Sunday, April 25, 2004

Pittman tosses helmet into Buckeyes' RB derby

OSU notebook

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COLUMBUS - Ohio State's tailback competition got a little cloudier Saturday. Seniors Lydell Ross, Maurice Hall and Branden Joe were expected to vie for the job. Yet freshman-to-be Tony Pittman was the surprise star of the spring game Saturday, rushing for a game-high 105 yards on 21 carries for the winning Scarlet squad.

Coach Jim Tressel said Pittman would have a chance to earn carries. "I felt good about the way he played," Tressel said. "He can catch it, and he can run it. Any time you're running the ball well, you want to use multiple running backs."

Pittman, a graduate of Akron Buchtel, enrolled at OSU at the start of the spring quarter. He earned all-state honors as a senior with more than 1,300 rushing yards despite missing three games with a toe injury. "I hope to see myself playing," he said. "I know I'm capable of running the ball."

KEY COMPETITION: One of the hottest competitions for a starting spot could be Hamilton High grad E.J. Underwood vs. Ashton Youboty at cornerback. Underwood is No. 1 on the depth chart now and had three tackles Saturday. Youboty had four tackles, blocked a punt and recovered a fumble.

SURPRISES: Surprise performances came from receivers Anthony Gonzalez and John Hollins. Each caught five passes, Hollins for 64 yards and Gonzalez for 63. Hollins, who'll be a fifth-year senior, has just one collegiate catch. Gonzalez will be a redshirt freshman.

BUCKS BITS: Third-string quarterback Todd Boeckman was 6-of-11 passing for 33 yards and an interception in combined duties for both teams. ... Offensive guard Adam Olds will not play again for OSU because of recurring hip problems. ... Attendance was 45,074.



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