Archives for September 2007

Northwestern Performance Evaluations

OSU FootballWe’ve decided to do a quick “perfomance evaluation” of the Buckeyes after each game here at MotSaG, but instead of handing out Buckeye Leaves, we’ll be doing it a little differently (like we always do). We’ll be giving out sweater vests. We don’t have any set categories, so these may or may not change from week to week. Let’s get on with it:


Quarterbacks: 4 Sweatervests

If I was grading simply on the first half, they would get five sweatervests. Taken as a whole, though, the backups weren’t able to move the ball as effortlessly as the Boeckman did. If Rob Schoenhoft wants to be the quarterback of the future, he needs to learn to throw the ball at his receivers hands, not three yards in front of their feet. If he can get his throws up, he’s got a great arm, but until then, I’d rather see Henton out there. I’m sure everyone was seeing brief flashes of Troy Smith out there when Henton was running the offense. Silky smooth.

As for Boeckman, it’s hard to complain with 4 touchdowns. I’ll excuse his one interception because he was trying to get his before he had to sit out the second half. Boeckman’s short game was great, throwing bullets everywhere. When he goes deep, I’d like to see him either get the ball out of his hands a little faster or put a little more air under his passes. More than once the receiver had to slow down to wait for the ball. That’s okay when they’ve blown by the coverage, but will come back to haunt him against faster DBs. Still, I think what we’ve seen so far from Boeckman is very promising.


Backs and Receivers – 4 Sweatervests

Again, tough to argue with performances here. Beanie got his hundred on 12 carries. He’s definitely running the way we expected him to. He’s no longer tentative as he approaches the line. He’s running hard and he’s running people over.

Robiskie is the king of efficiency right now. One in four catches is a touchdown and he’s averaging over 20 yards a catch. For the Northwestern game, three catches and three touchdowns was impeccable. Hartline didn’t have a big game, but he came through when he was needed.

The most positive sign from Saturday’s game was the return of Ray “Little Teddie” Small. His speed is obvious and he’s got some moves in his pocket as well. He was involved in all facets of the game and his impact was pronounced.


Defensive Front Seven – 5 Sweatervests

The facts: 0 yards rushing on 33(!) attempts, 120 total yards. Three turnovers. Four sacks (two by Vernon).

The observations: Players flying to the ball, linebackers cleaning everything up, DTs getting penetration. Vernon Gholston.


Defensive Backs – 4 Sweatervests

Not a lot to go on here as Bacher never really had time to throw the ball down field. I have been impressed with the improvement of Donald Washington. I wasn’t worried about his ability to cover receivers, but after the first two games I was worried about his open field tackling. Against YSU and Akron, his tackling was suspect. But starting at Washington and continuing yesterday, Washington’s tackling has improved greatly. The rest of the defensive backfield looked strong against Northwestern, but they never were really tested. They probably won’t be truly tested until Purdue. Still, two interceptions are two interceptions.

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Vernon Gholston – 5 Sweatervests to the Sweatervest Power

What more to say? Two sacks, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, intimadating Northwestern’s cheerleaders. The dude was a manimal out there.

Not at home

I’m currently going through all the “Gholston’s” in the phone book, hoping one of them is Vernon’s apartment. What? I just want to congratulate him a “personally”. Nothing weird. His touchdown was a thing of beauty and I want to show him the collage I made of him. And also to propose to him. Nothing out of the ordinary. I’m just a really big fan. What?

Speaking of beauty — did anyone see that Michigan player doing “the worm” at the end of the Penn State game? Does that guy remember HE LOST TO APPALACHIAN STATE?! What an absolutely disgusting disgrace. What a total lack of class. I’d pay a million imaginary Buckeye Bucks to anyone who gets me a link to that video. What a moron.

More to come…

Saine, Sanzenbacher OUT for NW

OSU FootballOSU frosh phenom Brandon Saine had surgery on his knee Friday morning and is out indefinitely.

Dane Sanzenbacher is also out, at least for the NW game, for an unspecified injury. Ray Small will fill the slot.

Obviously, it’s terrible news, but at least it’s happening early enough in the season to assume (hope?) OSU will get these guys back by the end of the year.

Knee Surgery Sidelines Piqua Native
Sanzenbacher Won’t Play Against NW

Week #4: Northwestern – Open Thread

OSU FootballWelcome to the Open Thread of week 4, with your Buckeyes starting Big Ten competition against the Wildcats.

As usual, we won’t re-hash the excellent game previews already posted by Buckeye Planet and Eleven Warriors.

Yeah, yeah, “NW lost to Duke last week, so OSU will beat them by 432 points.” Uh, probably not, and here are a few reasons why:

  • First, when you hit bottom, you tend to bounce. It’s an old rule-of-thumb that teams that are surprised with unexpected losses to inferior competition often come out swinging the following week.
  • Second, it’s the Big Ten opener for both teams. How teams play in preseason is totally different than how they play against conference opponents.
  • Third, two words: Tyrell Sutton. NW didn’t have the injured first-stringer available last week, and if they had, they’d be 3-0 just like the Buckeyes. Sutton’s one of the better RBs in the Big Ten, he’s a leader for the team, and he’ll be in the ‘Shoe this weekend.

Of course, none of this means that NW will earn the victory, but any who expect it to be a cakewalk based on NW’s performance against Duke are mistaken. Pat Fitzgerald is doing a fine job in steadily increasing his team’s respectability.

Questions for the MotSaG crew (and as usual, feel free to chime in with a comment):

  • Final score?
  • How many rushing yards will OSU’s D allow (+/- 100)?
  • How many pushups did players on the OSU special teams have to do this week to pay for last week’s breakdowns?
  • Will we see Brandon Saine (#3 RB) sent into the game before Mo Wells (#2 RB) this week?

Score: OSU, 34-6.
Rushing yards: Under, ~45. (Sutton will earn perhaps 75, but sacks & TFLs will reduce NW’s total).
Pushups: 500 (100 extra per day). Thou shalt not undermine the central strategy of Tresselball.
Saine moves up on depth chart: Too early in the season for Tressel to violate his own hierarchical tendencies, especially for the first conference game of the season. Saine will have to keep up his level for a few more weeks before he moves ahead of Mo. I still think he scores another TD, though.

el Kaiser:
Score: OSU, 41-3. I underestimated the offense last week. Not this time.
Rushing yards: Under, 70 or so. This D is too stout against the run.
Pushups: I already mentioned the long snapping woes. I think the special teams are still doing pushups as we speak.
Saine moves up on depth chart: Depth chart, Smepth fart. They are meaningless trifles that lesser coaches resort to when they lack a backbone. Tressel will insert the best player for the situation. Saine is a better running back that Wells, period. I love Mo Wells and I appreciate what he’s done, but he is one-dimensional. Saine is the real deal and the one-two punch of Beanie and Brandon is sick.

Link Round-up, Week #4

Blog/site newsOSU FootballYes, I know it’s a late round-up this week, but we’re entertaining family at the Kaiser household this weekend (taking the bro-in-law to his first game at the Horseshoe on Saturday) so I fell behind in my blogging duties. Apologies all around.

First link we have is from the Dispatch, about Little Animal’s family. More specifically, his mother. Even more specifically, how much his mother thinks he stinks. She wasn’t happy with the interception. She wanted a touchdown. Talk about a demanding mother! (James’ mom, Julie, also lifted weights competitively, by the by.) What is it with linebackers and their moms? I’ll refer you to this ESPN article written about A.J. Hawk’s blood-thirsty mother, Judy:

Judy’s general instructions: Hit ’em all. Hit ’em hard. Violently hard if need be. And be sure to get in a shot on the quarterback.


“I love to see A.J. hit,” Judy Hawk confirms. “We thrive on A.J. hitting people.”


This does finally explain why I never got a chance to play college football — my mom. Love her to death, but she never critiqued my performances. In fact, she never saw any of them. Oh sure, she was at all my games, but she had her eyes closed during every play! My long-snapping duties were extra hard on her nerves. So she’d keep her eyes shut until she heard the whistle blow. No wonder the only school that showed any interest was Hiram College! If only my mother was watching!

(Come to think of it, my eyes were closed during most plays I was in on.)

Moving on…

What we’ve learned as we head into conference play.

Ohio State football trainers beware — too many wrong tape jobs and you could cost the athletic department nearly $12,000 per messed up football cleat.

Couldn’t someone just Sharpie a Swoosh over the tape job? Get someone from the art department. They aren’t doing anything else on Saturday morning.

When is enough enough? We could always ask Rice University.

While not directly related to this year’s squad, Buckeye Legends has a good post about the good academic performance of the 2006 squad. (BTW — if you’re haven’t already, make sure you’ve subscribed to Buckeye Legends, a blog written by former Buckeyes.)

Your moment of Zen:

Where is Oden?

I’d like to remind our most excellent readers, if you come across a story, a tidbit of information, something you think other Buckeye fans would love to know about, don’t hesitate to email us at motsag-at-gmail-dot-com or use our Contact form to let us know. We love to hear from our readers!

Weekly Vernon Gholston shot (NSFQB)

Vernon Gholston

The weekly link round-up is behind schedule, so for now you’re stuck staring at Vernon’s Gholstons.

2007 Blogpoll – Week #3


Rank Team Delta
2 Oklahoma
3 Southern Cal
4 Florida
5 West Virginia
6 Ohio State 2
7 Penn State 2
8 Texas 1
9 Wisconsin 3
10 California 2
11 Oregon 8
12 Rutgers 3
13 Alabama 8
14 South Carolina 2
15 Clemson 2
16 Boston College 4
17 Kentucky 9
18 Hawaii 4
19 Texas A&M 5
20 Missouri 6
21 Cincinnati 5
22 Louisville 12
23 Nebraska 10
24 South Florida 2
25 Purdue 1

Dropped Out: UCLA (#11), Arkansas (#14), Georgia Tech (#18), Washington (#23), Virginia Tech (#25).

Let the fact that Miami, Florida State, and Michigan don’t crack our Top 25 but Cincinnati, Kentucky and South Florida do sink in for a while. Mind boggling.

Let it be known that Sylvester-Yon Rambo is a huge Kentucky fan, and his ranking inflated their overall ranking. Beating Louisville was great, but you’ve got to beat someone with a defense before you convince me.

I am, however, convinced that Cincinnati is going to make some noise in the Big East.

BlogPoll Roundtable 3.2: Storylines Emerge

FootballPeter at Burnt Orange Nation asks the questions. We’ve got the answers.

1. Handicap your team’s chances to win your conference championship. If your team is not the favorite, who is?

The obvious answer is that Ohio State probably has a one-in-three chance of being the Big Ten Champion. Most people would say it’s a three-team race: OSU, Penn State and Wisconsin. Personally, I think it’s a mistake to count Michigan out at this point. Sure, Michigan is running on fumes at the moment but you never know when they’ll fill up the tank and be the team we thought they’d be. They’ve got Penn State and OSU at home so you never know.

But right now, I think Ohio State has as good of a chance as anyone. All four teams play each other, so someone’s got to lose. Assuming we get out of Happy Valley with a victory, I like our chances. But I’ll still peg our chances at 33% for now.

2. Outline the (realistic) best case and worst case scenarios for your team.

Best Case: As an optimistic Buckeye Fan (which I unabashedly am), this one is easy — we roll into Happy Valley at 8-0, the defense plays lights out and shuts down Morelli and company, then the D stands tall again against Pajamas Hill and the Badgers in Columbus. Illinois might be a trap game, but I think we get past them as well. Best Case scenario dictates we go into the Little House 11-0 and looking straight into a Vortex of BCS Doom.

Worst Case: The next five games should be a fairly uneventful cake walk, but Purdue could prove onerous. The last four games could be ugly. At Penn State, at night, during a white-out could spell trouble. We could then be hung-over after a hard fought loss to Penn State to run into the Wisconsin Juggernaut. Then the Worst Case Scenario POSSIBLE is losing to Michigan at the end of the year. I shudder to think what that would do to Buckeye Nation. 8-4 would make the Sweatervest weep.

3. We’re only three games in to the season, but teams and storylines are starting to take shape. Compare your team to a character or theme from a fable or children’s tale.

I’m going with Jack and the Bean Stalk here. We’ve got Beanie Wells (magic beans, yo!), The Giant, a hulking, slow moving legacy of the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust mentality instilled by Bo and Woody that the Buckeyes (and the Big Ten) are trying to desperately leave behind. The Buckeyes are Jack, nimble enough to go for the gold and leave the legacy of a bygone era in the dust.

4. Imagine you’re the coach of your team. Give three specific changes you’d implement immediately which you think would have the biggest impact on improving the team.

This is a tough one. It’s easy to sit in the easy chair and moan about the play calling, but there could be some more imagination there. We’re trying to run the ball up the gut too often. I think we should probe the A gap once and while, but not with Maurice Wells. I’d let Beanie pound between the tackles and leave it at that.

I’m not a fan of gimmick plays, but when you’ve got a speedster like Ray Small, you’ve got to figure out a way to get him and his lightning speed involved in the game. An end-around here, and double reverse there couldn’t hurt.

After watching the special teams play, I’d make the long snappers do nothing but practice their snaps all this week. There is no excuse for a long snap not being long.

5. USC, LSU/Florida, and Oklahoma have established themselves as the frontrunners in the early going. Which other team or teams are you eyeballing as potential BCS party crashers?

Not sure if anyone is crashing USC and Oklahoma’s party. LSU and Florida probably cancel each other out. I guess Cal or Oregon have a chance to pull the upset in the Pac 10 but I don’t see it happening. The Big East has some interesting story lines, but they don’t seem to care much for defense, which is their weakness. Hawai’i is the sexy choice, but anyone with speed on defense (read: the teams listed above) would have Colt Brennan for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

How would you MotSaGers answer these questions?

Welcm3 bk, Nash. BTW, Zherdev’s ur cnter now. Kthxbai.

cbjlogonew.jpgBlue Jackets training camp starts today, and Hitch and Howson have announced that they will start the year off with an experiment: Zherdev will be moved to center.

Howson travelled this summer to Ottawa, where Zherdev was living in the off-season, and met with him.

Howson told Zherdev what he expected of him and what kind of shape the player needed to be in. Then Howson dropped a bomb on Zherdev.

“We suggested it and he about fell off the back of his chair,” Hitchcock said with a grin.

Howson said it was evident that Zherdev didn’t think he could play centre, which involves feeding teammates, sacrificing your body for others to score and not making turnovers.

Zherdev will form a line with David Vyborny and Rick Nash. Rick first heard about the switch during a radio interview and said it was “interesting.”

In other CBJ news:

  • Alexander Svitov has been officially suspended from the team for failing to report to camp. This should create some breathing room under the salary cap.
  • In general, players reported to camp a little more fit than last year. Even Shelly lost some weight, and Nash has “bulked up” his upper body.
  • Fox Sports has graciously allowed your Columbus Blue Jackets, brought to you by FSN, to rename their retail shops the “FSN Ohio Blue Line.” Thank you FSN.
  • Sunday’s exhibition game against the Predators faces off at 5 p.m. On FSN.

[Ed. – Note we’ve updated the CBJ post icon to reflect the team’s new logo. MotSaG is on the ball… or the puck…. um… whatever. Choose your own mixed metaphor. The icon is updated, though.]

Week #3: University of Washington – Open Thread

OSU FootballWelcome to the Open Thread of week 3, with your Buckeyes going up against the Huskies.

Previews? Yeah we got previews galore. We’ve got a preview from the UW point of view. Buckeye Banter has a solid piece of work, looking at this week’s matchup. Sean looks at Five Things the Buckeyes Need To Do To Beat the Washington Huskies. Eleven Warriors and Buckeye Planet, our go-to guys, on top of things as usual.

Here are some things I’ve been thinking about:

  • Coaches — I have nothing against Willingham, but Tressel shouldn’t have any problem out-coaching Ty if that’s what it comes down to. Tressel should have the boys ready to go.
  • QBs — I know Locker has been getting press for his good play, but I think we’ll see an improved and patient Boeckman. I think the play calling will be tailored to the situation — his first away game. It will be a hostile environment and I don’t think Todd will have many chances to error. Add to that the fact the Washington’s defensive weakness is their secondary and I think Boeckman will play well on Saturday.
  • Ray Small — I don’t think his return can be discounted. His presence on the field will spread things out, force Washington to commit someone to him, allowing our playbook to open. I still don’t think we’ll get too fancy, but I do look for us to spread things out more than we already have.
  • I’m not worried about our defense. We’re bigger and faster than anything Washington has seen thus far. Looking at the two games each team has played, I don’t think there’s much that can be gleaned from past performance. Ohio State handled its business with two lesser opponents, as did Washington. Don’t read too much into their victory (“upset”) over Boise State. A Pac-10 team should always handle a WAC team. Boise State is not the BCS buster team we saw last year. This game is the first true “test” for both teams.

So I’m more than cautiously optimistic. I think we’ll be in control for most of the game. It won’t be a squeaker, but I think we win 24-13.

What say you?

sportsMonkey: Tresselball is back… we have to keep remembering that when we make our score predictions. Thanks to last year’s wide-open offense, it’s hard for my fingers to type anything but “Thirty-something to…”. I’m going much lower than Kaiser… OSU’s offense struggles again, but their D will dominate the game. The Bucks manage to hold off a late rally to win 16-10.

Sylvester Yon-Rambo: I am just excited to actually be able to see a game this year. Stupid Big Ten Network. I agree Tressel ball is back but if the Offensive line doesnt start blowing up perople it is going to be a long hard season.

This is not going to be an easy game for sure. Washington is a decent team with home field advantage and a hunger to get some recognition. The only way we can win here is to open the field up and move the ball on the ground. Rumor has it Ray Small is finally back on the field after getting MURDERED last season. I really want to see Hartline get in the endzone again. We need a defensive TD or speacial teams TD. We cant afford to have any Turnovers PERIOD.

I predict this to be a close game but we will never trail in the game. My final score is 412 to 2.