Better Luck in the Fall
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Earlier this week we revealed our top players from the spring on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, but it wasn’t a perfect month of practice for the Buckeyes.
With so many jobs up for grabs this spring, some players seemed to raise their level of play, but not everyone. There were those who missed out on the opportunity to make a big splash during one of the most important spring in recent Ohio State history.
We take a look at the Buckeyes didn’t fare so well this spring and wish them better luck in the fall.
Photo by Jim Davidson
QB Joe Bauserman — Bauserman all but admitted in his post spring “game” interview that he didn’t feel great about his performance this spring. He continued repping as the No. 1 quarterback throughout the entire spring, but for how much longer? He did not look good passing the ball in the spring game and has yet to distance himself from the others despite the fact he gets to work with DeVier Posey, Jake Stoneburner and Philly Brown in practice.
QB Kenny Guiton — Could Guiton be the odd man out in the quarterback race heading into the fall? Like the others, he was inconsistent during the spring, but Guiton was the only one who actually dropped a spot in the rotation. After starting out No. 2 behind Bauserman at the beginning of spring camp, Guiton ended up working as the third guy behind redshirt freshman Taylor Graham. That may not be a clear picture of the pecking order because Braxton Miller was still fourth, but it also can’t be a good sign for Guiton.
Photo by Jim Davidson
RB Carlos Hyde — There were times this spring where Hyde looked like a bad man running the football. He loves to lower his shoulder and run through guys, but it looked like he showed up for camp not in the best of shape. He started out as the fifth back and never really made a move during camp. It looked like he was still steady with Rod Smith for a while, but his production paled by comparison. Hyde capped his spring with a poor showing in the spring game.
FB David Durham — With Solomon Thomas suspended for five games, the door was open for Durham or fellow redshirt freshman J.T. Moore to slide into the rotation at the Leo spot behind Nathan Williams. While Moore stepped through the door, the staff decided to move Durham to other side of the ball where they needed help at the fullback position. At 6-1 and 245 pounds, he is a compact body who could excel behind Zach Boren an Adam Homan, but he’s starting all over.
T. Y. Williams
Photo by Dan Harker
Young Wideouts — It’s unfair to single out any of the young receivers because none of them performed at a high level consistently throughout the spring. Verlon Reed may have been the top performer while Philly Brown and T.Y. Williams caught touchdown passes in the spring game, but this group needs a better showing in the fall.
DL Melvin Fellows — It’s unfortunate that Fellows is on this list because he was playing very well throughout the spring before yet another injury sidelined him. The defensive end out of Cleveland Heights has never had a fair shake during his three years in Columbus because of the lingering knee problems and it doesn’t look like he is going to be able to stay healthy long enough to find a spot in Jim Heacock’s rotation up front.
LB Dorian Bell — The former 5-star linebacker out of Pennsylvania would have almost certainly made our defensive players on the rise list after spring if not for one small detail. That detail is the fact Bell has been suspended for the entire 2011 season for violating team rules. Before that news was confirmed by Jim Tressel, Bell was having a great spring. Now he will be one of the best scout team linebackers in the country.
LB Storm Klein — A classmate of Bell’s, Klein began the spring in a neck-and-neck battle with Etienne Sabino for the starting middle linebacker job. He seems to have the right instincts to play the position, but he quickly slid back to the second-team defense before straining a hamstring that kept him out for the majority of the spring. He could still challenge for a starting spot in the fall.
Photo by Jim Davidson
LB Jonathan Newsome — Another off the field issue at the linebacker spot is the ongoing situation with Newsome and his academics. The Glenville product landed in Tressel’s dog house this spring because of it, and saw very limited reps throughout the spring. He was relegated to the third-team defense in the spring game when he should be competing for the starting Sam linebacker spot. He started one game at that position last season, but he has to get out of the dog house before he can be considered a serious contender.
DB Christian Bryant — Another Glenville kid, Bryant was actually having a great spring before an injury derailed him in the first jersey scrimmage. With Tyler Moeller taking a cautious approach to his return, Bryant was the first-team Star early in spring camp and he also looked like a serious challenger for a starting spot at safety. Moeller will be back in the fall, which means Bryant had better be healthy enough to jump back in there and battle with Orhian Johnson and C.J. Barnett for one of those safety spots.
DB Nate Oliver — At first glance, Oliver actually had a solid spring. He got to rep with the second-team defense for most of the spring and actually took a few reps with the ones. He makes our list because he should have been on the first-team defense by default this spring. There were 11 injured defensive backs for the spring game, including both Stars (Moeller and Bryant) and yet Oliver was repping behind redshirt freshman Chad Hagan at a position Hagan was playing for the first time. Oliver is a senior, and the fact he didn’t find a home on the starting defense in the spring means he will probably be repping with the third team once all the defensive backs are healthy in the fall.
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