he would've gone if in full pads but he took part in all drills and appeared to be moving without any issues. As a result, the group that took the most snaps with the ones from left to right was Miller, Boren, Brewster, Browning and Cordle. Shugarts also logged his fair share of first team snaps at LT.

Injury Notes: Heyward didn't go in team drills but he did some individual drills plus a heavy dose of stationary bike. He's obviously no longer in the boot, instead sporting what looked like a slim air brace of some kind. Jamaal Berry did some stationary bike but I never saw him in any individual or team drills. More on that in a second. Lawrence Wilson also only saw time on the bike as did Melvin Fellows. Spitler is another guy who did nothing drill wise but he was out there doing individual stuff. He looks like he's the most questionable at this point. Gordon reported Ballard didn't play. I honestly didn't notice since the TE's weren't really in the mix as much as we saw Saturday.

Passing Game: From my vantage point, the top three looked like Posey, Sanzenbacher and Washington but Carter, Flash and Small also saw extensive action with Pryor at QB. It's amazing how deep OSU appears to be here. Schwartz even made a great catch and it seemed like he was always open.

As in the jersey scrimmage, we witnessed another heavy dose of short and wide passes but with a twist. This time, OSU lined up in a few different formations, most notably with a WR (usually Dane or Small) lined up in the old-school shot-Ginn that you are familiar with. The WR then rolled out for a quick pass with two wideouts on the line of scrimmage to block. The number of times they ran this leads me to believe they plan to use it this year however Pryor had difficulty consistently completing the pass, let alone completing it perfectly by leading the receiver so he could get a running start toward the line. More on Pryor in a minute.

Jamaal Berry vs. Jordan Hall vs. Redshirt: There was much speculation on the sidelines as to what might happen with both Berry and Hall. Talk of a redshirt for Berry was lobbed back and forth considering Boom, Zoom and Pryor will get plenty of carries and it seems Martin or one of the FB's might be the short yardage guy. I spoke briefly to Lesmerises about it and he made a good point about it not being so easy to consider a redshirt for Berry even though Hall has basically dusted him performance wise, though Berry has been injured, so far in camp. He referenced how Tressel almost "lost" Thaddeus when he redshirted him and that a top prospect like Berry could also handle a redshirt in the same manner as Gibson. Sure, we saw Gibson bounce back but Berry's ego / expectations must be taken into account as they decide what to do with the glut of young RB's that might not see the field. Because the head to head drills focused mostly on passing since they were in shells, the RB's didn't have any real chances to rush the football but Hall was amazing in the RB drills. Dude runs so low to the ground and is crazy quick. He picks em up and puts em down in a hurry.

Captains: I heard Laurie Schmidt taking an informal poll on who the captains might be and it seemed unanimous: Worthington, Coleman, Cordle and Ballard. I spoke with a few guys about the recent suggestions TP might be a captain and they all agreed that it's not going to happen.

Pryor Stuff: Disclaimer: let me say I realize the kid is young and the expectations are probably unreasonable. Now, let me say that I again came away from practice thinking there were just as many ups as downs in what I saw from him. While I think he's one of the competitive guys I've ever seen, I have yet to see a lot of leadership characteristics. He seemed to kind of just go through the motions out there at times - kind of giving off the vibe that he knows who he is and what he can do. Maybe I'm reading it entirely wrong. That could definitely be the case considering I was among a group talking to Brian Rolle after practice and he raved about TP's leadership skills. More than likely, he's still working on his maturity and channeling his competitive nature in the right way at all times. He never really took command of the offense and his body language seemed tired. Whatever. Just throwing it out there. He's one of the best players in the country and I'm not trying to pile on. Just writing what I perceived and at least a few others I've never met until today seemed to agree.

Passing wise, he was still inconsistent. As I stated earlier, he struggled with timing passes to the shot-Ginn receiver including a bounced pass and one completely behind Boom. Others required the receiver to stop or adjust all their momentum which killed the play. He threw a couple long balls that were badly underthrown and he took a couple sacks because he wouldn't throw the ball away. To the good, he did unleash a few lasers over the middle and he in Posey appeared much more in sync that what I saw Saturday. When he steps into his throws, he ain't playin'. He's just got to be more consistent.

He did have what would've been long runs on designed rollout keepers and one draw and he also looked adept on the option. I think they ran it about four times with Saine and it was effective every time. The draw play would've been a 45 yard TD, no doubt.

Other Bits: Small caught a long TD pass from Bauserman. I heard Earle Bruce raving about Adam Homan at fullback. Adams again looked unfazed by his third team status. Amos started with the ones but Torrence split time. I didn't really see Hines in for Russell but that's not to say it didn't happen? Wish I would've paid more attention to that with the recent talk he might be making a push for Russell's spot.

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