Wednesday, August 3, 2011

HEUERMAN LOOKING THE PART; GRANT DUO BEHIND FICKELL

Jeff Heuerman
TBT/Joe Stueve
COLUMBUS — Ohio State freshmen took to the microphones on August 3 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for a formal introduction to the entire class of 2011. Each of the newly-minted Buckeyes were given a few minutes to take questions from the media and to talk about how they fit in with football season less than a month away.

HEUERMAN READY TO ROLL ... At 6-foot-5, 254 pounds, tight end Jeff Heuerman looked quite the specimen as he stood at the podium. Back in February when Heuerman was first introduced as part of the 2011 class, the Florida native was a fraction of what he is now. Heuerman said he's put on 30 pounds since he arrived in Columbus.

"I've changed a little bit physically," he said with a smile.

Heuerman attributes the added weight to the strict workout regiment that he's put his body through over the last seven months.

"Definitely the weight training," he said. "Just how hard we work out ... Just taking care of your body."

When asked if he's experienced any struggles or adjustments since head coach Luke Fickell took the lead, Heuerman quickly shot down the notion that the Buckeyes will take a step backward in the future.

"I kind of got to be under (former coach Jim Tressel) for a little while for spring ball and I think Fick is going to be great," he said. "He's a hard-nosed guy. We're going to kick some people's ass, I'll tell you that."

"We're going to have fun either way, we're going to win either way," Heuerman said. "We're Ohio State."

PLAYERS SPORT NEW TRIBUTE ... Many players were seen wearing black bracelets with the letters 'JT' in red. Players confirmed the bracelets were for Tressel and defensive lineman Steve Miller said he received his from an assistant coach.

FRESHMEN BEHIND FICKELL ... Whether Ohio State wants to admit it or not, Tressel's fingerprint are all over this recruiting class. And with Fickell taking over the program, linebacker Curtis Grant admitted there was a bit of hesitation when he found out Tressel stepped away.

"I'm not going to lie, I (hesitated) at first," Grant said. "But I just prayed about the situation and in the end I felt like this was still the best situation for me."

Defensive lineman Joel Hale also felt a little uneasy after Tressel's resignation.

"With the transition in coaches, it affected me but it never changed my mind about being a Buckeye, not at all," Hale said. "I still call Coach Tressel every now and then just to see what's up."

Cornerback Doran Grant assured Buckeye Nation that this class is 100 percent invested in Ohio State football and fully behind Fickell.

"As a freshman class we are together," he said. "We can't wait to make an impact. I think this class is very strong. I feel like we have a lot of underrated guys and I think we're going to make some noise this year."

TANNER EXCITED TO BE A BUCKEYE ... After playing his football less than 10 miles away from Ohio Stadium at Eastmoor Academy, safety Ron Tanner is ready to wear the scarlet and gray.

"Since spring quarter, this has been a wonderful experience," Tanner said. "Growing up in Columbus and always looking at the Buckeyes and The Ohio State University, this is a pleasure and a privilege."

Tanner noted the difference between football in high school and college was overwhelming at first.

"Spring was a big eye-opener for me," he said. "Since I came in the spring I feel like I got a little jump already in that I know the playbook and I know the system that we run a little better."

O-LINE GETTING BULKISH ... Offensive lineman Tommy Brown is well aware of the speed in the college game. That's why Brown, at 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, is thankful for enrolling early for spring practice.

"Coming from high school to college, I had to come here," he said. "I didn't feel like if I had to come (to Ohio State) in June I wouldn't know anything, but I had to learn the playbooks so that's why I came here in spring."

Brown has some talented veterans to learn from if he wants to crack the depth chart this season as center Mike Brewster, and tackles Mike Adams and J.B. Shugarts all enter their senior seasons.

"Getting stronger and learning the playbook," Brown said of what he can do to improve. "Brewster and (Adams), those veteran guys have helped me out a lot."