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Published: Thursday, 4/1/2010

Buckeyes get back on practice field

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

COLUMBUS - The unofficial-official start to the 2010 Ohio State football season is today when the Buckeyes take to the practice field outside the Woody Hayes Center for the first of 15 sessions of formal spring workouts.

In the short term, they are targeting the April 24 spring game inside Ohio Stadium while their long-term sights are set on the Sept. 2 season-opener against Marshall.

The spring game will again be part of a doubleheader with the OSU men's lacrosse team meeting Air Force at 11 a.m. and the football game following at 1:30. Admission to the dual event is $5 in advance and $10 the day of the games with a portion of the proceeds going to various charities.

Last year's "Showdown in the Shoe" doubleheader packed 95,722 fans in the stadium for the football spring game, setting a national attendance record.

The Buckeyes, last season's outright champions in the Big Ten and winners of a fifth straight Big Ten title, have a number of issues to resolve this spring. The first is to test the left knee of quarterback Terrelle Pryor, which was surgically repaired in early February.

Preparing for his junior season, Pryor will be closely watched to determine how far he has progressed as a passer. His showing in the Rose Bowl win over Oregon (23-of-37 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns) left Buckeyes fans anxious for more.

There will be a cluster of running backs competing for the right to line up behind Pryor, led by returning co-starters Brandon Saine and Daniel "Boom" Herron.Jaamal Berry, redshirted last season when he was hampered by nagging injuries, joins the active depth chart, while Carlos Hyde, a recruit from a year ago who took time to get his academic house in order, also will be part of the fray.

In addition, the Ohio State coaches will be looking at sophomore Jordan Hall, who was effective in limited use last season.

The Buckeyes will see if highly touted offensive lineman Mike Adams, rated as one of the best in the nation two years ago as a high school senior, is ready to grab a starting spot after being slowed by injuries and performance issues.

There also are a couple of positions in contention on the defensive line, where graduation and early departures for the NFL opened things up.

Ohio State has to replace its kicker and punter, so auditions for those posts begin in earnest this afternoon.

Contact Matt Markey at:

mmarkey@theblade.com

or 419-724-6510.



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