October 14, 2010

Tressel's Thursday updates

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 1 Ohio State football team will get a big piece of its offense back when starting tight end Jake Stoneburner returns Saturday from an ankle sprain, head coach Jim Tressel confirmed on Thursday.

The Buckeyes travel to Madison, Wisc., to take on No. 16 Wisconsin in Camp Randall Stadium, a game in which many feel could be one of Ohio State's biggest tests of the season.

"I don't know that (Stoneburner) could go 60 plays," Tressel said, "but I think he'll be able to give us some duty."

Stoneburner had been moving around all last week and participating in a limited fashion in practice, and while he has been able to run routes, Tressel's concern rested with Stoneburner's ability to stay strong during contact.

This week, Stoneburner has participated in all of the contact drills for the Buckeyes in practice and the coaching staff is confident in his ability to contribute against the Badgers.

Stoneburner had become a big piece of the offense, catching nine passes for 110 yards and a touchdown in the four games he participated in. The Buckeyes saw good play out of sophomore tight end Reid Fragel in Stoneburner's absence, who blocked well in addition to bringing down six catches for 60 yards in limited action.

There was also some worry about the Buckeyes two starting tackles and their availability against the Badgers, but Tressel said both Mike Adams and J.B. Shugarts will be ready to play Saturday.

Adams missed an interview session with reporters on Tuesday morning because of a stomach ailment, but was healthy enough to return to practice later that afternoon and has been just fine ever since.

"I was teasing him a little bit on Tuesday when he was in our team meeting and at practice," Tressel said. "I said, 'Wait a minute, you didn't get the most important part of your day, the press conference.' He practiced both days and he will go today."

Shugarts came out of Ohio State's 38-10 win over Indiana last weekend with some foot pain, but coaches have described that as something Shugarts has dealt with for quite some time. He missed practiced on Tuesday, but he participated Wednesday and is expected to be fine for the Wisconsin game.

Brown moved to safety

Ohio State redshirt freshman Corey Brown has been moved from cornerback to safety, Tressel said Thursday. Because the Buckeyes have suffered a rash of injuries in the defensive backfield, Brown could provide depth at both cornerback - his previous position - and safety.

Brown has served as the Buckeyes No. 4 cornerback all season, but Tressel said the move best served Ohio State's interests for both the short term and the long term.

Tressel said the coaching staff envisions Brown as a safety in the future, but by making the move now, the redshirt freshman can provide depth at both cornerback and safety this season, two positions the Buckeyes are somewhat thin at due to injury.

"He's got great range and is really smart," Tressel said. "You have to do a lot of things when you're in there. I would say for this season he's going to be available for us for both (positions) but we will see what happens down the road."

Hazell contacted Holmes about SI story

In a recent article done in Sports Illustrated, former wide receiver Santonio Holmes' name was listed as someone who may have taken money from an agent while playing at Ohio State.

In the story, Holmes reportedly had told Josh Luchs, an agent offering him money, that he had already been accepting gifts from another agent for quite some time, allegations Holmes has since denied through the public relations person with the New York Jets.

"I had no recognition of it until I was contacted by my agent and by PR," Holmes said in a statement. "It was probably something thrown out there to further tarnish my career. But everything happens for a reason. The allegations are false that were made by this guy, whoever this reporter is who said that I took money. It's all false."

Tressel said the team immediately reached out to Holmes to discuss the accusations. Though Tressel didn't speak directly to Holmes, wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell apparently did.

"We wanted to get a hold of (Holmes) right away," Tressel said when asked if he was concerned that Ohio State was mentioned in such an article. "He's made some statements, but even his statements to Darrell obviously put your mind at ease."

Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.


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