Archives for August 2006

My fears for the season

OSU Football
Sports IllustratedEarlier this month, the pre-season polls started coming out. Our Ohio State Buckeyes were bubbling to the top, the cream that they are. I don’t remember which one was first (the ESPN/Coaches poll?) but I started getting nervous. The Sports Illustrated poll wouldn’t be far behind. Would they doom OSU’s chances at the National Title by featuring us on the cover? If they did, could we finally break the curse? I, like most of Buckeye Country, was a bit nervous picking up SI’s College Football Preview. Sure, there was more than one cover, the regional covers alleviating a little of the possibility of a 6-way curse, but there it was, hovering.

I was reminded of another SI cover:

Andy Katzenmoyer SI

I remember an IMMENSELY talented Buckeye team, lead by a talented quarterback, talented receivers and monster defense. I also remember a fateful afternoon in November, a dark, cold night in the ‘Shoe and a fateful fumble and a gut-wrenching interception, the hopes of a National Championship lost. With Troy and company on the cover of this year’s SI College Preview, I hope we don’t have to live through that again. Though the parallels between this team and the ’98 team aren’t strong, I still have two fears going into the season.

Overconfidence is my first fear. The players have been hearing the hype. They’ve seen the shows, they’ve seen the polls. How much is going to their head? On the outside, the Buckeyes, especially Troy Smith, have been saying all the right things. Coach Tressel has been training them well. They are keeping things very close to the vest (pun intended). Reading the article in the New York Times (discussed here earlier) painted a picture of low-key living by some of the Buckeyes, and hopefully they’ve been able to avoid the hype, to some extent.

Second, I worry about the expectations of the fans. Fellow MotSaGer Slyvester-Yon Rambo and I always discuss our “eternal contentment” with the Buckeyes. After the 2002 championship, we both decided that we would be content with OSU teams that go 10-2, 9-3, beating Michigan and winning the Big Ten but maybe not making it to the BCS Championship game each year. But is that enough for Buckeye fans as a whole? With all the hype and hope, will anything but a trip to the Fiesta Bowl BCS National Championship Game be a disappointing season? Will fans be able to stand another disappointment at the hands of Texas or a loss to the Hawkeyes in Iowa City?

And couple that with the players on the field. Will the pressure and their own over-confidence be too much to handle? Will the young defense feel the need to perform immediately, stunting their development? Or will it propel the team to play harder, to prove the pundits right?

Only time will tell. Time that is quickly approaching.

Trev is back!


Trev Alberts

That’s right, ladies and gents, he’s back! After Trev and Mark May were reunited earlier this month on College Gameday’s preview, Trev has finally landed a new gig at CSTV. Mrs. Mark May seems to have settled in and has already suffered blunt trauma to his head. That can only explain how he could pump out such garbage. His words are a bright red cape, dangled before me, el Toro. Trev, el Matador, however, finds himself with no estoque, no blade to drive into my skull. So as he flashes the cape, I become enraged, coming to know a seething, fire-red hatred that only his trampling will quell. And so I must. I must trample. Doing my best to ape the guys at Fire Joe Morgan, I delve into the Madness of Trev. Let’s take a look, shall we?

(This is going to get long, the rest after the jump)
[Read more…]

Tressnac the Magnificent

carrHeaven has no brighter star than our next stellar guest,
that omnipotent master of the east and former manicurist to Howard Hughes,

Tressnac the Magnificent!


Thank you, oh fine second banana.

carrMcMahonIcon.jpg Welcome once again, O Great Sage… I hold in my hand these envelopes. As a child of four can plainly see, these envelopes have been hermetically sealed. They’ve been kept in a #2 mayonnaise jar since noon today on Funk and Wagnall’s porch. No one knows the contents of these envelopes, but you, in your divine and mystical way, will ascertain the answers to these questions having never seen them before!!

Tressnac envelope
Thank you, yes. May I have the first envelope, please. Thank you. I must now have absolute silence…

carrMcMahonIcon.jpg Silence!


tressnacIcon.jpg The answer is… Gatorade.


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg Gatorade.


tressnacIcon.jpg *rip*blow*open* What does a Florida football player get on welfare?


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg HAUGH!


May Trev Alberts crash your daughter’s bachelorette party.


tressnacIcon.jpg Another envelope, please. The answer is… 1941, 2001, and 2099.


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg 1941, 2001, and 2099.


tressnacIcon.jpg *rip*blow*open* Name two movies and the next time Phil Fulmer has a 10-win season.


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg HAUGH!



tressnacIcon.jpg More silence, please.


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg Silence!


tressnacIcon.jpg The answer is… Fresh air, beautiful cheerleaders, and national championships.


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg Fresh air, beautiful cheerleaders, and national championships.


tressnacIcon.jpg *rip*blow*open* Name three things you won’t find in Ann Arbor.


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg HAUHey, that’s not funny.


May an overzealous TSA agent discover a secret compartment in your sister’s brassiere.


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg Here’s another, sir.


tressnacIcon.jpg Yes, thank you. The answer is… Mount Baldi.


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg Mount Baldi.


tressnacIcon.jpg *rip*blow*open* What did Cal coach Jeff Tedford’s wife do on their wedding night?




carrMcMahonIcon.jpg HAUGH!


May your only son win a cheerleading scholarship to a Mountain West school.


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg I now hold in my hand the final envelope.


tressnacIcon.jpg The final envelope?


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg The final one. Here you go.


tressnacIcon.jpg Hmmm… The answer is… See Bob Stoops.


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg See Bob Stoops.


tressnacIcon.jpg *rip*blow*open* What does it say on the front of Rhett Bomar’s time card?


carrMcMahonIcon.jpg HAUGH! Ladies and Gentlemen, Tressnac the Magnificent!


Link Roundup

There’s a piece at Bucknuts about Antonio Smith, our future starting cornerback, a former walk-on. He’s a Mechanical Engineer, which is quite impressive.

Sports Illustrated’s Top 5 collegiate mobile QBs (Troy, of course, is #1)

SI also looks at the maturation of Troy Smith.

More from SI, the top 15 games of the 2006 season. OSU/Michigan clocks in at #4 and OSU/Texas at #2. They have USC/ND as the number one game, which I don’t think is gonna mean much when Notre Dame will have already lost 2 games, but that’s just me. When we look back at this list, both OSU games will mean more.

Some unfortunate (but deserved) news about former Indian Albert Belle. He’s in a little trouble for being a little too interested in an ex-girlfriend. From the sound of his technical prowess, I wonder if he was an Electrical Engineer.

Tickets to the OSU/Texas game last year were a hot commodity, and it looks like it’s no different for this year’s game in Texas.

The guys at MGoBlog look at OSU’s season, albeit from a Wolverine’s perspective. The best quote, though, comes from their look at the kickers:

I swear to God that if this Ryan Pretorius or Aaron Pettry kid is another Nugent or Huston I am going to flip out and kill stuff. It’s MGoBlog policy not to speculate on unproven kickers, but seriously: flip out and kill stuff. You have been warned.

Border security strengthened

bushLecture.jpgTOLEDO, Ohio – With 400 National Guard troops deployed to the Ohio/Michigan border, President Bush said that he has fulfilled his responsibility in keeping University of Michigan recruits from leaving the northern state.

“It is time to slow down the river of collegiate immigrants who leave the state without signing to Michigan,” Bush said at the outdoor ceremony, flanked by several large Buckeye trees. “And I call on Congress to work with the NCAA to reform the recruiting process.”

Bush enacted the order after a request from Ohio Governor Bob Taft, who spoke for several state governors who have been recently inundated with football players from the State of Michigan who want nothing to do with the state.

University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr said, “I support this movement. It’s getting too hard to recruit people to UM anymore. They all want to go play for OSU or Notre Dame. These border agents should help our young men to remember their priorities.”

Bush agrees. “We have to take a stand. We know that, to these disadvantaged youths, Ohio and Indiana look like a dream come true. That’s why they come here. But the levees holding back the flow of recruits have been overtopped, and it’s time we got things under control.”

“And Brownie – er… Carr, you’re doing a heckuva job,” he added.

Report from Monday’s Open Practice

Autograph Session

OSU FootballAn estimated 28,000 showed up for the autograph session and practice at Ohio Stadium Monday night. I was one of those crazy people that ventured to the shoe to watch the practice, yes practice! I did not really have high expectations (which ended up being a good thing as the practice itself was mostly uneventful), but my curiosity got the best of me and I had to watch. For those who did not attend (and even if you did) here is brief overview of the events Monday night.

The evening began when the gates opened at 6pm. This gave people an hour to figure out where they wanted to stand in line for the autographs. I arrived at 7, right as the autograph session began. The concourse was filled with people waiting in lines for the autographs, thousands upon thousands of people standing in ridiculous lines. All I needed was my camera and I walked up to the tables (by passing the lines) and snapped a few photos. No wait, No drunken tailgaters breathing down my neck, and best of all I was out of there by 7:30 to find my seat to watch practice. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so who needs a signature? Here are a few of the photos of my trip around the concourse and if you are so inclined here are a few more.

Troy Smith and Jim Tressel Troy Smith and Coach Jim Tressel

Ted Ginn Ted Ginn Jr.

David Patterson and Antonio PittmanDavid Patterson and Antonio Pittman

Jay Richardson and Quinn Pitcock Jay Richardson and Quinn Pitcock

Dionte Johnson, Vernon Gholston, and John Kerr Dionte Johnson, Vernon Gholston, and John Kerr


The practice time was split up into three parts. The first third of the practice focused on special teams, beginning with the punt, followed by the kickoff, and then field goals. Coach Tressel was right in the middle of the action directing traffic. Another reminder of how important special teams are to the success of the team. Highlights:

  • In the span of five minutes, Anderson Russell blocked two punts.
  • Aaron Pettrey nailed a 54 yard field goal (below) that would have been good from 60 yards. More on that in the observations below.
  • The second part of practice separated the passing game and the running game. On one side of the field there were one on one drills with the wide receivers and defensive backs, and on the other side of the field the rest of the team practiced the running game. Highlights:

  • There was some speed displayed during the one on one drills. The wide receivers and defensive backs are fast.
  • This may be preaching to the choir, but Troy Smith can make any throw. He has got a gun.
  • In the final part of practice we saw the offense take on the defense in some 11 on 11 drills. This was not a scrimmage, so there was not full contact. The practice session concluded with some live (using the clock) two minute drills. Each of the first three string offenses and defenses squared off. The defense was given 2 points and it was up to the offense to at least get into field goal range, starting from their own 45 yard line, in order to “win”. Highlights:

  • First Team O vs. First Team D: The offense managed one first down and with 5 seconds left attempted a 54 yard field goal by Ryan Pretorius, which fell miserably short. More on that in the observations below. Defense “wins”.
  • Second Team O vs. Second Team D: On the third play of the drill, Kurt Coleman picks off a Justin Zwick pass and returns it for a TD. Defense “wins”.
  • Third Team O vs. Third Team D: The offense ran four plays and could not convert a first down. Defense “wins”.
  • Three General Observations

    The more I see and hear about OSU’s defense, the less worried I become about replacing nine starters. There is talent and speed-o-plenty out there on the field.

    OSU is going to be solid at QB for years to come. There may not be a Heisman hyped QB after this year for a while, but I am definitely not worried about that position at all. The young kids, Boeckman, Schoenhoft, and Henton look good.

    Finally, the place kicker battle is uber important this week. Ryan Pretorius and Aaron Pettrey are locked in a battle for the starting spot. From what I saw on Monday night, Pettrey has a much stronger leg than Pretorius. I believe the battle will be decided by who the coaches believe can be more consistent. Wednesday’s kick scrimmage will almost surely decide who will win the job. It is the kicker’s day to shine. By all means they need that time, since most of their practice was spent on the sidelines watching. Oh the life of a lonesome kicker.

    Partying like it was 1997

    Ahh, those poor guys at the M-Zone. Longing for the days of yore, they have posted a video of OSU’s “Greatest Hits” from the past 30+ years. We noticed that there were only a couple “highlights” from the past decade, so we’re here to fill in the blanks:

    We also find a few pictures that will help jog their memories. Remember this picture?

    Or this one?

    And there’s always this one.

    Yeah, we remember those, too.

    Troy Smith’s mostly charmed life

    OSU FootballThere’s a great piece in the New York Times (reg’n usually required; h/t: Ohio State Online) about Troy Smith. Read the whole thing, of course, but here are a few thoughts I had while reading.

    Class can mean a lot of thing, from playing fairly on the field to staying out of jail, but it’s largely a matter of perception and is most useful for its karmic quality. For example, if Ohio State beat archrival Michigan, but Ohio State’s quarterback was later found to have run afoul of the N.C.A.A. or the local Police Department, Michigan fans could take solace in the fact that Ohio State, while victorious, was “classless.” On Internet message boards, fans of Ohio State’s rivals tabulate Buckeye transgressions to measure the program’s collective depravity, and Smith in particular has provided them with a great deal of psychic satisfaction.

    The writer, knowingly or not, distilled the grudge and competition between fan blogs in mere sentences. It’s as if the writer regularly reads the M-Zone and Deadspin or something. Stay classy, guys!

    It’s also a great to read about the tutelage and iron-fist father-figure that Ted Ginn Sr. was in Troy’s (and Ted Ginn Jr.’s) lives. As a boy without a father, Troy definitely benefited from the tough love that Ted Ginn Sr. gave. He definitely seems like a no-nonsense kind of guy. I love that Ted Senior told Troy he hates sunglasses. You know why he hates them? I’ll venture a guess: they hide people’s eyes. And as someone who teaches character and integrity, Ted Senior can probably look you in the eyes and bore a hole into your soul. Sunglasses prevent him from soul-boring, so he doesn’t like them. I have a feeling that if you look him in the eye and you’ve got secrets, TGS will know it. And you will crumble under that gaze.

    Ted Ginn, Sr.
    Those eyes. They will haunt you

    A few other tidbits that can be gleaned from the article – this is the Video Game Generation. These guys (by design) live pretty boring lives and video games provide a little escape from their celebrity status. And believe me, they are celebrities here. They have to constantly fight off special treatment and freebies you and I would gladly accept.

    Last year, Matt Leinart, the Heisman-winning quarterback at the University of Southern California, used his senior season as a kind of public victory lap — dating starlets, becoming a fixture at Hollywood parties and soaking up the kind of sybaritic pleasures that only a 22-year-old would have the audacity to dream up. Smith’s life is comparatively monastic. He graduated in June with a communications degree, and his coursework for the fall could be minimal. Jim Tressel, Ohio State’s head coach, compares him to a medical resident: part intensive study (in the film room, with the coaches), part thrilling on-the-job training (in Ohio Stadium, in front of 100,000 scarlet-and-gray-clad fans).

    That’s not to say Troy and company don’t have fun. They do. In fact, I love that when Troy does go out for a night on the town, he uses T.J. Downing and Roy Hall as body guards. Downing is an obvious choice, but Hall? Yeah, those guns could do some damage. But even though they are superstars in Columbus, they don’t exactly live like it:

    The two pour themselves into the video game, saluting their virtual teammates for good plays (“Who got the pick-off? Nate-dog?”) and taking short breaks to discuss weighty matters like whether Ginn has any A.1. steak sauce back at his apartment. Playing with virtual likenesses of themselves and suspended in a kind of childlike animation, they seem happier than they’ve been all day. In Smith’s and Ginn’s stripped-down lives, football — the practices and the film study and the endless media interviews — is a thing to endure. Video games are a thing to do.

    Smith is standing outside his garage door wearing an expression that looks like a mixture of sleepiness and bemusement and, I think, a little sadness, and he is saying, “I’m telling you, man, this is what we do all the time.”

    “This” meaning winning football games beating down Michigan. I’m glad that’s what they do all the time.

    Link Roundup #3

    This is a couple weeks old, but as a gamer myself, this article about the ECU football players reacting to their digital-selves in EA’s football game, NCAA 2007, is pretty interesting.

    Every Indians fan knows that Travis Hafner, aka Pronk, is one of the best players in the league. He’s often compared to Big Papi, David Ortiz. Ben Valentine at Sportszilla look at the stats and use them to show the Pronk is, in fact, the most feared designated hitter in the American League.

    OSU Fan favorite Bam Childress has a chance to make the New England Patriot’s roster. Go Bam!

    Speaking of Buckeyes with their NFL stock rising, Simon Fraser has been turning heads at Browns camp.

    Dennis Dodd, CBSportsline extraordinaire, seems to have had a brain aneurysm or some other blunt trauma to his brain as he was compiling his list of the top 25 college football stadiums, as he seems to have left of The Horseshoe. Huh? This guy knows his college football!

    Keith at Buckeye Commentary takes a look at Freshmen that will probably be redshirting this season. His lists look spot on, solid work as always.

    The outlook isn’t good for Mike D’Andrea: Chronic knee problems may keep him from playing this season. This kills me, as I was a huge fan of D’Andrea when he splashed on to the scene as a freshman. He was a freak of nature back then. Now it looks like he might not have been built for the wear and tear of football at this level.

    C’mon MacLean…

    CBJThe Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the Blue Jackets told winger Nikolai Zherdev that a contract agreement must be reached within the next week. Zherdev’s agent said:

    “Our deadline is Oct. 5, but we’ve been told (by the Blue Jackets) that we need to get a deal done within the next week. To me, that’s a deadline. In fairness to the team, they want to know where things stand so they can prepare. I can understand that…

    “If we don’t have a deal by next week, he’s playing in Russia.”

    Part of the problem is Zherdev’s visa; if the CBJ doesn’t sign him soon, he won’t be able to report to the team in time for the season to start because of all the immigration paperwork involved in bringing him back here.

    Zherdev. Scoring. While flying horizontally.

    Sadly, it seems that MacLean didn’t learn a thing from the Ray Whitney fiasco. Ray Stein of the Dispatch sums up our frustration:

    “Are Blue Jackets fans going to have to continually face mediocre seasons because of MacLean’s judgment? I, for one, have about had enough.”

    Here’s hoping one side blinks this week.

    Image credit & copyright: Columbus Blue Jackets and the NHL