Off the Field Issues Won't Stop Buckeyes, Tressel
The sudden loss of veteran linebacker Tyler Moeller and the absence of Ray Small and Rob Rose have been a distraction at the start of summer camp, but those distractions won’t stop the Buckeyes as they enter the new season.
By Eric Geier
The start of camp has not gone quite as smoothly as Coach Tressel and the Buckeyes coaching staff had hoped. This offseason has been like a trip through Willy Wonka’s factory, right when you think everything is peachy, someone drinks from the chocolate river. Self-inflicted wounds are what this off-season has been about. Incoming freshman running back Jamaal Berry was busted for drug possession in Florida, Ray Small and Rob Rose are out with pending academic issues, and fourth-year junior Tyler Moeller was hospitalized after a freak accident in a bar during a family vacation. Not exactly the start every coach dreams of.
Off the field issues are nothing new for the Buckeyes. In the past five years there have been a number of players who have been in trouble with the University and with the law, including the most infamous of them all, Maurice Clarett. But through it all, Coach Tressel has kept the Buckeyes focused and determined on their goals, to win the Big Ten Championship and a National Title. It is at these moments that Tressel proves what a valuable coach he is. When other programs might get flustered or falter in the face of adversity, Tressel and the Buckeyes always seem to forge ahead.
While much of the media focus has been on Ohio State’s off the field issues, new players are stepping up to fill contributing roles on the team. Freshman running back Jamaal Berry, fresh off a dropped drug charge, has impressed players and coaches with his speed bursts and Coach Tressel has high hopes for receiver Dane Sanzenbacher who is coming off ankle surgery.
The long and short of it all? Buckeye fans need not worry. Though the beginning of summer practice has been anything but a stroll through a park with a pretty lady, the Buckeyes are far from the only team with issues. As long as coach Tressel keeps his players focused from here on out, they still have a chance to build this team into the powerhouse they can be.