August 27, 2008

Grabbing looks on the DL

With nine returning starters on the defensive side of the ball one would expect it to be a difficult task for an underclassman to get noticed especially a true freshman. While nobody is expecting a first year player to jump right into the fray there have been plenty of new faces that have made waves and defensive coordinator Jim Heacock has been pleased with what he has seen out of his young defensive linemen to date.

Keith Wells and Nathan Williams both enter the program slotted to play at the defensive end position and Williams was brought in to play the LEO position once he gets familiar with the system. Garrett Goebel and Willie Mobley are both tapped to play inside but Mobley has already seen his season come to a premature end with a pre-existing injury shutting things down.

But as for the other three players the reports have all been more than positive and based on talent alone all come through with very high marks especially the tandem of future ends.

"They might be as good… since I have been here (as two freshmen) they are both really talented defensive ends," Heacock said. "They both have motors. Keith is just a typical tall, rangy, long armed, long legged defensive end that has good pass rush technique and ability. Nathan Williams has been a real pleasant surprise and his motor just goes 100 miles per hour and never stops."

Teammates have raved about what the Washington C.H. (Ohio) native brings to the practice field. Williams is listed at 6-foot-4, 245-pounds on the Ohio State roster and runs a 4.67 second 40-yard dash dating back to his high school days. What is the first thing that comes to mind to the defensive coordinator in thinking about what he has seen so far from Williams?

"Effort," Heacock said. "When the ball is snapped look out. He might not know where he is going right now but he is going. You watch him on tape and he never slows down. The ball could be thrown deep third and he is going to turn and run to the deep third."

Of course with limited time in the program most of these players are going more on instinct rather than scheme work and that just shows it will take time for these players to put it all together so to speak.

"He doesn't care about assignments (laugh)," Heacock joked. "He just goes. We do have to take that into consideration... I think he really is a good player and I am really high on those guys as well as Garrett Goebel inside, those three freshmen are pretty good."

What might be most impressive about what Williams is doing is the fact that he missed all of summer workouts after trying to get a final eligibility issue hammered out before being able to report and join his team.

"He wasn't here all summer," Heacock said. "He is going to be a good player. They both have a long way to go as for learning and they both have a long way to go as far as making sure they know what Ohio State football and the discipline part of it (is)."

Turning the page over to Keith Wells the Gainesville (Ga.) product started his high school career on the offensive side of the ball but not on the line or at tight end but as a receiver. It wasn't until a pow-wow with the coaching staff that the then 210-pounder was able to get a look over at defensive end and start wowing people with his natural abilities. Wells checked into his senior season still in that 210-pound range but Heacock admits that Wells now is much closer to the 235-pound to 240-pound range and guarantees one thing for certain.

"If he walked in that door right now you would know he is a good player," Heacock said.

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