Lots to see on the O-line
Last pre-season, the focus was mainly on the quarterback battle between Bobby Reid and Donovan Woods. This year, the biggest position battle lies with those charged with protecting Reid.
At the end of spring ball, senior Kurt Seifried looked to have claimed the job, with redshirt freshmen Andrew Lawrence and Noah Franklin and true freshman Jacob Secrest all in the running.
Not entirely satisfied with the spring lineup, coach Joe Wickline shuffled the deck to start fall camp. Secrest has moved out to right tackle and is working behind All-conference candidate Corey Hilliard. Wickline also opened the left guard position to competition. Sophomore Steve Denning appeared to have locked up the job in the spring, but shared first team reps with Lawrence today. At right guard, Seifried and Franklin split the reps with the ones.
"There's some competition at guard, because we don't really have anyone with experience there," head coach Mike Gundy said after practice. "Coach Wickline has about four he's working in there. The performance is going to be important to see who plays.
Perrish Cox already has an established name with OSU fans as the jewel of the class of 2006, who made a dramatic signing day switch from a commitment to LSU. He lived up to his billing on Thursday, returning kicks and playing cornerback.
Cox and receiver Jeremy Broadway hooked up about four times in one-on-one drills and battled to an impressive draw. After a Cox break-up, Gundy hollered "Who was my corner there? Cox? Good route Broadway. That's good coverage for a freshman Cox!"
The talk of the early part of practice was the heads of starters Bobby Reid, Adarius Bowman and Victor DeGrate. The trio came out sporting three different variations of the mohawk hairdo. For his part, Gundy seemed mystified about the look.
"I don't know where that came from," said Gundy. "It looks like someone got a ten-for-one haircut deal. Pay one guy and get a bunch of guys a haricut. I don't know where that came from."
As Corral poster "toontown" reported last week, defensive backs Calvin Mickens and Quinton Moore switched positions. Mickens saw some quality time at cornerback last fall, while Moore gained experience at safety. Gundy said it came down to Mickens outgrowing the position.
"(Mickens) has gotten so big, he's really more of a safety now," Gundy said. "We feel in the long run, he's going to be a better safety. Then we got lucky because we had the flexibility with Quinton Moore being agile enough to move over."
Shakeups at LB
Much like the offensive line change-up, linebackers coach Todd Bradford opened things back up at linebacker. The most notable change on Thursday was redshirt freshman Alex Odiari moving to the first team at weakside linebacker, ahead of senior Jeremy Nethon who held down that job through the spring. Another change in the depth chart came at strongside 'backer, where freshman Donnell Williams is now backing up fellow freshman Chris Collins. Freshmen Justin Gent and Patrick Lavine and walk-ons Zach Carter and Delvin James will be given opportunities to work into the two-deep during fall camp.
Rob Glass' rehab center on the southwest end of the practice field started with one member this afternoon. Freshman defensive lineman Jonathan Lewis spent the whole session there with an unknown ailment. He got some company early in the practice when freshman wideout Demarcus Connor pulled up on a fly route with what appeared to be a strained hamstring or quadriceps.
Safety Clint Coe, who tore an ACL early in spring ball, went through most drills. He did don a green jersey for certain drills and was limited to straight-ahead movement. He's probably a week away from being fully released. That is an amazing testament to his dedication to rehab and his work ethic.
OSU's class of 2005 had numerous signees who were designated as "athletes" by recruiting services. A couple have carried that forward to the first official release of OSU's 2006 roster.
Terrance Anderson, Orie Lemon, Keith Toston and Artrell Woods currently have the ATH by their names on the roster. Anderson worked at corner, Lemon quarterback, Toston running back and Woods at wide receiver on Thursday. Woods looks like a lock to remain a receiver, while the others will probably see some experimental moves early in the fall.
Another player formerly designated as an athlete appears to have found a permanent home - Al'Darius Thompson is listed as a wide receiver on the roster.