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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Minnich's Thoughts From Ohio State's 2011 Spring Game

Before the news broke on April 25, 2011, regarding Ohio State's and Jim Tressel's NCAA violations, Ohio State fans were actually reviewing this past weekend's spring game. I figured I would offer up some thoughts contrary to the torch-bearers and pitchfork carriers employed by ESPN.com.

Having attended multiple Ohio State spring games in the past, I have often cautioned Ohio State fans not to put too much stock into the performances, positively or negatively. For example, for every 1996's spring game hero Joe Germaine, there is a (fill in the spring game year) of Bam Childress. In other words, strong performances do not necessarily translate into strong performances in the fall.

With those thoughts in mind, here are some quick thoughts I have as they relate to Ohio State heading into summer conditioning.


1. The quarterback position is still in flux heading into fall camp ~ Joe Bauserman may have the vote of the coaches at the moment, but it would be premature to pencil Bauserman in as the starter against Akron on September 3rd. Yes, I remember what I wrote up above. I would also suggest that coaches have reassured fans that Bauserman knows the offense the best, but his performance in the spring game certainly belied that reputation. Braxton Miller is raw, but his mobility behind makeshift offensive lines in the spring game gave fans the impression that he could improvise the offense enough until Terrelle Pryor's return in October. Taylor Graham has the strongest arm, but arguably the weakest mobility. Kenny Guiton had equal times good and bad in the spring game, as did Joe Bauserman. This position may not be decided until a few games into the season, in my estimation.


2. The running backs and tight ends will be vital parts of Ohio State's passing offense ~ Every Ohio State fan who has clamored for Jim Tressel to throw to the tight ends, this is your offense. With DeVier Posey's pending suspension, and the visible inconsistencies of Corey "Philly" Brown displayed in the spring game, Ohio State will need to involve both Jake Stoneburner and Reid Fragel more in the passing game. Running backs Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry both showed signs of being capable slot receivers who could pose challenges for opposing defenses.


3. The offensive line's lack of depth is a major concern ~ In February 2010, I wrote about how I could not understand why Ohio State did not pursue other offensive linemen beyond Andrew Norwell and Matt James in the state of Ohio. The spring game showed how precarious Ohio State's offensive line depth is going into the 2011 season.


4. The defense looks to be good as usual ~ Yes, I know that the Gray team lost in Coach Tressel's convoluted scoring scheme. With most of the secondary nursing injuries, Ohio State's defense was facing an uphill battle going into the final spring practice. All Jim Tressel wanted was to get players out of the game with no injuries - with the exception of Johnathan Hankins, nobody was injured, which is a good thing. The defense will be fine this upcoming season.


5. Now Ohio State needs to work without "The Tat 5" ~ While I respect the coaching staff using Mike Adams, DeVier Posey, and Daniel "Boom" Herron in spring ball, the fall camp needs to be devoted to the players who will be able to play against Akron. Am I suggesting giving no reps to Adams, Posey, Pryor, etc? Absolutely not. But I am suggesting that it does Ohio State no good devoting valuable coaching time to players who cannot help in meaningful games on Saturdays.




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