Offense trumps defense in Ohio State’s spring game

Camo-clad Jim Tressel declared Ohio State’s spring game a

success while 44,276 scratched their heads trying to figure out the

scoring system.

”We had certain things we wanted to get done this spring and we

got a lot of those done,” Tressel said.

Each of the four quarterback candidates – Joe Bauserman, Taylor

Graham, Kenny Guiton and Braxton Miller – threw a touchdown pass as

the Buckeyes offense beat the defense 59-27 in a scrimmage that

concluded spring practice.

Ohio State is looking for someone to take over for three-year

starter Terrelle Pryor, who must sit out the first five games along

with four other top players the NCAA determined took improper

benefits. Tressel, too, is suspended for the first five games while

the NCAA investigates his admission that he knew about but didn’t

report players trading autographed uniforms and championship rings

for cash and free tattoos from a Columbus tattoo parlor owner.

The game, which featured a quirky scoring system that

overwhelmingly favored the offense, ended early because of a risk

of tornadoes in the area.

Offensive points were awarded in the usual ways in addition to a

point for each first down, while the defense scored for forcing

punts, forcing turnovers and making fourth-down stops.

The offense didn’t score a touchdown until its ninth possession

– its fourth series beginning at the defense’s 25-yard line.

Guiton’s 17-yard scoring pass went to Verlon Reed.

Graham flipped a 68-yard touchdown throw to T.Y. Williams in

stride streaking down the right sideline. Corey Brown caught a

15-yard pass from Miller, a prized incoming freshman. And

Bauserman, a senior-to-be with the most experience, found Ryan Ross

on a 16-yard score on the final play of the scrimmage.

”We’re all going to get the same amount of reps (in August) and

then we’ll go out there and compete and the best man will win,”

Bauserman said.

He completed 4 of 11 passes for 42 yards. Guiton was 5 of 11 for

43 yards, Graham 4 of 9 for 91 yards and Miller 7 of 12 for 73

yards. Graham was sacked five times and Bauserman twice. The

offense did not have a turnover.

Asked to rate the four quarterbacks, Tressel said, ”I thought

Braxton probably played a little bit more relaxed and had a little

bit more fun than he has, in part because we really limited what we

were doing today. Joe and Kenny showed that they’ve been around and

they are able to manage our offense and know what’s going on.

Taylor had the big home-run throw but took a couple too many

minus-yard plays.”

Tressel wore a military issue camo hat, tan desert boots and

camo pants as a part of military appreciation day.

Even he conceded the scoring system – called ”unique” on the

official game stats – heavily favored the offense.

Wide receiver DeVier Posey – also one of the ”Tattoo Five”

along with Pryor, offensive lineman Mike Adams, tailback Dan Herron

and backup defensive end Solomon Thomas – joked he would like to

have the same scoring system during a game in the fall.

Still, the offense totaled only 120 yards on the ground and 249

passing in 86 plays from scrimmage, with Jordan Hall adding a

5-yard TD run and Drew Basil kicking two field goals. The defense,

with linebacker Andrew Sweat leading the way with 10 tackles, had

seven sacks and 11 tackles for negative yardage.

Miller would normally be preparing for his senior prom, but the

acclaimed recruit from suburban Dayton, Ohio, graduated from high

school in time to enroll at Ohio State in January.

Shaky at the start of the 15 spring practices, he played well in

the finale.

”We shrunk the playbook and I think he felt more comfortable,”

center Mike Brewster said. ”He has a really quick release and it

was great to see him relaxed. He improvises and he can find guys.

Today was the best I’ve seen him play all spring.”