Another new CB combination
One of the great position battles heading into this fall is the starting corner opposite of Chimda Chekwa and it looks like the coaches are giving everyone the opportunity to show their skills. For the third straight open practice, Taver Johnson switched it up, giving the nod to redshirt freshman Travis Howard yesterday, after going with Devon Torrence and Andre Amos earlier in the week.
According to practice observers, Donnie Evege ran with Amos on the second unit, while Torrence teamed with freshman C.J. Barnett. To show you how serious the coaches are in giving everyone a chance, incoming WR James Jackson was seen displaying his inner Chris Gamble.
The defense of choice this spring has been the nickel, so at least 3 of these guys have to step up by this fall. There is established depth at the safety position, but I would rather see a CB across from a WR in any nickel and let Coleman and Russel roam free. Don't be surprised to see Howard follow in Chikwa's footsteps, emerging onto the scene after redshirting.
Boom packs it on
Antonio Pittman ran for 1330 yards and Beanie Wells went for 1600 when they took over as starters. This fall will be Boom's chance to continue the trend and he has added 10 pounds since the Fiesta Bowl, putting him at 205. I don't think he will be asked to carry it as much as the other two, but his health will be key to this offense and there's no reason he can't be 210+ by fall camp.
It's also good to hear about a healthy Brandon Saine. I think he got a bad rap last year battling through his hamstring injury, but as he showed in his freshman year, he can do a variety of things. A 3-headed rushing attack of Herron, Pryor and Saine will wear any opposing team down by the 4th and allow Tressel to do what he loves, control the clock.
A Ray Small sighting?
The mysterious case of Ray Small could be coming to a happy ending. Word out of camp is he's focused and catching everything in sight. Devier Posey is still primed to be the top target, but we've heard from a couple of people that Small is off to a great start. Small was in the doghouse last spring, losing his #4 jersey and went on to catch only 18 passes for a 149 yards.
He has never seemed the same after that vicious hit he took against Minnesota his freshman year. The hit must have screwed up his internal clock, because his perpetual lateness is what got him on Tressel's bad side. Ray knows this is his last year and any WR that has put up decent numbers at OSU recently has gone on to be drafted.
NCAA merges probes against USC
It was announced yesterday that the investigations of OJ Mayo and Reggie Bush have been combined. This signals a look into the entire institution and the lack of control they displayed. I'm not going to call them cheaters yet, but it's getting closer.
Beanie's stock rising again
Mel Kiper released his latest mock draft and penciled Beanie in at #14 to the Saints. This would be a great fit for Beanie, complimenting Reggie Bush and playing with one of the best QB's in the league. I still don't think he gets past Denver at 12, but at least they are talking favorably of Beanie again.