Buckeye News Around the net for 08/15/08

Buckeye News Around the net for 08/15/08
Donte Whitner

Buckeye News Around the net for 08/15/08

Bobby Carpenter, Donte Whitner, Ryan Pickett, Vernon Gholston, Troy Smith, Roy Hall, Kenny Peterson, Ashton Youboty, Michael Jenkins, and Matt Wilhelm.

By Bill Smith

Preseason NFL Report

            LB Bobby Carpenter led the Cowboys in tackles against the Chargers. But he played three quarters and the numbers don't tell the whole story. Carpenter had been getting rave reviews in camp for his play. However, against the Chargers he struggled mightily and looked like the same old Carpenter that has had trouble getting on the field since being drafted in the first round in 2006.  Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips liked what he saw from LB Bobby Carpenter Saturday, Aug. 9. Carpenter finished the game with five tackles and four assists, according to the coaches' chart. Carpenter received extensive work at both inside linebacker spots.

            SS Donte Whitner (ankle) returned to practice during evening workouts Monday, Aug. 11. He was wearing a cast on his sprained hand. He got better fast as he started Thursday against Steelers and played very well including an interception.  We will have a scouting report soon.

            DL Ryan Pickett (hamstring) will not play in the team's preseason opener Monday, Aug. 11.

            ROOKIE REPORT: LB Vernon Gholston is coming along slowly, although he has shown flashes of his outstanding pass-rushing ability against the Jets' backup offensive linemen. 

            OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Kyle Boller vs. Troy Smith for starting QB — Boller was accurate in the preseason opener but he committed two costly turnovers (a fumble and an interception). Smith didn't turn the ball over but he was inaccurate.

            Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reported Wednesday that “In the three way competition for quarterback, it clear that Troy Smith, the former Heisman winner, has the support of several of the veteran leaders in the Raven's locker room.”

            WR Roy Hall vs. WRs Devin Aromashodu, rookie WR Pierre Garcon and WR Courtney Roby for fourth WR role in the Colts offense. Hall missed most of his rookie year with the Colts on the injured reserve list. He was a top candidate to replace former Indianapolis WR Aaron Moorehead as the fourth receiver in the team's rotation. But he's been getting plenty of competition from Aromashodu, Garcon and Roby. Aromashodu got substantial playing time last year when starting WR Marvin Harrison was sidelined with a knee injury.  Hall's injury is not helping his cause.  Hall (hamstring) will not play in the team's preseason game Saturday, Aug. 16.

            At defensive tackle, Marcus Thomas moved up on the depth chart and supplanted Kenny Peterson with the first team. Thomas is a promising second-year player.

The Good

            From USA Today BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Ashton Youboty vs. Leodis McKelvin and Will James for backup CB duty in nickel and dime — With Terrence McGee (ankle) sidelined, Youboty earned the start against the Redskins and came up with a nice interception. He played extensively with the second-team defense as well and did a good job. Youboty, a third-year pro out of Ohio State, needs a big camp to keep his roster spot and this game helped his cause.

            From USA Today BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Michael Jenkins vs. Laurent Robinson at WR — Robinson opened training camp as the starter, with good reason. The second-year player is a game-changing complement to Roddy White and has equally as impressive physical attributes.  He has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff, though, after missing more than a week of practice with a bruised tailbone then returning the Thursday before the preseason opener, hoping to play. He did not make the trip to Jacksonville. Jenkins has seized the opportunity and has played well. Helping Jenkins is he a very good run blocker who fits well into the run-friendly system.

            From USA Today:  It was quite a ride for the Chargers last season for inside linebacker Matt Wilhelm.

            "It was a roller coaster," Wilhelm said.  By the time the wheels stopped spinning, last year's Chargers were 1-3 and Wilhelm wondered about his life as a starter.  After biding his time as a backup and on special teams, Wilhelm was a first-teamer last year.  But a strained calf interrupted his opening month, forcing him to miss nearly three games — the Chargers went 0-3.

            "With my injury and the team being down, I was down," Wilhelm said. "I felt I could help but I couldn't come back. That wasn't fun." The good times were to come — save that bruising afternoon in Minnesota when Adrian Peterson set the NFL rushing record. 

            "After that hiccup in Minnesota, from there on we were on a roll, myself included," the 6-foot-4, 245-pound Wilhelm said. "We started to zone in and understand each other as a defense and that was what gave us great success."  The Chargers are expected to be great again this year and make a beeline for Tampa, Fla., and the Super Bowl.  If so, Wilhelm will be front-and-center.

            "He is a tremendous athlete," said veteran Carlos Polk, Wilhelm's backup. "And he's more comfortable in there. That first year starting he was thinking and learning what he should do. Now he knows what he is doing and learning what offenses throw at him. He's a very smart player, as well as being a good athlete."  Wilhelm was oh-so-good — despite missing nearly three games — to finish second among Chargers with 144 tackles, with three interceptions and a sack.  But what Wilhelm, a six-year pro, holds dear is the experience. The knowledge that comes with being a starter and what is expected over a demanding season that tests a man's body and soul.

            "I understand now what it takes to be a professional," he said. "I thought I knew, but it's the week in, week out rigors you deal with mentally and physically that are ever-changing. And it's something you need to quickly adapt to."       

The Bad           

            Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, coping with a sore hamstring, had yet to practice through two weeks of training camp.  However, that is not putting his starting spot in jeopardy.  Pickett is the leader of the interior of the line.

            Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox said CB Chris Gamble (hamstring) will not travel with the team for their preseason game Thursday, Aug. 14.

            S Donte Whitner (ankle) returned to practice Tuesday, Aug. 12, and was able to participate fully. Whitner admitted there was some discomfort, but he believes he can play through it. Whitner is planning to see how his ankle responds to Tuesday's practice before deciding on his status for the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 14, but head coach Dick Jauron believes Whitner will suit up.

            OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Na'il Diggs vs. Landon Johnson for starting SLB - This is the closest battle in training camp this summer. Diggs and Johnson have been splitting a lot of reps with the first team during practice. Diggs started against the Colts, but Johnson was in the game early on.  Diggs  started last year but as we told you several weeks ago, he is in a real battle with the former Bengal starter.

The Ugly

            The New York Giants have placed OG Shane Olivea (back) on Injured Reserve, ending his 2008 season.  Olivea (back) had been expected to return to practice this week.

            There were more suspensions in College Football this week.  Check out my editorial on the subject on eScoutRoom.com.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams and has scouted talent.  He is a senior writer for http://BrutusReport.com.  He has also published several novels on http://ebooks-library.com/index.cfm and edits http://fryingpanpolitics.blog.com

Tags: Buckeyes Football NFL Ohio State

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