Freshmen Notes: Braxton Getting Comfortable
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — With a number of his classmates gathered around the entrance, freshman Braxton Miller took the podium Wednesday for the first time since enrolling at Ohio State back in January.
He and the majority of his freshman teammates met with the media to talk briefly about their experiences thus far at Ohio State and their expectations for the fall.
Here is a look at what the freshmen had to say just days before they report for the start of their first fall camp in Columbus.
ON QB BRAXTON MILLER…
Miller said it was tough at first when he learned Terrelle Pryor had left because Terrelle taught him a lot in the spring. He said he then became more focused knowing his chance was at hand.
Miller said he has gained 15 pounds since the Under Armour game back in January. He is up to 215 now.
Miller said he felt a lot more comfortable during 7-on-7s in the summer than he did during spring practice.
Miller said he wants to concentrate on the passing plays because he as the running plays down. He said he still gets confused on some routes.
Miller said he wants to stay humble during his 4 years at Ohio State.
Miller said he is working with freshmen wideouts Evan Spencer and Devin Smith every day to get the timing down.
Safety Jeremy Cash said he thinks Braxton Miller has a good chance to start this season.
ON WIDEOUTS EVAN SPENCER AND DEVIN SMITH…
Evan Spencer said he can remember running around the halls of the WHAC as a kid when his dad Tim Spencer was coaching the running backs at Ohio State. He called himself a “crazy kid.”
The last thing his dad told him was to go out there and play like you can.
Spencer said senior DeVier Posey took both he and Devin Smith under his wing. He said that with them not being able to work with Stan Drayton during the summer, DeVier has been like a second coach on the field.
Spencer said that there is no significance to him wearing the number 16; said he requested two other numbers before and didn’t get them.
Devin Smith said that Posey is a great tool for the freshmen. He said he has taught him about the technique aspects of playing receiver.
ON TIGHT ENDS JEFF HEUERMAN AND NICK VANNETT…
It’s hard to say for certain, but Jeff Heuerman might be the most physically impressive player from the freshman class. He said he came in at 224 pounds in January and is now up to 254 pounds of what looks like solid muscle.
Heuerman said he thinks Luke Fickell will be great. "He's a hard nosed guy and we're going to kick some people's ass.”
Heuerman was wearing a wristband that says JT on it for Jim Tressel. He said a lot of guys are wearing them.
Nick Vannett has only been on campus since June, but said he has already put on 10 or 11 pounds since getting to Ohio State.
ON THE OFFENSIVE LINEMEN…
The first freshman up Wednesday was big, bad Chris Carter. He looked large but not 390 pounds large as Fickell suggested in Chicago.
Carter admitted he came into summer conditioning a little bit out of shape and that he gained some weight from hitting the weight room and “the freshman 15.”
He said he has cut weight from 390 down to 375 and would feel most comfortable playing at around 360 pounds.
Tommy Brown said he weighs between 300 and 315 pounds since reporting in the spring.
Brown said talking to coach Bollman he expects to learn both tackle and guard at Ohio State. He said he thinks he will be in the mix on the offensive line this fall and is not expecting to redshirt.
Brian Bobek said he will play center this fall at Ohio State.
Bobek has a brother named Jeff who plays fullback at Michigan State.
Although he is from Illinois, Bobek said Ohio State was the place that felt like home even though parents both went to Iowa. He said his parents supported his decision.
Antonio Underwood said Braxton Miller and Ryan Shazier have caught his eye this summer.
Underwood said he wants to go by Antonio not Tony.
ON THE DEFENSIVE LINEMEN…
We didn’t get a chance to talk with defensive end Kenny Hayes Wednesday, but the four we did talk to were pretty impressive.
Michael Bennett said at Centerville he was mainly offense, but he had to play some defense even when he was exhausted. He said now he is happy about being able to focus on one side of the ball—defense.
That probably rules out hope for anyone who was hoping to see him move over to the offensive line.
Bennett said he rehabbed his arm a lot and can lift now. He said he wants to get a splint for the arm so he will be able to play this fall. He said it shouldn’t bother him with a splint on, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Joel Hale said he still calls coach Tressel every now and then to see how he's doing. He said Tressel encourages him to stay positive.
Chase Farris said this group of freshmen defensive linemen is talented but knows they have to work hard.
He said he thinks the two jokesters of the freshman class are Steve Miller and Curtis Grant.
Farris said he still thinks he could start out playing defensive end but as his body changes he could see himself going back and forth between tackle and end. Personally I see him as more of a tackle with the ability to ply strongside end.
Steve Miller was also wearing a JT wristband. He said it means a lot to him coming here and he misses coach Tressel. He said someone on the coaching staff gave him the JT wristband. He was not sure if they will wear them all season.
Miller said the guy that has surprised him so far is John Simon.
ON LINEBACKERS RYAN SHAZIER AND CURTIS GRANT…
The other freshmen who did not participate in Wednesday’s media event was linebacker Connor Crowell, but we did get to hear from two pretty impressive guys.
Ryan Shazier said he is learning all three linebacker spots right now but feels most comfortable at the Sam outside linebacker spot. That’s where he played in the spring and if he can add some muscle, Shazier could be dominant at Sam.
Shazier said he is excited for Coach Fickell because he always wanted to be the head coach at Ohio State. He said he loves coach Tressel but Fickell was the main reason he chose to come to Ohio State.
Curtis Grant also talked about Fickell being the main reason he came to Columbus. He said Fickell was always truthful to him, never tried to sell him on anything.
Grant said he hesitated at first when he heard coach Tressel was leaving, but he prayed about it and decided it was still right.
Grant said he likes middle (Mike) linebacker the best but the coaches wants him to learn all three positions.
Grant said he is at 247 pounds right now and he doesn't want to get any bigger. He said he wants to lose a little bit of weight. He said physically he is ready to play at this level but not mentally yet.
ON CORNERBACKS DORAN GRANT AND DERJUAN GAMBRELL…
Doran Grant said he believes he can come in and compete for a spot on the defense right away.
Grant said quarterback Kenny Guiton impressed him during 7-on-7, but he also mentioned Braxton Miller and Joe Bauserman.
OSU spokesperson said it was just a mistake when DerJuan Gambrell didn't show up on the official roster last week.
Gambrell said Travis Howard has been like a brother to him since he got to OSU.
Gambrell said he came into a peaceful situation at Ohio State. Things are clicking and there is no chaos in the locker room.
ON SAFETIES JEREMY CASH AND RON TANNER…
Ron Tanner mentioned the attitude of "us vs. the world".
Tanner said he learned a lot in the spring, especially getting to play so much because of all the injuries to the secondary.
Jeremy Cash said he at least wants to be a physical therapist but might go on to become an orthopedic surgeon.
He was the most impressive speaker of the day and an OSU spokesperson said he had two fantastic academic quarters at Ohio State.
Cash said he thinks Braxton Miller has a good chance to start this season.
ON LONG SNAPPER BRYCE HAYNES…
Bryce Haynes said he weighs 195 right now and wants to add strength and weight.
Haynes said he was chosen at random by his 8th grade coach to long snap. Said he became good at it his junior year and started going to national camps to perfect it.
Haynes said his natural positions other than long snapper are wide receiver and defensive end.
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