April 24, 1999
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State defense took control from the start and never let up in defeating the offense, 61-15, in a controlled Scarlet vs. Gray scrimmage to end the Buckeyes 15 days of spring practice Saturday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The defense was awarded three points for every three-and-out possession, six points for a turnover – there were four – in addition to seven points for a defensive touchdown – there was one; freshman strong safety Cie Grant raced 42 yards with a fumble recovery.
The offense, featuring sophomore signal callers Steve Bellisari and Austin Moherman battling for the starting position, was severely limited during the scrimmage by the quarterbacks not being able to scramble out of trouble (due to officials whistling the play day dead to keep injuries down) and by a rebuilt offensive line that was minus the entire starting left side from last year (tackle Tyson Walter sat out with a sore back and guard Rob Murphy had been suspended for the spring).
Mostly, though, credit the defense with a solid effort. The young line, featuring no seniors and the top eight players from last season returning, was aggressive all afternoon, especially Joe Brown, Clinton Wayne, Ryan Pickett, Brent Johnson and Heath Queen, who each had multiple tackles-for losses. Nail Diggs, Nate Clements and Jason Ott led the way with five total tackles apiece and Gary Berry chipped in with four. Linebackers Chris Kirk and Edmund Brown each intercepted passes.
The offense scored on a six-yard pass from Moherman to Reggie Germany, on a 56-yard pass from Bellisari to Germany and on a 32-yard field goal by reserve kicker Chad Erickson.
Scrimmage Notes and Quotes
Fullback Matt Keller (pulled chest muscle), cornerback AhmedPlummer (illness in the family) and receiver Darik Warnke (pulledhamstring) did not participate in the final scrimmage.
Bellisari’s final passing stats: 7-for-21 for 142 yards with onetouchdown and one interception
Moherman’s final passing stats: 12-for-22 for 87 yards with onetouchdown and one interception
Jonathan Wells led in carries (nine) and yards (42) followed byDerek Combs (5-33), Michael Wiley (7-17) and Jamar Martin(2-6).
Reggie Germany caught seven passes for 142 yards and two touchdownswhile Ken-Yon Rambo had four receptions for 70 yards.
John Cooper Quotes
“I dont know if the score indicates that our defense was that good, our offense wasnt very good or that the scoring system we used simply wasnt very fair. I thought we had a really good spring practice overall, though. Obviously, we’ve got some things to work on after today, but we’ll be ok. I was pleased with the way the defense as a whole played, especially the defensive line. Jonathan Wells ran the ball very well at times, too.
“We now know the things we have to work on going into the fall, and it will just be a case of getting them done. But I’m pleased overall. We’ve got great depth at running back, and Reggie Germany and Ken-Yon Rambo have been impressive as wide receivers.”
Tailback Jonathan Wells
“We kind of were up and down at times today. I thought the defense was great.”
Ken-Yon Rambo on the Quarterbacks
“I thought they both threw the ball well. Both quarterbacks bring different things to the table. But both are great athletes and great quarterbacks. I didn’t have much of a problem catching the ball from either of them. There’s just a difference in the rotation with one being a righty and the other being a lefty.”
Na’il Diggs overall
“Overall we had a great defensive game. The entire spring practice was good. A lot of younger guys got chances to get in work. Its unfair to say that defense is a strength right now. Last year in the scrimmage the offense dominated us. This year, they did fine, but as a defense we did really well, too.”