Big Ten: Rob Rose

We know Jim Tressel won't be walking the sidelines for Ohio State this fall. But who takes the field for the Buckeyes remains very much in doubt.

The most damning part of Sports Illustrated's investigation into Tressel and the Ohio State program is the allegation that memorabilia sold for money and tattoos wasn't confined to the so-called "Tat-5" -- quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, left tackle Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas -- who have been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. The SI report names at least 28 players who allegedly traded memorabilia or autographs for money and tattoos since 2002, including nine players on the current roster.

[+] EnlargeOhio State's John Simon
Matthew Stockman/Getty ImagesAccording to an SI report, starter John Simon is one of nine previously unnamed players on the current Ohio State roster who allegedly traded memorabilia or autographs for money and tattoos.
The current players named in the report are: safety C.J. Barnett, linebacker Dorian Bell, running back Jaamal Berry, running back Bo DeLande, defensive back Zach Domicone, linebacker Storm Klein, linebacker Etienne Sabino, defensive tackle John Simon and defensive end Nathan Williams.

Several of those listed are expected to play significant roles this season, most notably Simon and Williams, returning starters on the defensive line. Sabino and Klein are in the mix at linebacker, while Berry competed for the top running back spot this spring.

From the SI piece:
Ohio State's conclusion that only six players broke the rules is based in part on a list of the items the Department of Justice seized in raids of Fine Line Ink and [Edward] Rife's home on May 1, 2010. But that list, which mentioned 42 football-related items that Rife bought, received or acquired in trades from players, covered only a small fraction of what he got from the Buckeyes, Ellis says. "Eddie had storage units all over town," he says, "and he also sold some stuff off to people." (Through Palmer, his lawyer, Rife declined to comment on his involvement with Ohio State players.) Ellis estimates that Pryor alone brought in more than 20 items, ­including game-worn shoulder pads, multiple helmets, Nike cleats, jerseys, game pants and more. One day Ellis asked Pryor how he was able to take so much gear from the university's equipment room. Ellis says the quarter­back responded, "I get whatever I want."

Expect Ohio State and/or the NCAA to investigate these allegations. If the current players are found to have violated extra-benefit rules, they could face significant suspensions for the 2011 season.

Couple this with the new NCAA/Ohio State probe into Pryor and allegations he received cars and other extra benefits, and Ohio State's depth chart could be a mess heading into the 2011 season.

Other key points from the SI report:

  • Writers George Dohrmann and David Epstein paint the memorabilia sales among players as a systematic problem at Ohio State. It certainly calls into question athletic director Gene Smith's claim that the sales involving Pryor and the others were isolated. Ohio State's brief investigation into the memorabilia sales in December also looks shaky. The number of players alleged to have violated NCAA rules at two separate tattoo parlors, along with the time span in which these infractions possibly occurred, has to be unsettling. Former Ohio State player Rob Rose told SI that he traded memorabilia items for tattoos, as did 20 other players. With Tressel gone, much of the focus turns to Smith and Ohio State's compliance department. This report doesn't help them.
  • One element of the story that already is generating attention is the anecdote from a former colleague of Tressel's on Earle Bruce's staff at Ohio State. The former Buckeyes coach, who served with Tressel on Bruce's staff during the 1980s and asked to remain anonymous, told SI that Tressel rigged raffles at Ohio State's football camps so that elite prospects would win, a violation of NCAA rules. "In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach," the coach told SI. "Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel." If true, this is really creepy and disappointing.
  • The report also reviews Tressel's claims that he knew nothing about NCAA violations involving his players at both Youngstown State and at Ohio State. Those unaware of these aspects of Tressel's track record can get an education from this piece.

So there you have it. Quite a day in Columbus, and not much of a holiday for those of us covering the story.

We'll have much more on the fallout from Tressel's resignation and what's next for Ohio State on Tuesday, so be sure and check in early and often.

Big Ten mailblog

December, 24, 2009
12/24/09
5:00
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Coming to you a day early because of the holiday.

Matt from Marshalltown, Iowa, writes: With the expansion, should the Big Ten look more to add a team from the Big 12 (Missouri or Nebraska) then the others? With a Big 12 move then they could add TCU and shake up the conferences a bit to balance them out, which could make a domino effect and maybe Pac-10 and Big East could look to expand. What are your thoughts on what would be the easiest transistions for all the conferences for which ever way the Big 10 selects

Adam Rittenberg: Matt, while I agree a Big 12 team to the Big Ten would create an interesting domino effect, the Big Ten isn't simply looking to make a move that will balance out the other leagues. The Big Ten will try to add a team that best fits its interests (academics, athletic success, fan following, TV market, etc.). But if the Big Ten adds, say, Missouri, you could definitely see TCU to the Big 12 and maybe Utah and/or BYU to the Pac-10. It'd be pretty exciting.


James from Wheaton, Ill., writes: Hi Adam - hope you're staying safe and dry in Chicago. I've observed the Big 10 expansion comments and concluded that the top two benefits would be:1. Expanding to 12 team gives the Big 10 (12) the capability to host a conference championship game to be competitive with the SEC, Big 12, ACC, etc.2. Expanding allows the Big 10 (12) to continue playing into December, thus minimizing the long layoff between Thanksgiving weekend football and bowl games.Given the difficulty of cleanly dividing the league into divisions, why doesn't the Big 10 simply push the schedule back one week (each team would take a bye during the season) to allow for the final regular season game to be played during the first week of December (a la the Big East)? Are financial benefits of market expansion just too great to ignore?

Adam Rittenberg: You're right about the two primary objectives for the Big Ten in expansion. I'd throw in the opportunity to expand its TV reach with the Big Ten Network. The league certainly would want to strengthen its presence in a TV market or add a new one. Now the Big Ten will add a permanent bye week next year and regularly finish the regular season after Thanksgiving. What you're asking for is two bye weeks and the final weekend of regular-season play in December. I've heard that Ohio State and Michigan would never go for this -- there's enough grumbling about playing The Game after Thanksgiving -- but others in the league could be open to it.


Buck from Missoula, Mont., writes: Adam- Do you feel the Glenville High School Pipeline is still a good situation for Ohio State? Ted Ginn's dad coaches there (for those who don't know), and the Buckeyes have pulled tons of players from there. It is like "Dr. Krop High School" of Ohio. But since Ginn Jr. exploded on the OSU scene,the players since seem to drastically underachieve, almost like they think they are already stars. Rob Rose was a 5 star recruit, and Ginn Sr. said Ray Small was "the best receiver I've ever coached". All they have done is cause problems for the program. It seems to be going down hill. Your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Very interesting point, Buck. I wouldn't give up on the Glenville pipeline just yet, as guys like Jermale Hines, Jermil Martin, Bryant Browning and Marcus Hall are or will be key contributors for Ohio State. But Small and Rose certainly disappointed a lot of people, not only because they were big-time recruits but because they couldn't avoid Jim Tressel's doghouse. There are certainly some inherent risks with players from that area, but Glenville also produces a ton of talent, and Ohio State will continue to go back to the well.


Steve from St. Paul, Minn., writes: Adam, that passage about the monkey and your grampa has me concerned. That was just an active mind providing a little narrative writing to help us through the dark days, right? You're actually OK, right?Cool. I'll play along: I am hoping that the the really pretty girl (Nebraska) gets invited to the dance, and that she accepts. But I know that there are a few homely girls (Rutgers, Mizzou, Pitt) who have rich daddies (TV markets) that may leave a fella prosperous but slack in the shanks, so to speak. The pretty girl would give the Rittenberg division some much needed va-va-voom, eh?

Adam Rittenberg: That active mind was Kenneth Parcell's, not mine. So rest assured, I'm somewhat mentally there. After seeing Forbes' rankings of the most valuable college football programs, Nebraska certainly adds a lot on the gridiron. The Cornhuskers might lack a little in the other sports, namely men's basketball, but they're a big-name program in football and always will be. Nebraska would have a great rivalry with Iowa, especially if both programs continue to surge. Ultimately, the rich daddies (TV markets) could prevail, but I think the Big Ten should strongly consider the Huskers.


Sean from Stamford, Conn., writes: Adam, I understand that the Iowa Defensive Coordinator a versus Georgia Tech triple option is a good coaching matchup, along with the other matchups that you mentioned, but when you post a video titled "Great bowl coaching matchups" How do you leave Joe Paterno vs. Les Miles out of the conversation. As a Penn State alum, I admit that I am biased, and I would rank that matchup as #1; but how do you leave the all time winningest coach versus Les Miles, aka the Mad Hatter, a coach that has perfect record at his current school (which includes multiple BCS games)? This is a coach who is synonymous with tradition and old-school versus a coach that is synonymous with risk taking.

Adam Rittenberg: Sean, I'm a bit lukewarm on the JoePa-Hat matchup. Sure, both guys win bowl games, but from a strategic standpoint, I'm more intrigued with the matchups I listed in the video. Paterno's assistants do most of the work during games, much like Bobby Bowden's at Florida State, and Miles' biggest decisions this year drew nationwide ridicule after the loss to Mississippi. Now if I was ranking the most interesting coaching matchups at the pre-bowl news conferences, Paterno-Miles would be at the top. But when it comes down to the styles of play, I'm more excited about the other three pairings.
Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel confirmed today that wide receivers Ray Small and Duron Carter and defensive end Rob Rose all will miss the Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi.

Multiple media outlets had reported the three players were suspended for the game, but only Carter had officially been ruled out by the team. Tressel didn't provide specifics for the suspensions, but a source told me that Carter is academically ineligible, while both Small and Rose violated team rules. For Small, it was a repeat violation.

Small is probably the most significant loss, as he serves as Ohio State's No. 3 wide receiver and starting punt returner. The Cleveland product can be very dangerous on the field, but his troubles off the field have ended his college career early. Rose is also through at Ohio State.

With both Small and Carter sidelined, a Buckeyes passing attack that ranks last in the Big Ten and 106th nationally won't have two of its top four receivers. Tressel expects junior Taurian Washington and sophomore Lamaar Thomas, as well as freshman tight end Jake Stoneburner, to take on larger roles in the passing game.

"It certainly gives us less depth, without question," Tressel told WBNS radio in Columbus. "Guys like Taurian Washington and Lamaar Thomas are gonna have to step up in those areas from a depth standpoint."

Rose proved valuable at times in the defensive line rotation, but he's not a major loss. Top wide receivers DeVier Posey or Dane Sanzenbacher could handle the punt return duties against Oregon.

The Ducks aren't without their issues, either, as reserve wide receiver Jamere Holland is academically ineligible for the game.

Big Ten mailblog

December, 22, 2009
12/22/09
5:00
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I'll have another one of these Thursday, one day earlier than usual. So get your questions in fast.

Doug from Minneapolis writes: Yes, the Big Ten is a collection of academic institutions and not an openly commercial enterprise like the NFL. Having said that, do you think that there is a chance that the Big Tenwill follow the NFL model and base expansion in part on building up the Big Ten Network in large and potentially lucrative TV markets like St Louis, Pittsburgh, New York and perhaps Boston? (If that is the case, it would make expansion to 14 members a plausible scenario.)

Adam Rittenberg: Doug, I can guarantee you the Big Ten Network and the possibility of adding large TV markets are HUGE factors in the Big Ten's push for expansion. Though expansion to 14 teams still seems a bit far-fetched to me, you can bet a 12th member will add something from a TV market standpoint. That's why Iowa State doesn't seem like a viable candidate -- just not enough TV sets in Ames. Rutgers, meanwhile, is a candidate solely because of the TV market it could bring.


David from Chicago writes: Adam is Small and Rose in or out for the Rose Bowl? ESPN has not reported on it. What is going on?

Adam Rittenberg: David, I've reported it on here, but we're not going to do a news story until Ohio State officially rules these players out for the Rose Bowl, which might not come until Saturday. So far, wide receiver Duron Carter is the only Buckeyes player officially ruled out for the bowl. Small's father told a Columbus television station that his son won't be playing the Rose Bowl, and I don't expect to see Small or Rob Rose in California next week. But things can change, as we saw last week with Rose's academic issue, so we'll wait for the official word.


Scott M. from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, writes: discussions around expansion have mostly circled around FBS colleges. what about a villanova type school that has a solid championship football team. Connecticut made an incredible transition with their team to the big east. Why not an FCS school?

Adam Rittenberg: Scott, with all due respect, this is still the Big Ten we're talking about. I realize the league has struggled a bit on the football field in recent years, but it remains the richest and best-run conference in all of college sports. Those who suggest the Big Ten add a MAC school or an FCS school are kidding themselves. Trust me, the Big Ten will have enough options for expansion, and better options than Villanova. Oh, and you can cross Youngstown State off your list of expansion candidates.


Chad from Columbus, Ohio, writes: Adam:I have to question why you felt the need to include the qualifier, "especially at Ohio State", when discussing the changing status of suspensions? This carelessly implies that Coach Tressel is more lax in this regard than other coaches, which obviously, is not the case. Afterall, there is one guy playing in the Rose Bowl who was suspended FOR THE SEASON, and he doesn't play at OSU. I like reading your blog and the work you do, but, I think your chose your words poorly in this instance.Thanks for your time.

Adam Rittenberg: That's a fair point, Chad, and I probably should have explained my word choice. The thing is, Ohio State has some history in changing players' status before the season/bowl games. You had the Donald Washington situation two years ago. And just last week, Rob Rose's status changed after he got in some hot water academically. Neither Rose nor Small reported with the team for preseason camp in August, but things changed and they were reinstated before the season. All I'm saying is that things change at Ohio State, like they do with many programs. But I'll add this: both Rose and Small have been given multiple chances to stay in line with the program. If they indeed violated the rule that I've heard they did, they don't deserve another shot with the Buckeyes.


Rakesh from Champaign, Ill., writes: After watching Missouri beat Illinois the last three years and watching Zook repeatedly have losing seasons, how big do you think Dave Christensen's name will be next year? He had a pretty sweet win versus Fresno state (another Illinois opponent).

Adam Rittenberg: Just come right out and say it, Rakesh. You want Christensen to be Illinois' next head coach. Hey, I don't blame you. He did a great job in his first season at Wyoming, which upset Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl. And while he's from Everett, Wash., he worked in the Midwest for some time at both Missouri and Toledo. Ron Zook will get another chance to get things right with a very different staff of assistants, but if he fails, Christensen's phone could be ringing.


Lance from Bedford, Pa., writes: Hi Adam, Merry Christmas to you. As we enter bowl season and many seniors are approaching their final games alot can be said for what they leave behind as their legacy. Some have already made their mark and others have one final chance. Darryl Clark comes to my mind as a player still lacking a definitive footprint on his program, winning a BIG10 title but playing poorly in every spotlight game. I am very interested to know where you think he will end up in Penn State lore and will beating LSU help him?

Adam Rittenberg: Happy holidays, Lance. You bring up a great point about Clark. The Capital One Bowl will help shape his legacy at Penn State. While he certainly deserves a lot of credit for Penn State's play the past two seasons, he does lack many signature wins. I would disagree with your claim that Clark has struggled in spotlight games, as he actually played pretty well against the vaunted USC defense in last year's Rose Bowl. Clark has been fabulous for the most part in two seasons as the starter. He struggled at times against Iowa this year and really had a rough time with Ohio State on Nov. 7. Clark's overall profile shouldn't be discounted, but he can really cement his legacy with a win against LSU. If Penn State loses, he'll be remembered as a very good quarterback, but not one who won many big games.

Buckeyes could be shorthanded for Rose

December, 21, 2009
12/21/09
11:52
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Ohio State already knows it will be without No. 4 wide receiver Duron Carter for the Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi.

The Buckeyes also could be down three more players when they face No. 7 Oregon in Pasadena on Jan. 1 (ABC, 4:30 p.m. ET).

The Columbus Dispatch and other outlets are reporting that wide receiver/punt returner Ray Small, defensive end Rob Rose and running back Bo DeLande likely won't be with the team for the Rose Bowl.

A source close to the team told me Saturday night that Small had violated team rules and wasn't practicing. Rose had academic troubles last week that he appeared to figure out, but the senior reportedly erred again. The source tells me Small's violation is a repeat offense.

Now it's very important to remember that the status of players can change, especially at Ohio State. Rose's academic turnaround last week is proof of this. Two years ago, Buckeyes cornerback Donald Washington was allowed to play in the national title game after being suspended for a repeat violation of team rules. Bottom line: things can change.

But given how both Small and Rose have been given multiple second chances, there's a decent bet neither player will be in Pasadena for the game. Small is the big loss as he ranks fourth in the Big Ten in both punt returns and kickoff returns. The senior also ranks third on the team in receptions with 15.

If Small and Carter both miss the game, expect Lamaar Thomas to take on a bigger role as a receiver and a return man.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

It's not unusual that Ohio State coaches ask their defensive linemen to play multiple positions. Almost every successful team makes similar requests.

 
 Randy Litzinger/Icon SMI
 Defensive end/linebacker Thaddeus Gibson leads the Buckeyes with 10.5 tackles for loss.
But rarely do you get a defensive line where each interchangeable part functions at or near All-Big Ten level.

The Buckeyes' defense is nicknamed "The Silver Bullets." And this season, the bullets are flying from every angle.

"Playing different positions, there's nothing like it," Buckeyes defensive lineman and co-captain Doug Worthington said. "[Ohio State] always had a lot of versatile guys, but this defensive line is showing how versatile it really can get."

The line leads one of the nation's most dominant defenses, a unit that owns three shutouts on its résumé and nearly had a fourth last week against Penn State. The front four ranks third nationally against the run (85.4 yards per game), hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 20 games and has recorded 20 sacks in Big Ten play, which ties Purdue for the league lead.

Ohio State will once again lean on the line Saturday as it tries to secure its fifth consecutive Big Ten title and a likely Rose Bowl berth against No. 10 Iowa (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).

Worthington came to Ohio State as a defensive end but lacked the speed to be an every-down pass-rusher, so he moved to the 3-technique defensive tackle position, lining up between an opposing guard and a tackle and shooting the gap. But he still plays some end as well. Last week against Penn State, Cameron Heyward recorded sacks at both the end and tackle positions.

"He played both. I’m playing defensive end, defensive tackle and nose guard," Worthington said. "Thaddeus [Gibson] is playing linebacker and defensive end. We’re sometimes dropping, sometimes looping or whatnot. It gives the offensive line a different viewpoint of who's coming."

By the time they realize who's coming and from which direction, it's usually too late.

Ohio State not only boasts versatility, but tremendous depth up front. Todd Denlinger has stepped in seamlessly for the injured Dexter Larimore, while backups Lawrence Wilson, Nathan Williams and Rob Rose have combined for 7.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss.

"It's the caliber of the player and the situations they put them in that make it tough," Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said. "If it's third-and-8, they may take a kid and play him as a defensive end because they get a little better pass rush out of him.

"They're big, strong kids, and they're good. And they're smart. And they can adjust. And it does make it tougher."

Adjusting to multiple positions isn't always easy. Worthington remembers Gibson, cognizant of Ohio State's rich linebacker tradition, struggling at first to play the defensive end-linebacker hybrid.

But the 6-foot-2, 240-pound junior soon saw the benefits of being versatile and leads the team in tackles for loss (10.5) to go along with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

"In this day and age," Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel said, "there are so many different styles of football and so many things that the offenses bring at you, your people have to be very versatile."

Not to mention very good.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Ohio State lost a few style points down the stretch, but the Buckeyes reaffirmed themselves as the team to beat in the Big Ten on a wild day in the conference.

Terrelle Pryor still does a few things that make you scratch your head, but the sophomore quarterback was mostly good in a 33-14 Buckeyes win over Indiana. He factored into all four Buckeyes touchdowns (3 pass, 1 rush) and distributed the ball extremely well. Junior running back Brandon Saine took advantage of his first start this season with 113 rush yards on 17 carries, and freshman wideout Duron Carter caught his first career touchdown. The offense doesn't always click, but it makes enough plays to win.

Once again, the real story for Ohio State was the defense, which forced three Indiana turnovers. Safety Anderson Russell, who was demoted after the season opener, came up big in place of the suspended Kurt Coleman with an interception and a fumble recovery. It was another big night for the Buckeyes' defensive line, which got an interception from Todd Denlinger and impressive second-half play from Rob Rose. Losing Dexter Larimore hurts, but the Buckeyes are stacked up front.

Indiana once again didn't quit and should have made it more competitive, but mistakes really hurt the Hoosiers after the first quarter. Wide receiver Tandon Doss had a really nice night (6 receptions, 96 yards) and the defense played well at times, but Indiana couldn't generate a rushing attack and Ben Chappell's two interceptions really stung. This is clearly a better IU team than many of us had imagined, but the Hoosiers are 0-2 in league play and need to bounce back soon.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Wide receiver Ray Small and defensive end Rob Rose are finally participating in Ohio State's preseason camp.

Academic issues delayed the arrival of both players, but Small and Rose are now with the team, team spokeswoman Shelly Poe confirmed to ESPN.com.

Small, a projected starter at receiver and the Big Ten's leading punt returner in 2008, reportedly was waiting on a summer school grade to be changed or updated before he could return. Head coach Jim Tressel said Thursday that Small still has some work to do to regain all of his privileges with the team.

Tressel seemed less sure that Rose would rejoin the team Thursday, but Rose has apparently cleared his academic hurdles as well and will compete for time at defensive end. Ohio State now can fill out its 105-man roster after having only 103 players report Sunday.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel confirmed Tuesday that junior linebacker Tyler Moeller will miss the season after sustaining a head injury several weeks ago.

After originally fearing that Moeller's injury would be career-ending, Tressel told reporters in Columbus that he expects Moeller to return to the field at some point. He didn't go into any details of the incident that caused Moeller's injury but indicated that the player was not at fault. 

"From what I gather, Tyler didn't have much to do with what happened," Tressel told reporters. "Would I be privy to talk about the whys and the wherefores? No, because there are extenuating circumstances that are ongoing. Needless to say, it's unfortunate."

This is a very tough break for Moeller, who likely would have started at outside linebacker this fall. The good news is he's out of the hospital and making a strong recovery. A source close to the player tells me he's doing "extremely well" after undergoing a procedure this week to relieve pressure on his brain.  

A source close to the program tells me Moeller was with family members at a bar/restaurant when someone punched him and he hit his head. The injury didn't appear serious at first but Moeller had an apparent seizure last week and was hospitalized for tests. His attacker has been identified, and more details about the incident should be known soon.
  • Tressel also said there's a chance that wide receiver Ray Small and defensive end Rob Rose can rejoin the team for camp. Both players are dealing with academic issues, though it seems more likely that Small, a projected starter, will return at some point this season.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Ohio State reported for training camp Sunday without three players, including two projected starters.

Junior linebacker Tyler Moeller remains hospitalized Sunday with an undisclosed injury. A spokesman at OSU Medical Center lists Moeller in fair condition but couldn't provide further details.

WCMH-TV in Columbus reported that Moeller sustained a head injury several weeks ago and went to the hospital for tests. Team spokeswoman Shelly Poe said Moeller is expected to join the team in the next day or so.

Moeller was a leading candidate to start at outside linebacker after starting the final two regular-season games last season. He finished with 18 tackles (3 for loss) in 2008.

ESPN.com affiliate Web site Bucknuts.com is reporting that wide receiver Ray Small and defensive end Rob Rose didn't report with their teammates Sunday. Both players reportedly are dealing with academic issues that prevent them from participating in team activities.

Moeller and Small both could be key losses if they don't return to the field. Ohio State lost two standout linebackers in James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, and the speedy Moeller was expected to play a major role this fall. Small finished fourth on the team in receptions last year and led the Big Ten in punt returns (15.2 ypr).

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Ohio State running back recruit Jaamal Berry spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since his arrest for marijuana possession in June.

Berry, who will have the possession charge dropped as long as he completes an online diversion program, vows to stay out of trouble now that he's with the Buckeyes. He doesn't face a suspension from the team and looks like the front-runner for the third-string running back spot behind Dan Herron and Brandon Saine.

"It's definitely not going to happen again," Berry said Wednesday. "I'm not here to make any problems. I'm here just to ball out on the football field and do good in school." 

The heralded recruit, ranked as the nation's No. 3 running back by ESPN's Scouts Inc. in the 2009 recruiting class, wants to have a good reputation among Ohio State fans. 

"I don't know their impression of me, but I hope it's not bad," Berry said. "I learned my lesson, hanging around with the wrong people, about making better decisions and just moving on from there. Everyone makes mistakes. It's how you go along and move forward from there." 

In other Ohio State news, reserve defensive end Rob Rose didn't comment on his rumored academic problems, though he expects to attend the team's photo day next week. 

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The Ray Small saga might have added another chapter.

Bucknuts.com reports that Small, a possible starter at wide receiver and punt returner for Ohio State this fall, is not with the team and has had his scholarship revoked because of academic issues. There are also reports that Buckeyes reserve defensive lineman Rob Rose also is not with the team because of academic issues.

An Ohio State source tells The Cleveland Plain Dealer that Small's status remains day to day, and Small's father insists his son will be there when Ohio State opens practice Aug. 10.

"He was just here last night and he was saying how he wants to go to camp, and that's a first," Ken Small said. "Usually it's like, 'Man, we've got to go to camp.' Now, he was like, 'I can't wait until camp.'"

It looks like we'll have to wait and see if Small reports with his teammates Sunday.

He has summer school issues he's still dealing with. Ken Small said his son had a problem with a history class that was being worked on. But the source said Small still could report for camp next Sunday with everyone else.

Small's name has been in the news a bunch the past year, for both good and not so good reasons.

He made some juicy comments about USC last September and was suspended two games for repeated violations of team rules. He also excelled as a punt returner, leading the Big Ten with a 15.2 yards-per-return average, and finished fourth on the team with 18 receptions.

Small's presence would be missed if he cannot suit up for Ohio State, but let's see where this story goes.

Ohio State injury update

October, 14, 2008
10/14/08
1:39
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Ohio State starting defensive end Lawrence Wilson will miss Saturday's game at No. 20 Michigan State (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET) after sustaining a knee injury against Purdue. Wilson, who has 18 tackles and a sack this season, anchors a Buckeyes defensive line that will face a major test in Michigan State running back Javon Ringer. Junior Rob Rose likely will start in his place.

Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel said reserve wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher (concussion), tight end Rory Nicol and linebacker Austin Spitler will return Saturday. Tressel won't know the status of reserve running back Dan "Boom" Herron until after Wednesday's practice. Herron sustained a concussion Oct. 4 at Wisconsin and missed the Purdue game.

"His was a little bit more significant of a concussion than Dane," Tressel said.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The two teams that meet next week at the L.A. Coliseum have enjoyed tremendous success with dramatically different philosophies.

Ohio State wide receiver Ray Small pointed out some of those differences after Saturday's too-close-for-comfort 26-14 win against Ohio. Small, like several players in the Ohio State-USC game, visited both schools during the recruiting process.

"As I took my visit to USC, I'm like, 'How are they successful? They're not even serious about the game,'" said Small, who caught five passes and had a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown against Ohio. "Before the game, they're all going crazy. Me and [Buckeyes defensive end] Rob Rose was on the visit and I'm looking like, 'Wow.' And then the coach said, 'You better get out of here. It's 'bout to get hectic.'

"And then I come [to Ohio State] on the visit and before the game, it's all quiet, everybody getting taped, coaches talking. It's the total opposite."

Small can't figure out how two divergent programs achieve such similar results. But he knows he made the right choice with the Buckeyes.

"It's more of a class thing," he said. "We took what [former USC quarterback] Carson Palmer said. I don't think somebody from Ohio State would have ever said that remark."

Palmer, the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback, sounded off in July, telling an L.A. radio station how he "cannot stand the Buckeyes and having to live in Ohio and hear those people talk about their team, it drives me absolutely nuts." He later apologized, saying he does respect the Buckeyes.

"Here at Ohio State, they teach you to be a better man," Small said. "There, it's just all about football."

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