The-Ozone Note and Quotebook
By John Porentas
A Grain of Salt: The Buckeyes have reported to camp and the inevitable flood of reports on the progress of camp will follow as surely as the rising of the tides and the setting of the sun. We're guilty of producing some of that flood.
Buckeye fanatics will devour every word, but for some of the more seasoned members of the team, the media explosion isn't all that impressive. As a matter of fact at least one Buckeye takes what is written with more than just a small grain of salt.
"I'm too old to believe anything you guys write," quipped offensive tackle Kirk Barton.
"I'll read it if I don't have anything else to read when I'm in the bathroom. Young guys like to read what you guys say. I just read it to make sure I'm not going to get in trouble," Barton said.
Weight Room Record: A record was recently set in the OSU weight room. Linebacker Marcus Freeman broke the OSU record for the hang clean with a lift of 405 pounds last week. Freeman broke the record of around 380 held by former Buckeye Mike D'Andrea.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Woody Ball Revisited: In our feature earlier this month about the newly completed renovations of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center we reported that the football program is actually holding organized social activities at the WHAC for the players. The first of those was The Woody Ball, a dance at which players and coaches participated in ball room dancing and watched movies. Linebacker Marcus Freeman attended and gave the event high marks.
"It was fun," said Freeman.
"Not too many guys got out on the dance floor with their dates, but I did and Larry Grant did and Rory Nicol, even Coach Tressel with his. wife," Freeman said.
While Freeman was impressed with the ball, he was a little less-than impressed with Tressel's dancing.
"He did OK. We did ballroom dancing and things like that. We had to switch partners and when we did Mrs. Tressel was with a lot of players she was a lot more happier," said Freeman drawing a laugh from reporters.
When confronted with the fact that he was perhaps less-than accomplished on the dance floor Tressel defended himself.
"My ballroom dancing is good. Freeman doesn't think I danced that well? He's pretty good. I have to say he's pretty good. Barton didn't try," said a smiling Tressel who then admitted that perhaps the signs were there that his dancing left something to be desired.
"She (his wife Ellen) kind of called for the circle dance where you end up trading partners all the time so she could get rid of me," he finally admitted.
Impressive Freshmen: Every year at this time one of the big item of interest is who of the incoming freshmen is stepping up and may be able to help the Buckeyes. It's a bit early in that process since no one has had any pads on yet, but there were some people who stood out in seven-on-seven drills.
"The funny thing is that I've been watching a lot of them and I don't even know their names. We get to know each other in fall camp. The Taurian Washington kid from Michigan has been playing some good ball and Eugene Clifford has been playing some good ball," said Freeman.
Defensive back Malcolm Jenkins had an almost identical comment.
"I think one of the young receivers, Taurean from Detroit, he stood out a lot to me as far as the young offensive players. Eugene Clifford came in and he played pretty well at corner. I think he'll be real good. He's pretty physical. He's got to work on his technique a little bit but he'll be straight," said Jenkins.
According to Jim Tressel there has been plenty of opportunity for the upper classmen to see those freshman this summer.
"We had fourteen of our freshman in to work out over the summer. The only one who wasn't there was Devon Torrence who was playing professional baseball in the minors," said Tressel.
Who does he think will redshirt and who will play?
"We'll probably redshirt about half. We usually do.
"I'm usually the worst guess as to who is going to jump in and help, but I've heard good things about what they're doing."
Big Brother: Former OSU defensive coordinator and current Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio startled some people at the Big Ten Media Days when he announced that when completed, MSU's football facilities would be second to none. That is a bold statement in view of the stature of the newly renovated WHAC, but Dantonio stuck to his guns when asked if the new Spartan facilities would measure up.
"Yes, I have been to Columbus," said Dantonio when asked if he was aware of the scope of the WHAC renovation.
MSU will not quite spend the 21.5 million dollars spent at OSU, but they aren't exactly going cheap either.
"Our facility is around 16 million plus," said Dantonio who explained that the Spartans may be able to get just as much facility for a little less money.
"They renovated and moved their weight room, which I'm sure impacted the cost. We'll build on to ours," he said.
"Our weight room will be 16,000 to 17,000 square feet, high ceilings, state of the art.," said Dantonio.
Those numbers are almost identical to the numbers at OSU, but Dantonio said the Spartans may one-up the Buckeyes when it comes to high-tech communication.
"I'll be able to sit in my office and hit a button and watch the offensive line coach meet with the offensive linemen. It's going to be very, very nice," said Dantonio.
Dantonio will be able to electronically eavesdrop every meeting space, the weight room, and other important parts of the building. Coaches will even be able to tape their meeting for review...or to see if players were listening. It sounds a whole lot like Big Brother in George Orwell's novel 1984, a fact not lost on Jim Tressel when asked if he has similar capabilities at OSU's facility.
"No, I'm not Big Brother. I can't do that, nor can anyone do that in my office." responded Tressel.
Getting Noticed: Fall camp is a place where a player can get noticed and maybe earn a position. The players who have the best chance of doing that are those who have already caught somebody's eye in spring ball. OSU Head Coach Jim Tressel said there is a player that falls into that category on the defensive roster at OSU.
"A guy like Austin Spitler, who I thought had a fabulous spring," said Tressel.
"You turn on the film and say 'Man, that guy deserves a chance to play.' That's one of the guys who comes to mind. Probably not too many guys who cover us are walking around with Austin on the tip of their tongue, but don't sell him short. I think there are some guys who are anxious to show (what they can do)."
Tressel isn't the only one who has noticed a veteran who is stepping up. Defensive back Malcolm Jenkins said that wide receiver Albert Dukes is also shining.
"He runs great routes," said Jenkins.
"He's probably the hardest out of all the receivers to read. I think he does a great job studying what he wants to do, studying his routes and practicing. I think he'll be a great receiver this year."
Quarterback Derby: Todd Boeckman, Robby Schoenhoft, Antonio Henton; which one will it be?
While in Chicago OSU Head Coach Jim Tressel spoke briefly about both Boeckman and Schoenhoft. First Boeckman.
Todd Boeckman and Robby Schoenhoft will be joined by Antonio Henton in the chase for the starting QB job this fall.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"He comes off as very under control and very in command, like he knows what he has to do and he's been working hard, but knowing the competitor that he is, the night before we start, he isn't going to sleep much (before the opening of fall camp)
because it's important to him," said Tressel.
On Schoenhoft: "You have to remind Robby that every play doesn't have to be a completion, and Robby will try to find a way to throw it through you. He's grown from that standpoint. Those guys with those good arms, they think they can get it in anywhere. I think our guys have a handle on what it is we need them to do. Now they need to go out and get enough experience to handle what those other guys are trying to do to stop them from getting it done. That's experience." said Tressel.
Tressel said that the lack of experience for all the candidates means that one of the keys to winning the job is to get all the reps they can in practice, and that means staying healthy during fall camp.
"They have to do all they can do to stay out of the training room, because if you're in the training room, you're not getting the reps and the next guy is going to have a chance to take over," Tressel said.
Fat Man Football: The linebackers, defensive backs, receivers and running backs all participated in seven-on-seven drills this summer. So what were the offensive and defensive linemen doing while that was going on?
"The O-Line and the D-Line go down and they play fat-man ball," said linebacker James Laurinaitis.
"It's like a two-handed touch game.
"The offense plays the defense in two-man touch. It's old-school back-yard football., one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, all that stuff." said Laurinaitis.
Stars, Schmars: Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins is a Buckeyes whose name appears on several post-season award watch lists. That didn't really enjoy that kind of notoriety coming out of high school when he was ranked as a two to three star recruit (out of a possible five). Jenkins said the lack of respect he got from the recruiting rating services did not cause him to lower his expectations.
"I wasn't a big time recruit, but I came in with confidence," he said.
"I remember when I was being recruited I told Coach Hazell I was going to be starting by the Texas game, and I ended up starting by the Michigan State game. For a freshman to make that kind of statement is kind of bold, but that was the mentality that I had coming in, that I was going to play and I was going to accomplish great things."
So far, he's done just that despite the low opinion of him when he left high school.
"Recruiting doesn't mean anything. You can be six star recruit and not play a down," "Jenkins said.
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