College Football Notebook: Buckeyes favored
The college football notebook …Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis peeked at a reporter’s notebook while giving an interview and noticed a mistake.
“You spelled my name wrong,” Laurinaitis interrupted, finding a missing ‘a’ in his last name.
Quite the perfectionist, that All-American linebacker.
The loaded Buckeyes are favored to win the Big Ten for a fourth straight year. But while conference crowns are nice, Ohio State wouldn’t mind erasing the memories of lopsided losses in the last two BCS title games with a national championship.
The perfect ending to a season has been elusive for these Buckeyes.
“I’ve never gotten complacent,” he said recently. “Let’s face it, when you’re in Columbus, you’re the team down there. It’s something where you are part of something special.”
Other interesting story lines abound around the Big Ten:
– Joe Paterno’s 372 wins are one behind only Florida State’s Bobby Bowden for most among major college football coaches. But an age-old question has emerged again at Penn State: Will this be the 81-year-old Paterno’s last season on the sideline?
– Michigan is in transition as new coach Rich Rodriguez installs his vaunted spread offense ó without a proven quarterback.
– Illinois will try to prove it’s no one-year wonder, while Purdue coach Joe Tiller hopes his high-flying offense can nudge its way into the upper end of the standings in his final season before retirement.
Yet all that may take a backseat to another BCS title run by the Buckeyes.
Twenty starters return for coach Jim Tressel, including Laurinaitis and bullish 1,000-yard rusher Chris “Beanie” Wells. Tressel also added super-recruit Terrelle Pryor, who could have an all-purpose role on offense while playing understudy to steady starting quarterback Todd Boeckman.
ATLANTA ó Georgia Tech has entered its schedule of two-a-day practices.
Sophomore quarterback Josh Nesbitt had two long runs and connected with receiver Demaryius Thomas on two long passes to highlight Georgia Tech’s first of two practices on Monday ó the Yellow Jackets’ first day of two-a-day sessions.
“At times we were terrible and at times we were impressive,” said coach Paul Johnson.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. ó Chris Turner, Jordan Steffy and Josh Portis have been told that their role in Maryland’s season opener will be determined by their play during the preseason.
One will ultimately fill the most important position on the team, running the offense as the starting quarterback. The other two will be forced to watch from the sideline.
ATHENS, Ga. ó High expectations for Georgia were overshadowed by off-field troubles as the Bulldogs held their first practice Monday.
Coach Mark Richt fielded questions from reporters for about 45 minutes, most of them about players being arrested, dismissed or suspended since Georgia finished last season with a dominant victory over Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.
“The reputation of this team has been damaged, no question,” Richt said.
On Monday, Richt announced backup linebacker Darius Dewberry was suspended for the first two games of the season, making him the sixth player to be suspended or dismissed from the team in the offseason.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. ó Florida began fall practice Monday with three noticeable absences. Defensive tackle Torrey Davis, safety Bryan Thomas and incoming freshman defensive back Adrian Bushell weren’t around for the first practice of the season.
Davis and Bushell were dealing with academic issues. Thomas had a cyst removed from his knee and will be out at least a few weeks.