Who Can Gain - Who Can Lose
March 22, 2001 10:00 pm EST

Nine days away from the start of the spring practice and the start of the Tressel era.  Let's talk about who has the most to lose and the most to gain.  (I guess everyone is starting at ground zero with a new staff, but there are those who would have been incumbents under the Cooper regime who may have a tougher battle now.)

Most to Gain:

Robert Reynolds:  This sophomore-to-be OLB has stardom written all over him.  Watch for #44 this spring.  He may not possess great speed but he's got great football instincts.  He was one of the better special team players last year but only saw limited action as Bullard's back-up.  Bullard had better watch out this year.

Rick McFadden:  I should list all of the young QB's because they all look to have legit shots at the starting job, but the word is that McFadden was the most impressive of all the youngsters last fall.  He's not prototypical - unusually tall, needs to gain some muscle weight, and doesn't have a cannon, but practice observers said that he was very cool in the pocket in fall practice and was deadly accurate. 

Bam Childress:  1999's Ohio Mr Football was redshirted last year.  He's only 5'9", 180 pounds, but has packs a big punch.  Brandon Joe is apparently out for the spring and BSB said that Childress was getting a look at TB on the scout team last year, so you could see Childress on offense this spring.  Otherwise you will see him at CB battling for one of the two vacated starting spots.

Chris Vance:  JUCO wide receiver will wear #4 and will try to make us forget about the disappointment the former player that wore #4 brought us.  Great size and hands and sources say he is a load to bring down.  He'll get a jump start on the other wide receivers in this class.

Andy Groom:  Walk-ons evidentially were treated like red-headed step children during the Coop years.  That will change with Coach Tressel.  Groom will be given every chance to win the punting job.   

Sammy Maldonado:  Buckeye Sports Bulletin writers were very critical of Maldonado last year, but I'm not sure the guy got a fair shake.  It seemed like he ran into defenders in the backfield almost every time he got the ball last year.  Let's not forget that he was Rival.com's #1 rated TB in the country coming out of high school.

Bryce Bishop:  Bishop was all everything coming out of Miami Killian High School two years ago but missed the '99 season as a Prop 48 casualty and redshirted last year.  Sources say that he finally began to shed the rust in practice in the latter part of last season.  Bishop stands a good chance of earning the #1 spot at one of the guard spots this spring.

Most to Lose:

Steve Bellisari:  I need to say that I'm getting sick of the Bellisari debate.  On message boards, there are long threads almost every day talking about how terrible he is or how Tressel will turn him into a good QB.  I'll just say this.  He needs to play better or he'll ride pine.  The chances of him playing DB are zero, so it's QB or nothing for Steve.  I hope he improves.  The guy is a poster child for "effort and desire."

Jonathan Wells:  Probably was a lock to start every game if Coop were still here.  If he plays like he did late last season, he will be tough to beat out for the starting job.  Problem is he sometimes runs tentatively and makes you wonder.  He still has good potential but will have a good TB in Maldonado right on his tails this spring.

Courtland Bullard:  Let's face it, the guy has been extremely disappointing.  He showed signs for a three or four game stretch last season but then disappeared late in the season.  Outside of pure speed, the guy hasn't shown much.  He needs to take his game to another level or Reynolds, Marco Cooper, or Cie Grant will take his job.

BJ Sander:  I'd like to see a stat on how much aid Sander's punting stats got from the roll last year.  Seemed like he picked up 15+ yards on rolls pretty regularly.  His slow punting style will not cut it very much longer.  And with his frequent shanks, Tressel's hair will have more gray than just streaks.


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