Sunday, August 17, 2003

Tressel says Clarett decision imperative for opener status

Enquirer news services

COLUMBUS - Even if he's eligible, Maurice Clarett might not be able to play in Ohio State's opener if he doesn't return to practice soon.

Coach Jim Tressel said Saturday that his star running back might not be in good enough shape to play Aug. 30 against Washington. Clarett is being held out of preseason workouts while he is investigated by an Ohio State committee and the NCAA.

The 10-person university committee is looking into allegations of preferential treatment for Clarett and other athletes in the classroom, while the NCAA is investigating an exaggerated police report that Clarett gave to campus police after his car was burglarized in April.

"I would think that everyone who is going to play significantly in a ballgame like that has to be prepared physically," Tressel said. "That's why you have preseason, to get guys ready so that when they go out there, healthwise it's the best thing for them. I get nervous about a lot of the guys who maybe haven't had as much work as we like."

Clarett's two replacements are nursing injuries. Maurice Hall, who has a bum right knee, saw some action during a scrimmage Saturday, while Lydell Ross sat out with a pulled quadriceps muscle.

Earlier Saturday, the Buckeyes were ranked No. 2 in the preseason Associated Press poll.

CINCINNATI: Gino Guidugli was 9-for-21 passing for 190 yards in limited action in helping the offensive units score three touchdowns and a pair of field goals. The defensive teams came up with three turnovers and 10 sacks or tackles-for-loss in Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage in West Harrison, Ind.

Freshman Terry Arnold led all rushers with 41 yards in 10 carries.

Collin Carey, a junior who is battling for backup QB, was 7-of-13 for 105 yards. Carey, a former Elder High star, transferred to UC from Eastern Michigan last year.

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