Bucks Open Spring Camp Minus Two
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS — Excitement was in the air Thursday as Ohio State hit the practice field for the first time this spring. With bright, sunny skies over head and 80 degree weather in Columbus, the players were wearing shorts and shells (helmets and shoulder pads), but once again Duron Carter found himself on the outside looking in.
After missing the Rose Bowl back in January due to academic issues, the second-year wideout was nowhere to be found on the first day of spring camp.
“I’m not sure that he’ll be back practicing football this spring,” said OSU Head Coach Jim Tressel, who opened his 10 th spring practice in Columbus.
“He’s back here (at Ohio State) this spring, but I’m not certain that he’ll be out here practicing football.”
Carter, the son of Buckeye legend Cris Carter, was not the only player missing Thursday. Fellow sophomore Jonathan Newsome also didn’t work with his teammates on the first day of spring practice for similar reasons.
It’s uncertain whether their absence is due to past issues, particularly in Carter’s case, or new ones stemming from the most recent academic quarter. It could be something as simple as waiting on a grade for a class from winter quarter, but the deadline for professors to submit those grades was last Friday.
Even if Carter is able to rejoin his teammates on the practice field this spring, he won’t be running with the top group. DeVier Posey (60-828-8) and Dane Sanzenbacher (36-570-6) return after leading the Buckeyes in catches, yards and touchdowns last season, and the Buckeyes had a new No. 3 receiver Thursday with Ray Small and Lamaar Thomas both moving on.
“(Even) with Duron, Taurian Washington would be the third receiver,” Tressel said of the senior from Michigan.
“He did a good job in the bowl preparation and in the bowl game itself. We didn’t go to him a whole bunch. Not by design necessarily, but the way things unfolded.”
Washington opened last season as the No. 3 wideout after a big-time spring, but failed to catch a single pass during his junior year after being yanked from the rotation after one game. The Buckeyes are hoping he can put it all together for his last season in Columbus, but they have other options even without Carter available.
“I suppose after that you’ve got a whole slew of guys,” Tressel said.
“Grant Schwartz is a guy that’s had so many reps, he can certainly contribute. I saw Chris Fields do some things. I think he’s been steadily coming along, but its different reading it off a card than understanding the concepts of ours.
“James Jackson had a couple nice catches.”
All three players saw time with the second-team offense Thursday as the Buckeyes look to get an early gauge on who will contribute on offense this season. Fields showed off good speed and ability to makes plays in traffic. He could be the front-runner of the group to assume the No. 4 role until Carter returns.
The Buckeyes will also add some reinforcements this summer as three new freshmen join the group. They added 6-foot-7 Tyrone Williams out of Cleveland along with speedsters Corey Brown (Pennsylvania) and James Louis (Florida) from out of state. Although they will be swimming when they first arrive, Tressel said it’s not out of the question to think one or more of them could contribute during his rookie season.
“We’ve got some young guys coming in and typically that’s a position that isn’t as intricate as maybe being an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman,” he said.
“I’ve heard people say, and I don’t know if it’s true, the game gets more difficult the closer you get to the ball. As a wide receiver you’re as far away from the ball as you can get, and you have a little more time to see what’s going on.”
Maybe his time away from the team will give Duron Carter a little more time to see what’s going on.
Related Article: Practice Insider's Report.
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