Archives for August 2011

Almost Here…

Friday Open Thread – Prediction Time

On the heels of a great prediction post over at the Ohio State Blog Eleventy Warhammers (keep an eye on those guys, they’re gonna do big things some day!) we want to get in the game here, too.

So we’ve opened this weekend’s thread for our prediction post.

In the comments (and with this week’s poll) we want to hear:

  • The 2011 Buckeyes season record (not including BTCG or bowl game)
  • the 2011 Offensive MVP
  • the 2011 Defensive MVP
  • the 2011 Freshman of the Year
  • and finally the 2011 Break-Out Player of the Year

My guesses:
Record: 10-2
Offensive MVP: Jaamal Berry
Defensive MVP: Etienne Sabino
Freshman: Braxton Miller
Break-Out Player: Michael Bennett

How about yours?

[poll id=”10″]

If I Was Coach Fickell [Offensive Line Edition]

Gentleman, to start the year off I am starting Joe Bauserman at quarterback. That means three things:

1. We are going to run the ball… a lot. You all need to be effective run blockers because that is going to be our offense until Braxton Miller is ready and even when he is, he won’t be ready to throw the ball 25-30 times per game.

2. We are going to need ample pass protection because Bauserman isn’t exactly Fred Astaire back there.

3. At least the first couple games we will have a red headed, ginger fire crotch for a QB… disgusting, but that is neither here nor there.

Andrew Norwell, you will fill in for the suspended Mike Adams for the first five games of the season. You are a 310 pound sophomore and former five-star offensive lineman. You will project Bauserman and Miller’s blindside along with provide devastating blocking for our stable of talented backs.

Jack Mewhort, you will take over for Justin Boren at left guard. You are a red shirt sophomore and tip the scales at 305 pounds. A four-star recruit out of high school you are an elite talent. You have big shoes to fill as you are taking over for an All Big Ten Guard and all-around badass. You are also a fellow ginger with Joe Bauserman and therefore naturally sworn to protect his unbelievably awful complexion.

Mike Brewster, you are our senior anchor at center and undoubtedly the captain and leader of this team. [It wasn’t called “The Brew Crew” for nothing -ed] At 305 pounds and another former five-star high school lineman you will need to help along three new starters and physically dominate the interior defensive lines of the Big Ten. Mike, big things await you this year as you will anchor one of the best offensive lines in the country and be in line for every major lineman award in college football. The sugar on top of all that will be the fact that you will most likely be a first round draft choice and future millionaire in the NFL. One block at a time.

Marcus Hall, you will start at right guard and be asked to play a pivotal role in the running game. You, like Mewhort, will do a lot of pulling in our power running game. You are a former four-star lineman in high school and, at 321 pounds, one of our biggest offensive lineman. Remember, when in a jam against Big Ten foes, do this… works every time:

J.B. Shugarts, you are our senior right tackle. You are finally healthy and ready to dominate the right tackle position. At 300 pounds and a former five-star tackle in high school, you will finally live up to the hype you had before coming to OSU. Brewster and Adams have already lived up to their top billing. This is your year to be a break out player for the Buckeyes. More importantly than that you will give balance to this big, strong, athletic and talented offensive line.

Oh, and week six Big Mike Adams will take over for Norwell at left tackle and look to dominate the Big Ten. Keep in mind: no one is angry with you for being partially responsible for coach Tressel not being here, really.

Mike, all kidding aside you were a five-star tackle in high school and most likely a future first round pick in the NFL, like Brewster. You need to harness the pain and anguish you must feel for your off the field transgressions and concentrate that back onto the field. If you can do that, this team is going to have a completely different feel come week six and on.

We have been productive on the ground the last three years behind the Brew Crew and friends. This year, we need to keep that going and step it up.

2008: 192 yards per game on the ground, good for 3rd in the Big Ten
2009: 196 yards per game on the ground, good for 3rd in the Big Ten
2010: 220 yards per game on the ground, good for 4th in the Big Ten


2011: 240 yards per game on the ground, good for 1st in the Big Ten

We need to lead the Big Ten in rushing to supplement the lack of a passing offense. And it all starts up front. Four of the six of you that will see the brunt of playing time are former five-star offensive lineman. I’m tired of hearing about Kyle Kalis. That fat traitor isn’t even playing this year. Some talking head said that Ohio State has collapsed. Gentleman, that is ridiculous. You are the foundation of our offense. You are the definition of elite. We will not lay down and die. I refuse it and so should you.

(this message brought to you by fake Luke Fickell)

In Case You Missed It

ICYMI is busy this week working on these 2011 season previews. The defense is mostly done. We’ve looked at the defensive line (it’s gonna be GOOD), the linebackers (they’re gonna be GOOD, too) and the defensive backfield (I sure hope they’ll be good). So this may be shorter than usual but here are a few stores that have caught my eye recently.

Hands are overrated. Speaking of those linebackers, everyone’s favorite recruit, Etienne Sabino has decided that something as insignificant as a broken hand isn’t going to stop him from seeing the field against Akron. In fact, he may just challenge the rest of his defensive teammates to play with one hand behind their backs. It’s only sporting.

The heart of it all. You already knew this, but it’s still fun to brag about: Ohio high school football produces a lot of college talent.

Ohio had 741 players on FBS rosters in 2009, according to a Tulsa World report. That ranked fourth nationally (behind Texas, California and Florida) and exceeded the combined totals of Michigan and Illinois (709). Pennsylvania was second in the Big Ten with 401.

Sure, Miami’s situation might be bad but: TATTOOS. USED CARS. EMAILS! You also already knew this, but it’s another drum that needs to be beaten down the streets of Bristol. From Ben Koo: ESPN And Traditional Media Have Apparently Swallowed Their Whistles

All this attention is going to go to his head. When has a third round draft pick ever received the kind of attention Terrelle Pryor has?

Humblebrag? And to finish up, Bob Hunter’s piece about the differences between Pryor and Ohio State freshman Braxton Miller is revealing.

If I was Coach Fickell [Defensive Back Edition]

Continuing in our series of who we would start if we were Coach Fickell, we now take a look at our Defensive Backs.

Ironically, when most people talk about the 2011 Ohio State team they like to say that this group is going to be our biggest weakness because of players graduating and lack of experience. When I look back to 2010 season (yes it really happened no matter what anyone else says) OSU suffered a lot of injuries in the defensive back field and a lot of players got to see significant time because of it. The young backs got valuable experience against strong competition. To me, when I look at the defensive backs we have on the roster, I see this as a true strength. I had a hard time picking my starters and fully expect to see a lot of guys used this year as all of them capable of being studs.

So lets do this thing.

Cornerback – This first cornerback spot is an overwhelmingly obvious choice for me. Travis Howard is a straight up BEAST. The 6’1″ 190 pound redshirt junior out of Miami has the experience and has had the former players he learned from to become the next great CB at OSU. He is a huge hitter and his speed is top notch. His football intelligence is off the chart. He will be the anchor and leader of our defensive backs and he will probably have the least amount of balls thrown his way because of all these things so his numbers wont be huge but his impact on the team is immeasurable.

Cornerback – This second cornerback I had more trouble deciding on but if I was Coach Fickell I would want the best athletes and players on the field no matter the experience. This is a make or break year for Coach Fickell so he is able to take more chances then normally would be acceptable at OSU. Having said that, Ohio State recruited and landed what many believe is the best cornerback in the nation last year in high school. Doran Grant is a 5’11” 180 pound true freshman out of Akron. He was a star cornerback, wide receiver, and kick returner in high school as well as a state champion in track and field in the 110m and 60m hurdles. Oh, and he was also an outstanding basketball player. He is an athlete in the truest sense of the word. He has the talent on paper to be an All-American someday and why not put the best player on the field and put him in a position to succeed. Is he the safest choice? Probably not. He could have troubles at first but given playing time and surrounding him with upperclassmen I think he will become great.

Strong SafetyOrhian Johnson won this spot last year but was injured early on and lost the spot to CJ Barnett before CJ got hurt as well and then the revolving door of safeties began. Orhian is a born leader and a big time hitter. He will throw around his body at guys twice his size and come away the victor more often then not. This was an easy choice as Orhian was selected by Coach Fickell to attend the B1G media days this year which is reserved for the leaders of the team. Orhian is a 6’2″ 205 pound redshirt junior safety From Florida who hits like a Mack Truck but runs like a Ferrari. This spot is his and if he stays healthy he will fill the needs OSU is lacking after losing seniors last year to the NFL.

Free Safety – To me, this is a simple choice. When Orhian Johnson got hurt CJ Barnett stepped in a performed nicely in his place. CJ is a 6’0″ 190 pound junior out of Dayton, Ohio. He is a strong hitter and has cornerback speed and size. I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays some cornerback this year if needed but he has to be on the field. He proved himself last year and is looking to have a breakout season this year if he can stay healthy. I almost picked Christian Bryant for this slot but I have other plans for him coming up.

Nickel PackageChristian Bryant is the man for when we go to five true defensive backs. The 5’9″ 190 pound true sophomore out Cleveland Glenville saw a lot of action last year before getting injured as well. He managed to make the All B1G Freshman Team despite not playing the entire year. His size is underwhelming for a safety but he makes up for it in toughness and skill. I think he could play cornerback or safety and he even played some STAR last year when Tyler Moeller got injured. The coaches love his work ethic and his toughness. He could and may start this year at a number of different positions and if someone gets injured he could easily step right in and we wouldn’t lose a step.

Dime Package – When (and it isn’t very often but when) we do go to six defensive backs we need a guy who can play his spot and not blow his assignment. Nate Oliver is a 6’0″ 215 pound fifth year senior out of Cleveland. He is a guy who has paid his dues but has had the unfortunate case of always having better players ahead of him. He has ability and as a fifth year senior he should know his assignments by now and could fill in nicely where ever it is needed.

The guys listed above here are the six best defensive backs on the team in my opinion and all should see plenty of time. That isn’t to say there aren’t even more guys who could and probably will see plenty of playing time. Luckily for OSU they don’t have a single defensive back who is suspended or transferred out of the program. Here is a list of backups and potential replacement starters if injury or bad production dictate they are needed.

Dionte Allen is a transfer player from Florida State where he was injured but was a five-star recruit. He is 5’11” 185 pound cornerback. He is a wild card since we don’t know much about him except on paper. He could be amazing.

Corey Brown is a 6’1″ 189 pound redshirt sophomore from Pittsburgh.

Jeremy Cash is a true freshman free safety who may redshirt this year.

Dominic Clarke is a true sophomore who played well on special teams last year and could see time at cornerback this year.

Zach Domicone is a junior safety who plays on special teams mostly.

Nate Ebner is a Rugby star trying to convert to football as a safety. I am sure he is a huge hitter.

Donnie Evege is a fifth year Senior who is best known for his beautiful hair.

DerJuan Gambrell is a true freshman I think he will redshirt this year but you never know with depth issues.

Adam Griffin has the genes as the son of Archie Griffin but can he produce at this high of a level?

Vincent Petrella is a redshirt junior safety who plays on special teams.

Taylor Rice redshirt junior special teams player looking to turn the corner.

Bradley Roby a redshirt freshman who has lots of ability and just needs playing time.

Ron Tanner extremely talented true freshman free safety who should see plenty of playing time.

Jaime Wood is a redshirt sophomore who saw plenty of action last year and that wont change this year.

If I was Coach Fickell [Linebacker Edition]

As el Kaiser mentioned earlier, we are going to breakdown the positional battles and players in a series of posts of what we would do if we were Coach Fickell. We’ll look at all the potential starters, their back ups and all the information we can provide.

In this post I am going to take a look at the Linebackers and who I think should start and who will see significant playing time as a backup. I will also break down the linebackers who have left the program or who are suspended for any length of time and how they will impact on the 2011 season.

Mike (Middle LB) – This one is a tough one. The player who plays here will have to replace the leadership and ability of Brian Rolle and live up to the legacy of a host of amazing linebackers that have played at OSU over the last 100 years. The obvious choice is to just move Storm Klein here, up from his backup spot from a year ago. I do really like Storm Klein and he has one of those awesome names that should be a starting football player at OSU. Having said that, though, the player who plays here needs to be able to drop in coverage and cover tight ends as well as rush the quarterback or stop the run. The MIKE is usually the field general telling players where to go and what plays the coach is calling for. Above everything, though, you need your best player at all of these things here. If I was Coach Fickell, I would move Andrew Sweat to the MIKE and start him in game one against Akron. Andrew is a Senior and a tenacious hitter and has the size and speed to be successful but if he has any glaring weakness in his new position it will be easy enough to move him back to his WILL LB spot he has been in his first three years at OSU.

SAM (Strong Side LB) – This linebacker spot, despite its name, is actually for our least experienced linebacker as it is on the strong side of the defense and has backup from the defensive line and defensive backs. This spot, to me, is made for a player like Curtis Grant, a five-star true freshman linebacker from Virginia who is making waves since he landed at OSU as the next great linebacker. He was rated the #1 LB in high school by many different publications. He has size, speed, and strength that is unheard of in freshman players. He has impressed both the seniors and coaches alike who have raved about him passing the eye test. This defense needs players like him on the field so I am going to start Curtis Grant at the SAM this year.

WILL (Weak Side LB) – This spot needs to go to a player who can line up at the end of the defensive line (on either side of the ball) and rush the quarterback or stuff the run. The player who starts here should be able to get things done with little or no help and make plays in the open field. For all these reasons it is time for Etienne Sabino to finally step up and prove he is the player OSU recruited so heavily. He redshirted last year so he is at his best physically and mentally. He has the size and speed and smarts to do well here and should get plenty of chances to prove his worth.

STAR (Hybrid DB/LB) – This is our hybrid player position who can play both as a defensive back and a line backer on every play they are in. They might rush the quarter back, play the run, or drop in coverage against a wide receiver in multi-WR sets. This is the perfect place for a player like Tyler Moeller. Tyler is a 6th year senior who has had a roller coaster ride of a career at OSU having been a star and injured on and off the field all the while becoming the fan favorite player and person he is. He is a natural leader and he has the ability to do everything on a football field. No one is tougher or a bigger hitter for the Silver Bullets. His heart is bigger then the whole state of Michigan. This is his year to stay healthy and succeed as the player we all know he can be.

Backups – OSU has taken a big hit with Seniors leaving the team from last year in Ross Homan and Brian Rolle. On top of that, stud recruit Ejuan Price left the team shortly after signing his Letter of Intent. Jordan Whiting is serving a one game suspension for his roll in the Tattoo scandal. Dorian Bell has transferred to Duquesne. All of this has left us pretty thin at LB but we do have some good back ups still who will see significant playing time this year.

Dan Bain is a senior LB who has not seen the field play as of today.

Connor Crowell is currently injured but is a highly touted true freshman linebacker who may see time on special teams before earning time as a linebacker.

James Hastings is a redshirt sophomore who also has never seen the field as of today.

Tony Jackson is a senior linebacker who has been a stud special teams player.

Storm Klein is our most experienced and talented backup linebacker and will see lots of action on defense this year and may even be a starter before it is all said and done.

Scott McVey is a redshirt freshman who will see the field this year on special teams for sure.

Ryan Shazier is a true freshman linebacker who, in addition to McVey, is highly touted and expected to get a chance to play early and often.

Jordan Whiting is suspended first game but may make waves after that for sure with such thinness at the linebacker position.

Terrelle Pryor is an NFL player

Last Saturday, Terrelle Pryor held a pro-day in front of 17 NFL teams scouts and management. He ran a very impressive 4.36 40 yard dash which was the fastest of any player in either NFL draft this year. He worked out for 2 hours and threw a bevy of different passes to receivers he didn’t know, completing the vast majority of them. Many of the scouts came away with a better impression then they went in with. Would it be enough though to convince a team to draft him in today’s NFL supplemental draft (which was apparently held in some top secret location and couldn’t possibly be broadcast on any sports channel even though I currently have 40+ of them on my cable nor was it on NFL TV or So I like everyone else had to wait for Twitter to erupt with clues or info.

The draft started at 1 PM and in the first 30 mins we had 2 rounds of nothing. I repeat it took the NFL 30 mins to do 2 rounds of NOTHING. In the 3rd round we got the news Terrelle was drafted by the OAKLAND RAIDERS!!!!! Are you fracking serious as if any of us couldn’t have guessed this would be the outcome weeks ago. At first all I could think was shame on the Cincinnati Bengals for not making a move and picking a guy with TPs athletic ability. I mean did anyone else see Andy Dalton on tv last night if he is the best they have to offer at the QB spot TP would have been at the least a decent back up. But alas Pryor is a Raider and he has few options either become the next Jemarcus Russell or the next Rich Gannon or be the first Terrelle Pryor. The future for him will be all his own making and it is time for him to step up and become the guy he always said he would be: an NFL QB starter.

If I was Luke Fickell [Defensive Line Edition]

Gentlemen, you are the foundation.

You have come from Washington Courthouse, Ohio, Youngstown, Ohio, Lambard, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan. You are the starting defensive line of THE Ohio State Buckeyes and you will be tasked to physically dominate a group of men every Saturday that will outweigh and outnumber you. And if we are to have the success I expect and demand from this team, you WILL physically dominate once a week for the next fourteen weeks. That is all I ask.

Recently, that balding, babbling, drunken buffoon Gerry Dinardo said that we weren’t very deep on the defensive line. Let us remind ole Gerry why he was fired from Indiana in 2004.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. The starting defensive tackles will be:

Garrett Goebel, you will be charged with wreaking havoc on the opposing interior lines this coming fall. You will start at the nose and play the same role Dexter Larimore played last year. You only had nine tackles last year, however that was in a backup role and your job isn’t to accumulate tackles, it’s to make a mess of the opposing offensive line and let the best linebackers in the country mop up. Technically speaking you will play a 1-technique which means you will shade the shoulder of the center to the strength of the formation and blow up the A gap between the center and guard. Garrett, no one except for your mom and dad know who you are. No one has EVER heard of you, yet here you are — ready to anchor one of the best defensive lines in the country.

No pressure.

Big Johnathon Hankins, you will start alongside Goebel. Do not eat him. Last year you did a hell of a job coming off the bench to work into the rotation. Your sixteen tackles and one sack weren’t as meaningful as the amount of carnage you caused when you lined up at defensive tackle. Technically you will play a 3-technique which means you will align your inside eye with the outside eye of the weak side guard. You will get less double teams and I can’t wait to see your 335 lb frame take a wrecking ball to guards across the Big Ten. Johnathon, I have a message for you:

Rotating in with Goebel and Hankins will be sophomore Adam Bellamy, the massively strong Joel Hale and fellow true freshman Michael Bennett. You guys will keep the starters fresh and you won’t just be warm bodies. Expect to make plays when you are in the game.

The starting defensive ends will be:

Nate Williams, you will play the LEO position. This is a familiar position for you. You will play standing up most of the time and play a 5-technique, shading the outside shoulder of the tackle. You will be the weak side rush DE. Like your last three years, I want you to pressure the quarterback, pressure the quarterback some more and sometimes drop back into pass coverage. You’ve got ten sacks in three years, but you will be expected to produce more than that this year.

Big Johnny Simon, you got the other defensive end position — the one vacated by Cameron Heyward last year. Like Heyward, you will also play the interior positions as well. Last year you had three sacks but that number should go up this year. You will be more of a 3-point stance every play traditional defensive end, unlike Williams. You will play a 5-technique and shade the outside shoulder of the tackle. Mr. Simon, you are the key to this defensive line and the key to the success of our linebackers. Hell, you ALL are but it starts with our best lineman and you’re it. Just based on bicep size you should have twenty-five sacks. This is what an arm wrestling match would look like with you and Gholston:

Rotation in with Simon and Williams will be Melvin Fellows, Solomon Thomas after he gets off suspension and Steve Miller.

This group will set the tone for our talented defense. It all starts up front. People talk about the spread offense, wild (insert southern farm animal name here), Air Raid, triple option, West Coast offense…when it comes right down to it, games are won and lost with brute force and physical domination. It’s your jobs to physically dominate the Big Ten and the rest of college football. Get it done.

(this post brought to you by a fictional Luke Fickell)

What would Luke Fickell Do?

The last full week before College Football’s blessed (cursed?) season is upon us. We are chomping at the bit (literally. We had to put one on SYR to calm him down.) for the season to start. This is our way of dealing with the wait: writing previews.

So this week we’ll roll out our defensive previews and follow those up with previews of the offensive side of the ball. This year, I’ve asked the writers to come at the topic from the point of view of a new coach, particularly one Luke Fickell (Man, how many times have I already typed Luck Fickell?). I imagine each writer will take a different approach. All I’m asking is “What would Luke Fickell do?”

Of course interspersed throughout the coming couple of weeks we’ll have some other goodies as well. Rest up, get all those household chores and honey-do lists done. It’s time for some football!

It’s a good time to be a Buckeye.

Your 2011 The Ohio State University Football Team