Tuesday, August 31, 2010

JAAMAL BERRY READY TO PLAY

Photo of Jaamal Berry by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — The much anticipated debut of Ohio State tailback Jaamal Berry will take place on Thursday night, according to Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel.

Berry may get a his share of looks in the backfield, but most of his action will come in the return game, as Tressel announced Monday that the red-shirt freshman from Miami will pair with sophomore tailback Jordan Hall deep on kickoffs.

"My suggestion to Coach (Darrell) Hazell was for the kickoff, Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry," Tressel said.

Senior tailback Brandon Saine, who roomed with Berry during camp said the young runner is excited and ready to deliver in any way that he can for the Buckeyes in 2010.

"I think that he knows now the coaches trust him giving him a starting role, even if it is a kick returner," Saine said. "I was talking to him and that's definitely one of the things he wanted to do. He's really excited."

Berry, who was one of the most exciting runners in the nation coming out high school in 2009, was expected to come in last season and contribute early as a freshman. However, injuries prevented Berry from ever getting on the field.

Saine said that Berry did get a little down last season because he was unable to get an opportunity, but added that his head didn't hang low for long.

"Yeah, he's progressed a lot," Saine said. "He's a really good guy. He's still kind of young, so I was able to help him out with the playbook. Last year he was a little down sometimes, but he didn't stay there he just worked hard and moved past the injuries. He's definitely ready."

TRESSEL ON BARNETT ... When Ohio State released its depth chart last week many were surprised that C.J. Barnett was named as the starter at strong safety, despite running behind Orhian Johnson during all of the spring and most of fall camp.

Barnett started in the jersey scrimmage while Johnson sat out with a calf injury. When the announcement came that Barnett had won the job, most wanted to know if he received the nod because of his play, or because Johnson missed valuable time at the end of camp?

"I think it was a little of both," Tressel said. "Just like anything else, if you get the opportunities and you have a chance to get more reps and things like that and you impress ... C.J. has been very impressive. That doesn't mean Orhian is not in the thick of a battle. But like anything else, if one guy is in there doing the work and he's getting better and better, and the other unfortunately missed ... I'm guessing it makes it more difficult.

"But good competition will continue at that position.

Terrelle Pryor
(TBT/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
WILL PRYOR BE ALLOWED TO RUN? ... With Tressel stating that quarterback Terrelle Pryor could throw the football 30-plus times per game this season, would that mean the head coach would have any qualms if his signal caller decides to take off running instead?

"I don't have any qualms as long as he gets up fine," Tressel laughed. "Just being honest."

Tressel knows bottling up Pryor would only help the opposing defense.

"We're not going to design 25 runs a game for him. We've got guys that we design things like that for," Tressel said. "Will we design some things for him? Sure. We think that puts more pressure on the defense."

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