Ohio State opened up spring practice Thursday on a sunny but windy day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
“We had the wind and the ball was flying around and we had some young kids with some butterflies,” said OSU coach Jim Tressel, whose team finished its first day in the mandatory attire of helmets and shorts.
Jim Tressel taking questions from the media after practice.
“The shorts days I worry about. There is no padding on the thighs. But we got through it without anyone getting a freak charleyhorse on their thigh or anything like that. We’ll have another good one tomorrow and then Saturday is when we practice with pads.”
Tressel talked about some of his goals for the spring.
“I think the thing we’re looking at the most is getting experience,” he said. “There may be some things we’re experimenting at in some areas. We have some newcomers like the punters and the holders and the snappers. We just have to get the right pace and the right tempo for how we do things.
“One thing that I noticed really across the board was it was a very attentive group. Every little bit of coaching that was going on, they were listening hard. You could see the next time they tried to do it they tried to employ what they heard. It’s a bright group, I think. They were really honed in and want to be coached.”
* As promised by Tressel on Tuesday, Justin Zwick worked mostly with the first team at quarterback. But Troy Smith and Todd Boeckman also got quite a few reps.
“That’s the way we’ll start it,” Tressel said. “I hope they continue to stay healthy and will get a lot of snaps. The biggest thing in the spring is getting reps. When you miss reps when you’re injured, that sets you back.”
* The coach discussed the situation regarding defensive coordinator Mark Snyder’s quest for the head coaching job at Marshall, his alma mater.
Mark Snyder & Jim Tressel
“I’ve been an administrator and I know you have to go through processes,” Tressel said. “Marshall is going through a process. I’m sure they want to move it along as expeditiously as they can. As I said to their media, Mark Snyder is a perfect fit for Marshall. He’s a graduate, he’s ready, he’s trained hard, he’s very talented. Marshall has to decide who is the best person for them. I don’t decide that. As each thing comes up, we’ll make adjustments accordingly.”
* Kyle Turano, who is holding out hope of getting a sixth year of eligibility, attended practice but did not punt. A.J. Trapasso and walk-on Tyson Gentry took most of the reps at punter.
“Kyle didn’t punt any with the team and we’re not going to take reps away from anybody,” Tressel said. “That may be because the percentages tell us he won’t be here. But I don’t want him to not be attached to the group.”
* Tressel said nothing has changed in two days regarding kicker Josh Huston’s bid for a sixth year. It is believed, though, the Huston has a much stronger case than Turano.
“He was told on March 12 it would be three to four weeks, so I expect something any time,” Tressel said.
* One player who stood out today was tight end Marcel Frost, a sophomore who missed a chance to contribute last year due to injury. During the team portion, he took a pass from Justin Zwick down the seam for a 30-yard gain.
“Marcel Frost, we have felt all along if he could stay healthy he could add something to us,” Tressel said. “The play he made today was a good play, stretching up the seam and making a play and showing a little bit of a burst. I would think just watching that he may have to lean out a little and trim up just a touch. But those tight ends also think they have to be able to block a little bit, too. I think if he’ll stay healthy, he’ll help us.”
* The ranks of the defensive line were bolstered as converted offensive tackle Tim Schafer, Brandon Maupin and Redgie Arden were all at practice with line coach Jim Heacock’s group.
“That’s a move,” Tressel said of Schafer’s change to defense. “I told him that unless it was something that would negatively affect us on the offensive line and he may have to move back. But I can just tell by the way he practiced. That’s what he enjoys. It was a sacrifice for him to move over for the team.
“I think it’s indicative of guys getting some experience and becoming guys we can put in the game like Kirk Barton and Steve Rehring and T.J. Downing. I think we have a few more numbers. Quality-wise, we’re getting better.”
* Tressel said he, like the players, is itching to get through Friday’s practice in shorts and get to full pads – and the Hoot and Holler drill – on Saturday.
“They were talking about it (Tuesday) in our 6 a.m. workout,” Tressel said. “They were chipper about Saturday and pads and this and that. These shorts practices, I think they’re good for learning. But I just want to get through them without anybody getting a silly injury. Now if a guy gets banged in a pads practice, that’s the risk you take.
“You will see it by the last half hour of tomorrow’s practice, `Ooh, it’s time to put the pads on.’ ”
* Linebacker Anthony Schlegel wore a blue jersey, meaning limited contact after knee surgery. But there was Schlegel, taking out a tackling dummy at full speed and going for a loose ball late in practice.
“It’s up to the trainer,” Tressel said. “Once he proves to the trainer that he can do this or he can do that, then he’ll be able to play. I worry and I tell him all the time, `Anthony, don’t overdo it.’ I’m more interested in him playing in September than I am about him playing in the spring game. But you know him. He’s champing at the bit.”
* Some number changes, not sure if they're permanent or not: Frost, 81 to now 90 (to get away from R.J. Coleman); LB Marcus Freeman, 17 to 1; freshman OL Jimmy Cordle debuted wearing No. 64.
Marcus Freeman #1
* Albert Dukes returned to the team after missing winter quarter while attending to legal matters in Florida. He looked smooth catching and running upon his return. One team member was heard saying Dukes will be one to watch this year.
* Cordle looks like he belongs. He was comparing notes with fellow freshman Alex Boone, who came down to watch the first practice. Boone stood taller than even Steve Rehring, who it looks has toned down a bit.
Kirk Barton, Alex Boone & Jim Cordle
* Recruits in attendance included Boone, Canton GlenOak’s Brian and Mike Hartline and Strongsville OL Chad Schofield.