Tressel explains Newsome's absence.

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Last updated: 04/14/2011 8:23 AM
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Tressel Explains Newsome’s Absence
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It turns out, there is an easy answer to the mystery of Jonathan Newsome’s unexplained absence from practice this spring: he is in the doghouse.

More specifically, Jim Tressel’s doghouse.

Jonathan Newsome
Photo by Jim Davidson
Jonathan Newsome

“You know that I’ve been known to have a doghouse, and Jonathan is kind of in and out of it simply because we’re not 100 percent sure he’s doing everything he needs to do to the best of his abilities,” Tressel said Wednesday during the Big Ten conference call.

“So therefore he’s only gotten part of the privileges.”

The junior linebacker was expected to compete for a spot on Ohio State’s defense now that Ross Homan and Brian Rolle are gone. With Andrew Sweat moving over to take Homan’s spot at the Will linebacker position, Newsome actually would have been the top Sam linebacker on the depth chart.

Instead, he was seen leaving the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in street clothes while the Buckeyes were still finishing up practice last week. A product of Cleveland Glenville, Newsome’s issues would appear to be of the academic variety.

“As soon as he feels, and we feel, he’s heading in the right direction, he’ll have his opportunity to regain those privileges,” Tressel said of Newsome, who has taken part in some of spring practice, but certainly not all. 

“I don’t expect him to be in it long, but sometimes we have to do what we think will help a young person learn.”

Tressel and his staff proved that a year ago when they required Newsome’s former high school teammate Marcus Hall to take a redshirt for academic reasons. Hall was expected to be a part of the rotation on the offensive line last season, just as Newsome was likely going to be in the picture at linebacker this spring.

He recorded 15 tackles in 13 games as a key member of the kick coverage team a year ago and actually moved into the starting lineup at Sam linebacker when Homan was sidelined by a foot injury.

The return of sixth-year senior Tyler Moeller at the Star position means the Sam linebacker likely won’t be on the field as much in 2011, but things seemed to opening for Newsome just at the right time. Andrew Sweat moved over to Will linebacker this spring—just as he did when Homan was out last year—on a permanent basis, and Etienne Sabino slid inside to battle with Storm Klein at the Mike linebacker spot.

Currently the No. 1 Sam linebacker this spring has been senior walk-on Tony Jackson, who recorded nine tackles in 11 games last season, primarily on special teams. If Sabino were to lose the battle with Klein, which looks unlikely at the moment, he would probably slide back over to the Sam spot where he was competing last season.

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