95,722 ~ Let that number sink in for just a moment. 95,722 people who walked through the gates at Ohio Stadium on a beautiful April day to watch the final practice of Ohio State's spring football sessions. A practice that does not count in the record books, has running clocks, and allows its senior players to choose up the sides had 95,722 people attend. Very impressive.
With the loss of so many talented players to the NFL and graduation, Ohio State concluded its spring football practices on April 25. Several players, such as quarterback Terrelle Pryor, had strong performances. The players I have listed below also performed well and bear keeping an eye on when Ohio State begins the 2009 season.
While there were many players who stood out, I would select RB Brandon Saine as being the player who I will be watching for when Ohio State takes the field against Navy on September 5.
Saine arrived in Columbus two years ago as arguably the highest-touted member of his recruiting class in 2007, only to be plagued with nagging injuries that have left fans wondering if Saine will ever develop into a consistent contributor.
Based upon Saine's performance in the spring game (eight carries for 55 yards), as well as spring practice reports, Saine looks to play a prominent role in the Ohio State offense this coming season.
The spring football sessions began with questions for Ohio State along the offensive line, and those questions unfortunately remain going into summer conditioning and the fall camp. Ohio State's biggest concern is the left tackle position, with Mike Adams and Andy Miller battling for the starting spot. Neither player firmly established themselves as the starter coming out of the spring.
If left tackle is still to be determined for Ohio State, without question Justin Boren has established himself as a starter at one of the guard spots heading into the fall. Thank you, Rich Rodriguez.
Michael Brewster, Jim Cordle, and Bryant Browning seem to be the other probable starters on the offensive line. Cordle may move to right tackle, moving Browning inside to guard.
The linebacker spots for Ohio State are also up for grabs, but not in the same manner of concern or questions as the offensive line. This position is more of so many players who are capable but not enough spots.
Brian Rolle's performances throughout the spring practice and the spring game have left him in line for playing time beyond special teams. Austin Spitler, Etienne Sabino, Andrew Sweat, Ross Homan, and Tyler Moeller will continue their battle well into the fall for playing time. True freshmen Storm Klein, Adam Homan, and Dorian Bell will also be in the mix.
Chimdi Chekwa has earned one starting spot in the secondary, but the opposite corner spot also has several players battling for playing time. Devon Torrence, Andre Amos, Travis Howard, C.J. Barnett, and Donnie Evege will all continue in their efforts to impress the coaching staff over the summer.
Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell both return at safety, with Jermale Hines earning time as a nickel back.
Many questions remain, but Ohio State has some impressive talent coming up through the ranks. If Ohio State can develop a cohesive offensive line, Ohio State should be considered the favorite to win The Big Ten in 2009.