COLUMBUS, Ohio — The 2008 Ohio State Spring Game Player Draft often provides many laughs and this year was no exception. With team representatives Alex Boone for the Scarlet and Marcus Freeman for the Gray jawing back and forth throughout the draft, it was comical for all those in attendance.
The annual Scarlet and Gray game takes place this Saturday in Ohio Stadium. It will consist of four 11 minute quarters with the new clock rules in effect, including the just implemented 40-second play clock.
Draft day is always one of the high moments of spring practice for the seniors who take part. The draft works by position. A team selects a player from a certain position and they go back and forth until all players from that position are selected.
Led by Boone, the Scarlet squad started off the draft by selecting defensive end/linebacker Thaddeus Gibson without hesitation. From the first pick on, both sides bickered back and forth at one another in a playful manner. Coach Tressel even had to scold the players every once in a while, as they would leave their seats, which Tressel pointed out at the beginning, was not permitted.
Among those already assigned to the Scarlet team were Boone, James Laurinaitis, Todd Boeckman, and Curtis Terry. The Gray squad had Marcus Freeman, Malcolm Jenkins, Brian Robiskie (out with injury), Maurice Wells and others.
The quarterback position was the most intriguing of the draft. Boeckman will play the first half for the Scarlet team. Each team was allowed to select the quarters that the quarterback would play on their team. Scarlet had the first pick for a quarterback and selected Antonio Henton to play the third and fourth quarter. Joe Bauserman will play the third and fourth quarter for Gray.
“Mr. Irrelevant,” the name given to the final pick of the NFL Draft, was Chris “Beanie” Wells. The name is appropriate for him, though, because he will in fact be irrelevant Saturday, sitting out because of an injury. Coach Tressel provided those in attendance with some laughter as he joked with “Beanie” about not being selected until the end.
Following the draft, former Buckeye defensive end and NFL draft prospect Vernon Gholston made an appearance, walking down in front and etching his name on the Gray team’s roster. Coach Tressel jokingly said Vernon is only available for one play.
Some notable players drafted by each side were Cameron Heyward, Brian Hartline, Ray Small, Doug Worthington and Anderson Russell going to team Scarlet.
Lawrence Wilson, Dane Sanzenbacher, Bryant Browning, Jake Ballard and Kurt Coleman were all drafted by Gray.
The Gray team attempted to make trades, but Boone, Laurinaitis and company wouldn’t budge. Boone, however, did make the most interesting trade offer.
Because the Gray team drafted Aaron Pettrey, the Scarlet team was left without a placekicker as Ryan Pretorius was already assigned to the Gray side. Alex Boone took matters into his own hands and offered a pizza from Adriatico, a popular campus eatery, to fellow offensive lineman Steve Rehring for Pettrey. To the surprise of many, Rehring declined.
Laurinaitis then stepped up to the microphone and provided the Gray team with some bulletin board material, saying “the Scarlet team made way better choices than the Gray.”
Jenkins didn’t agree. “Saturday will be intense,” he said, “but the Gray team will come out on top like we did last year.”
“Whatever, this game will be over by halftime,” countered Boone.
While today was all about having fun, Saturday’s game is about getting the team ready for the upcoming season. “We feel obligated to put the player’s in pressure situations,” Tressel said. “Our guys would be bored if we didn’t.”
Honorary captains for the Scarlet and Gray teams will be former OSU standouts Mike Tomczak and Cris Carter. The Buckeyes will be wearing helmet decals with the initials “DS” in memory of Dianna Sharp, the Hilliard, Ohio, school crossing guard who was killed in the line of duty last week.
~ Kyle Rowland, OhioStateBuckeyes.com
FINAL DRAFT BOARDS
Players assigned to the scarlet team:
Offense: Boone, Person, Skinner, Nicol, Boeckman, Ruhl, Terry (also at fullback)
Defense: Lane, O’Neal, Laurinaitis, Terry, Abdallah, Rietschlin
Players assigned to gray team:
Offense: Robiskie (out), Ebner, M. Wells, Kacsandi, Rehring (out), Larson, B. Smith, Mitchum, Lukens
Defense: Freeman, Jenkins, Patterson, Gray
Picks were be made and updated by position. James Laurinaitis spoke on behalf of the scarlet team and likes the look of the squad and the team unity. Malcolm Jenkins spoke for gray and liked the team’s make up and predicted a second-consecutive victory Saturday for his squad.
Scarlet Picks (honorary head coach Mike Tomczak)
DE – Thaddeus Gibson, C. Heyward
WR – Small, Hartline, Torrence, Stoneburner
OL – Jim Cordle
DT – Worthington, Larimore
CB – Chekwa, Scott
G – C. Smith, Slagle, Malone
S – Russell, Oliver, Clifford
TB – Herron, Christian
QB – Henton (will split time on both teams)
LB – Rolle, Spitler, Hines
Specialists – Barclay, Mattimoe, McQuaid, Batholomew
Gray Picks (honorary head coach Cris Carter)
DE – Solomon Thomas
DE – L. Wilson and Ingham
WR – Sanzenbacher, Washington, Crawford, Schwartz, Shuck
OL – Browning, MIller, Moses
TE – Ballard (B. Smith goes over to Scarlet)
DT – Denlinger
CB – D. Washington, Torrence, Amos
G – Shugarts, Malone
S – Coleman, Gant, Pentello
TB – Saine, M. Williams, Gantz
LB – Sweat, Homan, Sabino, Moeller
Specialists – Pettrey, Thoma, Howe