Archives for August 2008

Beanie Wells’ foot update [UPDATED]

OSU Football(**see below for updates to this post) It’s totally second-hand and unofficial, but supposedly, a member of the OSU medical team used the phrase “turf toe” when questioned by a reporter about Wells’ foot. The discussion occurred in the background of Jim Tressel’s after-game press conference.

Replays of Beanie’s injury certainly support the rumor, as turf toe usually occurs when a player takes off quickly (bending his toes too far back), or stops quickly (jamming his toes against the front of his shoes). Beanie appeared to do both of those things on his final run.

It’s essentially a sprain of the capsule part of the big toe’s socket. Typically, it’s an injury that a running back can play through. OSU fans should remember Lydell ‘Turf Toe’ Ross, who played through the injury for two consecutive seasons.

However, it’s extremely painful, and the pain always affects the athlete’s performance. It’s a nagging injury that never heals until the player stops running on it (usually at the end of the season).

So, IF it’s true (again, remember this is just rumor), it’s mixed news. OSU might have Beanie, but it’s possible he might not be 100% for the rest of the season.

It’s a similar situation as what occurred in 2007. Last autumn, Wells played through an early-season knee problem; then for the rest of the season, he played with a chipped bone in his foot and a sprained wrist. Tressel counseled him about the need to play through pain, and Wells responded with a fantastic year. So at least playing through pain is not uncharted territory for Beanie.

Whatever happens, OSU fans shouldn’t get too worked up. If the worst case happens, and Beanie is sidelined for most of all of the year, then both Saine and Herron are more than adequate to get the job done. Both would start at any other school, and especially with what we saw from Pryor today, the OSU running game is in good hands. Of course, Beanie is at a different level, and we want him there, but no single game or single season should be worth risking his long-term health.

UPDATE:
Kicker Ryan Pretorius, who is Beanie’s neighbor in the locker room, told a television reporter on a local Columbus late-night sports program that “[Beanie’s] fine, it’s just his big toe.” The kicker didn’t seem that concerned about it.

UPDATE #2 (el Kaiser here):
Not much of another update, but at least a little more information, via The Dispatch:

A team insider said that after immediate X-rays showed showed no broken bones, further evaluation indicated it likely was a soft-tissue injury to the forefoot. Such an injury could cause him to miss anything from just a week to the rest of the season.

Yeesh.

OSU/YSU Semi-Live Recap

OSU Football1st half:

Tressel is not playing football – he’s experimenting with his offense. Almost everyone on the team has played (hence the four FGs, five RBs, and three QBs in one half). The Vest is not trying to make a statement. Scanning the other games going on from the nation’s elite, it seems like everyone else is keeping their starters in, padding stats and scores. Tressel pulled his starters in the second series.

BIG surprise giving Pryor an entire series in the first quarter, even though it was with an entirely freshman offensive line. Still, great first drive for the new QB.

Beanie is being Beanie. Again, he’s largely being kept under wraps, which is scary, because he has a 9.1 YPC average. (!)

Defensively, what can you say? 27 total yards so far for YSU. Nothing fancy, just the same domination that they had last year. Good on Gibson for the year’s first sack. Little Animal and Wilson are having great games, too.

End of Game, 43-0

Way to start the season, with a shutout. BAD injury for Beanie, although it was good to see him limping around on the sideline late in the game.

If pressed for a superficial generality, I’d say the defense deserved more kudos than the offense. They only allowed 70 yards, including negative 10 rushing.

That isn’t to say the offense didn’t perform awesomely – but clearly, there were too many “settle for FG” drives (silver lining: the FG kickers were superb, going five for five, with two of them longer than 50 yards). Pryor had a good first outing, including a fantastic 19 yard scamper for TD on an option out of the Pistol. Speaking of the Pistol, all three quarterbacks ran it consistently, and it was clear that it was confusing to the YSU defense.

All in all, an excellent way to start the season. Defense earns the shutout, lots of success on both sides of the ball, tons of players got plenty of time, and the weaknesses & bugs common to early season nerves & rust were clearly defined.

Gameday Preview 2008

espn.jpgFowler: Welcome to the GameDay College Football Preview, here on ESPN. 2008 is shaping up to be another great season for college football, and not just for the SEC.

I’m Chris Fowler, here with my coanchors Lou Holtz, Lee Corso, and Mark May. Later we’ll be joined by Desmond Howard and our old pal Kirk Herbstreit.

All co-anchors: Hi.

fowler.jpg

Fowler: Let’s start with the Dr. Pepper First QuestionTM: How many points will the SEC champion win the national championship by? Mark?

may.jpgMay: That’s an excellent question, Chris. Tim Tebow will lead the Gators to a two-touchdown victory over the USC Trojans.

Corso: Wow. Gutsy call, Mark. I like your prediction, but I think the Gators will squeeze a close one – a close one – at the expense of those crazy Buckeye nut players from Ohio State. (Holds fingers close together) But only by a field goal, my friend. By a field goal.

Fowler: Ohio State, huh? You’re sticking with that (snickers) program?

Corso: Why not? Lou knows what I’m talking about, don’t ya coach?

holtz.jpgHoltz: Huh? Oh, yeth. I’m gonna tell ya, the Eth E Thee is a great conference, gotta lotta great players, but they don’t have Beanie Wells. I think the Buckeyes win by threeve.

Fowler: Threeve isn’t a number, you diapered dolt. Just for that, I’m putting you down for Georgia by a touchdown. Moving on…

Holtz: But Geor–

Fowler: MOVING. ON…. sheesh. Speaking of the Big Ten, we’ve got Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard here with us, on the EA Sports Video ScreenTM. How goes it, Kirk? How well do you see the season shaping up for the slowpo– er, the players from up north?

Herbstreit: Excellent. Jim Tressel has put together what might be his most talented team yet —

corso.jpgMay: Heh. “Team.” (snickers)

Herbstreit: –uh… deepest group of players, too. We know Chris Wells is going to be a great back, but in my opinion, the team hinges on second year starter quarterback Todd Boeckman.

May: Heh. “Quarterback.” (snickers)

Herbstreit: Mark, what is your problem?

May: Look, Kirk, Georgia will win the national title. Mark it down.

Fowler: Uh, Mark, you already picked Florida to win.

May: Florida, Georgia, whatever. Same difference.

Holtz: The two teams are very differ–

Fowler: Shut up, old man.

howard.jpgHoward: Lots of folks are down on Michigan this year, which I don’t understand at all. Now that Rich Rodriguez is in Ann Arbor, I expect to see Pat White put up a lot of yards – challenge some of those defensive backs in the Big Ten.

Herbstreit: Nobody should overlook Wisconsin, either.

Corso: Who? (puzzled; quietly, to Chris) Wisconsin has a football team now?

fowler.jpgFowler: While we’re wasting our time on the Big Ten, we’d like to have a few words with Joe Paterno, via the On-Star GMC Truck Audio Chat LineTM. And because he’s old, and the Big Ten is stuck in the middle ages, I shall speak to him in Ye Olde English. Master Paterno, how fare thee?

Paterno: WHAT? I can’t hear. Am I on?

Fowler: While thoust combatants are of youthful mirth, canst thou sprang from yesteryear’s fallacies and improve thus?

Paterno: What? Who is this?

Fowler: Yon gentlemen claim to sport a fresh approach, but can ye defense against a flank of youths in a formation that is spreadth wider than the protuberances of yon wench-for-hire?

Paterno: (To someone on his end) I can’t understand what he’s saying. I dunno, I think he’s speaking German or something. Did you dial the right number?

Herbstreit: This is insulting. He’s a legend, for crying out loud.

may.jpgMay: Shut up, Kirk. (snickers) My turn, lemme try. Uh, Coach? How-eth do-eth you-eth win-eth yon games of football? Eth? (snickers)

Fowler: Enough, I declare. Fare thee well, and get sprang. (Hangs up)

Holtz: That wasn’t very nice at all.

Fowler: One more word out of you, grandpa, and I’m putting olive oil in your Ensure again. Got it?

Corso: Whoo! In his Ensure! Hee hee!!!

Herbstreit: This is so pathetic, I can’t do this anymore.

May: C’mon Kirk, we’re just having a little goof.

herbie.jpg

Herbstreit: Expire in yon flames, Markus.

Howard: You guys shouldn’t have done that to Coach Paterno. How many times do you get to meet someone who was in Lawrence of Arabia, anyway?

fowlerheadgear.jpgFowler: Alright, can it, ladies. Here’s the Bud Light Last QuestionTM: Who will win the Heisman Trophy as the year’s best SEC player? Lou?

Holtz:

Fowler: SIKE. Just kidding. I pulled your microphone plug. Mark?

May: Sam Bradford will win the trophy for his national champion Oklahoma Sooners.

corso.jpgCorso: Not so fast! I’m going with Adam Sandler. Did you see the way he bulldozed his way through the SEC last year? Awesome, my friend!! And so funny. He was all like ‘HIIIYAAAA’ and ‘STOP LAUGHING AT ME!” Hee heee!!!!

Herbstreit: I am surrounded by idiots.

alberts.jpgAlberts: Hi guys!

Fowler: Trev?!? How’d you get in here? How’d you get past security?

Alberts: Easy. I just had to sponsor something. I came up in the Trev Alberts Express ElevatorTM.

May: Trevor?!?

Herbstreit: …every goldarn year… I can’t take it anymore. I’m so glad I came prepared (takes jacket off, reveals Tressel-style sweatervest, complete with wires and explosives)

Alberts: Did someone call my name?

May: Alright, Trev, it’s me… I know you can hear me. Let’s just get past this awkward moment, shall we?

Alberts: All I hear is a faint buzzing.

howard.jpgHoward: Kirk, that’s a nice vest. Are the wires for your microphones when you do your baseball play-by-play or something?

Holtz:

Herbstreit: (murmuring quietly, fiddling with wires) Our father, who art in heaven…

Corso: C’mon, kiss and make up, lovebirds.

May: (wipes away tear) Not until he apologizes… *sniff*

Alberts: NEVER!!

May: Alright! I’ll do it!! I apologize already!!

holtz.jpgHoltz:

Alberts: Oh, Mark! (they embrace)

corsocrazy.jpgCorso: YYYYES!!!… you owe me fifty bucks, Chris! Told ya Mark would cave! Pay up, sucker!!

Fowler: Crap!

Herbstreit: *BANG*

Holtz:

Howard: Oh, yuk, Kirk. Uh… (looks around) does this mean Brent could use a new partner now?

fowlerheadgear.jpgFowler: Well, that about wraps it up. For the old man, the misters Alberts, and the estate of Kirk Herbstreit, Iím Chris Fowler, and weíll see you on GameDay. Go SEC.

 

 

 

 

Week #1: Youngstown State University – Open Thread

OSU FootballIs it just me, or did this season just all of a sudden start? Holy crap, that happened fast. We were definitely caught off-guard, blogging-wise. We had all sorts of preseason preview post ideas and things we wanted to talk about, but simply ran out of time.

Now that I think about it, with 18 returning starters, what really is there to preview? We saw what this team did last year and there’s no reason to think they can’t duplicate that success. So instead of previewing the team, let’s talk about a few things we don’t know about.

Tressel has already said Terrel Pryor will see the field, and not just in mop-up duty. How many snaps do you think he sees in “non-mop-up duty”? How many of those plays do you think he’s actually involved in?

Beanie is the man, of this there is no question. What are you most anxious to see these first few games out of the back field? Boom Herron showing off the speed? Maurice Wells have a respectable senior season?

What areas make you nervous this year?

Besides Pryor, which freshman are you excited to see in action this year?

Oh, and I guess there’s the issue of the actual game. For the most comprehensive preview, be fed from Buckeye Planet’s information buffet.

And finally, how badly does Ohio State beat YSU? Let us know all this and more in the comments.

sportsMonkey’s answers:
Pryor’s “non mop-up” snaps: Just a few, less than 5, in the first half. I think we’ll see him do a series or two in the fourth after Bauserman does a series or two in the late 3rd.

Anxious to see in backfield: I just want to see Beanie start a season at full-throttle for once.

Areas that make me nervous: Kickoff returns and dropped interceptions… hopefully OSU will solve those problems this season.

Freshmen besides Pryor? Boom Herron will be interesting to watch, too. The fact that he’s listed ahead of senior Maurice Wells on the depth chart – something Tressel hates to do – proves that his fall camp was much more productive than expected.

How badly does OSU beat YSU? By five touchdowns.

An Open Letter to the Big Ten

Dear Big Ten,

Could you please win all your non-conference games this fall? We Buckeye fans would really appreciate it. We’ll cross the Bowl Games bridge when we come to it.

KTHXBAI,
Men of the Scarlet and Gray

ESPN ships eleventy-billion dollars to SEC. SEC ADs spend immediately on Jorts, Corn Dogs, and a Case of Lucky Strikes

Not sure if you heard the news

EPSN has locked broadcasting rights to all of the SEC games that are not covered by CBS. Eisner’s Army ponied up a total of 2.25 billion dollars for the next 15 years of…SHESH-SHEE-SHEE SHPEED…

This means a few things to college football, ESPN, and the world in general…

  1. First off…ESPN played this one smart. According to the Mayan calendar, we are all toast on 12/21/2012. They get “all SEC…all the time” until the rapture.
  2. The SEC Network came and went so fast…ahem…that’s too easy.
  3. ESPN the Ocho is one step closer to becoming a reality and will feature Ole Miss every week. Comcast and Time Warner will add this channel to their respective line-ups immediately…for no apparent financial benefit.
  4. Jefferson-Pilot Broadcasters will move to ESPN and join Speilman for all ESPN2 SEC 12PM ET broadcasts. In all likelihood, Speilman will tear off one of the two Daves’ arms and beat both of them to death with it before the sixth week of the season.
  5. Stuart Scott will now be destined to perform color commentary for SEC games. God help us all…
  6. College Gameday will perform a weekly spotlight piece on proper sun-dress wear at SEC games compared to the standard “Fat Chick in Draper jersey” seen with extreme regularity at the Big House.
  7. ESPN will re-hire (he is obviously not busy) Nick Lachey to sing the alma mater of the visiting team on top of each home team SEC stadium, which will lead to the SEC’s weekly version of the “Nick Lachey’s The Running Man”
  8. All commericals during ESPN SEC broadcasts will consist of the following: Atlanta Braves on TBS, Chik-fil-a, Wrangler Jeans (with Dale Jr…duh) and a modest portion of Sham-WOW spots.
  9. College Football Live will turn off spell-check on messages (you know the ones that show during each of the segments) originating from SEC states. Ironlically, these messages will look a lot like a result of JoePa smashing his Blackberry with a tack hammer. More irony, Paul Pozluzny made like 15 more tackles and threw his Butkus award at AJ Hawk (as he was making another solo tackle), while I was writing this elegant piece of literary mediocrity.
  10. Chris Fowler, Corso, and Herbie will now sport “the Flop” as the hair style of choice (See every male student at Auburn or Alabama) to cater the growing demographic. Jorts will be discussed, but Corso refuses to sport the jorts, due to fears of a potential baby arm sighting from the bottom of his favorite pair of Daisy Dukes. Desmond will be required to shave racing stripes in his hair to achieve the look of SEC D-Lineman fast, which just isnt possible with his BigTeleven roots.
  11. A new ticker will run at the bottom of the screen on Saturdays listing the 40 times of every player that has ever played in the SEC. Sponsored by Dr. Pepper.

If this doesnt get you pumped up for a Youngstown State game, to quote a great doctor …”you are lifeless and dead”.

2008 NCAA Football Helmet Schedule

For anyone that hasn’t downloaded this yet, you can get this year’s NCAA Helmet Schedule clicking here (but better that you right-click and “Save Link As”).

A flurry of writing is being done as we ramp up to Defcon 3 here in the MotSaG HQ. Things at work are stupid crazy for the Monkey and I but that’s never stopped us before.

2008 OSU Season Outlook

In the past, our season outlooks were of the ‘down in the weeds’ variety – players, starters, rotation, positions, injuries, and so forth. We’d like to take a broader view this year: ask some tough questions, and go out on a limb to provide some prescient answers.

 


Q: On what will the outcome of this season depend?
A: On leadership.

Last year’s Buckeyes were largely devoid of leadership, even though they benefited from a Butkus award winner on defense and a quarterback in his 73rd season.

James Laurinaitis has a precise, surgical approach to his game, but has never quite convinced me that the team belongs to him. This is in direct contrast to his predecessor A.J. Hawk, who played loose and passionate, but clearly owned the players around him. Little Animal needs to understand that passion is good. He needs to grab some helmets, order the young ones around, and never, ever let stuff like this happen again.

On the other side of the ball, Todd Boeckman faces a different challenge. He’s clearly the leader; but last season, Todd saved his worst performances for his biggest games. This season has at least three more ‘big’ games than last year, so the season could hinge on his wounded ducks and poor decisions (or lack thereof). He needs to be a leader by example. Fortunately for OSU, history trends indicate that teams have their highest increase in consistency and production with second-year starters at QB.

 


Q: Will OSU beat USC?
A: Probably.

There’s no question that, on paper, OSU is a deeper, more talented team, and all the warning signs are there that USC is a dynasty that’s been in decline for a couple of seasons now, only we’re just now starting to notice it.

Were the game in the Horseshoe, I’d be more comfortable predicting a lock win for the Buckeyes. However, the context of this specific game – a road game, at night, in the Coliseum, against Pete Carroll, with USC benefiting from a bye week beforehand – makes it even harder of a challenge for OSU to pull off.

No matter what the outcome, however, the odds that this single game will actually impact the national title picture are fairly remote. Don’t believe the hype machine that claims the loser will be out of the title race. Did we learn anything from 2007? Barring an embarrassing lopsided victory of one team over another, the loser is not likely to drop very far in the polls, and we know that at least two teams ahead of the loser will lose games later in the season (as OK plays Mizzou and Ga plays Fla).

In fact, the odds slightly favor a rematch of OSU and USC, either in the title game, or in the January 2009 Rose Bowl.

 


Q: How many victories do fans have a reasonable right to expect?
A: Nine.

Wait – let me explain. The question used the word ‘reasonable.’ To me, it’s reasonable to expect victories against Youngstown St, Ohio, Troy, Minnesota, Purdue, Michigan St., Penn St., Northwestern, and Illinois.

The remaining three games are USC, Wisconsin, and Michigan. USC we’ve already covered above. It’s a likely victory, but all of the associated intangibles prevent us from expecting it.

Wisconsin will likely be a top-10 team through most of the season, and the Buckeyes will play in Camp Randall, at night, in October. Tough game.

As for Michigan, yeah “rebuilding/Threet/suckitude/” yadda yadda. Doesn’t matter. Since the early-20th century, the teams are 50/50, no matter their records, no matter who’s coaching. 50/50. In fact, if there is any trend, it leans in favor of first-year coaches – no first-year coach at Michigan has ever lost his first OSU game. Something to think about.

So, if this season lived up to a reasonable expectation, OSU shouldn’t do any worse than 9-3 in the regular season. However, my opinion is that the Buckeye defense should be good enough to pull off one or two more victories, and if the offense (read: Boeckman) is much improved over last year, an undefeated regular season is very much possible.

 


Q: Will OSU win a first-time-in-history fourth consecutive conference title?
A: Yes.

And if it happens, it’s likely to be outright, as the two Big Ten teams not on OSU’s schedule (Indiana and Iowa) will probably not be good enough this year to contend. If the Buckeyes earn it outright, they also make history with a third-consecutive outright title.

 


Q: Will Beanie win the Heisman?
A: No.

Will he be the best RB in the country? Absolutely. But running backs only win Heismans if they put up numbers. To be considered, a back usually has to set records or challenge them, and it’s not likely that any tailback in a Jim Tressel system will ever get the number of carries needed to do so. Last year, Beanie averaged 21 carries a game with a 5.9 YPC average. If a 2000-yard regular season is the benchmark, then considering 21 attempts per game, Beanie would have to average 8 YPC to get close. Very unlikely.

And in fact, Tressel has indicated multiple times that Beanie may get fewer carries this year than he did last season (although, that could be strategic disinformation).

For Beanie to put up the numbers to win the Heisman, he’ll have to get about 30 carries or touches a game; or the other Heisman candidates will have to be weakling seatwarmers. Jim Tressel’s system precludes the former, and with all of the high-powered veteran quarterbacks in the country this year, the latter is not likely to happen.

However, there is one caveat to consider: The media has been pushing and pushing for years to get another two-time Heisman winner. Clearly, Tim Tebow enters into 2008 as the favorite in the race. But if Tebow has an average year, or if it becomes clear that he’s being outshined by other quarterbacks (e.g., Sam Bradford, et. al.), it’s entirely possible that they’d push Beanie’s candidacy if for no other reason than to set him up in 2009 to become the second two-time winner. The story couldn’t play out any better, not only because the first two-time winner was a Buckeye, but because at his current rate, he’s on track to beat Archie’s records sometime during his senior year (if he stays).

 


Q: Will OSU compete in the title game?
A: Probably not.

Why do I say this? Because the answer, for any team, is ‘probably not.’

There’s so much that goes into getting one of those two spots, and only part of it is hard work and number of victories. If you’ve been following football for any length of time now, you understand that blind chance plays just as much of a role as anything else. Not only does a team have to put themselves in position to be selected, but all those other things they can’t control have to mount up as well – the balls have to bounce their way, the calls have to go their way, game day weather has to be favorable for them and detrimental to their opponents, injuries can’t occur, teams ranked higher have to lose, etc.

At the end of the season, any one of perhaps a half-dozen teams could compete for two BCS title game slots. One will be from the Big 12 (either Oklahoma or Missouri), one from the Pac 10 (likely USC), the SEC championship game winner (probably Florida), and one from the Big 10 (either Ohio State or Wisconsin). In addition, the knuckleheads at ESPN will no doubt do their annual shoving of a mid-major or Big East team down our throats, so expect to hear Fresno State or West Virginia in that mix, too. It’s just too messy, and there’s too many things that those teams don’t have control of that can affect the outcome of their seasons.

Plus, OSU will suffer from something those other teams don’t: the anti-Big Ten bias that is firmly ingrained in the minds of the poll voters. If there’s any question of whom to invite, OSU will probably be overlooked in favor of another team.

It sounds obvious, but OSU’s best chance to compete is to go completely undefeated. If a loss happens, then hope it occurs against USC by a field goal.

 


Q: If they get there, will OSU win it?
A: No, if they have to rely on talent or coaching alone.

A: Yes, if the leadership problem is solved.

One final point: If they get to either Miami or Pasadena, the Buckeyes will no doubt have one or zero losses on a schedule that includes at least five ranked teams – two of them (USC, Wisconsin) ranked in the top-10. It is even possible that Penn State or Illinois make it into the top 10 before their respective games against OSU. That’s a much harder schedule than in previous years.

Between a respectable schedule this season and their bowl competition in recent years, by the end of this season, Ohio State should be a team with more experience against the nation’s best than any other Buckeye team in recent memory. It bodes well for them.

2008 BlogPoll, Preseason

Rank Team Delta
1 Oklahoma 25
2 Georgia 24
3 Ohio State 23
4 Southern Cal 22
5 Florida 21
6 Missouri 20
7 LSU 19
8 West Virginia 18
9 Clemson 17
10 Wisconsin 16
11 Texas 15
12 Texas Tech 14
13 Illinois 13
14 Virginia Tech 12
15 Penn State 11
16 Arizona State 10
17 Brigham Young 9
18 Oregon 8
19 South Florida 7
20 Kansas 6
21 Alabama 5
22 Tennessee 4
23 Wake Forest 3
24 Cincinnati 2
25 Michigan 1

Dropped Out:


I’m heading out tomorrow morning for a week of vacation, so I don’t have a lot of time to discuss our preseason BlogPoll ballot, but I will say I hate preseason rankings and I will be throwing mine out after week one and starting over fresh.

Again, we have 5 of our writers voting and I tally up all the rankings and submit a colloborative ballot. Either way, your comments, suggestions and what-not are always welcome.

Tinia Cruris gets his chance at USC

FootballLOS ANGELES, CA — Tinia Cruis, a veteran scratch player, has finally gotten his start at USC.

“I just had an itch to give him a chance,” said coach Pete Carroll. “We’ll let him at a few balls, and see how he does.”

QB Mark Sanchez agrees. “He’s been hanging around the locker room for years. He’s got an interesting game – he sneaks up on you. It’ll be interesting to have him on the team.”

Link