Notebook: Ohio State football

Scheduling: Ohio State and Tennessee will play a two-game series in 2018 and 2019. The Sept. 1, 2018, matchup is in Knoxville, with the teams returning to Columbus on Sept. 7, 2019. Ohio State and Tennessee have met only once previously in football, a 20-14 Volunteer victory in the Florida Citrus Bowl following the 1995 season. Also, the game at Southern Cal this season will likely be in prime time. The Buckeyes travel to Southern Cal Sept. 13 and coach Jim Tressel said it’s scheduled for an 8 p.m. kickoff. Tressel said that has not been finalized, but anticipates it won’t change.

Cutting back: The difference between last spring and this spring is 180 degrees. Last year OSU had two 175-play scrimmages. “And about 50 percent of the time quarterbacks were full-go on all-out blitzes and I think we had three [starting] linemen out, so it was like me protecting them,” Tressel said. Those scrimmages will be scaled back because experience isn’t a concern. Staying healthy is.

Beanie recovering:RB Chris Wells still has a cast on his wrist, which he played with broken near the end of the season. Tressel said he will be held out of some contact, particularly pass protection, because wrist bones are slow to heal.

Looking for a coach: OSU’s football speed coach Butch Reynolds resigned this week because he wanted to spend more time in the private sector training athletes and Olympic athletes, as well as devoting time to his foundation in Akron. Tressel said a committee will figure out what kind of conditioning coach the Buckeyes want to hire to replace Reynolds.

Academic issues: Tressel said no players will be held out of spring practice for academic reasons, but he was not pleased with the team’s performance in the classroom during winter quarter. Of course, most players missed the first four or five days of class because of the national title game. “It wasn’t great,” Tressel said. “I think we’re at a 2.9 cumulative GPA right now. We were at a 3.0. ... We only had 42 guys with a 3.0 or better and three guys with 4.0. That’s down four or five, but we did have some guys graduate.”

Gatehouse News Service

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