As Season Starts, Buckeyes Could Be Short On Leadership

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State may want to hope that experience is overrated as the team begins practicing for the 2007 football season today.

The Buckeyes reached college football's national championship game last season with a roster that included 17 fifth-year seniors. This year's squad has just one.

Because of poor grades, injuries, legal trouble and early exits to the NFL, offensive tackle Kirk Barton is the lone remaining player from the 14-member recruiting class of 2003.

Barton says it was like watching an empire crumble.

To fill the gap, coach Jim Tressel has told his 24 fourth-year juniors they'll need to step up and serve as team leaders.