High Hopes

By Jason Priestas on April 27, 2009 at 9:33 am
Media crush

The fans came out in force on a beautiful spring Saturday and they weren't disappointed.

Hoping to see signs of improvement in phenom Terrelle Pryor's passing game, the sophomore-to-be delighted the crowd with two long touchdown strikes in the span of a half minute on the way to 191 first half passing yards.

If you weren't lucky enough to be at the game, you've no doubt read plenty of recaps by now, so I'll spare you some of the details, but from my (most excellent) vantage point, he looked very sharp throwing the ball. There were many times when he could have tucked the ball and taken off for big yardage, but instead kept his eyes downfield and delivered a strike.

Taurian Washington turned in his second consecutive solid spring performance, hauling in four receptions for 92 yards, including a 44 yard touchdown catch over Chimdi Chekwa to put Gray up 10-0. After a successful onside kick gave the ball back to Gray, Pryor hooked up with Ray Small on a 42 yard catch and run down the opposite sideline on 3rd and 10 to move the score to 17-0.

Pryor looked so good throwing the ball (13-18, 191 and the two touchdowns) that Tressel opted to keep him out of the game when he was supposed to return for the fourth quarter.

So, on that front, things are looking good. Give the young man fall camp and some more time to work on his mechanics and reads and we could witness the return of a potent passing game after taking last season off.

Other notable performances came out of Brandon Saine, Tyler Moeller and Brian Rolle. Saine backed up some of the praise he'd received coming out of spring practice by ripping off 48 yards on back-to-back-to-back carries to start the second half. Moeller was absolutely everywhere on the afternoon, most notably tracking down Marcus Williams from behind to save what would have been an 83 yard touchdown scamper. Tweener in size or not, he has to be on the field as often as possible this fall. Rolle's in the same boat as Moeller. He led both squads with 11 tackles, including eight solos and delivered several noteworthy hits.

It was a little difficult to grade the play of the lines on the afternoon. The defenses did combine for 10 sacks on the day, but with several guys playing outside of where they would normally line up, I'm not trying to read too much into that. I do know that some of Saine's finest running came off the shoulder of Boren, so on that front, things are looking good.

On to the draft. Seven Buckeyes were taken in the NFL draft Saturday and Sunday, including four on the first day. The seven led the Big Ten conference and there were surprises in each direction. The Saints snatched up Jenkins with the 14th pick and both Wells (31st to Arizona) and Laurinaitis (35th to St. Louis) slid a bit, but Robiskie (36th to Cleveland) and Hartline (108th to Miami) were taken sooner than we anticipated.

The other players taken were Donald Washington (102nd to Kansas City) and Marcus Freeman (154th to Chicago). Not surprisingly, not a single offensive lineman was drafted, leaving Boone, Rehring and Person to scramble for free agent deals or playing time outside the country (Boone did sign with the 49ers). Not that anyone is counting, but only two Buckeye offensive linemen have been drafted in the last three years, and none sooner than the sixth round.