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Boarding House: Monday Edition

** Philly Is Phine … According to an Ohio State player, sophomore wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown re-aggravated a sprained ankle against Toledo and that’s why he didn’t return to action.

Philly has told teammates he is phine.

However, word is that Brown will be available for the road trip to Miami this Saturday.

“Philly’s moving around pretty good,” the player said. “He says he’s definitely going to play. We just watched film (Sunday) but he was bouncing around and said he’s fine.”

Interestingly, it’s been Brown’s peers that have made most of the big plays through the first two weeks of the season. Redshirt freshman Verlon Reed is emerging as the most-impressive young member of the WR corps, and sophomore Chris Fields returned a punt for a touchdown against Toledo.

Brown is still going to have a large role on this team as long as he stays healthy. However, it’s not like the Buckeyes are relying on him to be their top playmaker. It would be nice if he developed into such, but right now it’s Reed, Fields and junior tight end Jake Stoneburner that are stepping up.

** The Blocked Punt Is The Most-Important Play In Football … OK, so we took some liberty with Jim Tressel’s old saying there. However, did you know Ohio State has had three of its punts blocked in the last 13 games?

It’s no coincidence that the Buckeyes moved to the “Purdue punt” last year where the punter has three blockers lined up directly in front of him. Some also refer to this formation as the “spread punt.”

The bottom line is that this formation has spelled disaster for the Buckeyes too many times. There have also been several punts that were extremely close to getting blocked that Ben Buchanan barely got away in time. Therefore, the brain trust inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center is considering a change.

“Luke (Fickell) is considering going back to the way we used to do it with just one up-man in front of the punter,” a source said. “To me, that makes a lot of sense because we never had a bunch of problems like this before we went with the Purdue punting formation. You don’t see any NFL teams do it. They would if it consistently worked. So, he’s strongly considering going back to the way they used to do it and how every NFL team does it.”

Against Toledo, it was redshirt freshman defensive end J.T. Moore (who has looked very good defensively) that missed a blocking assignment which led to a blocked punt. So, it’s not just based on what formation the Buckeyes use – they also have to execute well. If you let a defender run free, there’s a good chance you’re going to suffer a blocked punt no matter what formation you’re using.

Also, our source said: “Buchanan needs to get it off faster. That wasn’t his fault (Saturday), but too often he takes an extra step before punting it. They worked on that all offseason with him and he’s better than he was last year. He needs to be a bit quicker in getting rid of it and without question the blocking needs to improve. And I don’t know for sure that they are going to change formations since they’ve been practicing just the Purdue punt for so long now. But they’re definitely considering it. It might depend on how they look in the regular formation in practice this week.”

**Talkin’ Tyvis … Friday night was a mixed bag for Buckeye defensive back commitment Tyvis Powell (Bedford, Ohio/Bedford). Powell’s job was to shut down Cleveland Benedictine’s fine tight end, 6-foot-5 and 230-pound Mike Roberts, who has his share of scholarship offers.

Powell held Roberts to two catches for 30 yards and no touchdowns, so the battle was a pretty good one with neither side coming out dominant. On the other hand, Benedictine won the game 27-19 so Roberts came away from the contest the happy one.

Overall, Powell felt he did not play as well as he can on either side of the ball. On offense he failed to come up with a reception for the first time in three games. On the positive side, Powell played very well in the first two games of the season.

**Fork In The Road? … In his What I Am Hearing feature today Bill Kurelic had word that all systems are go for quarterback Cardale Jones and wide receiver Michael Thomas to enroll at Ohio State in January. The two are currently getting things in order for what is ultimately hoped to be a short lay over at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy.

However, neither Jones nor Thomas has found the transition to a military school an easy one. When Jones first arrived at Fork Union he had an ear infection which cost him some time on the field. Jones had to play catch-up and thus only received a few reps in Fork Union’s opening win over Hargrave Military Academy. In Thomas’ case, the adjustment from the California lifestyle to that of a cadet at a military school in rural Virginia, was to say the least a bit of culture shock.

However, we are happy to report both are getting comfortable with their new digs, and their play is on the upswing. The goal of both being student/athletes at Ohio State in January is very much on target.

**Ball Is Rolling … By some accounts the most talented Ohio running back in the Class of 2012 is St Francis DeSales standout and future Ohio State Buckeye Warren Ball.

Why? Ball shows the most complete game: he can run, block, and catch. Ball has been hampered by injuries during DeSales his career thus far, creating mixed opinions from some close to the DeSales program. We are told if Ball does have a weakness – though we have talked to several scouts who disagree – it’s that Ball "pitter patters" his feet too much, or runs soft.

We are told Ball runs like a ton of bricks at times and carries defenders down the field when he can. Observers say Ball is constantly being reminded to "run hard" by coaches during games and practice … but not because he is soft. Rather, when he runs hard he can be a "beast,” according to one inside source, and DeSales coaches like when he is in "beast mode".

As for the "pitter patter” comment, our scout tells us "that's Ball’s way of being patient and waiting for things to develop. Ball runs so hard and 100-percent all the time that when he does throttle it down waiting for a hole it may look soft but it’s very effective.”

If you remember, as a prepster Beanie Wells had to listen to similar complaints from critics. If you got a chance to see Ball last week vs. New Albany, he was healthy and running hard.

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