While the media was not permitted to attend all of Tuesday's practice, we were able to get just enough of a peak of the Buckeyes' preparation for USC to jot down some interesting observations . Just four days before The Showdown At The 'Shoe, everyone is interested to see what the Bucks have in store as they seek revenge on Pete Carroll's Trojans. While Jim Tressel certainly did not show his hand to the media, there were some things of note that are worth mentioning in anticipation of Saturday's match-up:
- While the depth chart seemed to look fairly similar to last week's, a lot can change in a few days, and that was one of the main things that was under the microscope at Tuesdays practice. Anderson Russel, to the liking of many, was repping with the second team on Tuesday. Jermale Hines moved into his place at safety and we could see this look more often than not on Saturday night.
- While they will most likely continue to rotate, we did see more Devon Torrence at corner with the first team than Andre Amos while we were at practice. Torrence's tackling skills could come in handy against the Trojans' stable of running backs, but Amos's skills in defending the pass will be valuable against Damian Williams and David Ausberry.
- Ray Small made his return to practice after his reported "illness" and worked with the scout, second, and first teams today. Tressel said Small may or may not return punts this week, and even suggested there was a chance he wouldn't play, but from everything we saw today, it seems Ray will be full-go on Saturday.
- Another injured player, DeVier Posey, was back in pads today. We didn't see Posey participate in any 1 vs. 1 action, but I assume being in full pads meant he did individual drills earlier in practice. Expect Posey to have the green light for Saturday night and be a big part of the offense.
- Terrelle Pryor looked the most crisp I have ever seen him throw the ball. Observing a few practices in my time, Pryor usually goes through the motions at practice and it seems his balls lack the zip you'd want to see. This practice was different as Pryor's throwing game was sharp. If he plays like that on Saturday I like our chances.
- The tight ends and running backs were at it again in practice. Catching passes all day long, expect to see more of what we saw against Navy. Jake Ballard said after practice that he expects this to be a season long practice as Tressel really wants to use all of his weapons. That makes us smile.
- Austin Spitler still did not look as good as you would like him to. I saw him get burned by Jaamal Berry (emulating Joe McKnight) on a wheel route, which does not bode well for my confidence in him against USC's tight ends or full backs (see: Marcus Freeman vs. Stanley Havilli last year). On the other hand, Ross Homan looked very fast getting to the ball and did a good job wrapping up. Expect him to have to play a big part against the USC backs this week if the Bucks want to be successful in stopping the running game.
- John Simon got some snaps with the first team. Listed as part of the third pairing on the depth chart, this was interesting. Heacock must like what he sees out of All Flannel Tops so far and I wouldn't be surprised to see Simon get some valuable minutes this year.
- Finally, I still am in awe over the running backs. Boom is solid and Saine looks fantastic. The Bucks used some two back sets in practice today with Saine going in motion on some plays and running some passing routes. I would really like to see this come Saturday, as I feel both backs in the game together can be a really effective strategy.