Youth could be served Saturday for Buckeyes

October, 9, 2008
10/09/08
5:06
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The calls for change started around 9 p.m. ET on Sept. 13, as Ohio State fans watched the same group of players step onto a national stage at the L.A. Coliseum and have the same type of disheartening result.

Buckeye Nation wanted to see the kids play, and they're starting to get their wish.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor will make his fourth career start Saturday against Purdue (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET), and he won't be the only freshman playing a prominent role.

Center Mike Brewster has earned a starting spot up front along with veterans Alex Boone and Jim Cordle. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel will rotate three players into the two spots on the right side of the line.

A more interesting spot to watch is wide receiver, where heralded freshmen DeVier Posey and Lamaar Thomas should get an extended look against the Boilers. Dane Sanzenbacher will miss the game with a concussion, and Ray Small hurt his knee at Wednesday's practice and could be limited.

Ohio State needs to upgrade its passing game beyond the Brians -- Robiskie and Hartline, who have combined for 35 receptions and six touchdowns this season -- and both Posey and Thomas could provide a lift. It will be interesting to see how they fare against an improved Purdue secondary.

Another promising young player, sophomore running back Brandon Saine, could see more time Saturday as Daniel Herron sits out with a concussion. Tressel said today that starter Chris "Beanie" Wells should be fine after experiencing right foot soreness last week at Wisconsin, but Ohio State would be wise to keep Wells to fewer than 25 carries, if possible.

"Both Mo Wells and Brandon Saine have to really step up this week," Tressel told reporters Thursday. "Chris Wells is getting healthier. ... [He] had a little bout with the flu this week, so hopefully, maybe that day's rest because of the flu helps the foot even more. With Beanie, we're hoping that now we're back in the shape where he's a 20-plus carry guy. That would be a goal. But Mo and Brandon, particularly this week, have to be ready to go."

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