Ohio State offense struggles, but it’s only spring
There is no question Ohio State’s offense has been sluggish.
Before Buckeyes fans begin panicking, however, it’s important to
remember it’s only spring.
With quarterback Terrelle Pryor recovering from foot surgery,
and with not enough offensive linemen, the Buckeyes have
Work needs to be done at wide receiver and at quarterback,
especially since Pryor will serve a five-game suspension to open
Otherwise, it’s been a normal spring with lots of worries,
experiments and questions.
After the defense dominated in a weather-shortened scrimmage
last Saturday – not allowing a touchdown and barely allowing a
completion – lineman John Simon was asked if there was reason to be
worried about the offense.
”We see them in practice every day and we know that the offense
is very good,” he said.
It all begins at quarterback. Pryor did so much cheerleading
this spring he should have carried pompoms. He has been a constant
presence at practice, hovering around the younger players, shouting
encouragement and walking around the perimeter of drills.
He had surgery in January to stabilize ligaments in his right
foot. After wearing a boot, he’s now close to 100 percent but will
still skip spring workouts, which will be capped by Saturday’s
intrasquad scrimmage at Ohio Stadium.
With Pryor limited to just soft tossing on the sideline, for the
most part, the spring has been a massive audition for senior-to-be
Joe Bauserman, sophomore Kenny Guiton, redshirt freshman Taylor
Graham and incoming freshman Braxton Miller. Each has had his
moment in the sun – as much sun as there has been in this otherwise
rainy, dreary spring – but all also have miles to go to gain the
confidence of coaches and their teammates.
”They’re all working extremely hard,” said right tackle J.B.
Shugarts. ”They all want that spot but the thing about it is
they’re all helping each other while they battle for that spot.
They’re doing a great job reading the coverage, learning the
offense and having command in the huddle and keeping their poise on
With Pryor’s suspension for accepting improper benefits from a
Columbus tattoo shop owner, the four top quarterback candidates are
vying for the starting job with the Sept. 3 opener against Akron a
full 19 weeks from Saturday.
Starting left tackle Mike Adams, tailback Dan Herron, wide
receiver DeVier Posey and backup defensive lineman Solomon Thomas
are also suspended, and all are practicing this spring.
”Some people will say perhaps this guy should be the
quarterback or whatever,” said coach Jim Tressel, also suspended
for the first five games for knowing about the players’ violations
and not reporting them to anyone except Pryor’s ”mentor” back in
Jeannette, Pa. ”But we have to just keep evaluating every little
thing they do.”
The Buckeyes have been hamstrung up front because of a lack of
linemen. Starting guards Justin Boren and Bryant Browning, along
with valuable backups Andrew Miller and Connor Smith, graduated.
With only one of four incoming recruits (Tommy Brown) participating
this spring, that means the Buckeyes had just eight scholarship
Andrew Norwell, Marcus Hall, Jack Mewhort and Corey Linsley have
been working out at a variety of spots this spring, with Shugarts
at right tackle and Mike Brewster at center.
The Buckeyes are also thin at wide receiver. Team MVP Dane
Sanzenbacher graduated, but Posey (53 catches, 848 yards, seven
TDs) is back.
There have been frequent dropped passes, bad routes and missed
assignments. Part of the problem has been the uncertainty
surrounding the quarterbacks. That’s why tight end Jake Stoneburner
and the backs have been playing a larger role in the passing game
”It’s nowhere close to what it’s going to be next year,”
Brewster said of the offense. ”You’ve got guys playing everywhere.
You’ve got eight to 10 linemen, just trying to mix it up, just to
try to get guys out on the field. (Pryor) is not getting any reps
right now – all that. It’s definitely a little foundation we need
to build on going into the summer and fall.”