February 6, 2008

Freeman on the mend opens opportunity

Of all the positions on the Ohio State roster going into the 2008 season the biggest log jam would appear to be at the linebacker position. With two returning starters and a wave of players waiting to get their turn in the rotation it would appear that Etienne Sabino and Andrew Sweat would have to wait to get in the fray. That experience might actually pay off for the young Ohio State linebackers and surgery to one of the starters could open up some reps come spring ball.

It will be interesting with both (Etienne Sabino) and Andrew (Sweat) both coming in the spring," Ohio State linebacker coach Luke Fickell said. "It will be a real good opportunity for them to come in and get a lot of work."

With a defensive unit only looking to replace two starters there will be a lot of people looking to make a name for themselves but you can already put James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman in the starting spots at the Mike and Will linebacker spots and with that there might not be as much need to see them go full reps in the off-season and with one starter seeing the surgeon's knife it could be that much more of a break for the younger backers.

"Marcus just had surgery and James (Laurinaitis) has been in there for three years now we will get these young guys a lot of reps in the spring," Fickell said. "It will be really interesting for those two guys to find their niche and battle and see who can help us."

The Ohio State co-defensive coordinator said that Freeman is going okay and that everything was routine with the procedure that was recently completed.

"Everything is well and he's doing well," Fickell said. "He probably will only be out another two weeks or three weeks at most."

With no longer than a three week hiatus planned would it be safe to assume that Freeman wouldn't be at risk of missing anything planned for the spring due to the injury?

"No jeopardy of anything like that," Fickell said. "(Freeman) just had a ton of reps (last season) and in the spring you have these incoming freshmen guys as well. And then you have guys like Ross Homan that have only played one year and Brian Rolle, Jermale Hines and Austin Spitler. We will have a great competition in the spring."

Just a routine operation Freeman and nothing out of the ordinary

"It was just one of those clean ups just like all of the guys had after the season," Fickell said. "Nothing that (Freeman) didn't play through or couldn't play through, just things that happen at the end of the season. A scope or what not and they take a couple weeks to get back."

With snaps at a premium come fall look for several players to make the most of extra practice time and be ready to jump in when needed when things count at the end of August.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!