Aug. 19, 2000

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State football team will hold its final scrimmage of the fall next Wednesday in preparation for the home opener Sept. 2 at home against the Fresno State Bulldogs (12:10 p.m./ESPN Regional Television). Following the final scrimmage, the Buckeye coaching staff will begin to finalize its depth chart heading into the season opener.

Starters and their backups at each offensive and defensive position will be set giving those players ample time to practice at their respective positions anticipating the arrival of the Bulldogs. Prior to the Wednesday scrimmage, all players in camp will have opportunities to break into the lineup as a starter or backup.

John Cooper, OSU head coach, said there are several positions that remain available. Offensive linemen and linebackers all will have opportunities to find starting or backup roles over the next several days.

Several players have worked out at the middle linebacker position during fall camp. Sophomores Matt Wilhelm (Lorain, Ohio/Elyria Catholic) and Freddie Pagac (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) each have performed well at that position.

True freshman Robert Reynolds (Bowling Green, Ky./Bowling Green) also has been given an opportunity at one of the linebacker positions but most likely will see time on special teams or as the long snapper.

“Robert will play this year,” Cooper said. “He is a football player.”

Other defensive players who have impressed the coaching staff during camp include freshman Bobby Britton (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines) at defensive back and senior linebacker Joe Cooper (Columbus, Ohio/Independence) who both sparkled during the first fall scrimmage Friday. “Bobby came up with a nice interception,” Cooper said. “We like what he can do. Joe Cooper seemed like he was all over the field and around the ball.”

On offense, the staff has been installing Chuck Stobart’s playbook and will continue to do so up until the week of the Fresno State game.

“We have every play known to man in our offense right now,” Cooper said. “Once we have all the plays in, we will selected the best ones we feel will work against a particular team and concentrate on those the week of the game.”


The Buckeyes were able to get the feel of game atmosphereFriday. Not only did the team scrimmage at the renovated OhioStadium, but Big Ten officials were on hand to create game-likeconditions. The entire team had its first opportunity to play atOhio Stadium this year but the freshmen class was treated to itsfirst chance to play in their careers. Players and coaches willenjoy the first off day of the 2000 camp Sunday before continuingwork Monday. The Buckeyes will break camp next weekend. A normalgame-week schedule will begin Monday, Aug. 28.