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Football
The-Ozone Note and Quotebook
By John Porentas

Great Call!: Members of the OSU basketball team called the plays in the OSU spring game. According to OSU Head Coach Jim Tressel, the football team didn't just pay lip service to that idea, the plays actually were called by the basketball players.

"It was pretty basic," said Tressel. "They had a list of three to five plays they could call on first down, second down, and so on," Tressel said.

None of the basketball players were anxious to admit they had called plays that resulted in negative plays, but were more-than anxious to claim their successes.

Coach Matt Terwilliger called a fake punt that worked to perfection.
Photo by Jim Davidson

"I called the fake punt," declared Matt Terwilliger even before the first question of the press conference was asked.

"No he didn't," retorted a smiling David Lighty who explained that he was the resident football expert on the basketball team since he had played football in high school.

Losing Head Coach Mike Conley also got in on the act after Tressel questioned his call on the pass play on which Todd Boeckman was sacked, fumbled and Larry Grant returned the ball for a touchdown.

"I called that play-action play, the one on fourth-and-one, that got us down in the endzone area," Conley said.

Sorry Mike, they call it The Horseshoe, but it's not horseshoes, "in the area" doesn't count.

Tribute to the Hokies: The OSU football team paid tribute to the victims of the Virginia Tech campus shooting tragedy by wearing the Virginia Tech logo on their helmets for the spring game. OSU Head Coach Jim Tressel said the tribute was approved by Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer.

I know him fairy well. I coached against Frank as far back as 1986 when he was at Murray State," said Tressel.

"We called for permission to order some of their decals and put them on the side of our helmet. I didn't want to just assume that was OK without checking in and he said it was. He was honored by the gesture and he appreciated our guys thoughts," Tressel said.

"I thought it was pretty special knowing what Virginia Tech as a school went through a couple of days ago," said Mike Conley.

"It kind of shocked us all. To see the football team have those helmets was pretty special. It's a great way to honor them."

Bad Memories . OSU linebacker Larry Grant had a big day in the Scarlet and Gray game. Grant had two fumbles caused and two fumbles recovered. The second one sealed the game when Grant picked up the ball and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. Grant had a chance to make a play like that last season during the regular-season when he scooped up a fumble against Northern Illinois is the season-opener, but ran out of gas before he got to the endzone and got caught. Grant said the memory of that play kept him going toward the endzone on Saturday.

Larry Grant

"I hit him and the ball was loose. I didn't know where it was. All was thinking was Northern Illinois," said Grant.

The bad memories weren't just limited to past regular-season games. Linebacker Marcus Freeman and wide receiver Brian Robiske, both of whom played for the losing scarlet squad on Saturday, said that being two-time losers in the spring game is not a fond memory

"I remember losing last year with the gray squad. This is two losses for me so I've got to change that," said Freeman.

"I lost last year with the gray squad.," echoed Robiske. "You remember those losses."

Antonio Pittman

Pitt is It: Former OSU running back Antonio Pittman was in attendance at the spring game, enjoying the sunshine, action, and signing autographs. Pittman is awaiting the upcoming NFL draft. OSU Head Coach Jim Tressel says he is hearing good things about Pittman's draft prospects.

"I think he's a great back," said Tressel.

"In fact (former OSU running backs coach and current Chicago Bears running backs coach) Tim Spencer was in to speak to our clinic and I asked Spence how he evaluated him, and he's got him evaluated really high.

"I'm sure the kid from Oklahoma (Adrien Peterson) will get picked first. My bias is that I think Antonio will be the next back picked. We'll see," said Tressel.

Rebounding: Despite the fact that the basketball team was on hand, we're not talking hoops here. Jim Tressel was asked how his team is rebounding after the 41-14 loss to Florida in the BCS National Championship game, and whether this was one of the tougher situations to rebound from that Tressel has seen in his coaching career. Tressel's answer was a little surprising.

"I've been 2-9 and 4-7, it's a little harder after those than 12-1," Tressel said.

Rising Stock: The big question every spring is whose stock is rising, and whose isn't. A couple of players, such as defensive back Chimdi Chekwa, running back Maurice Wells, defensive end Lawrence Wilson and defensive lineman Doug Worthington, have been mentioned prominently this spring. There were a few others as well. Among those is Devon Lyons who looked particularly effective in the spring game and had three receptions for 72 yards, both game highs.

Devon Lyons

"I think Devon is a guy who had a great spring. He did a really good job today," said fellow wide receiver Brian Robiske. "Albert Dukes is another guy who had a really good spring," Robiske said.

"I thought Mo Wells had an excellent spring," said Tressel.

"I thought he grew to run more and more patient as the spring progressed, which isn't a surprise that he would then do so in a game.

"The guy I keep hearing Jim Bollman talk about is Andrew Moses," Tressel said when asked about offensive linemen.

Andrew Moses

"He really thinks Andrew has really stepped up and gotten stronger and is a competitive kid and a really smart kid. Connor Smith and Bryant Browning coming off a freshman redshirt I know he's been very pleased with. Ben Person and guys you were hoping would step up, that group, that age level, I think he feels pretty good about," Tressel said.

It wasn't all roses along the offensive line, however. Injuries kept a number of them out of action this spring, players that the OSU staff would have loved to see step up this spring.

"It was disappointing to have John Skinner and Kyle Mitchum out because those were two guys going into their redshirt junior year. This would have been a great time for them to get reps and really step up there," said Tressel, but then pointed out one more bright spot.

"Jimmy Cordle is a little bit in that age group that now it's time. I think Jim Bollman was very pleased with him."

Tressel is also impressed with linebacker-turned-running back Tyler Moeller.

"Tyler Moeller, when you have a team meeting he's the first one in there. It's like he woke up and came straight to the team meeting room. He loves it, loves every part of it," Tressel said.

One up and comer who won't be seeing the field early next fall is defensive back Andre Amos who injured his knee this spring.

"We're probably going to lose Andre Amos for a significant amount of time, maybe get him back at some point in the season," said Tressel.

Non-measureables: The quarterback spot is still up for grabs next fall, and fans and coaches will be dissecting statistics and film trying to figure out who the OSU signal caller will be. One attribute that doesn't show up on a stat sheet is the non-measureables like leadership. OSU tailback Maurice Wells likes what he sees in all of the candidates on that score, and talked about Robbie Schoenhoft who led the only touchdown drive of the spring game.

Robbie Schoenhoft

"I've always thought that Robby is a good leader," said Wells.

"He came in there that series. At half time he said we were going to put some points on the board. That's exactly what we did. He stayed calm, made good throws, good decisions. He didn't have any turnovers. I thought he did the job," Wells said.

That ability to stay calm rubs off on his teammates, but according to Tressel, it is one of the essential attributes a quarterback must develop if he is to be effective on the field.

"The hardest thing to do as a quarterback, and that's why the best ones are the true veterans, is to stand in there where everything is just flying around you and pretend that that's not even there. That's where you have to get," said Tressel.

One Last Look at the Quarterbacks: The spring game was the first time fans got to see Todd Boeckman, Robbie Schoenhoft and Antonio Henton in action this year. Tressel sized up their performance in the spring game and explained what pleased him and what didn't.

"I didn't want to see interceptions run back for touchdowns," said Tressel alluding to the pick-six thrown by Henton on the first possession of the game.

"The thing about playing the quarterback position is you've got to slow the game down so you can make good decisions, and good decisions are based on seeing the defense. It takes experience to slow the game down.

"I thought that was a good drive that Robby had, to take them down and get ahead.

"I thought that was a good drive that Todd had to take them down there. That was good for Todd to get the ball back with five-something to go and need to take the team down and he did until the last play there.

"Antonio made some good things happen and also made some errors, not unlike most young guys."

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