And They're Off

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst IApril 8, 2009

Spring practice is underway and pictures, projections, and prayers abound.

I admit, every year I get pretty amped up for spring practice and (almost) every year I am disappointed. Not because there is a shortage of interesting stories and developments but because I can so rarely trust them.

Call it BCS—Bam Childress Syndrome. Every March/April I hear about some young wide receiver that practiced his routes all offseason or tailback who improved his field vision.

They have added weight, watched film, and talked with coaches daily. They are ready to make an impact. They puncuate the spring with a great performance in the Jersey Scrimmage and/or Spring Game.

I tell all of my less engaged friends about these guys. "Wait until you see Albert Dukes this fall," I say. "He is going to be Santonio part two."

Then, the season starts and these guys are nowhere to be seen.

I think BCS manifests for a few reasons.

The coaches are likely to praise lesser known players because it is easy to do so in that environment. There is no box score or television coverage. So, how do we know if Josh Kerr looked awesome?

The coaches also want to keep the starters/incumbents hungry. "Every position is open," is a common catchphrase coast to coast. The starters know who they are but the coach's job is to motivate and praising other guys in the paper is a surefire method.

Another reason is undisclosed injuries. Some players have had offseason surgery or sustained injuries during workouts. They sit out or do not perform as well in the spring but once they are 100 percent in the fall, they receive all the reps.

That is not to say that there are not open positions or players that can surprise.

Obviously, I thought Orhian Johnson had an opportunity to emerge and get some playing time. Middle linebacker, cornerback, and one offensive line spot are up for grabs.

This year, I am going to try to hold back on the declarations that I have made in the past. Do reports have Stoneburner looking tough at tight end? Yeah, but I know what happens to tight ends at OSU.

I would love to see Taurian Washington bring some much needed athleticism to the receiving corp, but I am going to stop short of declaring him a starter opposite Posey (who everyone knows will start).

I will continue to be a very interested observer of Ohio State's spring practice, but I am not going to draw a lot of conclusions from it.