Published August 21, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ohio – In the scrimmage held every August between Ohio State's offensive and defensive units, the Buckeyes ran 140 plays and scored one touchdown.
And that was enough to win.
Amazingly, that was fine with coach Jim Tressel.
"Whenever you have fireworks, I think you've got some problems," he said Saturday after more than 150 minutes of action resulted in just one trip to the end zone.
Terrelle Pryor, singled out by many publications as a front-runner in the Heisman Trophy race, didn't do much all day before connecting with Taurian Washington on a 25-yard touchdown pass for the lone touchdown. But the offense ended up winning not because it made plays but because it only had one turnover — Brandon Saine's fumble.
Even though the offense was largely ineffective, things seemed to be weighted its way. No one was saying that was because Tressel coaches on the offensive side.
"The scrimmage is set up in the offense's favor," said cornerback Devon Torrence, one of several regulars to sit out the scrimmage with a minor injury. "But defensively, those are the type of disadvantages you're going to have. You've got to work through them and try to come out on top. We have for the past two years."
The defense had won the last two scrimmages, thus earning the right to wear scarlet jerseys in practice all season.
"We're mad," defensive end Cameron Heyward said. "Man, I haven't lost that jersey since freshman year."
The practice was Ohio State's 20th since camp opened on Aug. 8.
The Buckeyes were to get Sunday off before their final two-a-day workout on Monday. They'll practice on Tuesday and Wednesday and then get some more time off before going through a typical work week before opening their season on Sept. 2 against Marshall.
Offensive guard Justin Boren said no one on the offense was gloating about winning the scrimmage.
"Not really. I think everybody's pretty tired. We've had a long two weeks of camp," he said. "I think guys are just happy to get this 24 hours off."
Tressel said heat and high humidity had worn down the players. As a result, there weren't a lot of high or low points.
"No one will have graded out of this world and, just by the looks of it, no one will have one of those days where they didn't do anything right," Tressel said.
The scrimmage took place before just a few hundred spectators in cavernous Ohio Stadium, also the site of the unprecedented Thursday night game to open the season.
Other than the outcome, the next most significant thing out of the scrimmage was that several top players did not play or only played sparingly.
Among those were wide receivers Dane Sanzenbacher (right shoulder) and Grant Schwartz (leg) and defensive end Nathan Williams (knee), along with several who sat out the scrimmage due to various minor bumps and bruises: Heyward, safety Orhian Johnson, linebackers Dorian Bell and Homan, running back Carlos Hyde and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa.
All are expected to return by the opener.
The Buckeyes announced late on Friday night that they would not have backup offensive lineman, Marcus Hall, who had academic problems. He will continue to practice with the team but will redshirt and have three years of eligibility remaining.
Not all of Ohio State's starting jobs are locked up yet. Tressel pointed to the battle between Andrew Sweatt and Etienne Sabino at the sam linebacker spot.
"They've been going back and forth all camp," said fellow linebacker Ross Homan. "They both are very, very good and they both had good days today. They'll keep battling it out."
Getting back to the offense, Pryor, in particular, was just average.
Tressel was asked if his quarterback was frustrated because he had to wear a black jersey signifying he was off limits to tacklers and wouldn't run.
"It (the black jersey) is a nuisance. I wouldn't say he loves it," Tressel said. "But he knows when the day comes that he gets to wear the normal jersey, it might be like freedom."
(This version CORRECTS Corrects to Taurian Washington scoring touchdown.)