Wednesday, October 02, 2002

College Football Notebook

Clarett pushes Ross out

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS - Ohio State coach Jim Tressel says he wants a balanced offense, although this obviously isn't what he has in mind. It also isn't what Lydell Ross had in mind, either.

        While freshman tailback Maurice Clarett continues to gain prominence as a Heisman Trophy contender, Tressel is left with the uncomfortable balancing act of trying to keep his other running backs happy.

        “I wish there were more balls,” Tressel said Tuesday during his fifth-ranked Buckeyes' preparations for Saturday's Big Ten game at Northwestern.

        Two weeks ago, Clarett was sidelined while rehabilitating his right knee from arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn ligament. Ross got the start in his place against Cincinnati and responded with 130 yards in a 23-19 victory.

        Clarett stepped back into the spotlight last Saturday, carrying 21 times for 104 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-17 win over Indiana.

        Before the game against Indiana, when it appeared Clarett wouldn't be 100 percent, Ross told reporters he thought he would get the majority of carries against the Hoosiers. He came off the bench and ended up with two attempts for 11 yards.

        “I guess you could say it's a little frustrating, coming out of the (Cincinnati) game. I thought I'd at least be the starter going into the game,” Ross said. “

        Clarett now has 575 yards on 84 attempts in four games to Ross' 255 on 55 carries in five games.

        “Me and Maurice, I think we could split time,” Ross said. “It'd be nice.”

        Clarett and Ross are not close friends, and Clarett declined to comment Tuesday about Ross' feelings.

        “It's basically small talk,” Clarett said. “I dealt with this in the springtime and we dealt with this at the beginning of the season. So there's probably nothing to talk about anymore.”

        Ross said he does not socialize with Clarett.

        “It's hard to coexist with people who find it hard to coexist with you,” he said.

        Former Ohio State linebacker Marco Cooper pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony charges of drug possession and carrying a concealed weapon.

        Cooper was arrested hours after the Buckeyes' intrasquad scrimmage in April. Police found a handgun, ammunition and Ecstasy pills hidden in his sport utility vehicle when he was stopped for a traffic violation.

        The 20-year-old from Detroit was kicked off the team.

        NOTRE DAME: Quarterback Carlyle Holiday can pass despite an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. The question now is: Can he play?

        Coach Tyrone Willingham wasn't ready to provide an answer Tuesday.

        “It is still week to week, we may even look at it as day to day,” Willingham said.

        Willingham was encouraged to see Holiday no longer needed a sling and was doing some drills.

        “That means he's a step closer,” Willingham said.

        MARYLAND: Running back Bruce Perry, last year's ACC offensive player of the year, is doubtful for Saturday's game against West Virginia, and the Terrapins are considering the possibility of shutting him down for the season. Perry has yet to play this year because of a torn left groin.


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