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Aug. 29, 2000

With the season opener just four days away, Tim Spencer likes his options.

Spencer, the Buckeyes’ running backs coach, is three deep at both tailback and fullback.

“We had a good spring, and we have had a better fall,” said Spencer, himself a former star running back at Ohio State.

“I really like what I have seen so far.”

Senior Derek Combs, a 6-0, 197-pound speedster, will start at tailback and will get the lion’s share of the playing time. But Spencer won’t hesitate to play junior Jonathan Wells or senior Jerry Westbrooks if need be.

“This is Derek’s first year as a starter and if he gets on a roll, we will stay with him,” said Spencer. “I like staying with a guy if he has a hot hand. But I would like to play Jonathan and Jerry if possible. It depends on how the game goes.”

Jamar Martin, a 6-0, 245-pound junior, will get the call at fullback. But Spencer also plans to use backup Jesse Kline, a 6-1, 227-pound redshirt freshman.

“Because of the battering-ram nature of the fullback position, you almost have to play two fullbacks,” Spencer said.

The Buckeyes third option at fullback is Nate Stead, a 5-10, 255-pound sophomore.

“Nate has had a good fall camp and I would like to get him in,” Spencer said. “Again, it just depends on what happens in the game.

“But all six of those young men are good football players and have really worked hard this fall.”