It’s that time again.
The 2008 Spring Game is slated to kick off at around 1:30 PM ET (12:30 for those of us in Greenbow County). For those of us who do not live in Ohio (and thus can’t drive to the game) and for those of us who don’t have the Big Ten Network, a live stream of the game can apparently be seen on BigTenNetwork.com . For those of us who may or may not be forced to going to a company picnic held on the same f’ng day1, perhaps some friends we may have can keep us abreast on the game.
I honestly don’t know how to break down a Spring Game. You can find the full draft breakdown and Scarlet and Gray rosters here for your information. That said, there are some thoughts on who and what to watch for based off news that has trickled in. I don’t pretend for this to be an exhaustive list and if there’s a player you think should be mentioned, by all means bring it up in the comment section.
Players to Watch:
If any one player is clearly the player of interest for the 2008 Spring Game, it’s Brandon Saine. Tressel himself would probably agree. Apparently, Saine is up to about 220lbs and has kept his top-end speed as Ken Gordon notes. Further, he’s seen action in a wide variety of roles, be it in goal line situations, split wide or whatever else. Those of us who choose to remember the good parts of the January game might remember Saine starting the game as a fullback: the position seeing the greatest level of experimentation in spring drills. It’s killing us down here not to see if Saine reprises that role, but given Beanie’s injuries and rehabilitation and talk that this might be his last year in Columbus, all eyes shift to Brandon Saine to see how electric he can be.
Lawrence Wilson was the first draft pick for the Gray roster. The junior from Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary was supposed to be the complimentary end to Vernon Gholston in 2007 before a leg injury forced a redshirt on him. Now, he’s coming back from injury and will presumably be playing counter Cam Heyward. It’s worth watching to see how fit he looks in the Spring Game.
Daniel “Boom” Herron, by most accounts, has really opened eyes in spring drills with some power running and downhill speed. Even with the Beanie leading the way in 2007 with Saine and MoWells serving as complimentary doses of pain and suffering aside him, most spectators seem to agree that the coaches will find a way to squeeze Herron into the rotation and find some ways to feature him. Apparently he’s been that impressive.
The interest here is not particularly a healthy interest, but one of the more curious stories of the 2008 spring conditioning has been the fall from grace for Ray Small. Indeed, he was developing nicely as a freshman, even cracking into the rotation in 2006 before having his bells rung against Minnesota. He’s never been the same since, it seems. Moreover, he’s apparently done something to get under Tressel’s skin because Tressel stripped him of his no. 4 (now registered as no. 82) and openly punished him with extra conditioning drills. It has his teammates and reporters alike scratching their heads on what the issue is. Small will be entering his junior season at Ohio State, and while the Glenville product was heralded as the greatest receiver his coach (Ted Ginn Sr) ever had, he now has Sanzy and Taurian Washington looking at taking over his 3rd receiver spot. Lest we forget about whatever playing time Stoneburner, Posey and Thomas can earn for themselves.
Ken Gordon was really impressed with what he saw of Curtis Terry, who apparently has been seeing time at linebacker and seeing time in the ongoing fullback experiment. Impressing Gordon most of all is his use as a Leo, lining up on the line of scrimmage. This will be the final season for the Glenville alum.
Donald Washington, Eugene Clifford, and Jamario O’Neal.
More from the morbid curiosity department, but we know these 3 done did something. What exactly has not been made clear though, let’s be frank, it’s probably weed. Either way, what makes the doghouse trip for these 3 even more curious is that they’re still practicing and will apparently see some kind of time in the Spring Game. Buckeye Commentary makes this curiosity explicit in their Mailbag edition. While the 3 have been punished to some capacity, they will play on Saturday… just not as much as they would like to, apparently. Of all 3, the cases of Clifford and O’Neal are particularly interesting. Clifford was/is supposed to be moved to safety to get a fresh start (cognizant readers might remember his suspension for the January game) and O’Neal has not lived up to the expectations held for a Glenville alum. Washington has some quality starts, so the only intrigue is if he seriously wangs it and ends up getting a suspension for the USC game.
Recruits to Watch:
Naturally, the Spring Game isn’t only about the players on the field, but indeed also about the future players watching in the stands. If you remember, the 2007 Spring Game was what unleashed the tidal wave of big time commitments from Michael Brewster and JB Shugarts (and Nathan Williams. Gotta give love to him too). Below is a partial list of expected attendees to the Spring Game, taken from BuckeyePlanet. Their list seems basically complete, but as far as I know, Garret Goebel is expected to be in attendance as well2.
- 2008 WR Devier Posey (Cincinnati, OH)
- 2008 DB Travis Howard (Miami, FL)
- 2008 QB Terrelle Pryor (Jeannette, Pennsylvania)
- 2009 ATH Victor Marc (Hallandale, Florida)
- 2009 CB Ricardo Dixon (Hallandale, Florida)
- 2009 WR James Green (Tallahassee, Florida)
- 2009 DB Brandon McGee (Lauderhill, Florida)
- 2009 RB Jaamal Berry (Miami, Florida)
- 2009 DB Vlad Emilien (Lauderhill, Florida)
- 2009 TE Stephen Plein (Fort Myers, Florida)
- 2009 WR Duron Carter (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
- 2009 DB Darrell Givens (Indian Head, Maryland)
- 2009 DB Dominic Clarke (Frederick, Maryland)
- 2009 RB Jordan Hall (Jeannette, Pennsylvania)
- 2009 LB Dorian Bell (Monroeville, Pennsylvania)
- 2009 WR Corey Brown (Monroeville, Pennsylvania)
- 2009 WR James Jackson (Grand Ledge, Michigan)
- 2009 LB Jordan Whiting (Louisville, Kentucky)
- 2009 DL Nate Cadogan (Portsmouth, OH)
- 2009 OL Marcus Hall (Cleveland, OH)
- 2009 DE Jonathan Newsome (Cleveland, OH)
- 2009 DB Mike Edwards (Cleveland, OH)
- 2009 LB Travis Freeman (Cleveland, OH)
- 2009 OL Corey Linsley (Youngstown, OH)
- 2009 FB Zach Boren (Pickerington, OH) – along with brother Justin
- 2009 DB Jamie Wood (Pickerington, OH)
- 2009 OL Chris Freeman (Trotwood, OH)
- 2009 DL John Simon (Yougstown, OH)
- 2009 OL Jack Mewhort (Toledo, OH)
- 2009 DL Melvin Fellows (Garfield Heights, OH)
- 2009 WR Chris Fields (Painesville, OH)
- 2009 LB Adam Homan (Coldwater, OH)
- 2009 LB Storm Klein (Newark, OH)
- 2009 CB C.J. Barnett (Clayton, OH)
- 2009 RB Bud Golden (Cincinnati, OH)
- 2009 OL Ryan Spiker (Dresden, OH)
- 2010 DB Marvin Robinson (Eagle Lake, Florida)
Of note for me:
What’s the over-under on how many times his name gets chanted as either Bauserman or Henton run the offense? I had no idea he was coming too, but I did know Hall would be in attendance.
Marcus Hall, Jonathan Newsome, Mike Edwards, and Travis Freeman.
All 4 are Tarblooders, so that means we’re probably getting at least one of them or the earth would fall off its axis. Freeman does not have an offer, nor does Edwards. Edwards is a huge Buckeyes fan and just picked up an offer from Illinois, which is quickly becoming West Ohio. Hall and Newsome both have offers, but will probably draw their recruitment out.
Some murmurings I’ve come across suggest he might commit at or soon after the Spring Game. It’s hard for me to predict who will commit and when, but this appears to be the likely candidate for a Spring Game commitment. You can gather as much from this conversation with Bill Kurelic.
I’ve read elsewhere that this is a likely poaching from Michigan for the Buckeyes, since there’s mutual interest3. I’m not sure when (or even if) it’ll happen, but Jackson could be heading south. Definitely a player of interest, as the Buckeyes will certainly take another receiver in this class, maybe two more.
Cris Carter’s kid. I want him mostly for that reason. Well, that, and he’s turned downfield blocking into an art form. He grew up a Michigan fan, and that is unacceptable, but he will be in attendance for the Spring Game apparently. Favours LSU and Ohio State.
His first name alone means he MUST become a Buckeye. If he becomes the ballhawking bringer of doom in the secondary, he’s definitely going to be called The Impaler throughout college. Is definitely a Buckeye lean at the moment.
Childhood friend of Lamaar Thomas. A lifelong Hurricanes fan, though, so I’m not sure what our chances are. I think he’s the secondary on the board that I covet the most, though. [POST SPRING GAME UPDATE]: Yaaaahoooooo!!
Melvin Fellows, Safari Planet.
Melvin Fellows will probably be a story throughout the duration of his recruitment, until he eventually signs with Illinois. He’s listed as a soft verbal there, but I don’t think he decommits. Zook has encouraged him to take a gander elsewhere while he can, but he’s probably going to stick with the Illini. Grr.
Huge Michigan fan, and probably will end up there. Will be top rated in 2010, but will probably head to Ann Arbor. No clue why he’s coming up to Columbus to check things out.
Ridiculous highlight video. Has the pulling guard play down pat, but probably won’t get an offer (size/frame issues). Is a big Buckeyes fan.
Will be addressed as “Sir” for the entirety of his visit to Columbus. Making him mad has been demonstrated to have deleterious side effects, such as, but not limited to: stinging pain in the abdomen, loss of extremities, loss of skull, and in many cases, loss of life. Avert thine eyes from his glory.
Anything else to note? Please let us know.
Oh, and as for the game itself. Who wins? Scarlet or Gray? Tomorrow, actually, the American people will win.