COLUMBUS - Right around the time fall camp gets underway every year, the thought of the return of football is usually the most exciting thing for Ohio State fans to look forward to.
While that was certainly the case again this year - particularly because there was an abundance of off-season story lines - it seems to never fail that some players get into some unexpected trouble, causing a shockwave of concern for the team's well-being.
This year those concerns for the Buckeye faithful surfaced yet again and they were caused by the academic issues of seniors Ray Small and Rob Rose, both of which did not report to fall camp last weekend.
Because of these issues, it looked as if both could miss their senior seasons and subsequently be done with Ohio State, but Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel confirmed Thursday that Small will rejoin the team Friday and Rose could also be there as well.
When asked if Small would be reporting to fall camp on Friday, Tressel simply responded, "Yeah." While that is certainly good news for the Buckeyes, Tressel did add the Small will probably not be resuming his responsibilities with the receivers, seemingly leaving his role with the team only in the return game.
"You always want (your) guys to progress," Tressel added in regards to the status of Small. "You do not like detours (and) you do not like obstacles or things that don't move you forward at the pace you feel like you need to move. You do like the ball to start rolling forward and perhaps we can get it rolling forward here soon."
Though Small could return tomorrow, he still has to adhere to NCAA rules that state he has an acclimation process to go through and he will not be in the same get-ups as his teammates, which could also make for even more lost time. Ohio State starts in full pads Saturday, but Small (and possibly Rose) will not be fully dressed.
In regards to the status for Rose, Tressel wasn't as clear as he was when speaking about Small. When asked if Rose would also return tomorrow, Tressel said with a smile, "He has progressed pretty well too, so we will see… He could."
Tressel did not comment on any further punishment Ohio State (could/would) put on Rose and Small, but if the Buckeyes get back both, that will certainly provide some more depth to the squad.
Check back with BuckeyeGrove.com for more updates on both Small and Rose.