August 14, 2010
Specialists solid in fall kick scrimmage
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State senior kicker Devin Barclay missed a 37-yard field goal in extra time in Saturday afternoon's kick scrimmage in Ohio Stadium as rain drops began to fall. Not even that could ruin his day.
Despite the fact that Barclay's kick couldn't lift the Scarlet team to the victory in Ohio State's fall kick scrimmage, the senior kicker accomplished exactly what he wanted to in his biggest audition before the regular season - to show he had a stronger leg.
"Just getting stronger in the offseason, I worked as hard as I possibly could to improve my strength and I think I did that," Barclay said. "Now it is just a matter of keeping the same swing and going from there."
The Gray team, backed by Drew Basil and Derek Erwin, defeated the Scarlet team comprised of Barclay and Ben Buchanan 33-30 in extra time Saturday, but there didn't seem to be any losers.
After a less-than-stellar performance in the spring kick scrimmage, neither Barclay nor Basil made the analysis of the kicking competition any easier on the coaching staff.
Basil led the Gray team to the victory by hitting 11-of-12 field goal attempts, lifting his squad to the victory. But Barclay, who struggled mightily in the spring scrimmage with longer field goal attempts, went 10-for-12 on the day for the Scarlet team.
"I think we missed a total of three kicks, so all in all it was a good day," Barclay said. "Not too concern about the end result, just how I kicked and how the team kicked was the most important thing."
After going 1-for-8 in attempts from 40 yards or out in the spring kick scrimmage, Barclay's job was somewhat in question when it came to longer field goals in the fall.
Barclay knocked through 4-of-5 kicks from 40 yards or longer and the only miss came on a 58-yard attempt that was on line but just barely fell short of the bottom cross bar.
But Basil was just as impressive.
Basil came into the kick scrimmage with the stronger leg and he went 5-of-6 on attempts past 40 yards out, missing one from 45 yards out when hitting the right upright. Basil also knocked through two field goals from 47 yards out with plenty of leg to spare.
"It was a lot of fun," Basil said. "This a time when you are most nervous when you're just in front of your teammates and you do everything for the team. I felt like I did pretty well. I had a great day.
"I've been hitting them pretty well (in practice)," Basil continued. "I've been a little bit inconsistent in practice. We have been watching a lot of film to correct my mistakes one at a time."
There was speculation that Tressel would opt to use Barclay in shorter field goal attempts and send out Basil for the longer ones, but that is still in question given Barclay's vast improvement from the spring.
Though Basil was very impressive in showing off his strong leg, Barclay has no intention in losing his job to a true freshman.
"I just need to continue to focus on myself and what else is going on between the competition," Barclay said.
Buchanan will stick to punting
Buchanan was pulled aside by Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel about a week ago and told that the staff intended to keep him focusing solely on punting.
Though he did participate in the spring with kicking field goals, Buchanan said he has focused completely on punting this fall and that's what his role will be in the future.
"It is punting now," Buchanan said. "Coach Tressel approached me earlier and camp and told me the team was consistent in the kicking game and that they're going to need to have a consistent punting game and focusing on one has paid dividends for me."
Buchanan is in a battle with Erwin for the starting punting job, but is the heavy favorite to win the job this fall. He had nine punts in today's kick scrimmage and averaged roughly 45 yards per attempt.
Overall, Buchanan said the team was very happy with how the special teams looked Saturday afternoon.
"It is night and day," Buchanan said when comparing it to the scrimmage in the spring. "We all knew that it was acceptable how we performed in the spring. I think we made a statement that we are very focused."
Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.
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