A Rush to Judgment on Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Offense

Heading into the fourth year under head coach Urban Meyer’s direction, things could not be looking brighter for Ohio State football. Virtually every media outlet has predicted Ohio State to be the favorite to win the 2015 national championship.

The roster is heavily stocked with talented players at every position; a case in point is that Ohio State has players at quarterback in J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones who could start for essentially any other college football program in the country. The aforementioned players, along with returning junior running back Ezekiel Elliott, are mentioned as leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy this season.

Yet I have a painful, and somewhat embarrassing admission to make regarding the present Ohio State offense…

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Noah Brown Breaks Leg Will Have Season Ending Surgery

Picture Courtesy of 247Sports

Picture Courtesy of 247Sports

Man I really hate having to put stuff like this up. You watch what these kids do through Scarlet and Gray Days on BTN, realizing how hard they are working. You can see how bad this team wants to get back to the championship game. The Buckeyes have been fortunate to keep the major injury bug out of the facilities in Columbus until today.

Dave Biddle of 247Sports reporting with confirmation from head coach Urban Meyer and OSU that Noah Brown indeed has a broken leg and will have surgery tomorrow. This is sad news for the young man.

I am not going to go into who will or needs to step up to replace Brown that can be discussed tomorrow, our thoughts and prayers are for a healthy and speedy recovery.

Really hope all the positive that we have heard from what Brown has been doing during the spring and training camp is only on pause for a year. During the Spring Game remember sitting next to BlockONation we were discussing who was going to step up and replace Devin Smith and Evan Spencer. Just as we were starting to talk about possible replacements this play happened right in front of us.

We knew Noah had arrived, now we just will have to wait a little longer but as they say have patience. Good things come to those that wait.

Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast #5 with Kevin McGuire

This week on Men of the Scarlet and Gray Myself along with my awesome co-hosts (Chip Minnich and Jeremiah Sharpe) get the privilege to discuss Big Ten East football and college football in general with Kevin McGuire. We also briefly discuss the Scarlet and Gray Days on the Big Ten Network and wrap up the training camp also discussing OSU QB situation.

For anyone who doesn’t know Kevin McGuire he has been a friend of our show. He is an extremely hard working college football writer and now podcaster. Kevin who can be found on twitter at @KevinonCFB. You can enjoy his work at Athlon Sports, NBC’s College Football Talk, also no2minutewarning.com. Lets not forget he also does work for Nittany Lions Den. You can and should listen to his podcasts on no2minutewarning.com and Nittany Lions Den Podcasts which is part of the Nittany Lions Sports Radio also part of the vSporto network.

Speaking of vSporto network you can enjoy our show and many other quality shows on Buckeye Sports Radio. You can download the iOS app or listen on your browser of your Andriod device (App is coming soon). You can follow Buckeye Sports Radio on twitter @buckeyesradio.

We have to make mention that if you are subscribed to Men of the Scarlet and Gray Live Podcast you will have to go back into iTunes or whatever your favorite app is and find Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Our new show will no longer be getting connected with the MotSag Live feed. We apologize for any inconvenience and are hoping you won’t have any issues finding the show now. Currently are awaiting approval on Stitcher which hopefully should be coming very soon. If you can’t find us on your favaorite podcast app let us know so we can make it a priority to get the show on there to enjoy.

You can also now follow The podcast on twitter @MotSaGPodcast and like the Facebook page Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast.

OSU Football Adds Opponents to Future Schedule

Everyone keeps harping how easy Ohio State schedule has been and will be going forward. Now I for one won’t defend their schedule except for the folks that say the SEC has a harder one and blah blah blah.

Here is the deal Ohio State has added Army to their schedule (Sept. 16, 2017) and Florida Atlantic University (Aug. 31, 2019). Nope not world beaters and can’t say these games will make Buckeye fans cower in fear. I will say this and yes I am pointing square at you SEC fans who love to talk smack. Do you see an FCS team on the schedule? Do you see a cupcake game before The Game with TTUN? Exactly no you don’t.

“Oh but our conference games are so tough” that’s the logic you get from fans or media from the Southeastern Conference. Your one division might be tough and yes for the love of all things holy The Ohio State University would win lots of games in your division let alone conference. Have you forgotten who leads the Scarlet and Gray on the sideline? Yeah the one who started the “SEC Dynasty”. Coach Meyer seems to know a thing or two about coaching seeing how he is the most active winning coach. I digress to point out yes the Big Ten may be experiencing down years for the last decade, but make no doubt about it its not dead.

Indiana during the regular season beat one of your SEC teams, the Wisconsin Badgers and Ohio State Buckeyes won against the SEC in bowl games (SEC vs. B1G bowl record 2-2). Heck the Big Ten after being pronounced dead after a crappy week 2 showing last year and rightfully so, came back and finished 6-5 for a conference bowl record. SEC finished 7-5 wow pretty impressive for the strongest conference in the nation.

I’ll tell you what SEC teams Ohio State has an open date in 2018, two in 2020 and 2021, one in 2022, also two in 2024. Why don’t we start making some noise and lets get some games as a home and home series. We folks up here in the North would welcome your teams into Columbus, to experience The Horseshoe. We would love to come down South to enjoy your college game day atmospheres.

Introducing The Newest Writers For MotSaG

Over the last few weeks we here at MotSaG have been interviewing and and testing many applicants to help our site grow and get to where it belongs. Today is a great day for not only the site but for our fans and readers as well. With the hiring of these new writers what we hope to do is up our daily content. Men of The Scarlet and Gray has been around for over nine years and we hope to be here for nine more. In order to do that we needed to make sure our content is not only frequent but also of high quality. So without waiting any longer let’s meet the newest MotSaGers…

Richard Tongahan Jr

Richard is a humble and proud member of The Buckeye Nation. I have been proudly serving our great nation and have put in 10 years and counting. I love the Buckeyes and have been a dedicated fan since 2005. my fondest memory was last years title run. I am originally from Guam and I have a beautiful with of 10 years, two lovely daughters and a son on the way. I love hearing that Buckeye Swag song at the end of games and I am looking forward to our teams future. Go Bucks!

Twitter- @Tongaricious
Facebook- Richard Tongahan Jr

Justin Golba

Even though I grew up in Maryland, I have always had scarlet and gray in my blood due to my father being an OSU alum. I currently attend Kent State University but still rep OSU proudly. My favorite buckeye of all time is Brian Hartline and my favorite moment as a fan is when number one ranked OSU beat the number 2 ranked TTUN and the game that won Troy Smith the Heisman that year.

Twitter- @justin_golba
Facebook- Justin Golba

Mark Prine

The year is 2005 and I am a seventh grader at Dunbar Middle School in Mobile, Alabama. Like many young boys I was an avid sports fan and I looked forward to Saturday mornings in the fall, so I could wake up bright and early; just to watch college game day and see who was playing who. There was a team from Ohio that I wasn’t very familiar with, that played smash mouth football and hard nose defense(which Iove). Guys with names like James Laurinaitis, Ross Homan, Thaddeus Gibson, Doug Worthington and Vernon Gholston were always flying around like mad men with reckless abandon. To me it was perfect football and that was all I need to know. The Ohio State was officially “my team” which I love.

Twitter- @marksamuelprine
Facebook- Mark Prine

Andy Urbanski

Andy was born and raised in the great state of Ohio and graduated from THE university in 2013. Buckeye fan his entire life, Andy decided to give this whole writing thing a shot for the first time (Fisher College of Business Kid) and the Buckeyes are about the only thing he believes worth writing about. Andy’s a fan of bourbon and beers, so his posts may or may not be written under the influence. Cheers and Go Bucks

Twitter- @PBR_Pounder
Facebook- Andy Urbanski

Bobby Hall

It’s hard to remember when the Buckeyes became such a big part of my life. It’s easy to say that they have turned into a borderline addiction. I grew up in the Dover – New Philadelphia area of Ohio where being an Ohio State fan is not a choice…it’s a must!

In 2013, I graduated from Muskingum University and have since been in the heavy equipment sales industry . The territory I am responsible for is in eastern ohio along the ohio river. There is no question though, besides my wife and beautiful baby girl, OSU football is my passion!

Twitter- @BubHall7
Facebook- Bobby Hall

Brad Pettiford

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Brad graduated from Miami University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, before earning a master’s degree in sport management from Ohio State. He has worked in the communications/PR field for more than seven years, with three years dedicated to athletic communications. Before transitioning to corporate communications, Brad was an SID at the University of Toledo. He now lives in the Metro Detroit area and is a proud ambassador of Buckeye Nation in The State Up North.

Twitter- @bradpettiford23
Facebook- Brad Pettiford

Phil Schoch

Phil escaped the hard scrabble streets of Minster, Ohio in 1990 to pursue the Buckeye dream. After maxing out his Freshman Forgiveness, he hung up his black British Knights and bib-overall shorts (one flap down), got serious and got diploma’d as a Buckeye on St. Patrick’s Day, 1995. He later swiped a Master’s Degree from Ashland University in 2000. He has spent the last twenty years of his alleged adulthood as a middle school teacher. He now drives a mini van, lives in Worthington and coaches 1st grade soccer, basketball and baseball.

When asked about the most important week of the year, he responded, “I went school during the Copper years. Those were bitter, gray holidays and winters. I still get paranoid in November. My guts churn endlessly during Michigan Week. I know the ghost of 2-10-1 lurks. I know the demon of Michigan 1969 is poised, perhaps wearing khaki.”

Twitter- @osuphil95
Facebook- Phil Schoch

Joston Da Grava

Joston was late to the game in becoming a Buckeye fan. Growing up near Pittsburgh in the early 90’s there were only three things: Steeler football, Penguin hockey, and that thing once known as Pirate baseball. It wasn’t until after watching the national championship win over Miami in 2003 that Joston became enamored with the Scarlet and Gray. After moving to Columbus to attend OSU, the veins that had once been full of black and gold now ran rampant with the colors of the Buckeyes. When asked by his Pittsburghian father how such a change could have occurred so quickly, his response was simple: “It is one thing to be a fan. It is a far different thing to be a member.” During his four years at Ohio State Joston never missed a game and rarely missed a moment. He is proud to say that he has been in the murky waters of Mirror Lake four times and never regrets it for a moment. He believes there is no better tradition in the sport of football than the Dotting of the ‘i’ and will fight any man, woman, or child who dare to challenge that belief. Joston graduated from Ohio State in 2009 with his now wife Michele. They live in northeast Ohio where they impatiently await the arrival of their first little Buckeye at the end of 2015.

Twitter- @jtdagrava
Facebook- Joston Da Grava

Parker Eads

Been bred into a buckeye since birth but born in Virginia. Currently a senior at Emory & Henry College and studying mass communications. I’ve got a record of 2-0 in attendance at national championship games (’02,’15). I carry a lucky buckeye in my pocket all day and every day for good luck. Lastly, I hope to one day cover the Buckeyes in some way or perhaps work for the university.

Twitter- @1flybuckeye
Facebook- Parker Eads

Ray Casola

Been a die hard Buckeye fan since the day I was born! My favorite Buckeye memory was the 1997 Rose Bowl win over Arizona St. That game forever stamped my love for not just Ohio State football, but football in general. I am an alum of St. Edward High School where I played football and also coached for two years. Along with St. Eds, I also spent 6 years coaching at Elyria Catholic high school so my love for football at all levels runs deep. As a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder, I clearly have a good sense of humor. I also believe the best answer to a question you don’t know the answer to is always “Because I couldn’t go for three”.

Twitter- @rayrayc3
Facebook- Ray Casola

How to be a True Fan: Planning the First College Football Saturday in 12 Steps

We are so freaking close, a week from Saturday (technically there is an awesome FCS game this weekend),  the only reason we live begins. Now is the time to start making plans. Yes, NOW.

If you wake up next Saturday without a game plan, it’ll be 7:00PM before you know it and you’ll have an empty stomach and worst of all, be sober.

But have no fear, I am here to help. The key is to stay at the peak of football enjoyment for as long as possible. Ladies and gentlemen, follow my schedule and you will be peaking all over yourself  for well over ten hours.

 

8 AM-Step 1:

Don’t worry about setting an alarm, a true fan will always have an internal clock that wakes them up at 7:59 on gameday.

To start the day off right after waking-you must sit up in bed and stare at your significant other (or pet) as they sleep. I mean you need to really to leer bigtime to build up the adrenaline. Once you hit the perfect amount of potential energy your partner will be awoken by your silent excitement.

Maintain composure and eye contact and whisper, “It’s gameday bitch.” If you pulled it off right, you’ll get an eye roll or the occasional, “I hate football season” before they head back to dreamland.

You are now ready for phase 2.

8:30 AM- Step 2:

Don’t shower yet, that’s ridiculous.

It’s time for breakfast. You can have whatever you usually do but I prefer to go with a Diet Mt. Dew and mini sausage sandwiches. You must keep adding fuel to the fire in order to peak at the right time and nothing does that better than a #DMD.

9:00 AM- Step 3:

It’s time to head to the store. Some people will do this Friday but I say do it in the morning because it’s the last time you will legally be allowed to drive for the day when using my program.

Purchase: A case of light beer, a 6 pack of Fall Seasonal Craft Beer,10 dollar bottle of cheap whiskey, toilet paper, AA batteries and chicken wings.

Your trip is complete and you now have all the supplies to make it through the first Saturday of the year.

Once you get home- grab a craft beer and mow your lawn.

I hate yardwork more than anybody but there is something absolutely magical about doing it on the morning of a CFS (College Football Saturday).

*Note. If you live in an apartment/rent go cut your moms grass. She misses you.

 

10:00 AM- Step 4

It’s now time to watch the preview shows. This is the longest part of the day and will seemingly last for 10 hours if you don’t do it right.

Tips:

  1. If a touching/heartfelt story is about to be shown, light up the ole xbox and play some NCAA 14. Compassion kills a good peak.
  2. During commercials study your playbook. You should know the number of every single sports channel by heart. Use a dry erase board if you are having difficulty.
  3. Drink every time an analyst says these words: upset, cannon, speed, revenge, edge and big mac daddy.
  4. If your wife/partner tells you to do some chores-tell them to shut up.

 

12:00 PM- Step 5

(You should now be finished with the fall seasonal 6 pack.)

The games have now begun!

It’s lite beer the rest of the day for you, don’t want to end up peaking over a bathroom toilet before the afternoon games.

Using your knowledge of the channels you studied, it’s time to go to work. If you’re good enough you will not witness one commercial for the day.

You will have to tier the games in order to see more of the best games.. Tier 1’s should be on your tv for approximately 60% of the day, only switching for commercials, halftime and when some gutless kid is faking an injury.

The noon games on September 5th are gross so you’ll have to make due with these matchups:

Colgate at Navy, CBSSN

Illinois State at Iowa, BTN

Louisiana-Monroe at Georgia, SEC

South Dakota State at Kansas, FSN

Stanford at Northwestern, ESPN

 

Stanford @ Northwestern should be decent if you’re into #Nerdball.

 

2:30 PM- Step 6

It is now time to eat the chicken wings. Chicken wings are the only acceptable meal while watching football. I don’t like it but rules are rules.

 

3:30 PM- Step 7

A ton of action here, it’s time to set up your rotation for the 3:30 matchups.

If you have been following my path, it should now be time to switch the dead batteries in the remote for the ones you bought earlier.

Auburn vs. Louisville, CBS, in Atlanta

BYU at Nebraska, ABC

Florida Atlantic at Tulsa, CBSSN

Virginia at UCLA, FOX

UTEP at Arkansas, ESPNU

 

3:50 PM- Step 8

The afternoon games have all kicked off and now it’s time for you to doze off.

The manly equation of chicken wings + 14 beers have wore you out.

Don’t be ashamed, a well timed nap is key to lasting the day. Go turn the sound down on the television and lay horizontally on the couch smiling at the players in the first quarter of their game knowing you will wake up to some wonderful surprises.

 

5:50 PM- Step 9

Your internal football clock will not let you sleep for over two hours during gameday;  this has been proven by science.

It’s an awesome feeling waking up at the end of the 3rd/start of the 4th quarter of a game you basically just started watching. You just fast forwarded real life and that should feel empowering.

It’s time to start drinking again. I suggest a whiskey and coke to lube up the engines a little.

Your peaking should be at its highest peak during the final hour of the 3:30 games.

 

7:15 PM- Step 10

Wow! What a ride that was. Louisville beat Auburn? That’s crazy.

Pick your evening lineup now.

Georgia Southern at West Virginia, FSN, 7:30

New Mexico State at Florida, SEC, 7:30

Texas at Notre Dame, NBC, 7:30

UNLV at Northern Illinois, CBSSN, 7:30

Alabama vs. Wisconsin, ABC, 8 in Arlington, Texas

Eastern Washington at Oregon, Pac-12, 8

Texas State at Florida State, ESPNews, 8

 

It’s also time for your first bathroom break of the day. A #DMD, 20 beers and a whiskey-coke will put some pressure on you. Since there was no time for potty breaks in the first 9 steps, you have to let it all out at once. The extra toilet paper you bought will come in handy.

You should also be arguing with people on your favorite college football message board while you are exiting the chicken and booze. This is an important step and really adds to your gameday fire.

If you’re an expert, you should be visiting the opponents of your favorite teams board to  explain to them why that holding call was correct or incorrect in the third quarter and how it did or didn’t decide the outcome.

 

10:15 PM- Step 11

You’ve been peaking for a solid three hours, it’s time to settle down-Heat up the leftover chicken wings and enjoy a late dinner.

Mississippi State at Southern Miss, FS1, 10:30

Arkansas State at USC, Pac-12, 11

After you finish eating it’s time to honor your team’s victory (if applicable) with a shot of whiskey.

If your team lost, it’s time to drown your sorrows with a shot of whiskey.

 

10:45 PM- Step 12

That second helping of chicken wings sure filled you up. Your body has given up on you, your wife has locked herself in her room, it’s time to give up on the day and go to bed…

Wrong!

There’s  two beers left in the fridge and you will use every last bit of juice you have in you to stay up and watch the last few games. The second wind is coming and you will embrace it like you have never embraced anything in your sad life!

Hop on the toilet (for the second time), vomit if you have to, but when you step out of that bathroom know that you have two more hours of peaking left. This is also a good time to squeeze in a quick shower because you certainly stink.

Just think about Monday you, and how they wish they were in your place right now. You think Monday you would even think of going to bed yet? Grab those two beers and a #DMD and plant your fat butt in front of the tv and keep living life…

 

You will know that you completed my 12 step program if you wake up in your backyard with your pants hanging from a tree for some reason.

Your wife will have certainly locked you out of your house but it’s kind of fun trying to find a way in.

This will be the only free schedule I provide all year. To continue the service you can attend one of my free weekly classes I offer at the Y on Tuesdays, September-December (with a $5.00 cover charge and $6 speaking fee)

****FYI: For you West Coasters, I do offer a Pacific Time Schedule via email for a one-time fee of $10.99, twice a month.

 

See you a week from Saturday ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Five Must See Games Of 2015 For Ohio State

This week we will be presenting to our readers a bunch of posts from potential writers for MotSaG. All of these guys have applied to write for us and were given an assignment to perform. This particular post is brought to you by Mark Prine. So leave some feedback on your thoughts and opinions. Thanks

Here we are just under two weeks away from the start of the 2015 season for the Ohio State University Football Buckeyes, and I’m sure you all have been asking yourself “what are the five most important games of the year??” Well I have been sent to tell you to ponder no more, for I have compiled a list.

1. Virginia Tech

On Labor Day the bucks will travel south to Blacksburg, Virginia to fight it out with the Hokies. This is an absolute must win for Ohio State. But it doesn’t have anything to do with last year. We know that OSU lost to VT last season and they want revenge and blah blah blah. That all sounds very good but let me tell you, last year’s loss doesn’t matter anymore. This is a nationally televised game on week 1 AND Ohio State is the away team AND they are facing a defensive powerhouse. With everybody and their mother watching, including the playoff committee, the Virginia Tech game will set a precedent for Ohio State’s season.

2. Penn State

In the weeks following the Virginia Tech game, Ohio State takes on Devry, ICDC College and THE University of Phoenix online, so I’ll confidently say that those will be wins and we’ll just fast forward to October 17th in Columbus when James Franklin’s Nittany Lions come to town. Penn State gave OSU one of it’s toughest games last season; and with nine returning Offensive Starters and seven defensive starters coming back, this year’s game is sure to be another nail biter.

3. Sparty

This is THE game before “The Game.” Connor Cook was all B1G last year and he is back again for the sole purpose of playing in this game. He has a great O-Line protecting him, led by Jack Conlin and All-American Jack Allen. Not to mention, Defensive End, Shilique Calhoun plays with a chip on his shoulder. There’s not a more evenly matched team in the conference, who could knock off the buckeyes, than Michigan State.

4. The game

Coming off of a game against MSU, Ohio State has to remain focused for the next game. I don’t see that being a problem when Urbs is the man in charge. On paper this game should be a blow out. Jimmy’s players won’t match up with this Ohio State team in ANY facet of the game, IF AND ONLY IF the Buckeyes are firing on all cylinders. If OSU comes out going half speed and waits until late in the 3rd quarter to turn it on then we can see another barn burner. Should the boys come out flying around, then watch out….It could get ugly.

5. Big ten championship

As OSU is favored to run the table this regular season, I fully expect them to participate in the conference championship game. Ohio State is a confident football team that knows, everything is earned, nothing is given, and just showing up is never enough. But….there is a fine line between confindence and arrogance. As the season progresses and Ohio State wins and wins and wins, the coaching staff’s ability to keep the team grounded and focused will determine whether they will win this game and appear in the second annual College Football Playoff.

Virginia Tech Blogger Q&A With @GobblerTown

When looking at the first game of the year it is not too difficult to come up with story lines. Revenge is on every ones mind. So when I sat down with Justin Clark of @GobblerTown we discussed all the story lines and tidbits for the game in Blacksburg. Here is the link to my answering the questions for them. Below is their answers to my questions.

Jeremiah- Looking at Techs offense they were 96th in the country last year in scoring. How do they plan on improving on that?

Justin- To first understand how Virginia Tech will improve offensively this season you first have to understand where this offense has come from over the past two years. Certainly, offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler has taken some heat over the past two seasons for our offense being inept at times (Wake Forest last season is a good example) but he hasn’t had much to work with.

The offensive output during our first two games of last season really showed what this unit is capable of doing when the unit is fully healthy. Unfortunately, after beating Ohio State, quarterback Michael Brewer spent the rest of the year nursing several injuries, our most effective runner in Shai McKenzie tore his ACL, our backup running back Marshawn Williams tore his ACL, our top offensive lineman broke his ankle, and we lost one of our most experienced receiver in Josh Stanford because he simply left the team.

While Tech’s rankings were horrid by the end of the year, there’s still plenty of potential on this offense, especially when you look at how many freshmen played last season. In fact, every person who scored a touchdown last year returns this season. So, just by experience, the Virginia Tech offense should be better in 2015.

Jeremiah- How many starters is Tech returning on Offense and Defense? Which new starter on both offense and defense should OSU fans get to know about now?

Justin- The pre-season magazines will say we return eight starters on offense, eight on defense, and both special teams guys. But, that’s a little misleading.

First, our starting right tackle Wade Hanson started three games last season filling in for an injured Jonathan McLaughlin. So, he’s not exactly a newcomer on the offensive line. The same can be said for JC Coleman, who’s a fourth year senior with nine career starts under his belt. Really, the only new starter on offense is Eric Gallo, who is our new starting center.

Defensively, the same is true mainly due to the injuries we suffered down the stretch. Andrew Motuapuaka isn’t listed as a returning starter but he started three games last season in substitute for Chase Williams, who suffered a knee sprain. Donovan Riley is likely to be our new starting rover but he started seven games at cornerback last season and was the one who helped clinch the win in Columbus with his 4th quarter interception that he promptly returned for a touchdown. On the whole, this defense will be the most experienced unit we’ve had since Tech finished first in the country in total defense back in 2007.

As for a new name to know, I think there are a few on both sides. Offensively, you may see the Hokies use incoming freshman quarterback Dwayne Lawson briefly in our Wild Turkey package. Lawson is a phenomenal prospect and a terrific, high football IQ guy that’s going to play this season. At tight end, you’ll see Tech use redshirt sophomore Kalvin Cline. He did extremely well as a true freshman two years ago but missed all of last year due to injury.

Defensively, Mook Reynolds is a guy you’ll see and hear about. He’s going to be Virginia Tech’s next great defensive back. Right now, he’s penciled in as the backup at field corner behind Brandon Facyson. But, he’ll likely see some snaps at some point in the game.

Jeremiah- Virginia Techs defense is great every year. Your DBs are arguably the best group in CFB. What can you tell us about the LBers and DLmen?

Justin- When Virginia Tech has produced great defenses in the past, we’ve been able to go at least eight deep on the defensive line. I think the Hokies are back to having that kind of depth this season. Our entire starting defensive line that wrecked havoc against Ohio State last season returns with Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekanem anchoring our defensive end spots. Nicolas gets all of the praise as a potential first round pick but Ekanem actually led our teams in sacks last season, coming on big-time at the end of the year. Of course, our defensive tackles are fantastic with Luther Maddy back after missing the final 9 games in 2014 due to injury and Corey Marshall will join him again in the starting lineup. The backups are a little green at defensive end but I love the potential Seth Dooley and Vinny Mihota have in our system. Tech will be able to pull from three or four backup defensive tackles, including Nigel Williams who started nine games and registered 4.5 sacks in relief of Maddy.

Linebacker could be our weakness but it depends on how Andrew Motuapuaka plays in the middle. He’s just a sophomore and he appeared a little overmatched when he started last season. Miami made it a point to run straight at him and the results worked in their favor, whipping us 30-6 on Thursday night. If I were Ohio State, I would make Motuapuaka work in the middle. If he plays well and doesn’t prove to be a weakness then this defense is going to be the stingiest unit we’ve had in years. If he struggles then it could really drag the entire unit down. Otherwise, I’m confident in our other two guys. Deon Clarke is a fifth year senior at our “backer” position and Ronny Vandyke is a talented senior who will start at our WHIP linebacker position.

Jeremiah- I know there have been some off the field issues for some VT players this off-season. Shai Mckenzie comes to mind. Any news on his status or anyone else as to who may be suspended?

Justin- To be honest, I don’t think McKenzie missing the Ohio State game is the worst thing in the world. I was sort of hoping they would suspend him for the year just so we could redshirt him. McKenzie tore his ACL as a senior in high school then re-tore it again last season. Ideally, I’d like to give him a year to recover.

Other than CJ Reavis, who was penciled in as our starting rover before being expelled a few weeks ago, the Hokies should have everyone available to start come Labor Day. The only other player who may be a little iffy is running back Marshawn Williams, who was very limited yesterday in practice as he too continues to recover from ACL surgery.

Jeremiah- What should traveling OSU fans expect from their visit to Blacksburg and any traditions they should take in or places to eat that are must dos?

Justin- Blacksburg is truly an awesome place on gamedays. I would highly recommend going to TOTS (Top Of The Stairs) and getting a Rail before the game. It’s their signature mixed drink with a shit ton of alcohol. For food, I would highly recommend Mike’s for great burgers, Cabo Fish Taco if you love seafood, Big Al’s for great drinks and bar food, or River Mill if you’re looking for just a nice sit-down place with an eclectic menu. Seriously, just pick a joint off Main Street and you’ll be fine.

After the game, go to CookOut off Main Street for the best cheap southern fast food you can get. Five bucks gets you a double cheeseburger, fries, onion rings, and a large drink. Can’t beat it at 2 a.m.

Lastly, try to make your way to the stadium about 45 minutes prior to kickoff. If you wait to long, the gates can get a little backed up and you don’t want to miss Virginia Tech running onto the field to Enter Sandman. It’s truly one of the most exciting entrances in sports.

Jeremiah- What is the feel of Tech fans do they believe they can pull off another upset of Ohio State? Are they worried OSU may blow them out?

Justin- I haven’t polled the posters over on my site yet but I think there’s a quiet confidence with our fanbase. Obviously, Ohio State fans are confident heading into this game and they should be after the season they had a year ago. But, it’s a new year and the best time to pull an upset is early in the year when neither team has fully installed their offense and mistakes are more likely to occur. So, this game does favor the Hokies in that regard.

Combine that with Ohio State’s suspensions and I’m feeling fairly optimistic heading into this game. Ohio State isn’t going to come in and win this by 40. If the Buckeyes win by 10, it will be something to celebrate. I truly feel this is going to be a three point, down to the wire kind of game.

Jeremiah- Is Frank Beamer on the hot seat? Is he close to retiring? Could this be his swan song season?

Justin- The feeling around Blacksburg is that Beamer will likely stay through 2016, which was the end date of his original contract before we extended to 2019 solely for recruiting purposes. Beamer had throat surgery in the off-season and from what I’ve been able to gather, it was fairly extensive. So much so that his voice is notably different this pre-season. He’s also lost a lot of weight, perhaps doctor mandated, so his health is definitely something that may play a role.

But, I don’t believe he’s on the hot seat. The reason for our recent swoon is talent driven not coaching driven, at least not anymore. Our last two recruiting classes have been very good and thus you’re going to see a much better, much deeper Virginia Tech team these next two years.

Jeremiah- How do you see this game going? Score prediction?

Justin- I’m confident that the Hokies can hang in there and keep it close. But, in rewatching last year’s game it amazed me how many chances Ohio State squandered as well as how many 3rd and longs Virginia Tech converted. I don’t see either of those two things happening again this year. The Buckeyes will be ready for Tech’s offense and whoever starts at quarterback for Ohio State will be better prepared for the Hokie’s defense.

That said, there are three things that make me optimistic as a Virginia Tech fan

1.) Our offensive line will be drastically improved this season. I think on every single offensive snap last year, our center and our left guard were pushed into the backfield. Thankfully, Wyatt Teller emerged as our top offensive line prospect at the end of last year and he is now our starter at left guard. Eric Gallo at center is a future all-conference player as well. I have a lot of confidence in our starting five up front, especially with no Joey Bosa on the other side.

2.) Our running game should be better. JC Coleman ran for over 450 yards in the final five games of last season. That won’t compare well to Ezekiel Elliot but it was a major step forward for our running game that has stalled since David Wilson left for the NFL. This also proved that our offensive line got better at the end of last year.

3.) I have a lot of confidence in Bud Foster to design a gameplan that eliminates Ezekiel Elliot from the equation. Stopping the run is always the first order of our defense. If Elliot runs for over 100 yards then odds are the Buckeyes will win. If not, then Tech’s chances increase dramatically.

Of course, despite all of that I just see Ohio State, like so many great teams throughout the years, finding a way. It probably won’t be pretty if you’re a Buckeye fan and at the end you may drop to your knees and thank whatever deity you believe in. But, I’m taking the Buckeyes 24-20.

Zach Smith: New Staff Recruiting Coordinator

“You’ve gotta have some youth in there, and that’s Zach, I’ve known Zach since he played for me at Bowling Green, and he’s taken over the recruiting coordinator spot for us, because of his social networking stuff that goes on. I’m an old guy that doesn’t understand it.” said Urban Meyer on Ohio State’s Media Day on Sunday (Aug. 16th)

Zach Smith, the WR coach, and the leader of Zone6 is the youngest member of the recruiting staff, and subsequently the member that can best connect with the culture of the young players and recruits. Take a quick look at his Twitter page and you will understand why he makes a great fit.

Since being hired in 2012, Zach Smith has been one of the best recruiters in the nation; with the ability to go all along the east coast and SEC country, more specifically in Southern Florida. He has been very important in the recruitment and signing of James Clark, Corey Smith, Terry McLaurin, Jalyn Holmes, Johnnie Dixon, Noah Brown, KJ Hill, and Torrance Gibson. These players were some of the highest, and most recruited players in the country. Along with the popularity of the Ohio State brand and Urban Meyer, Zach Smith has been able to go, build a relationship, and get these players committed. After a down year for Smith in 2013, and a challenge from Urban Meyer, Zach Smith was even named B1G recruiter of the year in 2014.

One of the most popular stories of Zach Smith’s recruiting was that of defensive end Jalyn Holmes. “One day I was with Jalyn Holmes, and he was recruiting Jalyn Holmes, and I’m in the house with him, and I see Jalyn Holmes walking around with an IPAD,” Urban Meyer recalled at Media Days. “and he was face-timing Zach’s kids. I say ‘What you doing?’ I look over and I see his kids in this video on you know, whatever that IPAD is, so I said ‘That’s a first.'”

Zach is one of the best at building relationships with recruits. When you hear about recruits face-timing Zach’s kids, you know Zach is doing something right. Urban definitely realizes that, and that’s the main reason he replaced TE coach Tim Hinton with Zach Smith. Hinton is a good coach, and a good recruiter, but being one of the older members of the staff, it was simply more difficult for him to understand the culture the the recruits are comfortable with. Obviously, Jalyn went on to sign with the Buckeyes in the class of 2014, and is now one of the candidates to replace Joey Bosa in the opener against Virginia Tech.

“Just relevant things that are culturally applicable to kids are important. And, whether being in touch with that or not, you don’t have to like what they like, but you should be knowledgeable of what they like. So, I like to keep in touch with that culture because it’s relevant, and it’s important.” said Zach at media days. For Zach, that partially goes back to the fact that in order to be successful, you have to adjust to what’s needed, but also, he likes it. “Some of it’s enjoyable to me, I mean, the last thing I would ever be is fake with a kid or recruit, but it’s probably why I can relate to the kids.” Zach also admitted

“A year ago there was a song by Meek Mill that was called ‘Levels to This’, and I used to say it to recruits all the time, and they would always be like ‘Man who is this dude?’. We would win a game, and I would be like ‘There’s levels to this, I’m trying to tell you.'” Again, that’s what sets Zach apart from other coaches. With his knowledge and plenty of use on social media, especially twitter, he is exposed to all this stuff that the recruits like. “He was easy to talk to because him being young, he knew certain slangs, he wasn’t trying to be cool,” Jalyn Holmes told Northeast Ohio Media Group about his recruitment. “When you know it’s real, it’s important. You can talk about things other than football with him, and that’s how you build a personal relationship with somebody. We were so close, I’d call him at 1 a.m. and have a conversation with him for two hours. He was that close. I felt that even if I didn’t come here, we would still talk.”

 

Like you read earlier, Zach preaches being real and authentic. That’s another reason why he is great for this new recruiting coordinator job. “I went down and watched Johnnie Dixon practice a couple times and told him, ‘That was awful,’” Zach Smith said after they had signed Johnnie. “We talked about it, but the kid at the end of the day went home and said ‘That guy’s going to make me better and he’s real.’” I’m not saying Tim Hinton and the other coaches aren’t genuine with recruits, because they definitely are, but Coach Zach Smith lives it out. He knows that he would rather be given the truth that have people treat them like an all-powerful being, so that’s how he treats the recruits. He knows being truthful is the best way to start and continue a relationship.

Obviously, this move requires a great deal of trust for Zach Smith. He has shown that he is able to step up to the challenge. After a poor year of recruiting, and some disappointment from Urban, Zach Smith went out and became B1G recruiter of the year. His WR core was extremely thin, and one of the weaker units of the team. He went and made them one of the deepest and most skilled units of the team. One way you can see this trust, is if you just look at his roster. When asked about if the H-Backs will meet with the RB room too, a source said that Coach Smith has been with Urban long enough, that anything that involves the player getting the ball, Zach can coach them up to where they need to be.

 

So, as the new recruiting coordinator, look for Zach Smith to be very successful. With his ability to stay up to date with things going on in social media, and being able to connect with recruits, the future recruiting classes could be better than ever. Look for him and the rest of the staff to be able to keep the 2016 recruiting class and beyond in the near future to stay near the top, if not #1, and watch for him to keep Zone6 as successful as ever.

Behind Enemy Lines: A Look From That State Up North

This week we will be presenting to our readers a bunch of posts from potential writers for MotSaG. All of these guys have applied to write for us and were given an assignment to perform. This particular post is brought to you by Brad Pettiford. So leave some feedback on your thoughts and opinions. Thanks

Ohio State football fans have been blessed with a lot of good fortune in recent years, as the Buckeyes have enjoyed tremendous recruiting success, tons of national exposure, an abundance of All-Americans and Heisman hopefuls, and an undisputed national championship. On the heels of last season’s legendary title run, and with all signs pointing toward a successful 2015 campaign, OSU fans can continue to count their blessings. But make no mistake – there is one segment of Buckeye Nation that has been blessed with far less: those of us who have the misfortune of calling The State Up North “home”.

Sure, the state of Michigan has beautiful bodies of water and great tourist attractions, but is there a bigger buzzkill than trying to enjoy Ohio State’s thrilling gauntlet run through Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon while the only topic of discussion in local media revolves around some Khaki Crusader? I obviously understand the TV and radio business enough to know the importance of media outlets speaking to their audience – as seemingly 99 percent of Michiganders root for U-M or Michigan State – but that doesn’t make it more bearable.
As the season-opening kickoff in Blacksburg, Virginia draws nearer by the day, and a lucky group of Ohio State fans have the luxury of being immersed in pro-Buckeye talk on their local airwaves, I’d like to provide updates on the chatter going on up north.

Blue is Back!

In the history of the world, have this many chickens ever been counted before they’ve hatched? I didn’t know it was possible for the fan base of a team that has been irrelevant from a championship-contending perspective for a decade to so quickly flip a switch and beat their chests again.

While the constant Jim Harbaugh “will he return, or won’t he” coverage during Ohio State’s title run was gut-wrenchingly annoying, it has only amplified throughout the offseason. Michigan airwaves have covered Harbaugh from a myriad of angles – his heroic roadside rescue of highway commuters; the humane capture and harmless release of a mouse from a Michigan restaurant; the rationalization of his shirtless prancing during a satellite camp in Alabama; the defense of his ultra-awkward phone conversion with former ESPN personality Colin Cowherd. I feel like the list could go on and on. I’m just ready for all the “Most Interesting Man in College Football” talk to subside and for conversation to focus on actual football.

But now – following a 5-7 season, mind you – the hiring of one man has led to conversation about another 10-Year War, Woody vs. Bo 2.0, and the return of the greatest rivalry in college football. While those things all sound neat, and would make the matchup more interesting in the years to come, these expectations aren’t based on anything of substance.

Michigan fans and the media are already including Harbaugh in discussions of the elite college football coaches in the country for the 2015 season, when he hasn’t done anything at Michigan yet. Harbaugh disciples point to the ascension of the Stanford football program during his tenure, often pointing to the 2007 upset over USC as 41-point underdogs as reasoning for why Harbaugh will lead Michigan to many victories over Ohio State. People call into sports radio programs, and when asked my Michigan will have 10+ wins this upcoming season, they’re response is simply, “Harbaugh.” I go to work and hear from Michigan fans about how young the Wolverines were last year, and how with another year of experience and the return of an already solid defense, U-M will defeat the Buckeyes in the Big House.

I get it – Michigan fans are excited about their new coach. I remember how energized and optimistic when Ohio State officially announced the hiring of Urban Meyer in November 2011. Then OSU backed up expectations on the field as, Meyer led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 record. Michigan fans have a right to be excited about a new coach with the perception and football pedigree of Jim Harbaugh; I just wish they’d let him coach a real game with the Block M on his hat before boldly proclaiming that the Michigan football program is back.

Beware of Sparty

Make no mistake – I am fully confident in Ohio State’s ability to run the table in the regular season and repeat as Big Ten champions, but I would urge Buckeye fans to remain vigilant of the very real threat that is coming out of East Lansing. On paper, Michigan State appears to be sitting in the same seat that Ohio State was sitting in just one year ago, which makes them incredibly dangerous in my eyes.

Think about how closely the story lines parallel one another. MSU entered the 2014 season as the perceived “bad boys” of the Big Ten, following a conference championship and being discussed as the team with the best chance to represent the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff; OSU entered the season angry and focused, motivated to retake their spot as Big Ten champions. This year, Ohio State enters the season with a lot of hype – and deservedly so – but the Spartans are guaranteed to enter Ohio Stadium with a revenge-minded intensity that the Buckeyes must match and surpass.

Under Mark Dantonio, Michigan State has thrived in the underdog role, finding great success while playing with the proverbial chip on their shoulders. It can be argued that the great expectations heaped upon them by the media last season were their downfall – that playing as “favorites” took away from their “us against the world” mantra. That certainly won’t be an issue this year, as all the talk is centered on Ohio State’s first-world depth chart problems, their heavy presence in the preseason Heisman odds, and discussions of a repeat national championship.
A lot has been said about Ohio State’s success in an underdog role under Urban Meyer’s watch – which ultimately improved to a 6-0 mark following wins over Alabama, Oregon, and Wisconsin (who was actually favored due to the forced insertion of inexperienced Cardale Jones into the starting role). But, through no fault of their own, the Ohio State’s success in 2014 and the hype surrounding their returning talent has coincidentally helped Michigan State return to their own comfort zone. How will the Buckeyes perform as they’ve been forced outside of their preferred underdog role big games? Will they be able to push an agenda to prove something to the world when no one actually doubts them?

As the college football season gets closer by the day, there are a lot of things to get excited about regarding the 2015 Buckeyes. Those of us stranded in The State Up North will just have to rely on OSU fan sites and televised Buckeye games to survive the misery of living behind enemy lines.