Archives for July 2010

Recruiting Rules are Confusing

This is the last Seantrel Henderson post, I promise (at least until we’re all laughing and how badly Cameron Heyward drank his milkshake).

Yesterday, the Plain Dealer reported that, “The Buckeyes’ chase of the highly-rated recruit led to the school reporting four secondary NCAA violations, most of which had nothing to do with the OSU coaching staff.”

If it had nothing to do with the coaching staff (aka the people actually doing the recruiting), then what’s the problem here? Contact from current and former players is a no-no. Three of the four violations were current and former players “recruiting” Seantrel.

I’m not current on all the rules and regulations (I probably should be, by the by), but those rules seem antiquated. With all the technologies available to high school and college athletes (Twitter, Facebook), shouldn’t we reexamine what the rules are? Maybe simplify them a bit? And why can’t current (or former) players help in the recruitment of other athletes? Are you telling me that Cris Carter had nothing to do with his son Duron choosing Ohio State?


(And with that, we’re done with this Seantrel nonsense. Time to get back to the Buckeyes)

Rest In Peace: Jack Tatum

10TV reports that former Buckeye (and Mouth Smasher) Jack Tatum passed away today of a heart attack.

We MotSaG’ers are a little too young to have seen him play in person but I know personally my dad speaks of Tatum in reverent and respected tones. He loved Jack Tatum.

May he rest in peace.

Everyone likes a good redemption story…

Former Denver Broncos running back [HWSNBN] has been re-enrolled at OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology to finish his degree.

Naturally, some insecure Wolverine fans are reeeeaallly stretchiinnng to try and put a negative spin on this.

Short memories aside, some folks seem to forget that what transpired with the [HWSNBN] situation is a pristine example of exactly how a university is supposed to act when encountered with that situation. At the first hint of impropriety, the player was sidelined, then suspended a few days later, then kicked off the team and out of the school. In fact, some of these actions occurred before definitive proof existed, making it seem unduly harsh at the time.

Viewing these actions in the context of the USC fiasco should increase the respect for how Andy Geiger, Jim Tressel, and the OSU administration handled the situation. History shows that kicking him out of the school likely cost OSU at least a shot at the 2003 title game; a risk they were willing to take.

Remember, he was kicked out for making a false police report. It wasn’t until years later that [HWSNBN] decided to ignore Kirk Lazarus’ advice, validating Geiger’s and Tressel’s prescient actions of several years prior.

Finally, consider how, uh… “interesting” it is that he returned to the same school that only a few years ago he was trying to throw under the bus. It’s an indication of how suspiciously one should view his earlier allegations (if any doubt still existed after the NCAA found them unsubstantiated, that is).

It’s a good thing when people get out of prison and try to finish their studies, let’s wish him well. And hope that he finds work with the Broncos again.

In the meantime, why not amuse yourself with this very relevant walk down MotSaG memory lane.

The Department of Defense’s Frontline [2010 Season Preview]

On their first offensive play of the game, Penn State dropped back Daryll Clark on a quick three step timing route and was promptly dumped by Cameron Heyward. Heyward had a career day compiling 11 tackles, including 2 sacks and 3 tackles for loss. Ohio State dominated the 2nd best offense in the Big Ten, holding them to 201 total yards on the day. This was a team that averaged over 400 yards offense and nearly 30 points a game. The Buckeyes held them to SEVEN.

The Ohio State defensive line dominated the Nittany Lions and just about everyone else they played last year.

2010 should be no different.

Headed up by all everything defensive end/tackle Cameron Heyward, the 2010 Buckeye defensive line is once again loaded. Ohio State in 2009 often times used a hybrid 3-4 defense, standing up 1 defensive end that played the OLB/DE position. Last year this player was Thaddeus Gibson who has left early for an NFL paycheck. This year that position will be taken by Nate Williams and new comer Melvin Fellows.

What is the key to a dominant defense? A disruptive and aggressive defensive line. An outstanding defensive line causes a chain reaction to the other to levels of defense. Having success on the defensive line means that the opposing offensive line will have to double team, in turn freeing up linebackers to make more plays. It also forces the QB to hurry and make mistakes down field, making the secondary more effective. How effective was the OSU secondary last year? They were tied for the 2nd most interceptions in the country last year.

Ohio State has three outstanding returning defensive lineman. These three players should define Ohio State’s defense.

Cameron Heyward: – Heyward plays both defensive end and tackle. He will line up all over the field to create the best possible mismatch. He will be double teamed all year long freeing up others to make plays, but that won’t stop him from getting to the quarterback and stuffing the run. He does it all.

Dexter Larimore: – Larimore is as underrated as it gets on OSU’s defensive front. While he is not a giant stat whore, he is one of those players that forces multiple blockers to account for him freeing up others to make plays. A true defensive tackle, he will be a valued run stopper.

John Simon: – Simon will be a sophomore in 2010 and will be right there with Cameron Heyward as far as defensive impact. This kid is a true freak of nature and one of the strongest college football players in the country. He came on late last year and his game against Michigan was by far his best. Look for him to be in the back field an awful lot this year.

Nathan Williams and Garrett Goebel should also have solid years as well, and look for newcomer Melvin Fellows to have a surprising year at defensive end.

The Ohio State defensive line is primed to build upon what they did last year and carry this defense on another Big Ten title run and beyond.

For your Friday Night

I don’t know why I won’t just let this go, but here is the latest development in the Seantrel Henderson saga:

This may not result in a single thing, but I find myself fascinated by it all.

In Case you Missed It

Whoa, I just realized I hadn’t posted one of these in a while. Just a few odds and ends that caught our eyes in the past week (or so).

Football Outsiders and their Fremeau Efficiency Ratings like the Buckeyes this year, preseason ranking them at #3, behind Florida and Alabama. FWIW.

Oh and never mind that Florida and Alabama are in trouble. Shame, shame, I know your name!

Also, for what it’s worth, the Sporting News Top 100 has our Buckeyes at #2. And Michigan at #71. Behind Duke. Duke Football.

Congratualtions to William Buford for being named to the USA Men’s Select Team, which is training with 2010 USA Basketball Men’s National Team in Las Vegas as we speak. Buford should be the man for the 2010-11 Buckeyes Basketball team. This should get him some national exposure and good experience.

Talk about the future locations of the Big Ten Championship Game are already starting. The Packers have already thrown their hat in the ring and want the Big Ten title game at Lambeau Field. This is going to be fun. We’ve got some great NFL stadiums in Big Ten country and places like Lambeau and Soldier Field would be great venues for Big Ten Football. I’d love to see a rotating schedule through them for the Big Ten Championship game.

Shortly after my 2010 Running Back Preview went up, I saw that Jeff Svoboda at posted his. It’s another good look at the lineup, coming at it from a different angle.

Jim Tressel will be taking three seniors to the Big Ten Luncheon (and accompanying events) this August. Cameron Heyward, Bryant Browning and Dane Sanzenbacher will represent Ohio State (and represent very well) at the Big Ten gathering this year.

Twittering Buckeyes update: I’ve added 9 new Buckeyes to the Twittering Buckeye page. Follow your favorite Buckeyes!

It’s a simple rule, Norm

If you were a student and you were an athlete, would you meet with an agent?

Should be simple enough.

You’d think these young men would be instructed in how to deal with these guys.

This sort of puts those five hundred dollars Smith used to pay for HWSNBN’s cell phone, no?

Running Backs Everywhere and not a Drop to Drink [2010 Season Preview]

For the past two years, while watching the USC/OSU game, we’ve had to suffer through hearing OVER AND OVER how loaded USC was at the running back position. They had a veritable “stable” of running backs, we incessantly heard. It made us groan inwardly (outwardly. LOUDLY). Sorry, rest of the country, but you’re going to hear that refrain quite a bit during the 2010 season, only this time they’ll be talking about the Buckeyes “stable” of running backs.

Maybe a that should be “Grove of Buckeyes”?

Months ago, a good friend of mine asked what I thought about the running back situation for the 2010 season. I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. Coach Tressel is faced with a decision most coaches would love to have. Who does he throw out there in a given situation? Who is going to shoulder the load and be the workhorse? It’s not exactly straightforward. Each running back brings his own strengths and weaknesses to the field.

With that in mind, lets take a look at the stable of stallions Jim Tressel has amassed:

Brandon Saine

Strengths: Soft hands, top speed
Needs Improvement: Running with Authority

Off all the running backs in the stable, Brandon Saine is the most versatile. He’s got the speed, has good hands and has excellent body control. He isn’t a bruising back, it’s important to get him out on the edges. He’s also got soft hands and can flare out and contribute to the passing game. Last year Saine hauled in 17 passes for 224 yards. Could Saine be our version of Percy Harvin? Used in the right way, absolutely.

We all remember the flashes of brilliance we saw from Saine as a freshman during the 2007 Washington game but that potential was shelved when Saine was hampered with injuries the following year. A healthy Saine enjoyed a breakout year splitting time with Herron in the backfield. Saine should be primed to shoulder the load.

How should he be used? I really hope we see that shotgun counter play that Brian loves so much. He fits perfectly in the wide-open option read sets and the passing game. Saine is versatile enough to fit in every facet of Ohio State’s offense this year.

Daniel “Boom” Herron

Strengths: Works hard and runs harder
Needs improvemnt: Vision

“Boom” is probably getting the most out of the least of all Ohio State’s running backs. Boom runs bigger than he actually is. Tossed into the fire after Beanie Well’s 2008 toe injury, he has the most game experience. He doesn’t have the top speed of an elite back and his vision leaves a bit to be desired but no one has more heart. He also has huge hands, which will come in handy for goal line situations Boom will certainly be called upon for.

Boom will be integral to this season’s offense, but it will be more than just what he does on the field. I think Boom’s experience will be his greatest contribution to the younger backs.

Jordan Hall

Strengths: Vision, Quickness
Needs Improvement: Experience

Almost forgotten in the last few games of last season, but let’s not forget how well he performed when both Saine and Herron struggled through injuries. Some people around these parts (SYR) think Hall played the best last season, especially after his big game against New Mexico State (which should be taken with a certain sized grain of salt). As much as it pains me to say, you could draw some favorable comparisons of Hall to HWSNBN (That’s Maurice Clarett to all the new MotSaG readers). He seems to find the holes other backs haven’t been able to find.

Hall has the advantage of having a low center of gravity, allowing him to cut and weave while maintaining his momentum. He’s isn’t a blazer but he is sufficiently fast for what he’s asked to do.

Finally, it can’t be understated how comfortable Hall and Pryor, former HS teammates, look together. While other backs may have more physical gifts or skills, Hall has the rapport with Pryor. That has to count for something.

Jaamal Berry

Strengths: Speed and agility
Needs Improvement: Injury prone?

Jaamal is the enigma of the 2010 season. We have been waiting for two years to see what he can do. He has crazy speed and size and is probably the only back on the team that can go the distance from anywhere on the field but we still don’t have anything to go on. He wowed fans early on but never saw the field due to nursing a hamstring injury all last season. Let’s hope that’s a thing of the past and not that Mr. Berry is going to be injury prone.

As far as the 2010 season goes, I know Berry is low on the depth chart, but I get the feeling that Berry will make things happen when he gets his chance and will see the field early and often.

Now Musberger is going to just need to come up with a nice little catch phrase for Berry. Maybe “Sweet as Berry pie”?

Jermil Martin

Strengths: Size, hard runner
Needs Improvement: Not a good fit, schematically

Jermil is going to be a fan-favorite (if he sticks around). He’s the kind of player that’s easy to love, big and lunky but light on his feet. Martin had his day in the sun against Minnesota, busting right up the middle to the adulation of Buckeye fans everywhere. Of course, it was against Minnesota and everyone was having fun in that rushing game party. But Martin would only see the field again against NMSU, which of course means nothing.

Martin has great size and is nimble on his feet but that’s not going to be enough. He isn’t a good “fit” for the offensive schemes (fat jokes aside). He could be called upon for short-yardage and goal line situations and he will be loved by fans, I just don’t think we’ll see him on the field a whole bunch, what with the talent that the Buckeyes already have.

Carlos Hyde

Strengths: Size and Brings the Pain
Needs Improvement: Not enough data

Carlos Hyde is another one of those players that gets fans excited coming out of high school but has personal struggles getting to the next level. Hyde was not academically available for the 2009 season, so Carlos needs to get his stuff together and qualify himself to enroll at OSU and join the team for 2010.

When he does suit up, he’s going to be a load to carry. Vico compared him to PJ Hill (the Wisconsin one, not the basketball one). He should be fun to watch. In the future. I don’t see him getting a ton of playing time this season.

Roderick Smith

Strengths: Size and speed
Needs Improvement: Not enough data

On film, Smith passes the look test. He has the size (6′ 3″) and speed (4.5 40) to be the next classic Eddie George/Robert Smith cruiser that Ohio State loves to have. But, like Carlos Hyde, we’ll probably be waiting a little while before we see Smith for extended periods of time.

So heading into the 2010 season, where does that leave us? Are there too many backs in the fold? For some reason this was never a problem when USC had 38 different backs, will it be a problem for Tressel? Is there a transfer in the future for someone?

We’re going to see a steady diet of Boom, Saine and Hall with Berry coming on strong over the course of the season. There isn’t one particular stand-out or overachiever but this running back-by-committee should hum along just nicely as long as everyone buys in and keeps the team’s best interest in mind. This hasn’t been a problem in the past but all of these guys were the best of the best coming out of high school. How they handle the situation they are in will go a long way in determining the success of the team as a whole.

(And lest you think we’ve forgotten the full backs, rest assured we are aware of their exsitence and necessity. I love a bulldozing FB just as much as the next guy, but for our purposes here we’re talking running backs that are bringing sexy back. We did already mention Zach Boren in our offensive line preview and let’s be honest, these guys are glorified linemen, so we’ll go with that.)

Cavs eyeing Conley?

According to the Dispatch:

Two players believed to be on the radar are former Ohio State star Mike Conley and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ramon Sessions.

Also, via the Dispatch, Player of the Year Evan Turner has signed with the 76ers. He’s guaranteed $8M over the first two years. Congrats to ET for a well-deserved pay day.

It’s Xbox 360-mas!

Book Cover

Any MotSaG gamers interested in forming an online dynasty?