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Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 04/02/2010 2:24 AM

Five Strange Things from Day One
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS — The first day of spring camp came and went as it always does at Ohio State. The Buckeyes had beautiful weather for their first day of practice and things seemed to go according to plan for coach Jim Tressel.

And why wouldn’t they? He’s been at this a long time, but there were a few things from day one that just seemed a little out of place.

5. Terrelle Pryor is a junior. Is it just me or doesn’t it seem strange to think that Pryor is halfway through his career at Ohio State? A lot has transpired for the kid in the last two years, but it seems like just yesterday the entire country was hanging on his every word during one of the more high-profile high school recruitments in history.

“We’ve talked a lot about the fact that it’s hard to believe but more than half of your career is done. You know that’s, that’s real,” Tressel said Thursday.

In his two years in Columbus, Pryor has completed 267 of his 460 pass attempts (58 percent) for 3,405 yards. He has 30 touchdown passes to 15 interceptions and has racked up 1,410 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Yet as he stood there on the field Thursday, it dawned on me that this would likely be the defining season of his collegiate career.

4. No Doug Worthington or Lawrence Wilson hooting and hollering during defensive line drills. As a former football player, I have always been drawn to the defensive lineman drills in practice. They tend to be the most intense on the team and the guys really seem to get after it in practice like they’re hunting down Colt McCoy in a real game. Over the past 3-4 years, you couldn’t walk within shouting distance of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center without hearing Worthington and Wilson hooting and hollering to get guys fired up during practice. Thursday there was a bit of an eerie silence as both seniors have moved on. As always, someone will step up to fill the vocal leadership role this fall, but no one can replace Worthington’s booming voice.

3. Not seeing walk-on tailbacks carrying the rock. In the past, guys like Bo DeLande, K.C. Christian and Marcus Williams have owned spring ball because of the thin number of scholarship backs at Ohio State. Even last year the Buckeyes were waiting on Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry to arrive in the fall, which opened the door for the walk-ons to see serious reps in practice and scrimmages. That wasn’t the case at all Thursday. I don’t think I saw a walk-on carry the ball one time during 7-on-7s or 11-on-11s thanks to OSU’s newfound depth at tailback. Brandon Saine and Boom Herron split carries with the ones. Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry went with the twos and newcomer Carlos Hyde took most of the reps with the threes. If Jermil Martin had been healthy enough to go, even he might have struggled to get carries in a rich backfield that Tressel called the deepest of his tenure.

2. A decade of Tressel. Speaking of tenure, it really set in Thursday that this will be the 10 th spring for Jim Tressel at Ohio State. A decade of Tressel. It doesn’t seem that long ago that he was talking about 310 days until his first trip to Ann Arbor. And yet the Buckeyes are 8-1 against Michigan under Tressel, gunning for their seventh straight victory against the Wolverines in 2010. That would make it nine wins over that school up north in a decade. That’s not too shabby.

1. A starting offensive line that is almost completely set on the first day of camp. Spring practice is all about position battles, young guys coming of age and holes in the lineup being filled. It seems like every year coach Jim Bollman is rolling bodies through the offensive line to see which guys work best with which other guys. There are usually 3-4 guys out of practice and typically a lot of competition for spots across the board. But not this spring. The Buckeyes return four starters on the offensive line and three other guys (Mike Adams, Andrew Miller and Marcus Hall) who started at least one game a year ago. With Adams taking most of the snaps at left tackle, there was a cohesiveness with the first unit that hasn’t been there in a while.

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