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No clear-cut choices

OSU position battles unsettled after scrimmage

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    DeVier Posey is tackled by Jeremy Cash, front, and David Conor during Saturday’s scrimmage, which was won 59-27 by the Ohio State offense.

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    Tight end Jake Stoneburner is tackled by Travis Howard, top, and Andrew Sweat after making a catch.

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    Quarterback Terrelle Pryor and coach Jim Tressel keep a close eye on the game. Pryor didn’t play as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.

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    Joe Bauserman looks to get off a pass as Andrew Sweat closes in. Bauserman completed four of his 11 passes.

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DeVier Posey is tackled by Jeremy Cash, front, and David Conor during Saturday’s scrimmage, which was won 59-27 by the Ohio State offense.

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COLUMBUS — After a spring scrimmage that lasted almost 90 plays but appeared to provide little clarity as to how Ohio State intends to fill the four suspension-generated vacancies in its offensive lineup, wide receiver DeVier Posey appealed for calm.

Posey, who along with quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron, and left tackle Mike Adams will sit out the first five games of the 2011 season, said the young and inexperienced players vying to fill in during that lengthy suspension period will get the job done.

“At a place like Ohio State, you don’t have to rebuild,” Posey said. “At a place like Ohio State, you don’t recruit kids to come and sit on the bench.”

Posey made his comments following Saturday’s offense vs. defense scrimmage in Ohio Stadium that was won 59-27 by the offense. It closed the book on the spring practice period. An announced crowd of 44,276 watched a clutch of quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and offensive linemen all get the opportunity to separate themselves from the competition at the various positions.

While it did not look like any of them did, center Mike Brewster shared Posey’s optimism about an improving group of Buckeyes.

“I can tell a huge difference from practice No. 1 to practice No. 15,” Brewster said about the spring workouts.

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Tight end Jake Stoneburner is tackled by Travis Howard, top, and Andrew Sweat after making a catch.

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Ohio State coach Jim Tressel put a positive wrap around the spring session, which had the pall of the suspensions hanging over it throughout. Tressel will also miss at least the first five games of the upcoming season serving an OSU-imposed suspension after it was learned he was aware of the infractions his players had committed by selling memorabilia for cash and discounts on tattoos, but failed to report them.

“All in all, it was a good spring,” Tressel said. “We had certain things we wanted to get done this spring, and we felt like we got a lot of those done.”

In the competition to replace Pryor, all four candidates for the starting quarterback position had touchdown passes on Saturday, but none of them seemed to separate himself from the rest of the field. Redshirt freshman Taylor Graham, the son of former Buckeye Kent Graham, had a 68-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Williams, but also gave a lot of yards back by getting sacked five times.

True freshman Braxton Miller had the best percentage, completing 7-of-12 passes on the day. Senior Joe Bauserman went 4-of-11, while sophomore Kenny Guiton was 5-of-11.

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Quarterback Terrelle Pryor and coach Jim Tressel keep a close eye on the game. Pryor didn’t play as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.

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“We’ve been giving those four equal reps,” Tressel said. “When we figure it out, we are going to play whoever we need to.”

Posey said he has seen all four progress this spring.

“I think handling situations is key for all of them,” he said. “It’s just about handling situations with anyone you’re on the field with. As they get older and get more experience, they’re going to be able to take a step forward. I was really happy with the quarterback play today.”

The auditions at receiver are even more critical, since 2010 MVP and leading receiver Dane Sanzenbacher is headed to the NFL and Posey will be serving his suspension. Williams led the youthful receiver group with three catches, while true freshman tight end Jeff Heuerman also caught three balls. Verlon Reed, Ryan Ross, Chris Fields, and Corey Brown also had catches in the scrimmage.

“We have young guys at receiver, and they really came along this spring,” Tressel said. “They are starting to understand. First, they have to know where to line up. Then they have to understand what to do. Then they have to figure out how to do it against the best guys.”

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Joe Bauserman looks to get off a pass as Andrew Sweat closes in. Bauserman completed four of his 11 passes.

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The competition at tailback looks equally undecided. Jordan Hall, Rod Smith, Jaamal Berry, and Carlos Hyde all got carries, along with Herron. Berry had a nice 12-yard run, while Smith took one for 11 yards.

The shuffle along the offensive line continues as well, with no set lineup at this point. Brewster expects that situation to be cleared up in fall practice and Ohio State to emerge with a very versatile group.

“I think the coaches will decide who plays where, and we’ll be fine,” Brewster said. “I’m proud of all the guys. I think they made an impression today.”

Contact Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6510.

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