Joe Podelco / photo editor
After the NCAA hammer fell and Ohio State was left without five starters for the first five games of next season, a strategic and troublesome scenario ensued: Do the five keep getting the bulk of practice repetitions, or does the coaching staff begin to prepare their replacements with increased reps?
Five Buckeyes — quarterback Terrelle Pryor, offensive lineman Mike Adams, running back Dan “Boom” Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas — are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits.
Throughout the spring, all of the suspended five (save Pryor because of a foot injury) have been mainstays in the starting lineup.
Herron said the rotation has given everyone a fair chance to practice.
“I think the coaches did a good job of getting all the guys equal reps,” he said. “Everybody has worked hard, and everybody got better from it.”
To that end, Herron said his career at OSU is not over and that the work he is getting will be beneficial in the end.
“My day will come again when I get to play,” he said. “I’ll keep sticking around my teammates because I know they will keep me motivated. I’ll be in the film room and keep being a leader off the field as well.”
Posey said he viewed the competition throughout the spring in his absence as a positive.
“I felt like a proud dad watching them score touchdowns and make big plays,” Posey said of the wide receivers. “To me, that shows their growth and maturity.”
Posey added he and the other suspended players will make sure to watch film and help coach their replacements when they are not playing.
Senior linebacker Andrew Sweat, however, said the rotation provides some real difficulty.
“Obviously, there is some adversity,” he said. “When (the suspended five) come back, it will give us a lift.”
Senior center Michael Brewster said lamenting over the first five games does no good for the team, but acknowledged it will be a difficult time.
“It is a hard time when you have sitting guys that are really good, like with (left tackle) Mike Adams,” he said. “It’s going to be battled out through camp, though.”
When it comes to the four-man rotation at the quarterback position, coach Jim Tressel said each of the four quarterbacks behind Pryor has gotten equal reps since day one. Because Pryor has been out all spring, fans will have to wait until summer workouts to see how many of the reps he gets.
Tressel will join the five suspended Buckeyes for the first five games of the season for not reporting their transgressions.
Brewster said he doesn’t pay attention to the quarterback battle.
“I don’t even look anymore,” Brewster said, referring to which quarterback is in. “I just get ready and snap it.”