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Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 04/21/2010 7:07 PM

Football
Spring Game Draft Meets with Tressel's Approval
By Tony Gerdeman

The annual player draft for the Spring Game was held on Wednesday, and as is the case every year, Jim Tressel served as Commissioner.

He played his part well and laid down the rules for the participants and kept track of who picked when. All from the comfort of his overhead projector.

And he didn’t even have to hand out any suspensions.

In all, the draft took about 20-30 minutes with Tressel counting down as the two sides used much of their allotted selection time to discuss picking strategies.

While some would be surprised by the drafting of Kenny Guiton ahead of Joe Bauserman at quarterback, or Nate Oliver over Orhian Johnson at safety, Tressel would not be among them.

“Nothing surprises you when guys that are 20-years old are picking,” he said. “But nothing surprises you when those 50-year olds are picking this coming weekend in the NFL draft. People have their opinions and their buddies, and all those kind of things.”

“It’s always fun to watch ‘this guy thinks this guy should be ahead of that guy’, but there was nothing earth-shaking, I didn’t think.”

Perhaps the least ‘earth-shaking’ pick of the afternoon was quarterback Terrelle Pryor going first overall. Although it didn’t initially appear to be the slam dunk everybody assumed it would be.

When the Scarlet team won the toss for the first pick overall, they immediately huddled together like they were getting ready to ‘play the Feud’. Whispers were sent back and forth from players, with words of advice from the coaches. As Jim Tressel counted down the final seconds, the Scarlet finally--and maybe even reluctantly--selected Terrelle Pryor.

As for that reluctance?

“I was surprised it took that long,” admitted Tressel. “I’m sure they were over there talking about how much I was going to let him play. So that probably was more the decision as to who it was, and they still don’t know the answer to that.”

When asked if he would have selected Pryor first overall as well, he answered, “Yeah, probably.”

Being the top pick does not come without merit. To a man, everybody on the team has talked about the development that each of them has seen in Pryor. And that’s a point that wasn’t lost on Tressel.

“I think Terrelle’s had a good spring,” he said. “I think it’s obvious to see that his development is coming and I think his teammates see that.”

The hope for Tressel now is that the fans will get to see that same development on display in the Spring Game. How much of Pryor the fans will get to see is still unknown--but don’t expect to see a fourth-quarter drive featuring Pryor against the number one defense.

But then again, that’s not really the purpose of this game.

“Healthy. Fun. Compete,” responded Tressel, when asked what he wants out of this game. “Be together with the fans again. Just go out and have some fun on a spring Saturday, and get a little bit of marching band going on, and the Lacrosse team and the cheerleaders. Just another day at the ‘Shoe.”

Just because it’s supposed to be a fun day in the sun, however, doesn’t mean things always go as planned. Both teams want badly to win this game, and sometimes it can be won or lost on a single play says Tressel.

“Sometimes in this game, missed assignments--because you’re not working next to the guy you’re normally working with and sometimes there’s communication breakdowns, so sometimes those blows might be the difference in the game.”

While the fans may keep score, there are actually more important things going on Saturday than just a football game. Namely, the football team will be donning jerseys with pink accents on them, which will then later be auctioned off to benefit the Stefanie Spielman fund.

It was something that the entire team was more than happy to take part in.

“The Spielman family has made such an impact,” explained Tressel. “And Stefanie is so courageous. Our guys feel a very close connection to the family and Chris, obviously. And to be able to have this game kind of honor them again, I think is appropriate.”

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