September 5, 2010

Sweat, Adams easing into starting roles



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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Coming off a serious knee injury heading into fall camp, most thought linebacker Andrew Sweat was working toward solidifying his spot as one of the main reserve contributors.



Well, everyone but Sweat himself.



"I never really felt like the underdog," Sweat said. "I played a lot last year."



Sweat was the first linebacker off the bench and into the field for the Buckeyes in 2009, but after Etienne Sabino had a big spring with Sweat out recovering from a serious knee injury, it seem implied that the job was Sabino's.



In the midst of that, there were even rumors that Sweat would take a redshirt year if he couldn't win the starting job. As it turned out, though, Sweat was named the starter for the first week and now there's speculation that Sabino could redshirt this season. Sabino didn't play a snap in the Buckeyes' season-opening win over Marshall Thursday night.



"I just went hard," Sweat said of fall camp. "Obviously I was hurt for a while, but I just had the itch to come back and play football and that's what helped me."



Buckeyes Ohio State was in the nickel package for most of the game, Sweat saw his playing time somewhat limited against Marshall.



However, Sweat did record 2.5 tackles on the Thundering Herd and said he is easing into his role as a starter on this team. His teammates also believe he brings a great element to this defense.



"The tenacity he brings to game is unbelievable," senior linebacker Ross Homan said. "He is going to bring it every play. He constantly wants to get better and he is just a tough dude. Playing on the edge as a Sam, that is probably one of the toughest spots to learn but he learned it in a couple days. He will be making big plays for us this year."



"I never doubted Sweat for a minute because I knew he had," Homan continued. "This is how it played out."



Offensive line takes steps forward



Unlike in the battle between Sweat and Sabino, everyone anticipated a bout for the starting tackle spot with between Mike Adams and Andy Miller.



The battle didn't live up to the hype.



Adams came into the spring as the clear favorite to win the job and seemingly took most of the reps with the first team for most of the spring.



Meanwhile, Miller was slowed in the tail of end camp with an enflamed left elbow, keeping him out for much of the jersey scrimmage - a practice many feel is one of the most important days of the fall to showcase ability.



As expected, it was Adams who came away with the starting job.



"You have to use the competition to drive you and that's exactly what I did," Adams said. "It definitely feels a lot better (to be the starter) but you still have to compete every day in practice. It is Ohio State, everyone is good. I am just going to keep going all season and hopefully things go the way I like."



Adams said winning the starting job was encouraging for him and he felt as if he performed will against Marshall. There were some blocks the junior missed, admittedly, but he likes the way he is progressing.



"It felt good to get some good blocks. I felt overall I made some improvements, but there is always room to get better. I have long way to go to get where I want to be."




Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.








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