associated press Former Ohio State running back Brandon Saine, who had 337 yards rushing and 23 catches for 195 yards his senior season, hope his junior season (739 yards) coupled with a strong catching ability will make him a versatile option in the NFL.
Content to maintain a modest profile for now, Saine expects his moment to come tomorrow, when the wide receivers, quarterbacks and running backs take to the field in Lucas Oil Stadium and take part in performance workouts. Up to that point, Saine will have been undergoing medical exams and interviews with some of the 32 NFL teams.
"It kind of feels that way," Saine said about being off the radar at the Combine. "But it's just fun, also. I met all the other running backs and they're good guys. It doesn't really change things much. I'm just excited to start the whole process."
Saine, who had 739 rushing yards for the Buckeyes in his junior season, had just 70 carries for 337 yards this past season when junior Dan "Boom" Herron took on more of the load in the running game.
Saine also had 23 receptions for 195 yards in 2010 with five touchdown catches. He expects his ability to catch the ball coming out of the backfield to work in his favor, once the pros put the prospects invited here through the paces.
"I think the versatility can really help me, so I'm kind of not pegged in one spot, and then if you fail there, then that's it," he said. "I plan on catching every ball thrown to me, so we'll see what happens."
The 5-foor-11, 220-pound Saine, who was a Parade All-American and Ohio's Mr. Football in 2006 after rushing for 1,895 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior at Piqua, has stayed in school at Ohio State and maintained a workout schedule with the OSU strength and conditioning staff. He goes into the on-field testing tomorrow, content that his modest numbers from the 2010 season and his laid-back demeanor will not work against him when the NFL scouts analyze his potential as a pro.
"I don't really look at it like that," Saine said. "I feel like what's going to happen, is going to happen. I'm just going to do my best, like I always try to do. I'm definitely passionate for the game, I just look at it from a different perspective."
LINE OF FAITH: Wisconsin offensive lineman Gabe Carimi — a projected first round pick in the draft — used the forum available to him at the Combine to defuse any suggestions that his Jewish faith might interfere with his ability to play in the pros.
When the 6-foot-7, 327-pound Carimi was asked if honoring his obligations on any of the Jewish High Holy Days was a potential conflict for him. Carimi was obviously prepared for the question: "Will you play on the Jewish holidays?"
"Yeah, that's what I did this year. It was Yom Kippur this year. Basically what I did was go off Israeli time," Carimi said. "I'd fast at 12 o'clock, and then I had like three hours to IV up and eat. I didn't feel any different."
Carimi started 49 games in his Wisconsin career and was a two-time, first team All-Big Ten choice, and this past season's Big Ten offensive lineman of the year, as well as the winner of the prestigious Outland Trophy, which goes to the top interior lineman in college football.
Carimi said he does not expect any issues with his faith, even if he has a long NFL career. He then closed the book on the discussion.
"I've already looked out 15 years from now, and it doesn't happen on Sunday," he said. "So, next question."
BEANIE CALL: Former Ohio State star running back Chris "Beanie" Wells has completed two seasons in the NFL, and as the league's top brass gathered for the seven-day talent show, Phoenix Cardinals general manager Rod Graves said Wells has not yet achieved his potential.
Wells, who had a very productive career at Ohio State but was slowed several times by injuries, has had a similar career track in the pros.
"We're satisfied with him, but we're looking for more from Beanie," Graves said.
Wells had close to 800 rushing yards in his rookie season in 2009, but his production dropped to less than 400 yards this past year when he missed time due to minor knee surgery.
"The injuries have been legitimate injuries, but we're expecting he's going to make an even larger contribution to our football team," Graves said. "He has the talent to be an every-down player, and we expect that his contribution is going to be felt even more this season."