Archives for August 2012

2012 Season Preview: MotSaG Roundtable Edition

As we sit here a little more than fourteen hours from kickoff, watching Day 2 of the 2012 College Football Season, here are some questions I posed to the MotSaG writers, a roundtable of preseason hopes, expectations and predictions.

The 2012 Season

What the season will look like? 12-0 and ranked #1 in the AP Poll? Or a flaming disaster of a season at 6-6?
Kade: The season will look like an Ohio State season. Whether it’s Meyer or Tressel, it doesn’t matter. Walrusball or the Meyer spread. The results will be similar. Ohio State will be elite once again. They will have a double digit win total and command respect from the rest of the nation. And with that “respect” the hate will follow. OSU will hear vitriol from Florida fans as they look at what could have been. OSU will hear disgust from Big Ten rivals like they did with Wisky and MSU during the recruiting wars.

SYR:I am going to say OSU finishes 11-1 and top 5 in the AP poll….. The one thing people seem to have wanted to see gone the most was Tressel Ball and they will get their wish. Here is to hoping you all wont regret your wish. It should be exciting to see a high power offense to go with a stout defense at OSU.

Bacon Ninja: I’m thinking optimistically. This team was a few breaks and a passing game away from a much better record last year, and their improvements should outweigh what they lost.

Jason: I don’t think 12-0 is all that far-fetched, with @Michigan State & @Wisconsin the only truly worrisome road games (not that PSU can’t be good, but it’s unlikely). By the time we get to Nebraska, things should be running smoothly.

sportsMonkey: I figure a 10 win season is likely.

el Kaiser: This season is going to feel weird. So many things are new, so many things are different. The first loss (heaven forbid) is going to feel strange. It’s just going to be an odd season. But I do think we’ll finish the season with a great record.

Speaking of that, what will Ohio State’s final record be?
Kade: 10-2. Losses to Wisconsin and Michigan State. The “bowl game” will be a blowout win vs. Michigan that will set the stage for the 2013 title run.

SYR: I think you already asked that but I will say 11-1.

Bacon Ninja: 11-1 or 10-2.

Jason: I’ll go with 11-1.

sportsMonkey: 10-2

el Kaiser I think 12-0 is a possibility, so I’m going with that. Twelve and oh, baby.

Which victory would be the best win of the year?
Kade: The Game. Ohio State hangs 40+ on Hokes Michigan south team.

SYR: Beating TTUN is all I care about this year. When we do that it will feel amazaballs…… We have no bowl game to look forward to so THE GAME will be our bowl game and it is a must win this year to set the tone for the next 10 years.

Bacon Ninja:Do you really have to ask? It’s the Weasel Bowl on the Saturday after Thanksgiving

Jason: Michigan, naturally.

sportsMonkey: Michigan, natch.

el Kaiser Yep, Michigan. Screw those guys.

Worst loss?
Kade: Michigan State. First away game, the Buckeyes will struggle with the overpowering defensive line of MSU and lose a heartbreaker on some BS fake heart attack play from Dantonio.

SYR: I think we will lose at MSU…. since it is the only game I think we will lose it is here by default.

Bacon Ninja: At Wisconsin. I just have a bad feeling about it for some reason.

Jason: Losing to Michigan twice in a row would be just awful. I have completely forgotten about the Cooper years and I don’t need to be reminded.

Losing to either Wisconsin or PSU would also suck. Obviously, losing to the non-AQ teams would be the “worst” but the others would hurt more, emotionally.

sportsMonkey: Purdue.

el Kaiser: ALL OF THEM.

What is a successful season for you?
Kade: Finish out an already stacked recruiting class, beat Michigan and let everyone else in the Big Ten know who’s boss…even though the record books won’t recognize it.

SYR: beating TTUN is all that matters this year PERIOD…. ENOUGH SAID.

Jason: A winning record, blowouts of lesser teams, a win over Michigan.

sportsMonkey: Eight wins minimum with one of them against UM.

Stand out players

Who will be the offensive MVP?
Kade: Braxton Miller. No brainer really. Miller is electrifying…he was stunning at times as a freshman and really didn’t know what he was doing. He is now in an offense that caters to his skill set. It’s like putting Brady Hoke in front of an all you can eat buffet…it’s just right.

SYR: Braxton Miller is tha main cog in this machine. How well he plays will determine how well OSU will do. My guess is he is a better fit for this offense then he was whatever that was we ran last year.

Bacon Ninja: Braxton.

Jason: Braxton. It’s going to be amazing.

sportsMonkey: Can I give it to Urban? If not, Braxton Miller.

el Kaiser: I wanted to go with a sleeper here, but I can’t. It’s obvious that Braxton Miller is the dynamic player that’s going to make the biggest impact in every game. He’s going to do some things that are going to leave people’s mouths gaping wide open in disbelief. The monkey and I used to talk about how many “Are you kidding me?” would we hear Musberger proclaim during the 2006 season with Ginn, Gonzo and Troy. I think we’re set for about 30 ARE YOU KIDDING MEs.

Defensive MVP?
Kade: John Simon. Tough to single out a single player as I believe a defenses success is cyclical. It starts up front. A strong defensive line means that the linebackers are able to roam free. A strong defensive line means that pressure on a QB leads to the secondary making plays. It all starts up front, and John Simon leads the charge.

SYR: I am going to reach on this one and say Curtis Grant he is so important for our success this year. We need a leader of the defense and that usually falls on the shoulders of the MLB and Curtis has to step up and be the field general we need.

Bacon Ninja: Simon.

Jason: John Simon, who has already won the award, now known as the Victims of John Simon Memorial Trophy.

sportsMonkey: Simon will accept the MVP, but only after it has been passed through Chuck Norris’ lower intestine.

el Kaiser: I’m with SYR on this one, I’m going on a limb. I love Johnny Simon, but I think teams will key on him and double and triple team him on the regular. So I’m going with the bald one, Ryan Shazier as my defensive MVP. He’s gotten bigger, quicker and has a year of game time under his belt.

Who will be this year’s standout senior (offense, defense)?
Kade: John Simon. He will be a force to be reckoned with.

SYR: Offense- Stoneburner, He is by far our best play maker in the passing game. Defense – Simon, he came back to OSU to help restore our legacy as a top tier defense that wins games. He is a beast and will be the backbone of the defense.

Bacon Ninja:Stoney and Simon.

sportsMonkey: John Simon, runner up Zach Boren.

el Kaiser: No surprise here, number fifty-four, John Simon.

Standout freshman (offense, defense)?
Kade: On offense it’s Bri’onte Dunn. He will command playing time. I’ve watched him once in practice and once in the spring game and the dude has star written all over him. He won’t be the leading rusher on the team, but he will contribute and look good doing so. On defense Noah Spence is a guy that stands out among the rest. Speed off the edge from the defensive line is something OSU needs desperately. And with Nathan Williams recovering from injury, Spence will fit in perfectly.

SYR: Offense – Taylor Decker, If he wins the RT spot he will be a star on the OL even if he doesnt start he will play a lot. Defense – Noah Spence, He will provide a speed rush like we haven’t seen in years has burning speed and desire to get to the QB and he will often.

Bacon Ninja:Michael Thomas & Devin Bogard

sportsMonkey: Bri’onte Dunn

Who’s going to surprise people and why?
Kade: Philly Brown. He will be playing the “H” position and filling in for an injured Jordan Hall. He will be taking reverses, screens, handoffs and catching balls down field. He will be playing the “Harvin” role and after Hall comes back will fold back into a traditional WR position. He is blazing fast and versatile. He will produce early and often.

SYR: Chris Carter has really done a 180 from nearly not being able to be a Buckeye due to criminal case to changing to DL from OL and getting lots of playing time. He lost a bunch of weight and will provide depth at the DT position.

Bacon Ninja: Kenny Guiton. I’ve always liked that kid.

Jason: Devin Smith is the elite receiver we didn’t know we had.

sportsMonkey: Big Hank will surprise people when it’s revealed he was voiced by Bill Cosby all along.

el Kaiser: Zach Boren. I know everyone knows who he is and it’s not going to be a surprise with how hard he plays, but it’s going to surprise people how integral he’s going to be the offense.

Who’s going to be a bust?
Kade: I hate to say it, but too much is being put on Jake Stoneburner. We hear it all the time…he’s the next Aaron Hernandez…yadda, yadda, yadda. I’ll believe it when I see it. I think he will be productive, but not as productive as we hope he will be. Stoneburner caught a lot of TD’s last year but had a bunch of drops as well. He should be open based on the spread option zone read attack off playaction…lets see of he can cash in.

SYR: Travis Howard has bustability in him and at times it shows he has lost his spot as our best CB to Brad Roby lets just hope he hasn’t lost his confidence as well.

Bacon Ninja: Carlos Hyde. I don’t know why though.

sportsMonkey: Brady Hoke

What legacy does this senior class leave?
Kade: This will be Meyers first OSU senior class. They set the tone for the younger guys. They will teach the pups how to win. How to do things the right way, how to be true Buckeyes. Anytime Urban Meyer compares a player to Tim Tebow…it’s a good thing…and he’s done so with John Simon…multiple times.

SYR:This Sr. class stands for everything I love about Ohio State. They are dedicated and loyal and mentally strong. Overcoming adversity like champs that they are. They won’t be able to play for any titles or bowls but they will get a chance to define their own legacy.

Bacon Ninja: Overshadowed by bigger events. Like Generation Y

Jason:Ultimately, they will be remembered as the ones who opened the door for the great things to come, a group that fought hard even with the knowledge that they wouldn’t get the shot they deserved.

sportsMonkey: Ask me in December.

el Kaiser: These guys have been through some crap that a lot of them had nothing to do with and it’s a testament to their character that they stuck it out when some of them could have jumped ship.

Who busts a blood vessel in their forehead first Kerry Coombs or Mike Vrabel?
Kade: Kerry Combs is a walking, talking stroke. His reply: “I don’t get strokes dumbass, I give them.”

SYR: Kerry Coombs for sure he only has one gear and it is aneurysm worthy. Vrabel though you can tell he has a softer side that comes through often.

sportsMonkey:Vrabel, but his incident will unfortunately result in the untimely deaths of all those nearby.

The rest of the league

Who looks to have the strongest Big Ten team this year (besides the Buckeyes, duh)?
Kade: I don’t believe the Big Ten has a “great” team. I don’t believe they have a complete team outside OSU. I truly believe OSU is the best team in the Big Ten and will hit their stride come November. But other than them I’d pick Wisconsin and MSU to play for all the marbles.

SYR:MSU has the defense of a champ. Wisky has the offense. I will say MSU wins it all.

Bacon Ninja: Probably stupid Wisconsin. Because at least it’s not scUM.

sportsMonkey: Michigan State

Who scares you the most on our schedule?
Kade: MSU.on the road….a guy named Gholston.should be a dog fight.

SYR: TTUN because losing to them hurts for 365 straight days. I don’t think they are as good as their 11-2 record from last year says they were though. I think they will have trouble winning at least 8 games. Problem is records don’t matter in this game ever.

Bacon Ninja: UCF. Orlando is pretty far south so their players are wicked fast and it would be really embarrassing to lose to them.

Jason: Probably Michigan State, mostly because of the timing.

sportsMoneky: Michigan State

el Kaiser: Wisconsin. Because losing to Bret Bielema is like an enema.

Which non-Buckeye games are you looking forward to this season?
SYR: TTUN vs Bama and USC vs Ore and Bama vs LSU and pretty much every other game I LOVE CFB….. they are top ranked teams playing each other enough said.

Bacon Ninja: I look forward to seeing scUM get whooped by Alabama and watching everyone take Shoelace’s August Heisman away.

Jason: Navy/Notre Dame (Ireland!) Michigan/Alabama (someone has to lose!) USC/Oregon, & WVU in the Big 12 in general. And whichever B1G games turn out to be important.

sportsMonkey: Ohio-PSU in opening week, and USC-Oregon on November 3rd.

You can have one other player from another Big Ten team. Who is it and why?
Kade: Monte Ball. He scored nearly 40 TD’s last year and every team new what they were going to do. Imagine him in Meyers spread with Miller a threat to read and keep? Who are defenses programmed to be more afraid of? Carlos Hyde or Ball? The offense would be completely unstoppable.

SYR: Chris Borland from Wisky. He is an Ohio boy excelling at LB for Wisky and we need more LBers this year.

sportsMonkey Will Gholston, for nostaliga’s sake.

And just for fun…

How awesome is the SEC? So very awesome?
Kade: I am not a supporter of “conference” affiliation. I have never understood the practice of rooting for hated rivals. I laughed out loud…yes…LOL’d when Penn State lost to Houston last year. With that said…I hate the entire SEC, for multiple reasons. They do practice the rooting for hated rivals and have perfected in into an art form. I recall being that the Sugar Bowl and having Arkansas fans chanting SEC…SEC…SEC among their other ridiculous ramblings. I believe they are the best top to bottom conference in college football currently, however they are not as good as everyone thinks they are. Sure, they have won their share of titles, however it’s easy for the SEC to win if they are constantly in the title game and playing that title game close to home. Things get harder for them in a few years with the playoff format.

SYR: I think this is the year they knock each other out of the NCG race. 2 non-SEC schools will play for it. So not so awesome……

Bacon Ninja: We’d be awesome too if we signed 35 players a year and cut the half of them that didn’t pan out.

Jason: Not much more awesome than any other conference. They have more teams capable of being great, but only a couple of them are in any single season. I don’t know that that’s necessarily better than, say, Texas & Oklahoma dominating the Big 12 90% of the time.

sportsMonkey: While their struggles have brought them shame and misfortune, I look forward to a time when the media finally gets off their back and gives them a break.

el Kaiser: SO AWESOME.

Mark May and Kirk Herbstreit enter the Coliseum, gladiators both of them. What is their weapons of choice and who leaves victorious?
Kade: Mark May is armed with a plate of hair gel and a signed poster of Tony Shalhoub for no reason. Herbie enter the arena with a VHS tape of OSU’s 72-0 victory over Pitt and upon seeing it Mark May explodes.

SYR: Stupid question Mark May is too much of a wussy to enter and Kirk is too pretty to risk messing up that fab face of his.

Jason:Mark May uses his superhuman ignorance to stun Herbie before pummeling him relentlessly with weapons grade false outrage. However, Kirk is finally victorious when, the two of them locked in each other’s futile grasp, he impales May with his poison frosted tips.

sportsMonkey: May enters with a tiny voodoo doll of Herbstreit. Unfortunately, it is only mildly effective because May neglects to spray bronzer on it beforehand. Herbstreit chooses a Trev Alberts Halloween mask, which bewitches his opponent and causes a feeling of deep insecurity and sadness. The two then girly slap-fight for hours until both die of exhaustion. All fans of college football emergy victorious.

Urban Meyer looks (and if you strain your ears, sounds) like Shia LaBouf in 15 years. Discuss.

Bacon Ninja: Urban Meyer is definitely in Indiana Jones’ lineage. He coached at Utah, Last Crusade opened in Utah. Not a coincidence.

Jason:In 2027, Shia LaBouf wins an Academy Award for his portrayal of Meyer in the dramatized segments of Michael Moore’s documentary Gone Blue, a look at what led the University of Michigan to disband football ten years earlier. Industrial Light & Magic wins a technical award for their animatronic “Brady Hoke,” a massive device that requires 17 separate engineers just to control the mouth and one unpaid intern to control the brain.

sportsMonkey: In 15 years Shia will have returned to his homeworld of Planet Douchbagia.

el Kaiser: Sam Witwicki and Urban Meyer turn out to be the same person, and John Simon reveals himself as Optimus Prime and Braxton Miller as Bumblebee. Due to a loophole in the NCAA rulebook, they are allowed to participate in college football. They go on to an undefeated season and win co-Heisman Trophies. The AP and the BCS award them the Title Champions of The Universe Forever. Optimus Prime sends out the signal to other Autobots in the universe and Urban Meyer has the greatest recruiting class ever in 2013.

… and finally

What do you hope to see against Miami?

Kade: I’d love to see Miller run for 80+ yards and throw for ball park of 300. I’d like to hang about 50+ on them. I’d like to see Big Hank eat the 1st and 2nd string QB’s.

Jason: Confusion and despair on the RedHawk sideline.

sportsMonkey: Something, anything that makes us glad Bollman is gone.

Miami Preview: The Hunt for RedHawk Closure

You’re an Ohio State fan, and you’re not too worried about Saturday’s game. You know that Ohio State has not lost to an in-state team in 106 years and has never lost to a MAC team. You know that Miami has never beaten a Big Ten team not named Northwestern, Indiana or Purdue. You know that this game is practically already a win. And you’re probably right. But you don’t know Urban Meyer’s secret.

The RedHawks scare the hell out of him.

Urban Begins

From 1981-1984, Meyer played for the University of Cincinnati as a defensive back. “Played” is probably too strong of a word, as he was a walk-on and rarely saw the field. Even back then, he had earned a reputation as a motivator and in 1985 he served as a student assistant coach. UC just happens to be one half of the Victory Bell rivalry, the oldest non-conference college football rivalry in the nation. The other half is, of course, Miami University. And in the five years that Urban Meyer was a part of the Bearcat team in some fashion, they went 1-4 against Miami, each loss by less than a touchdown.

In 1986, Meyer attended Grad School at Ohio State and was a GA under Earle Bruce. UC won the next four Victory Bells.

Meyer continued his coaching path, paying his dues and formulating his own master plan. His mission, though he’ll never admit it, was to lead a team on to the field against Miami University and destroy them, to rip out their hearts the way they had ripped out his over and over and over and over.

The Dark Coach

In 2001, he got his first head coaching job, at Bowling Green and in the same conference as the red and white cloud that had hung over his head for two decades. Bowling Green hadn’t beaten Miami since 1997 and Meyer was going to change that in dramatic fashion. He assembled a coaching staff full of innovative minds and put together the first version of his revolutionary offense.

He circled November Third.

Bowling Green got off to a decent start, with just a couple of road losses on their way to the life-changing clash. Miami rebounded from early blowouts by Iowa and Michigan and were starting to roll behind a freshman QB named Ben Roethlisberger. They were 6-2. Bowling Green was 5-2.

Miami took an early lead, but Meyer’s Falcons fought back and a late drive was capped off by a touchdown with just 31 seconds remaining. He had them right where he wanted them as Bowling Green lined up for the onside kick and a series of plays that would forever—what? Oh, hell.

Miami recovered.

The score went final. 24-21, Meyer had lost to Miami again. The Falcons wouldn’t lose another game that season. Miami wouldn’t win. Fate continued to twist the knife. The two teams wouldn’t meet the following year and by then it was obvious that Roethlisberger was something special. Urban knew he had to do something.

He bailed.

Utah came calling and Meyer was on the next plane. Out there, he would never have to face the RedHawks again. Unsurprisingly, free from the ghosts of Oxford that had held him back, Urban Meyer turned Utah into a powerhouse in just a couple of short years, going undefeated in 2004 and beginning the raised awareness of top-notch mid-major programs that would eventually topple the increasingly unpopular BCS.

Meyer became the hottest coaching commodity in the country and decided he needed to move up yet again. He chose Florida over Notre Dame with the thought that he could at least beat up on a different Miami for a while. Maybe that would exorcise his demons.

Urban took over the Gators and before you knew it, he’d won two national titles and helped snag a Heisman trophy for the least quarterbacky quarterback to ever play the game. After a disappointing loss to Alabama in the 2009 SEC Championship Game cost him a shot at a third title, Meyer suffered a heart-related episode that was kept under wraps for several weeks.

Job-related stress is the widely-accepted cause of Meyer’s scare and that’s not entirely inaccurate. The whole truth, though, goes deep into Meyer’s past, to those long-forgotten days as a seldom-used DB in the Queen City. To put it simply, he had a nightmare. But not the naked-in-gym-class kind of nightmare that brings glorious relief upon awakening. No, this dream was completely immersive, the sort that can barely be separated from reality even when you shoot up in bed with a dry mouth, clutching your chest.

Florida’s next two games—their upcoming Sugar Bowl appearance and their season opener the following year—were against Cincinnati and Miami University. The Victory Bell. Meyer had just experienced a heart-breaking loss, and—likely due to his heightened spirituality inspired by Tim Tebow—he saw this as a sign. It was like a growling whisper from a bad horror movie.

Get. Out. Now.

Meyer abruptly resigned, but was later talked into instead taking a leave of absence. His initial plan was to coach the Gators in the Sugar Bowl, which he did, and then return to the team after the Miami game. Instead, he came back for spring practice, determined to shake the monkey off his back. He was going to face the RedHawks for the first time in nearly a decade, and he was going to win.

He did win, but it wasn’t pretty. The final score indicates a blowout, but the Gator offense—Meyer’s baby—was plagued all day by poor timing, errant snaps, and far too many fumbles. They couldn’t even manage to outgain Miami, with each team registering a sickly 212 yards of total offense.

From there, the season fell apart. The Gators finished unranked and 7-5 with losses to rivals Alabama, LSU and Florida State. Meyer had learned his lesson. He was finished with football. After beating Penn State in the Outback Bowl, he quit Florida again. This time for good.

The Dark Coach… Rises?

On January 31, 2011, Meyer signed on to ESPN as a college football analyst/color commentator. Four months later, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel after lying to the NCAA about his knowledge of rules violations. Urban’s first assignment for ESPN was the Ohio State/Akron game. His partner was Buckeye legend Chris Spielman. This happened. (That’s Meyer saying “Wow.”)

By the time the Michigan game rolled around, rumors were flying from everywhere that Ohio State was set to announce Urban as the next head coach. Why was he so eager to return to coaching after less than a year off? Was it just the coincidental availability of the job he’d longed for since childhood? Or was there something else drawing Coach Meyer’s attention?


Some unfinished business, perhaps?


If the Gators’ poor performance in their win over Miami was a sign that it was time for Meyer to move on, then the wide open door to an embarrassment of talent to unleash upon the RedHawks at Ohio State was a sign that it was time to come back.

As a player and a coach, Urban Meyer has only seen his team defeat THE Miami University twice, and neither time was wholly satisfying. Neither was the relentless 60-minute punishment that the boys from Oxford deserved.

Can the Buckeyes administer that punishment tomorrow?

“I Want An Angry Team”

New Look, New Feel, New Faces, New MotSaG

Welcome to the newly redesigned site of the world’s oldest (active) Ohio State Blog in the universe, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, now Version 3.0.

It’s been almost five years since we’ve last refreshed anything cosmetic about the Men of the Scarlet and Gray website. Back when we did, it was because our hand had been forced — our original header image was that of the five Ohio State Heisman Trophy winners. Seeing as how this blog launched back in 2006 and we pretty much cataloged Troy Smith’s Heisman run, we were forced into adapting our iconic header to accomodate the newest member of that elite club. Hence, the new header we launched back in 2007.

Well, times have certainly changed since then. The team (both Ohio State’s and ours) have changed. The way content is consumed on the web has changed. And WordPress (our blogging software) has continued to change and evolve into what you see now. So we’ve updated a lot more than just the look and feel (big thanks to Morgan Paul for letting us use his great vintage shot of the Horseshoe for our site header). But that’s the start.

In addition to the new look, there have been some changes to how you can interact with us and your fellow Buckeye fans. Comments are the most prominent change that comes with our new theme. First and foremost, we have added threaded comments, so you can continue to have a conversation within the comments and have the different threads separated for easier reading. This has been possible to do in WordPress for a while now, but I’ll refer you back to paragraph one about that. You can now also comment with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You’ll have to authorize Facebook or Twitter to interact with but hopefully that isn’t too much of a nuisance. You can still, as always, leave comments with a name and email address.

Again, you’ve been able to do this for awhile now, but we haven’t advertised it too much. If you’d prefer to get our updates delivered hot off the press to your email, you can always subscribe to us by using the widget over to the right.

If something we’ve written strikes your fancy, those buttons at the bottom of every post give you a quick way to share a post with your Facebook Friends, Twitter followers or any of the other popular SocNets.

We have also added two bloggers to the stable, Chris Jason and Matt “Porter” Coffmann. We’ll let them introduce themselves in the very near futures.

Other than that, not much else will change here. Our irregular, irreverent content will continue for the foreseeable future.

(Please note that this is a work in progress. We are not web designers by any stretch of the imagination. Your feedback and criticism, constructive or not, is appreciated)

Update: I didn’t mention this initially, but I need to give the sportsMonkey a HUGE THANKS for the work he did pulling together the images and new logo for the site.

BBN Preview: OSU DBs vs. Miami Passing Game

(This is part of the Buckeye Blogger Network Preview of the Miami (OH) game. We are trying a new distributed preview each week where the participating blogs each focus on a particular match-up for the upcoming game. This is a work in progress, but we would love to hear your feedback.)

Ohio State’s defensive backs versus Miami’s Passing Game

Believe it or not, the Ohio State secondary may actually face a legitimate test this weekend. Miami returns senior QB Zac Dysert, who despite being completely unknown is almost certainly going to top Ben Roethlisberger’s career passing total this season. (He needs exactly 2300 yards, which he should hit before November, barring injury.) Dysert has been progressing each season and last year completed nearly 66% of his passes with a TD/INT ratio of 23:11. I expect this to be his offense under 2nd-year head coach Don Treadwell, and if he can continue his progression, he should put up some dazzling numbers. He’s also faced Big Ten defenses in the past (albeit Minnesota’s defense, but still) so he’s seen Big Ten-ish size and speed.

Helping Dysert out with this task are three of Miami’s top four receivers from last year, including junior phenom Nick Harwell, who hauled in an astounding 1425 yards on 97 catches last year and finished second in the nation with 129.5 yards per game. On the bright side for Ohio State is the fact that last year Miami threw to their TEs at a sub-Tresselian rate and Dysert is not a threat to run. If the Buckeye DBs can cover standard routes and keep Harwell in check, they should give the D-line plenty of time to put Dysert on the turf.

And put him to the turf they probably will. Miami gave up the most sacks per game (excepting Pitt) in Division 1A college football at a clip of almost 4 sacks per game. The offensive line is a mishmash of out of position players (left guard Matt Kennedy was working out at tight end this spring before moving back to the offensive line after Zach Lewis was concussed during fall camp), recovering injured players (previously mentioned Zach Lewis will still start at LT) and seniors that have not been able to produce in the past. The defensive line, with the rotation available to Fickell and company, should get consistent and serious pressure on Dysert. That should alleviate some of the pressure off the defensive backs.

Fortunately, Ohio State brings back every starter in the back four, with safeties Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett and corners Travis Howard and Bradley Roby, not to mention solid contributor Ohrian Johnson. With what looks to be a dominant front seven locking down the line of scrimmage, the defensive backfield will be free to draw on their experience and instincts to corral the RedHawk receiving corps and take advantage of pressured throws to produce turnovers, an area of emphasis in Urban Meyer’s defensive strategy.

Overall, I expect Dysert to have a so-so day in the Shoe before moving on to torch the MAC. There’s no way to keep he and Harwell from hooking up on at least a handful of plays, but the constant pressure will have him off-balance. If Meyer lets up in garbage time, that’s where they’ll do their damage.

The other Buckeye Blog Network Previews:

Buckeye Empire – Miami’s Running Game
Men of the Scarlet and Gray – Miami’s Passing game vs. Ohio State’s defensive backs
Our Honor Defend – Ohio State’s Running Game
The Silver Bullet – Ohio State’s passing game
The Buckeye Battle Cry – Special Teams
The Buckeye Blog – The Coaching Match-up

Buying In: A Roundup of Coach Meyer’s First Camp

Hey there Buckeye fanatics, it’s “Porter,” a new blogger to the staff at MotSaG, checking in.  I am fortunate to have been provided the forum to one of, if not the largest, college football fan bases in the country.  As one of the over 275,000+ Alumni in the State of Ohio, I aspire to provide insight and excitement in covering all things Buckeye.  Thanks for checking us out.

DISCLAIMER:  I have drunk the “JUICE” and I am all in on the new coaching staff and the future of the Buckeyes.

I’m not sure about you, but I cannot remember a time when I have been this excited to see the Scarlet and Gray take the field, which is saying something because I love that first football Saturday more than a fat kid loves cake (but let’s be honest, who doesn’t love cake).  Before we see Captain Urban ride through the tunnel and into the Shoe (or Ohio Stadium if that is your preference) on his white stallion in his white polo as he leads our beloved Buckeyes into another decade of dominance though, let’s take a look at some of the stories that came out of Urban’s first camp at the helm.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention ESPN’s production of Training Days: Ohio State.  The staff could not be a more polar opposite than it was under Tressel. Can you imagine Coach Tressel ever opening the doors on a training camp and allowing ESPN the access it had to the Buckeyes?  I can’t.  One thing on the staff … I love it.  The coaches’ energy is contagious and it seems like the Buckeyes take on the enthusiasm and energy exuded by the staff.  I think Training Days will pay dividends on the recruiting front and it only solidifies the Buckeyes as a desired destination for the nation’s top talent.

In a new tradition Meyer brought to tOSU each freshman is required to lose their stripe as a rite of passage in order to become a full-fledged member of the Buckeyes. As part of the tradition, each incoming freshman was assigned a big brother from the upperclassmen and the freshmen were required to use the upperclassmen’s nicknames, some examples are Braxton “Jerry Curl” Miller (big brother to Cardale Jones) and Orhian “Flavor Flav” Johnson (big brother to Devan Bogard).  To date nine freshmen have earned the removal of their stripes, including (in order) Devan Bogard, Noah Spence, Tommy Schutt, Taylor Decker, Adolphus Washington, Warren Ball, Cardale Jones, Joe Burger and Bri’onte Dunn.  With numerous other freshmen in the two deep, I expect more black stripes will be removed before noon this Saturday.  An observation on the depth chart – a noticeable departure from the previous staff, this coaching staff has adopted the philosophy of playing the best player regardless of class (this should also pay dividends in recruiting).

Throughout camp, there were various themes that highlight Meyer’s desire to discern those players who thrive in a competitive environment and will strive to not be average.  Meyer often stressed the importance of doing everything any coach asked of the players plus two, while also identifying those players who were able to get from point A to point B.  Another key word of the new Buckeye staff was “JUICE” meaning “energy, excitement … you either have it or you don’t” – Etienne Sabino.  The measure of one’s juice and competitive nature was exhibited on the field in drills such as the circle drill, which Coach Meyer unveiled to Buckeye faithful prior to the Spring Game, and off the field in activities such as Gatorade chugging contests.

Since his arrival at tOSU, Coach Meyer has stressed the importance on leaders, meaning those players who are able to pull the younger ones through tough practices.  In the offseason, John Simon was not allowed to go to the gym alone for his early morning workouts; instead he included the likes of Curtis Grant, Ryan Shazier, and Noah Spence.  John “half man, half beast” Simon’s leadership was shown  throughout Training Days also as I often observed him coaching up the younger defensive lineman, primarily blue chipper Noah Spence.  Another leader Urban hopes to get back in action this Saturday is veteran Nathan Williams, and a sign that the stars are aligning – he was ruled healthy enough to see limited playing time.  The addition of Williams to an already stout line has the makings of something special as Meyer has compared the Buckeyes defensive line with Williams to those lines he fielded at Florida during his two national championship runs.

Yet another key difference between the new staff and the prior coaching staff that was apparent during camp is that the new staff is candid in letting players know exactly where they stand PUBLICLY.  While I don’t know the kind of criticism delivered by Coach Tressel behind closed doors, the Senator would have undoubtedly resorted to the puzzled coach speak we were all accustomed to.  In particular, Coach Meyer and Herman have been very vocal regarding the lack of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, especially in the passing game describing it as “non-functional” and “inadequate.”  Meyer questioned the wide receivers heart, effort, and skill.  Rather than shy away as a result of the criticism, Braxton and the wide receivers dedicated themselves to getting better in the offseason and throughout camp and Coach Meyer has seen a transformation in the receivers saying that “they’re competing now.  It means something to them.  That’s kind of neat to see.”  Coach Herman also said that he has seen “potential,” but “it’s up to those guys and the coaches to [make sure] that potential turns into performance.”  The fact that players are buying in even when Meyer’s criticism was downright brutal will yield results on and off the field, rather than a recurrence of the disjointed performance from last year

While Meyer has introduced new traditions like requiring freshman to lose their stripe to become Buckeyes, terminology such as JUICE, competition in every activity on and off the field, and the pregame Quick Cal (video by Ozone), the overwhelming theme I have taken from Urban Meyer’s first camp is that every Buckeye from the current team, the student body, and Buckeye Nation has bought in to what Coach Urban Meyer is selling.  And, this buying in is not simply to turn the page on a tumultuous season.  However, with the unity of the team, staff, student body, and fans all working together, I think Buckeye Nation better buckle up and hold on tight because we are about to embark on a path of dominance, beginning this Saturday.

The Spread, Week One: FOOOOTBAAAAALLLLLL!!!!

Hey guys, welcome to The Spread.

[insert elaborate opening credits sequence featuring skydiving royalty and Mr. Bean and some weird metallurgical dance number here]

So, by now I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “What is The Spread that I shouldn’t just stop reading right now and go back to what I was doing?” Well, stop asking yourself; you don’t know and you look ridiculous. The Spread is essentially just Poll Dancing with a new name, because as you know, I single-handedly changed the college football landscape with my constant ranting and raving about the BCS and soon we’ll have an actual playoff to determine the national champion and this happened because of me only and not for any other reason so don’t let anyone tell you different. So I figured since I’ll be shifting gears in this space, I’d come up with a new name for it and that’s what I did so give me my money.

Hey, Ohio State is not the only team with a new coach this year, although we might as well be for all the good it’s going to do those other poor Urbanless bastards. Here’s a list of guys who actually got head coaching jobs this year, presumably from people who think football is this or this:

Bob Davie – who got Notre Dame sued for age discrimination almost immediately after being hired and then never won a bowl game for the Irish.

Charlie Weis – who was almost as bad as Davie at ND, but did win that one bowl game against Hawai’i.

Rich Rodriguez – who is like Michigan’s Bob Davie if Bob Davie was even worse at winning football games.

John L. Smith – who is this guy.

Good luck with that.

Hey, there are college football games this week and not just reruns of all the various Alabama/LSU or Michigan State/Wisconsin games from last year. Brand new games, and some of them aren’t terrible! At least they aren’t yet.

THURSDAY Don’t watch these games. I know you kind of want to, because football’s been gone so long and now it’s back and you love football and so do I so we should watch these games right? WRONG! Don’t fall for it. ESPN is capitalizing on your starved passion and trying to trick you into watching a bad SEC game that you would never watch if it weren’t the only thing on. South Carolina and Vanderbilt? Seriously? You might as well have said A Four-Hour Claymation CHiPs Reboot Featuring The Voices Of Gilbert Gottfried, Richard Dreyfuss and Jennifer Tilly. Or maybe you were planning on checking out Texas A&M @ Louisiana Tech or UCLA at Rice or Minnesota at UNLV? I don’t even know you anymore.

FRIDAY Okay, you’ve waited long enough. Turn on the TV and check out Boise State @ Michigan State. The Broncos have been the darlings of college football since making a movie around Oklahoma in that Fiesta Bowl. But they’ve only played one Big Ten team in their entire history and that was a loss to Wisconsin in 1997, when 3 of the Badgers’ 8 wins were by a single point. The Big Ten remains the only conference that Boise has played and not beaten. You won’t often get my permission to cheer for another Big Ten team, nor will you often ask for it or ever care what I have to say about what you can do with your Yuengling-soaked vocal cords, but Friday you’ll get it. Use it wisely.

SATURDAY Obviously, this is the big day. It’s so big that you can watch football at nine in the morning without being on the West Coast! That’s when Navy/Notre Dame kicks off in Freaking. Ireland. and I will stop trying to convince you to watch it now because if you don’t watch a game from Ireland then seriously, why are we even friends?

Then you’ve got all your noon games, including Miami at Ohio State. Which is what you’ll be watching, so let’s move on.

The rest of the day’s games are just background noise for your five-hour celebration of the no-huddle wizardry you just witnessed. You should probably spend this time watching the game again and try not to pass out before Alabama/Michigan rolls around at eight. If you think you’re getting more of that Big Ten permission here, you are dead wrong, bucko, and I hope you don’t even want it. It really doesn’t matter who wins this game because it will mean that the other team lost and that can only be a good thing. But since it’s a football game we’re watching, we have to cheer for somebody and can you really cheer for this guy? I can’t.

MONDAY Go ahead and watch Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech if you want, see if I care.

Depth Chart Y’All

Well, it is game week and that means a brand new depth chart. Listed below you will find the 2-deep depth chart for both the offense and the defense.

Some things of note on it:

  • Reid Fragel won the RT spot over Freshman Taylor Decker.
  • Travis Howard beat out rising star Doran Grant for a CB slot.
  • Jeff Heurmann and Nick Vanett are both listed as starters at TE.
  • The most surprising thing to me though is Adam Griffin is a back up CB. Although it shouldnt surprise me too much he is after all Archies son.
  • There are 14 Redshirt or True Freshman on the 2 deep for this game.
  • Brionte Dunn beat out Rod Smith for the back up RB to Carlos Hyde.

Overall, on paper this is a strong 2-deep, maybe the best I have seen for a first game in a long time. OSU’s future is very bright to say the least.


5 Braxton Miller (6-3, 210, So.)
13 Kenny Guiton (6-3, 206, rJr.)

34 Carlos Hyde (6-0, 235, Jr.)
25 Bri’onte Dunn (6-1, 214, Fr.)

44 Zach Boren (6-1, 246, Sr.)
49 Adam Homan (6-3, 245, Sr.)

15 Devin Smith (6-1, 196, So.)
83 Mike Thomas (6-2, 193, Fr.)

10 Corey Brown (5-11, 182, Jr.)
16 Evan Spencer (6-1, 190, So.)

11 Jake Stoneburner (6-5, 245, rSr.)
80 Chris Fields (6-0, 180, rJr.)

81 Nick Vannett (6-6, 248, rFr.) OR
86 Jeff Heuerman (6-6, 247, So.)

74 Jack Mewhort (6-6, 310, rJr.)
76 Darryl Baldwin (6-6, 292, rSo.)

78 Andrew Norwell (6-6, 304, Jr.)
73 Antonio Underwood (6-2, 301, So.)

71 Corey Linsley (6-3, 292, rJr.)
50 Jacoby Boren (6-2, 283, Fr.)

79 Marcus Hall (6-5, 315, rJr.)
57 Chase Farris (6-4, 285, rFr.)

77 Reid Fragel (6-8, 298, Sr.)
68 Taylor Decker (6-8, 313, Fr.)


54 John Simon (6-2, 260, Sr.)
88 Steve Miller (6-3, 255, So.) OR
8 Noah Spence (6-3, 240, Fr.)

52 Johnathan Hankins (6-4, 317, Jr.)
92 Adolphus Washington (6-3, 289, Fr.) OR
90 Tommy Schutt (6-2, 305, Fr.)

53 Garrett Goebel (6-4, 285, rSr.)
51 Joel Hale (6-4, 295, So.)
72 Chris Carter (6-4, 358, rFr.)

63 Michael Bennett (6-3, 277, So.)
50 J.T. Moore (6-3, 250, rSo.)

10 Ryan Shazier (6-1, 226, So.)
36 Conner Crowell (6-1, 233, rFr.)
25 David Perkins (6-2, 220, Fr.)

14 Curtis Grant (6-2, 235, So.)
5 Camren Williams (6-1, 225, Fr.)

6 Etienne Sabino (6-3, 237, rSr.)
15 Josh Perry (6-4, 231, Fr.)

1 Bradley Roby (5-11, 185 rSo.)
12 Doran Grant (5-11, 188, So.)

7 Travis Howard (6-1, 196, rSr.)
9 Adam Griffin (5-8, 180, rSo.)

2 Christian Bryant (5-10, 190, Jr.)
19 Orhian Johnson (6-3, 210, rSr.)

4 C.J. Barnett (6-1, 202, rJr.)
3 Corey Brown (6-1, 197, rJr.)

H/T to Brandon Castel (@BCastOZone) from Ozone for the Offense and Defense Depth charts.

2013 OSU recruit player stats week 1

I was sitting in bed Friday night refreshing twitter for 30 minutes waiting for updates on the Middletown HS football game and the stats for Jalin Marshall. Needless to say as his stats skyrocketed every few minutes and excitment built for the talent he is it hit me I am sure there are other people who would love to hear how the OSU commits for the current class were doing in their weekly games. So starting with this weeks games we will give a weekly overview on their stats and how their teams did. These stats aren’t the end all be all of how well a recruit will do at OSU in the future but it does give some insight into what we can expect. So without further ado here goes week 1.

Jalin Marshall– His team Middletown Middies lost a heart breaker 43-39 to St. Xavier. Jalin had a massive day rushing 23 times for 322 yards and 3 TDs. He also completed 6 of 13 passes for 87 yards and 1 TD.
Eli Woodard Team did not play a game yet.
Cam Burrows His team Trotwood-Madison lost 33-14 to University High. Cam was never really challenged in the game as UHS stayed away from his side. He did have at least one nice pass break up and a couple of big hits in the run game.
Joey Bosa– Team did not play a game yet.
Marcus Baugh Team did not play a game yet.
Evan Lisle His team Centerville lost to Cincinnati Elder 34-21. As an O-lineman he didnt have any stats but by all reports he played well.
Ezekiel Elliott His team John Burroughs HS beat Cape Central 43-14. He scored 4 TDs in the game. Runs of 13 and 36 yds, a 49-yd rec and a 62 yd punt return for a TD. He also had 15 carries for 112 yards and 2 rec for 68 yds.
Billy Price His team Austintown Fitch beat Harding 24-10. Billy had the game winning tackle and forced fumble and he recovered it to seal the win. No other stats are known.
Jayme Thompson His team Toledo Central Catholic won 66-14. His stats if any are unknown at this time.
J T Barrett- His team has not played a game yet.
Michael Hill His team Pendleton defeated Pickens 56-14. He had at least one sack but no other stats are available.
Taivon Jacobs His team has not played a game yet.
Darron Lee His team New Albany lost to Reynoldsburg 10-9. Darron was 2-for-8 passing for 52 yards and one interception and had (minus)-16 yards rushing on 10 attempts.
Tracy Sprinkle His team Elyria defeated Steele 63-28. Tracy had 11 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 TFL, 2 forced fumbles.
Tim Gardner His team Lawrence Central defeated North Central 38-3. As an O-lineman he has no stats.
Johnny Townsend His team has not played a game yet.

As the season progresses hopefully we will have more games played and more stats available for us. Look for this post to go live every Sunday evening during the High School football season. If OSU lands any new recruits we will add them to this list as well. There are just too many possibles to keep a list of all the guys not committed yet.

In Case You Missed It

In case you missed it is Men of the Scarlet and Gray’s semi-regular look at items that would interest the casual and seriously hard core Ohio State fan, be they news items, interesting blog posts or funny cat memes. It’s all here and it’s all for you.

Eight days and counting.

I figure we’ll just get this one out of the way, since it just hit this wire last night (while I’ve been writing this, actually): Ohio State reinstates Storm Klein. Urban Meyer said, “I have spoken extensively to members of both families and that has prompted me to reassess his situation and allow him back.”

Judging by the immediate reaction on Twitter, this wasn’t the most popular decision of Urban Meyer’s short tenure. He’s catching flack for having said his discipline was going to be unwavering and is trying to shed his “win at any cost” image. People don’t think he’s sticking to his word already.

I’m of the belief that this reinstatement is more symbolic than about “winning”. I don’t know how much Storm Klein was going to see the field in pressure situations, with Curtis Grant holding the starting spot at MLB anyway. Sure, Klein will have a spot on this team, but I’m not sure what his “contributions” will amount to when it’s all said and done. That, and I hope whatever he is dealing with personally is something that will be taken care in the proper manner.

It’s no secret that Urban Meyer has not been impressed with the wide receivers he has at his disposal going into this season. Using terms like “non-functional” do not instill faith or confidence. At least that was before fall camp started. Now things are looking better. MotSaG favorite Devin Smith (he’s the Frank Caliendo of the 2012 Buckeye football team) most definitely embodies this improvement. As Pat Brennan writes in the Lantern:

A single moment on the first day of practice helped send the receivers on the road to being a functional group, and it was sophomore Devin Smith’s route heard ‘round fall camp that appears to have turned the tide.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Tim May writes about the change for Chris Carter, moving from the offensive side of the ball to the defensive. Says the 355 pound manchild:

“I do think that (nose tackle) is my true position, and I am glad that I have the chance to play that now,” Carter said. “To me, it’s just all about pure aggression and go. It’s not having to think about the constant pieces of a play. It’s a lot less thinking; it’s a lot more of just go, kick the butt of the guy across from you and get in the backfield.”

We can argue about who’s Linebacker U (spoiler: It won’t be Penn State for a long time) but I don’t think there’s any argument who’s going to be Defensive Linemen U this year.

No college athletes were harmed (or paid) in the making of this paragraph: 8 Ohio State football jerseys for sale to start the season. All you need to worry about is that you can pick up your #54 John Simon jersey at your nearest fine Buckeye retail establishment. The wearer of the jersey can tackle anyone within a five yard radius at no penalty at all to the wearer.

Because we are the Blog of Record for all things Vernon Gholston, we were happy to hear that he’s getting a shot with the St. Louis Rams.

Some Buckeye Blogging (if you happened to miss it): Drew at The Silver Bullet looks at five questions about the 2012 Buckeyes. #5 is of particular interest. Kyle at 11W reports on the monumentous occasion of Jordan Hall stepping out of his boot following his foot surgery earlier this summer. Oh, and don’t forget about the team captains. Those were announced earlier this week, too. The Buckeye Battle Cry has your round up of the captains.

Your daily Joe Paterno reads (and their long ones): At the Atlantic, Allen Barra was not impressed with Joe Posnaski’s book, Paterno. The New Yorker has a long interview with Graham Spanier, former President of Penn State.

And with that, I think I’m done posting links to Joe Paterno stories.

To end on a happier (relatively speaking. Her story is not remotely happy. It will hopefully have a happy ending) note, go read Grantland’s story of “Mo” Isom, the female soccer player trying to earn a spot on LSU’s football team.