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Last Build Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2015 05:12:01 +0000

 



Moving Day!

Fri, 24 Aug 2007 19:52:00 +0000

Shaq and Kobe, A-Rod and Jeter, Pfef and Sheehan?

Due to the fact that I lost the motivation to run my own blog, but also due to the fact that I love Ohio State football, I have joined Sean Sheehan at Around The Oval. Hopefully this merger of two prospective Buckeye blogging superpowers will lead to the formation of a blog that no man has witnessed before. One that will soon rule the blogosphere, and eventually, the world.

Okay, maybe I shouldn't be tooting my own horn so much, but at ATO, I can promise that my posting will be in a much more consistent manner than it has been in the past months. Consider it the "personal trainer" belief. No one likes to excercise on their own, but when there is a partner or "coach" alongside, the work becomes easier and much more routine.

This site was a blast, but it's time to move on to bigger and better things.



Gone for a bit

Sun, 15 Jul 2007 11:35:00 +0000

I'm leaving today for Indiana University Bloomington to attend the High School Journalism Institute. I'm unsure as to how much internet access I can get there, and even if I can get some, I doubt I will have enough time to post. Hopefully when I come back, I'll be able to use some of the journalistic skills I gain there to help improve my blog.

Hope to post again later in the week.



HBO creating an Ohio State vs Michigan Documentary

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 17:34:00 +0000

I got an interesting e-mail forward from the world's coolest older sister this morning and thought it was definitely newsworthy.

Apparently, HBO is planning to release a documentary on the Ohio State-Michigan Rivalry. The expected release date is Tuesday, November 13th, the Tuesday before the game itself.

The following is the e-mail received:

For Immediate Release

HBO SPORTS BEGINS PRODUCTION ON ITS FIRST-EVER COLLEGE FOOTBALL
DOCUMENTARY, EXAMINING THE RIVALRY
BETWEEN OHIO STATE AND MICHIGAN, DEBUTING NOV. 13

NEW YORK, July 10, 2007 - HBO Sports has begun production on a
documentary chronicling the rivalry of Ohio State and the University of
Michigan, one of the most glorious rivalries in college football
history, it was announced today by Ross Greenburg, president, HBO
Sports. Steeped in a rich tradition dating back to their inaugural
meeting in 1897, this rivalry extends beyond the pursuit of a Big Ten
Title, on both sides engendering team pride and spirit rarely equaled
elsewhere. Presented four days before the Ohio State Buckeyes take on
the Michigan Wolverines at Ann Arbor this fall, the documentary debuts
TUESDAY, NOV. 13 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Each year, the football programs at Ohio State and Michigan gear up with
a common goal: to beat their archrival on the third weekend in November,
no matter the rankings, no matter the score. Widely considered college
football's biggest rivalry, these two Big Ten powerhouses frequently
dominate the standings, and routinely attract game-day crowds exceeding
100,000. On Nov. 18, 2006, more than 105,000 fans watched No. 1 Ohio
State defeat No. 2 Michigan by a score of 42-39, with an additional 21.8
million tuning in on TV.

"This film will split the viewers right down the middle," said
Greenburg. "The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry is considered one of the
most compelling in college football history, consuming not only the
Midwest, but the nation. Spanning more than a century, with names like
Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes, Archie Griffin and Desmond Howard, the
characters and storylines of this yearly showdown are memorable. So
there is no better place for HBO Sports to delve into the college
football realm than with these two extraordinary programs."

Separated by only 200 miles, Ohio State University and the University of
Michigan began their football rivalry in 1897. U of M won that first
game 34-0 and dominated the series until 1919, when the Buckeyes turned
the tables, winning 13-3. Since then, the two teams have remained fairly
evenly matched, with Michigan leading the series 57-40-6. Historically,
the match-up has often determined who will win the Big Ten title, a
prime bowl spot, and even the Heisman Trophy.

Exploring the exuberant personalities of coaches like Woody Hayes and Bo
Schembechler, who sat with HBO for his last long-form interview before
his death last year, the documentary traces the importance of the game
for each university, as well as the larger sports' world. A high-profile
list of interviewees will weigh in on the intense rivalry.

Unlike many other sports rivalries, the Ohio State-Michigan face-off has
not only endured, but is growing. The Wall Street Journal notes, "The
game continues to carry the most genuine mark of a great rivalry: The
feud between the two schools injects itself into everything from
business and politics to an annual blood drive where volunteers from the
two campuses vie to see which side can siphon the most plasma."

Executive producers of the documentary are Ross Greenburg and Rick
Bernstein; produced by George Roy.



Robo's Crew: The 2007 Buckeye Wide Receivers

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 16:26:00 +0000

The three quarterbacks may have to replace Troy Smith, and the defense may need to shoulder the load all season long. In saying that, however, Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline, and the rest of the wide receivers will be the most pivotal players in determining the amount of success (or lack thereof) that the Ohio State football team will have next season. Two of the best Wide Receivers in school history in Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez have since decided to test their respective games against the world's best in the NFL, and waiting in the wings they have left a number of players that have been playing in the shadows of these two Buckeye giants.Projected Starting Split EndBrian RobiskieJunior 6'3"195 lbsIn the early part of the 2006 season, then Senior Roy Hall had to miss the first two games of the season due to an injury, and as a result, a relatively unknown, inexperienced sophomore by the name of Brian Robiskie was given the starting role. After tallying six catches for 60 yards as the fourth (sometimes fifth) offensive choice for Troy Smith, Robiskie never looked back from that starters role. He went on to have a very solid season, catching 29 passes for 383 yards and five touchdowns that, more often than not, came in clutch situations that gave Ohio State the victory. Remember, it was Robiskie -- and not Ginn or Gonzo -- that caught the game winning touchdown pass against Michigan, and it too was Robiskie who was on the receiving end of two of Troy Smith's most magnificent passes all season long: the 38-turned-53 yard bomb against Penn State in which Smith had to reverse field (At that point in the game, Ohio State was only winning by four in the fourth quarter), as well as the less celebrated yet almost equally impressive touchdown he threw against Iowa in which he had little to no space to fit the ball in, yet somehow managed to squeeze the ball to Robiskie anyways. Time and again, Robo showed an innate tendency to be at the right place at the right time. Of course, the one major criticism regarding Robiskie's game is that he was the beneficiary of playing on the same offense as Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez, meaning that he often did not have to match up against the opponent's best defensive back on every down like he will have to this year. For one play against Michigan, however, Robiskie managed to ease the souls of all the nervous fans when he essentially made a fool out of Leon Hall (you know, the same Leon Hall that was drafted #18 and the second corner back taken in the draft). You may remember the play as the one where Smith rolled out, Robiskie cut his route back towards Smith (leaving Hall out of position), and then after catching the ball, seemingly without any effort evading the tackle of Hall, managing to take the ball another 15-20 yards upfield (If you can't remember the play...it begins at about the 1:00 mark of this video, but I recommend you watch the whole thing just for old time's sake). Of course, that's only one play, and still leaves a lot of questions regarding his durability as a consistent #1 receiver, but I'm confident that he'll come through this season.Projected Starting FlankerRay Small Sophomore6'0" 175 lbsRay Small entered last season as a true freshman filled with promise. Everyone had him tagged as the "Next Teddy Ginn" from the day he committed due to his similar size, speed, agility, and overall ability. However, Small didn't have the same type of impact freshman season that Ginn had, mainly due to the fact that he was stuck behind Ginn in the depth chart. He played well early in the season in mop-up time, catching 3 passes for 41 yards against Cincinnati and 1 pass for 11 yards and his only touchdown of the season against Bowling Green. However, once the games began to mean more, Small's playing time diminished, and he only caught one more pass the rest of the season, and it was perhaps his most (in)famous moment of the season. The catch made highlight reels and even made it on Sports[...]



The Replacements

Fri, 06 Jul 2007 18:39:00 +0000

College Football News recently published their annual Ohio State season preview yesterday. It's a great, in-depth read, and it does a great job of not only covering the players and stories that we know about, but some of the under the radar guys as well. It's a good thing that CFN can do that, because after having eight men selected in the NFL draft, and seven other starters try and make it as undrafted free agents, there are a lot of holes to fill in that depth chart.So who will be the new guys stepping it up?QuarterbackLast year's starter: Troy SmithLikely replacements: Todd Boeckman, Robbie Schoenhoft, and Antonio HentonRunning BackLast year's starter: Antonio Pittman, Stan White Jr. (Fullback)Likely Replacement: Chris Wells, Dionte Johnson (Fullback)Wide ReceiverLast year's: Ted Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez, Roy HallThis year's: Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline, Ray SmallTight EndNo key lossesOffensive LineLosses: TJ Downing, Doug DatishGains: Any of Jim Cordle, Ben Person, Connor Smith, Jon Skinner, and Kyle MitchumDefensive EndsSayonara: Jay RichardsonHola: Lawrence Wilson, Robert RoseDefensive TacklesAloha: Quinn Pitcock, Doug Patterson, Joel PentonAloha: Todd Denlinger, Doug Worthington, Alex Barrow (Barrow could also see time at defensive end)Outside LinebackersGood Riddance: John KerrGood luck: Ross Homan, Curtis Terry, Larry GrantInside LinebackersNo Key lossesCornerbacksHug Goodbye: Antonio SmithShaking Hands: Donald Washington, Andre AmosSafetiesHasta La Vista: Brandon MitchellWelcome Aboard: Nick Patterson, Anderson Russell (Russell started at the beginning of last season, but blew out his ACL and is attempting a comeback)Clearly, with just about every position having some form of restocking going on in the offseason, the outcome of the regular season and beyond heavily depends on the development of these replacements. Some of these positions (Quarterbacks, Receivers, Defensive Tackles) have such big shoes to fill that it is unfair to ask these players to perform at the same level as their predecessors. However, just like some shoes are too big to fill, some old shoes will be replaced by a pair of flashy new Air Jordans and will be forgotten in a matter of weeks, these "new shoes," of course, are the guys that have been waiting in the wings for quite some time to overtake their former teammates. Beanie, Cordle, Wilson, and whoever ends up winning the final linebacker spot will almost certainly be an improvement from last year just simply due to the fact that coaches, players, media members, and fans alike have had too many good things to say about these players from the moment that they've walked on campus for them to be anything but the next great football players at Ohio State. In the past, it was all a matter of being less experienced that kept these players on the bench. Now, it's their turn, and they will make the most of it. As the old cliche goes, powerhouses like Ohio State don't rebuild -- they reload. The top talent in the country will always flock to Columbus for the shot at being a Buckeye, and that's why such little parity exists in college football today.One of the two positions I listed on that list as having no key losses very well may be two of the most important positions to the team this year. The tight end position last year was far and away the most under utilized offensive position last year. With Tressel's spread offense revolving around Troy Smith, most of the sets were out of shotgun with multiple receivers on top of the running back(s). When spreading out the offense, the odd man out is almost always the tight end. Well, this year, there will be no spread offense. It will be much more vintage Tresselball for much of the season, which means that the tight end will find it's way into the offense much more often. Troy Smith had a calm demeanor in the pocket. He knew how to check his progressions, and when nothing was open was when he ran. That came with experience. Y[...]



The Backfield

Mon, 02 Jul 2007 13:55:00 +0000

For the first time since the 2004 season, the Buckeye backfield will be noticeably missing the majority of it's offensive output. That is because after two consecutive 1,000+ yard seasons (the first Buckeye to accomplish such a feat since Eddie George), Antonio Pittman made the jump to the pro ranks where he is now trying to make the Saints' squad. Unlike the quarterback position, however, we actually do know what we're getting out of most of our replacements.Projected StarterChris "Beanie" Wells 6'1" 230 lbs SophomoreA beautiful sightStrengths: Beanie graduated from high school in the Winter of 2006 and enrolled at Ohio State for spring practice the following Spring. Ever since he made that decision, he has taken Columbus by storm. With his fan-friendly nickname and Maurice Clarett/Adrian Peterson-like combination of bruising power with 4.4 speed, Wells became a fan favorite early in the season despite only entering the game to spell Pittman and in short yardage situations. In fact, Wells' greatest strength as a player that he displayed last year was his ability to take a hand off on third and short, and take the ball right up the middle -- even though everybody on the opposing defense knew it was coming -- and move the chains regardless. Despite being a known commodity for his short yardage contributions, Wells showed off one of his traits that one wouldn't be able to readily identify from looking at his 230 pound frame against Michigan: his athleticism. Wells took the second down hand off from Troy Smith out of Shotgun, and was immediately met by a Michigan defender. Instead of taking the three yard loss, however, Wells essentially spun out of his shoes to evade the defender (on the same crummy field that had everyone else falling on their faces), found a hole to run through, then found some Michigan defensive backs to run by en route to a 52 yard touchdown run. Even though it was only one play, it was one of the few opportunities Beanie had all year to show off his nimbleness, and as the play clearly shows, the man is a complete back. As a full time starter with an inexperienced quarterback, expect Beanie to get in the neighborhood of "workhorse" back numbers, probably around 25 carries a game with around 1,200 yards rushing, and probably being in the top 3 or 4 in the Big Ten in touchdowns.Weaknesses: Beanie really only displayed one glaring flaw in his game last season, and that was his ability to hold on to the football. Wells lost four fumbles on the year, and just about all four of them came in crucial short yardage situations. Fortunately, carrying the football is a skill that can be taught over time, and it is not a physical or mental flaw (e.g. speed, size, maturity, etc.) that is unlikely to be overcome in a football player's college days. Wells did not fumble the ball once in his final 18 carries of the season, despite fumbling twice in his 19 prior carries. That alone shows Wells' development as a football player. Of course, we won't know for sure until next season. Another question mark around Beanie is his durability as an every down back in the Big Ten. It's not necessarily a weakness, it's just something that we haven't seen enough of to make a valid judgment yet. He had 103 carries last season, which is 31 more than Antonio Pittman had in his freshman season (the season before he became the full-time starter). After Pittman's freshman year, he also made comments about wearing down towards the end of the season -- even though he had such a low carry total -- and it raised questions about his durability. Well, he turned out just fine as a running back, and I haven't read anything anywhere about Beanie wearing down towards the end of last season, and he had 31 more carries than Pittman did. I think an offseason of conditioning and practice as the #1 guy on the depth chart is all the preparation that he'll need for the 25 carries a game that he's lik[...]



NBA Draft looms

Thu, 28 Jun 2007 16:53:00 +0000

Site Management: Blogger finally got around to fixing my sidebar snafu, and I have added multiple links as a result. The first one that needs to be mentioned is another upstart Buckeye blog, this one called Buckeye Lane. The author, Adam Kiefaber, is a great writer and his entries reflect that. Also added to the sidebar are Greg Oden's and Mike Conley's blogs. I'm not sure how much these will be used after the draft tonight, but they're still fun to go back through. Also added to the sidebar is a scrolling news ticker I applied via widgetmate. The ticker will display all of the hottest Buckeye-related news, so that way if I haven't covered a topic on the blog, you can still read about it!Conflicting Reports: ESPN is reporting that Portland will draft Greg Oden over Kevin Durant with the number 1 pick in the NBA draft tonight. Oden's agent, Mike Conley Sr., however, claims that Portland told neither he nor Greg about their intentions, and Portland GM Kevin Pritchard told Fox Sports that the article was prematurely published and that, "Nobody has been promised or told anything. Nobody."Chances are, Oden will be the number one pick, but Pritchard is downplaying the whole situation. I like to compare this situation to the 2004 NBA Draft when the consensus top two players available were can't-miss franchise big man Dwight Howard and UConn superstar Emeka Okafor. Orlando had the top pick, and took Howard simply due to the fact that big men like Howard come around very rarely, and although it may take a few years for him to develop into a consistent offensive performer, he is well worth the wait. Charlotte then took Okafor with the #2 pick, and Okafor went on to win rookie of the year over Howard. However, as both players are preparing to enter their fourth season as professionals, Howard is widely considered the best Center in the Eastern Conference, and has led Orlando to the playoffs far earlier than anyone had imagined. Okafor, on the other hand, has not seen as sharp an improvement as Howard, and although he is still considered one of the premier big men in the league, the disparity between the two is enormous. I kind of expect the same scenario to begin to play out on a much larger scale tonight when Portland takes the can't-miss, franchise player Oden over the exciting Durant. Chances are, Durant will have a better rookie season than Oden. His numbers were just too huge in college, and the transition from high school to college to the professional ranks in just two seasons is a much more difficult adjustment for a Center than it is for a swing man like Durant. However, if both of these players develop into the superstars that we all expect them to, there is an excellent chance that Oden will win more championships. He's just that type of a cornerstone player that you would be crazy to pass up on.What about the other Buckeyes? Oden is the only ex-Buckeye to have his draft spot secured for him tonight, as the range of possibilities for Conley, Cook, and Lewis is incredibly wide. Although Conley is a surefire lottery pick, he could go anywhere from 3-13, simply based on where teams have him on their boards compared to Acie Law, and if teams decide that their priorities are elsewhere. Conley's destination could be dependent on Kevin Garnett. If the Timberwolves are able to dish out the superstar in a three team trade involving Phoenix and either Boston or Atlanta, the Timberwolves could end up with multiple lottery picks. If that is the case, Conley should be a guaranteed Timberwolf, but if no trade happens tonight, he could go anywhere from Atlanta at 3 to Atlanta at 11.Daeuqan Cook is a player that should go in the early 20s, but could be taken as high as the Lakers at 19. From what I understand, the Knicks loved him in his workouts with them, but if he were to go there, he would definitely be a project. Cook struggled with the limelight[...]



Buckeye Quarterbacks Preview

Tue, 26 Jun 2007 19:00:00 +0000

Earlier in the year, I made three posts detailing the individual strengths and weaknesses of the three players vying for playing time at the Quarterback position for the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2007 regular season, the three being Todd Boeckman, Rob Schoenhoft, and Antonio Henton. In short, I was one of the few to jump on the figurative Rob Schoenhoft bandwagon, whereas the majority of the Buckeye faithful were supporting Boeckman for his familiarity with the system or Antonio Henton for the inevitable Troy Smith comparisons. Due to those posts, I strongly toyed with the idea of foregoing the quarterbacks part of my preview, but I decided to go ahead and do it anyways for two reasons: One, those previews were written before the Spring game and practices, and two, it would not look good towards my season preview.So, without any more babbling, here is the post-Spring edition of the 2007 Buckeye Quarterbacks preview, with a complimentary 1024 x 768 desktop background (click to enlarge).Projected Starter:Todd BoeckmanRedshirt Junior6'5" 235 lbsDespite never starting a game in his collegiate career -- and only getting to play in mop-up time when he did play -- Todd Boeckman has a strong lead on the starter's job that will only be relinquished as a result of injury. This is simply because of the fact that Boeckman has been a part of the team for a longer period of time than his competition, which is more often than not the deciding factor for Jim Tressel in close position battles. In addition to redshirting as a freshman and spending the next two seasons holding the clipboard, Boeckman grayshirted in 2003, enrolling in the winter as opposed to the fall, and gained an extra bit of college-level conditioning and maturity that could pay huge dividends for a quarterback at a major athletic institution such as Ohio State. At this point in time, the only measurement of comparison between Boeckman and his fellow quarterbacks has been the Spring game, in which Boeckman secured a tight lead on the starting job despite not doing anything spectacular in the game. He went 6-14 for 103 yards with, most importantly, zero interceptions. Boeckman was also the victim of numerous dropped balls in that game, including one deep vertical pass that would have been for over 40 yards if my memory serves me correctly. He showed arguably the best arm of the three in that game, and with a summer of practicing and a couple of tune-up games early in the season, Boeckman should be ready for Big Ten play when it rolls around.The rest Robbie Schoenhoft Redshirt Sophomore6'6" 240 lbsBack in February, I declared Schoenhoft -- and not Henton -- the player that would eventually overtake the starting job at some point and solidify himself as the team's true starting quarterback. I still believe that, it just may have to happen through a lengthier, more natural process than I had thought (Boeckman's Graduation). I will not shy away from the fact that I believe his mixture of size, scrambling ability, and after watching the Spring Game, his leadership qualities would make him the most viable option for quarterback if he were a year older. However, he is most likely a year away from being ready for the college game on a consistent basis. He has all the tools to be great, but he just needs some more time to put them all together. If he pans out like I truly expect him to, then I think he will remind a lot of people of a stronger-armed Craig Krenzel. And remember, Krenzel won a championship.Antonio Henton RedshirtFreshman6'2" 210 lbsDespite probably beginning the season as the third man on the depth chart at quarterback, Henton will still get his fair share of licks at the collegiate level, if only because the fans will put an insurmountable amount of pressure on Tressel to play the guy that is already being dubbed as, "the next Troy Smith." However, in the Sp[...]



If...Then... statements

Sun, 24 Jun 2007 04:15:00 +0000

The way a season turns out is dependent on how some of the more "questionable" links in the system work out. For the most part, we know which players and aspects of the game the Buckeyes are going to be great at next season (kicking, rushing, pass defense, and the always present Tressel-like mental edge in each player's attitude), but it's those things we aren't quite sure about that will tell the tale that is the 2007-08 Buckeye football season. For example, last season, we knew what we were getting out of our offense. Our defense? Not so much. That's why people had us ranked all throughout the top 10 in the preseason polls last season. Unfortunately, there are quite a bit more question marks surrounding the Ohio State football team this season, and I am going to look at the 5 biggest uncertainties in order from least to most critical to a successful year.5Not a site you want to see out of your defensive leader If the team forgets about Florida, then Ohio State will have a successful seasonI am not overly concerned that the returning members will be so paralyzed by memories of the debacle in the desert last January that they won't be able to be the same guys that they were for the first 12 games of the season. Jim Tressel is just too good of a teacher to let those thoughts stick with them, and for the defense especially, it could (and should) be used as motivation. I hope that this new group of leaders on the team can be every bit as good of leaders as last year's captains, but it's something that we may not know until midseason, when Ohio State is losing a game on the road to a Big Ten opponent. Then, will this team do what all the other Jim Tressel teams in the past have done and rise to the occasion, or will they go fetal at the slightest hint of adversity? Again, this may not even be a question at all. After all, it takes a special kind of person to play football for Jim Tressel at Ohio State, and I'm almost positive that this new group of leaders are every bit as mentally strong as past Tressel players. I just need to see it to be certain.4If Doug Worthington gets knocked down this easily in a game, he won't be playing long If the defensive tackles can step up, then Ohio State will have a great defenseQuinn Pitcock, David Patterson, and Joel Penton have all moved on. Those two captains, and the three top guys on the interior defensive line are no more than just very big shoes to fill. The first man that needs to step it up is Todd Denlinger. Denlinger is the only true defensive tackle that was part of the two-deep last season, and he will be expected to be a workhorse defensively. From what little I have seen from him, he seems to have the motor and motivation to be a great defensive lineman, but whether or not he can do it on every single play remains to be seen. The other defensive tackle spot will almost certainly go to a converted defensive end, which means two things: First, whomever it is will have exceptional athleticism for a defensive tackle, but will be raw at the position. The first candidate is Doug Worthington, a blue chip redshirt sophomore that has had to battle through injuries and being buried on the depth chart to earn his spot. He was listed last season at 274 pounds, a solid 10 pounds lighter than David Patterson, an already undersized defensive tackle. However, he has most likely bulked up in the offseason and could be a monster by the first game. Other potential defensive tackle contributers include ends Alex Barrow and Robert Rose, although Rose will most likely see quite a bit of time as a defensive end. True freshman Cameron Heyward could see some time due to the lack of depth.3Sometimes the easiest catches are the most important ones...But diving catches are always the fun ones to watch. If the receivers can catch balls, then Todd Boeckman/Robbie Schoe[...]



An introduction to the most complete and in-depth Buckeye preseason analysis

Sun, 24 Jun 2007 03:38:00 +0000

It has been a rather slow summer so far. With the end of the Cavaliers' season, there is really a limit to what can be discussed on this blog without being redundant or even worse, boring. So, I decided to look back to last summer to see what I posted about to help pass the time. The answer? A series of in-depth Buckeye football previews. So, this year I have decided to one-up myself, going for writing the most complete Buckeye football preview known to mankind (slight exaggeration). Like last year, I will still write a preview of each position every week, but I will attempt to further expand my previewing abilities by also giving additional previews of opponents, other Big Ten teams (with an emphasis on Michigan, of course), and any other topics that come to mind.

For now, this is a preliminary agenda for this preview. Dates and topics are subject to change. If you don't know what something means, you'll just have to wait to see what it is:

Week of 6/24 - Quarterbacks overview, 5 "Ifs" to a successful season, Northwestern and Indiana previews
Week of 7/1 - Backfield, the replacements, Wisconsin and Minnesota previews
Week of 7/8 - Receivers/Tight Ends, the redshirt freshmen, Penn State and Michigan State previews
Week of 7/15 - Out of town
Week of 7/22 - Offensive Line, Underrated and overrated, Purdue and Illinois previews
Week of 7/29 - Defensive Line, players that need to take their game up a notch, Iowa preview
Week of 8/5 - Linebackers, 5 reasons why OSU will flourish, 5 reasons why OSU will flounder
Week of 8/12 - Secondary, the most important player to the team's success, general offensive/defensive expectations
Week of 8/19 - Special Teams, 5,4,3,2,1
Week of 8/26 - Predicting OSU's schedule/How the Big Ten will look, Michigan preview, Youngstown State game preview



Rule 76: No excuses, play like a champion

Wed, 13 Jun 2007 16:17:00 +0000

For as long as I can remember, every time that I have seen a dramatic game come down to a questionable call by an official, there is always an immediate uproar by fans, players, coaches, and media members alike going to such extremes as calling for said official's head. And, after every time that I've seen this, I always find myself thinking about how petty it is that people can not accept the bottom line that their team did not rise to the occasion, and that they have to blame their team's under-achievements on the refs that, for the most part, did their job and did it pretty damn well. Fortunately for me, the majority of my life has not had a team in a situation like this.That is, until last night.With approximately 5 seconds left in game 3 of the NBA finals, the Cavaliers were down three points to San Antonio, and were inbounding the ball at mid-court. Everybody in attendance, everybody watching on TV, everybody in black jerseys, and everybody in white jerseys knew what was coming. Mr. 23 himself, LeBron James, had a chance to be the hero again. The shot was coming, and the Spurs had a foul to give. I mean, it is a logical move, right? With such little time on the clock, a foul would force LeBron to make one free throw, miss his next, rely on someone to get an offensive rebound, and put the ball in the hoop. Bruce Bowen thought the same thing, and when LeBron got that inbound pass, he went straight for the foul. LeBron, seeing this, picked the ball up and began his shooting motion while Bowen fouled, fully expecting to head to the line with a chance to tie the game. But there was a problem for our supposed hero. After jacking up that wild three, there was nothing but the cheers of the crowd, the clinging of the ball against the rim, and the sound of chaos as the outcome of the game died in the hands of a scuffle for the rebound. There was no shrill blow of the whistle, and there were no free throws. The game -- and essentially the Cavaliers' championship hopes -- over.But you know what? This loss isn't the officials' fault. The foul may have been in plain sight, and it may have been a blown call, but no team that misses as many opportunities in one game (much less an NBA Finals game) as the Cavaliers did last night should expect to win. That missed three pointer can be argued, but what about the other 15 missed three point field goals? Or the fact that San Antonio shot 52.6% from beyond the arc? For such a defensive struggle, you would think that somebody, anybody would stick a hand in Bruce Bowen's face.This isn't meant to take anything away from the Spurs, however. Parker's jump shot was in rare form, and nobody could have seen Bruce Bowen coming. Of course, the Spurs D was yet again tenacious. This post isn't meant to be a shot at the Spurs, but rather a call to the Cavaliers to -- at least once in this series -- play like they deserve to be here. That's why I titled this post with the famous Wedding Crasher's line "Rule 76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion." Anybody can blame an outcome on the officiating, that's easy to do. Any team in the NBA can do that. In fact, it's essentially the standard of professional basketball these days. But the Cavaliers are the Eastern Conference champions, and to be on this big of a stage and continue to make excuses puts them on the same level as all the teams sitting at home right now. I'm not asking that this team come back and win the championship, because that's a lost cause at this point. The Spurs have it in the bag and every one knows it. However, what I know that this team is capable of, is turning back into that old Cavalier team that we saw just a couple weeks ago. You know, that team that took an entire city on it's back, and despite being in an 0-2 hole to a much more ex[...]



Congratulations

Mon, 11 Jun 2007 02:39:00 +0000

(image) Not much to say tonight, I just want to make a public congratulation to my friend and schoolmate Jason King, who was drafted in the 48th round by the St. Louis Cardinals in the MLB draft this past week. He will play his college ball at Kansas State if he doesn't sign with the Cardinals. Despite being primarily a shortstop in high school, he was drafted as a right fielder.

My favorite memory of watching Jason play happened in the first game of this past season. I stopped by towards the end of the game, and my beloved Celtics were down a run. In the bottom of the seventh (High School baseball games are only seven innings long), the leadoff hitter got a single, and the next batter got out, sending Jason to the plate with a chance to win it. As he was up, I leaned over to one of my teachers and said "how insane would it be if he went deep here?" to which my teacher replied something along the lines of "Two home runs in one game...a walk-off shot...the guy would be a legend." The next pitch, Jason ripped the ball and immediately threw his arms up in the air celebrating his game winning blast.

The bottom line is, this kid was a born baseball player, and he will be in the show one day. There is no doubt in my mind about it.(image)



Greg Oden: Super Blogger

Thu, 07 Jun 2007 15:13:00 +0000

(image) Oden: Dunker, defender, writer?

As Greg Oden anxiously awaits his big payday (actually, his second big payday), it turns out he has a little time to kill. He is no longer taking class at Ohio State University, so I'm assuming he only has two responsibilities in life at the moment: Don't fall flat on your face in front of NBA Scouts, and don't die.

Of course, that first one is easier said than done, but it looks like at the moment he is making the most of his visit at the NBA Combine in Orlando. Multiple league sources have noted that Oden's biggest challenger for the #1 overall pick, Texas phenom Kevin Durant, performed more than sub-par in his initial workouts in the combine. Based solely on workout performance, Durant was the 78th ranked player out of 80 total. The article does not mention Oden's overall rank, but Oden did finish better than him in multiple drills, including the vertical leap (34 inches to Durant's 33.5), agility drill (11.67 seconds to Durant's 12.33) , and three quarter court sprint (3.27 seconds to Durant's 3.45). Oden very well may have been the big winner at the combine, considering most of his numbers are relatively unheard of from a Center, whereas Durant was the big loser with his aforementioned performance. However, don't expect this combine workout to solidify Oden as the #1 pick or even drop Durant down a few. It doesn't work quite like the NFL Combine. As one scout said about Durant, "No one will care, he's a basketball player. But if you're comparing him to Oden, then yes, Oden is the big winner." Essentially, the NBA comes down to the factor of "Can the kid actually play?" much more so than the NFL Draft, which often times relies on potential to determine one's draft spot.

That other somewhat sarcastic "responsibility" of Oden's that I mentioned? The don't die one? Well, it turns out, with all of his extra time, Greg is taking after yours truly (Okay, so he's not actually taking after me, I just happen to be the experienced veteran in this field), and has started his own blog. How much of this blog is actually original Greg Oden material beats me, but as Sean at AroundTheOval points out, much of it seems to be written by a college freshman, filled with grammatical errors, slang terms, etc. The blog is filled with more than just Oden's (or whoever it is') writings, too. There are multiple Oden highlight reels, which I got much satisfaction from looking back on, with my personal favorite being the block against Tennessee. Needless to say, I'll be adding this to my Blogroll on the sidebar.

Update: Blogger is undergoing some maintenance at the moment, and I am unable to update my sidebar. I will try it again this evening.



Buckeye Recruiting Catch-Up

Mon, 04 Jun 2007 18:11:00 +0000

Fortunately, during my hiatus, I only missed out on covering the commitment of one future Buckeye. That prospect is the newest future Buckeye, linebacker Andrew Sweat. His commitment, undoubtedly, will be cause for many signs and slogans such as "Making the opposition Sweat," or something along those lines.

Despite being from Pennsylvania, most people considered Sweat a Buckeye lock for some time now. As a matter of fact, Jim Tressel's recruiting "fence" that he has had around the state of Ohio for some time now could soon expand into Pennsylvania. Many of the top prospects in the Keystone state list interest in the Buckeyes, and most feel that a number more could commit to Ohio State before it is all said and done. Not only is Terrelle Pryor widely considered the #1 football player in Pennsylvania, but many have him tabbed as the #1 quarterback and #1 overall player in the entire country. He wants to play both football and basketball in college, and with Florida's basketball coaching situation in limbo and most of the other schools in the running being dominated by one sport, one has to like Ohio State's chances with both Jim and Thad recruiting him. Another Blue-Chipper from Pennsylvania, Linebacker Shayne Hale, also has an excellent chance of being a Buckeye before it's all said and done.

Back to the guy that we know is going to be a Buckeye, though, Andy Sweat has the potential to be the next great linebacker at Ohio State. He has great speed and athleticism for his size (6'2" 233 lbs), and oddly enough, his biggest weakness is listed as his ability to shed blocks. If you're wondering why I find that odd, his scouting report is incredibly similar to AJ Hawk's, the only difference is Sweat has a lot more hype coming out of high school. I don't know too much about this kid, but what I do know is that if he is even half the player that Hawk was, Tressel & Co. got a hell of a guy. He also has a 4.3 high school GPA, making him that much more of the perfect recruit for Tressel.

And just for the hell of it, I might as well break out the Photoshop while I'm still here.

(image)



I'm back, and hopefully I'm here to stay (so is LeBron)

Mon, 04 Jun 2007 17:14:00 +0000

Today officially ends my posting hiatus. I really shouldn't have to explain why I went so long without posting. After all, this is my blog, and I created to discuss sports as I please. Of course, I also had no idea the popularity that this site would gain when I started up a year ago. To rationalize my posting (or lack thereof), it was simply a fact that I wasn't inspired to write anything. School was winding down, so end of the year projects, final exams, and AP tests were bearing down on me. Track had begun to take over my life for a couple of weeks in May, and my newly appointed role as editor-in-chief of my high school's student newspaper was a lot more responsibility than I had originally expected. This also goes without mentioning the curse that has happened to every student, regardless of age, since the beginning of time: the curse of the calendar. I saw summer on the horizon, and as a result, my priorities became jumbled. Having fun in the sunny Ohio weather became a daily goal of mine, and this site became lost in the mix. But now, I have become re-inspired to post again. The excuses end at the end of this sentence, and hopefully, this site will once again prosper.In literature, a Bildungsroman is a type of novel in which the young protagonist has a coming of age experience, and is forever changed by the events that unfold within the story. If the Cleveland Cavaliers ever have a book based off of their season, that young protagonist will of course be LeBron James. James' development and maturity as a basketball player from the end of the regular season to this point has been one for the ages. Ever since he entered the league, people have tried to refute the inevitable comparison of LeBron to Michael Jordan, but watching him in the playoffs, it seems as if we actually do have the unthinkable on our hands: The second coming of the greatest basketball player in the history of the league. Sure, it may seem rash to make such a statement after just one series, but looking back on what transpired in the six games of Detroit versus Cleveland, the writing is on the wall of a strikingly similar career path for LeBron to be "Like Mike".In 1989, Michael Jordan hit perhaps the most famous shot in basketball history when he seemed to defy gravity and put up an off balance jump shot over Cleveland's Craig Ehlo that went in the basket as the buzzer went off, sending Chicago to a dramatic game seven victory over the favored Cavaliers. In game four of that series, Michael Jordan missed a key free throw, causing Chicago to lose, and allowing Cleveland to stretch the series to a deciding seventh game. Of course, no one remembers how Michael "choked" in game four, because the only image that anyone remembers from that series was the game winning shot. It took Jordan a matter of one series to go from hero, down to zero, and back to hero for good. When the words "victory" and "Michael Jordan" are put together in a sentence, there is one scene that should go through everyone's mind, and then send shivers down their backs.Two shots, two completely different scenarios, equally important.Back to the present, in game three, LeBron had perhaps an equally career-defining play against Detroit. Although it wasn't as dramatic as Michael's shot, they both sent exact messages of a mix between "This is the new me, and you're going to see a lot of it for the next 10+ years," and "How you like me now, Biatch?" The play I am talking about came with the game tied at 68 in the fourth quarter, with 7:24 seconds remaining. LeBron took the ball at the three point line, found a lane in the Pistons defense, and drove to the hoop with only one thing standing in[...]



Buckeyes in the NFL Draft: Ginn soars, Smith falls

Mon, 30 Apr 2007 13:36:00 +0000

The 2007 NFL Draft was held this past weekend in New York. As usual, the annual event was filled with plenty of drama and hype that was induced primarily as a result of Mel Kiper talking about any given player's "long length" and "fast speed." Of course, there were plenty of Ohio State players that nervously anticipated their name to be called, including the current holder of the Heisman trophy, one Troy Smith.First Round, 9th PickTed Ginn Jr., Miami DolphinsThe speedster at wide receiver was long considered the best pro prospect to come out of Ohio State in this year's draft. What wasn't expected, however, was that he would be taken in the top ten of the draft. When the pick was made, head Dolphins coach Cam Cameron was met with a plethora of jeers from the Dolphins faithful that were gathered at the team training facility. Quite simply, everyone this side of Nick Saban expected the Dolphins to do what they considered was the logical thing and draft Brady Quinn. After all, Daunte Culpepper's days are about dumb, and you don't see too many people anxiously awaiting the beginning of the Cleo Lemon era in Miami.So where does Ginn fit in on the Dolphins? Well, with the praise that coach Cameron was giving Ginn's speed and return ability after they selected him, one would have to imagine that he is already a lock as the team's #1 returner. Chances are, he will be a Devin Hester-like player this year, with his only true impact coming on special teams. However, one thing he does have that is different from Hester is NFL caliber ability at wide receiver, it just may take a year or so for him to completely adapt offensively. Due to the losses of Randy McMichael and Wes Welker, the Dolphins are not very deep at receiver, so Ginn will get his chances to make plays early and often. Chances are, if he doesn't get those chances, the pressure from the ownership and fanbase will launch him up the depth chart, just so everyone sees if he was really worth drafting over Brady Quinn.First Round, 32nd PickAnthony Gonzalez, Indianapolis ColtsThis was another surprising pick on the Colts' part. After losing Cato June, Jason David, Nick Harper, Mike Doss, and Montae Reagor, the Colts decided it was best to add another arsenal to Peyton Manning's repetoire. Anthony Gonzalez adds yet another nonexistant ego to Marvin Harrison and the passing game, an absolute rarity nowadays. Giving Gonzalez the chance to learn under Marvin Harrison for the next few years should greatly contribute to his development. Not to mention, he has a pretty good quarterback throwing to him also.So where does Gonzalez fit in on the Colts? In all likelihood, Gonzalez will be given the task of replacing Brandon Stokely as the slot receiver on the offense. Considering that Gonzo was one of the premier slot receivers in the entire country last season, the transition should be easier for him than others. His speed and route running ability should help him adapt to the game at the next level, and he could progress to one of the team's top receivers if age ever decides to catch up with Marvin Harrison. As for next season, he should be a solid contributer, probably getting somewhere around 30-40 catches as he gets acclimated with the system and fights off some other guys for the slot receiver spot.Third Round, 98th Pick Quinn Pitcock, Indianapolis ColtsHonestly, I do not understand why so many draft analysts are not that high on Pitcock. He was the second best defensive tackle in the Big 10 last year, behind only Alan Branch, and he backs up his performance on the field with solid "measurables" (Height, weight, 40-time, etc.). His 40 time at the combine wa[...]



Buckeye recruiting continues to roll

Mon, 23 Apr 2007 14:09:00 +0000

(image) Don't have much time to talk, as I am currently between classes. However, today offered some incredible news on the Buckeye recruiting front. The kid considered by many to be the best offensive lineman in the entire state of Florida, Michael Brewster, announced his commitment to play football for Ohio State earlier today. Over the past year, Brewster has become good friends with the man who has been the best Buckeye recruiter in recent memory, '08 commit Mike Adams.

Also expected to commit either later today or tomorrow is Texas lineman JB Shugarts. Shugarts, like Brewster, is one of the top O-Line prospects in his entire state, and he too has become good friends with Mike Adams over the past year. Essentially, these two commitments with addition to Mike Adams, will give Ohio State the top offensive line recruiting class in the nation, regardless of how the rest of the recruiting season plays out.

4/24/07 Update - Shugarts committed today, making him the seventh member of the '08 class and third player ranked in the top 30 nationally (Shugarts is ranked 29th, while Brewster and Adams are ranked 26th and 10th, respectively). If all of these linemen pan out like they're expected to, I could be the Buckeye's feature back in 2010.

4/25/07 Update - It turns out the Buckeyes picked up yet another commitment yesterday -- this time on the defensive side of the ball -- in Washington Court House defensive end Nathan Williams. I was blinded so much by the excitement of "Block O" coming together, that I completely overlooked Williams. Williams is a 6'5" 245 lb. monster that has been clocked in the mid-40s (4.67 to be specific), and is ranked 13th in the state of Ohio.



Pfef's Ultra DVR-Enhanced Spring Game Analysis

Sat, 21 Apr 2007 19:50:00 +0000

Yes, I am still alive.Today was the annual Ohio State Football Spring Game, which pitted two split-squads against each other in what are the first competitive downs of football that the Buckeyes have played since November 18th.Obviously, the hot topic of the day was the quarterback race. Today was the first chance that OSU fans got a good look at the three candidates to attempt the impossible task of replacing the legendary Troy Smith. The three guys, of course, are the front-runner Todd Boeckman, the unknown Rob Schoenhoft, and the young, flashy Antonio Henton. Of course, this game is only a scrimmage, so making bold statements based solely on this preseason game is about as logical as claiming a baseball player the next Babe Ruth because he hit two home runs in Spring Training. However, the game is definitely worth paying attention to, because it helps the fans get an idea of how the players are progressing, and it also shows who the new key players are.This year's edition of the Spring Game was a tad different than past years. The quarterbacks were not limited by the black, "hands only," jerseys, and as a result, passing plays were given a much greater chance to develop, and it also allowed the quarterbacks to showcase their running abilities. The game was much more aggressive than in seasons past, as the defenses seemed much more aggressive and were always flying to the ball.As for the actual game, the Scarlet team was in control for just about the entire game. Antonio Henton threw an interception on the first drive of the game, which Marcus Freeman took all the way for a touchdown. The pickoff would be the first of three for Henton, two of which were the result of extremely ill-advised passes, with the third coming off of a tipped pass at the line. Late in the third quarter, Scarlet led 9-0 with the game seemingly at hand. However, an extreme momentum shift came from the most unlikely of sources. On 4th down, AJ Trapasso took the snap for a fake a punt, and he began to run for the first down (for those of you who didn't know, Trapasso played running back in high school). He got the first down, broke a tackle, and then steamrolled over Zach Willis. The Gray team then drove down to the five yard line, and eventually lost the ball on downs. However, on Scarlet's third play, Alex Barrow tipped an Antonio Henton ball into the air, turned around, and then intercepted it, giving Gray another shot. The turnover eventually led to a 40 yard Aaron Pettrey FG, cutting the score to 9-3. Gray then went on to hold Scarlet to a punt, and once again had the ball with another chance to score. With Schoenhoft at the reigns, everything on the drive worked in fluency. The blocking, for a change, was excellent, as was the running and receiving. Eventually, Schoenhoft hit TE Brandon Smith on a play-action touchdown to put the Gray team up 10-9. The Scarlet team seemed poised for a comeback, when on 4th and 1, the coaches (whether or not it was the actual coaches or Conley & Co. beats me), showed some guts and did a play-action pass down to about the 10 yard line. However, when Scarlet was trying to run the clock out to set up a game-winning Ryan Pretorious Field Goal, Larry Grant came in off the edge unblocked (think Cie Grant in the Fiesta Bowl), and forced a Boeckman fumble. Then, Grant managed to pick up the fumble and return it 87 yards for the final dagger, which put Gray up 17-9, and they would hang on to win by that score.The following is a much more detailed analysis of some of the more notable aspects of the game:The ultimate display of classEveryone [...]



2008 Recruiting class off to a hot start

Wed, 28 Mar 2007 22:28:00 +0000

This will likely be my last post for over a week. I am leaving on vacation early Saturday, and will be too busy with pre-vacation stuff as well as school tomorrow to post.The 2008 Buckeye football recruiting class is already shaping up to be one of the top classes in Jim Tressel's tenure. Despite having only 13 scholarships to give out (that number may rise depending on early NFL entries, transfers, etc.), the Bucks have already gained five commitments, all of whom are regarded as some of the top prospects in the state of Ohio.The commits:Player rankings via RivalsMike Adams, Offensive Tackle, Dublin Coffman (#1 in state)When this class officially signs on next February, Mike Adams will probably considered the "star" player in this class; the guy who is the most well-known and highly anticipated by the fans. He's considered by many to be not only one of the top linemen in the state, but the entire country as well. At an overwhelming 6'7" and 308 lbs, Adams has already drawn comparisons to the likes of former great OSU linemen Orlando Pace and Korey Stringer.DeVoe Torrence, RB/LB, Massilon (#3 in state)The younger brother of 2007 recruit DeVon Torrence, DeVoe brings a bit different style of play to the table than his speedster brother. However, despite being 215 lbs, DeVoe has been clocked in the 4.4 range in the 40 yard dash. As a junior, DeVoe had over 1,600 total yards, while tallying 17 touchdowns. Defensively he may have even been more dominant, with 127 tackles, six sacks, three recovered fumbles, and one interception. However, the Ohio State coaching staff recruited him primarily as a running back, promising that if he committed, they would not recruit another tailback in this class.Jake Stoneburner, WR/TE, Dublin Coffman (#5 in state)See below.DeVier Posey, WR, Cincinnati LaSalle (#6 in state)DeVier Posey is every bit as good a person as he is an athlete. And he's a great athlete, too. At 6'3" 190, Posey is a prototypical wide receiver that will be a perfect fit as a Buckeye. His 1,900+ all-purpose yardage gained him All-Ohio honors and a serious look from the coaching staff. His GPA, a perfect 4.0, is icing on the cake. We've seen what strong students (Krenzel, Gonzalez) capable of, especially in crunch time. His athleticism on top of those academics could make him a great one.Ben Buchanan, P/K, Westerville Central (#15 in state)It's sometimes odd for a kicker to receive a scholarship so early in the process, especially when scholarships are already so tight. Buchanan has spent plenty of time working with numerous kickers that you may remember, including a guy named Nugent. There's no denying the importance of a solid kicking game in Tressel's system, as Nugent, Huston, Groom, and Sander have all become celebrities despite small roles. Buchanan could easily be the next in line of great Buckeye specialists.Other top players with offers that could commit:OL Michael Brewster, Edgewater, FloridaOL J.B. Shugarts, Klein, TexasOL Kyle Long, Charlottesville, VirginiaQB Terrell Pryor, Jeannette, PennsylvaniaWR Cordale Scott, Cleveland GlenvilleLB Shayne Hale, Monroeville, PennsylvaniaLB Andrew Sweat, Washington, PennsylvaniaExclusive Interview with a 2008 commitJake Stoneburner is one of the most intriguing prospects in this class. He's tall (6'6), big (223 lbs), and fast (4.53 forty). Essentially, his versatility makes him any coach's dream. There has been much debate as to whether Stoneburner will be used primarily as a tight end, or as a Roy Hall-type receiver that will create mismatches in the secondary. Jake recent[...]



Football is back!

Wed, 28 Mar 2007 01:55:00 +0000

That's right, folks. While the OSU basketball team is in the midst of a Final Four run, the football team is quietly preparing for the Spring Game set for later in April. The official spring depth chart has been released, and despite the fact that this very well may be a "rebuilding season," the very sight of a two-deep, much less some early previews from coach Tressel himself, makes me weak in the knees.Initial Depth Chart overview:note: This depth chart does not include any incoming freshmenBoecking the trendIt makes sense to begin with the one area that will undoubtedly be the most heated topic of discussion to hit the Buckeye nation since last November: the Quarterback battle. Some of you may remember, but I took a brief look at all three of Boeckman, Schenhoft, and Henton shortly after the season ended. In short, I voiced that "my guy" in this race was the oft-overlooked Schoenhoft, while the general public would vouch for Henton due to his Troy Smith-like talents, and the coaching staff would almost unquestionably give Boeckman the first shot at quarterback because he has been with the team the longest. Well, as the depth chart unsurprisingly reveals, the man at quarterback is none other than Mr. Boeckman, followed by Robbie Schoenhoft. The depth chart does not venture any further than that, but it can be assumed that Henton is third in the pecking order and Joe Bauserman, a 2004 recruit that opted for professional baseball but is now walking-on, is buried at the end of the bench.The real Block-OThe offensive line has three familiar names taking up starting roles: junior Alex Boone (LT), junior Steve Rehring (LG), and senior Kirk Barton (RT). It is especially important to note that two of the returning starters will be on the left side of the line, the side that has the responsibility of protecting the quarterback's blind side. The less an inexperienced quarterback gets sacked, the more confidence he will have, so the importance of the overpowering talent of Boone and Rehring on the left cannot be emphasized enough (whether or not Boone can learn to pass block consistently is a matter for another time, as of now I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt). One of the two new guys penciled in to start is center Jim Cordle, a man who for a couple years now has been referred to as an "heir apparent" to Nick Mangold, but a mix of injuries, inexperience, and being buried in the depth chart has postponed his chance to truly prove himself until now. The new right guard, junior Ben Person, is thought of very highly by Jim Tressel. In fact, Tressel admits that Person was pushing former Buckeye T.J. Downing extremely hard for the right guard position towards the end of last season.No Small TaskTed Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez accounted for roughly 54% of all receiving yards by Buckeyes last season. Now that both of them are on to bigger and better things (although nothing is better than being a Buckeye, right?), it is up to three underclassmen to help fill that offensive void. Those three are Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline, and...Ray Small? Of course, Robiskie and Hartline come as a surprise to nobody, as Robiskie went from a relatively unknown to a guy scoring touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Michigan in less than a season, and Hartline's "100% effort, 100% of the time" attitude didn't go unnoticed from fans and coaches alike. However, Ray Small is currently listed as the starter at flanker over the likes of the more experienced and long-time-waiting-for-their-chance players Albert Dukes and De[...]



Monday roundup: It's Georgetown

Mon, 26 Mar 2007 11:53:00 +0000

As some of you may have heard by now, Ohio State is heading to Atlanta to take on Georgetown in the Final Four. Ohio State took care of Memphis on Saturday, led by great offensive performances from all of the usual suspects in Ron Lewis (22 points, six rebounds), Greg Oden (17 points, nine rebounds), and Mike Conley Jr. (19 points). Oddly enough, it was Conley, and not Ron Lewis who was named the MVP of the South regional, which comes as a shock to me considering Ron Lewis has arguably been the entire tournament's most outstanding player ever since the comeback against Xavier began late in the second half. He's been about as close to a complete player as it gets this entire tournament, averaging 21.75 points per game (only one game under 22 points), while at the same time being one of the team's best man defenders. This all goes without mentioning his clutch performances against Xavier and Tennessee, in which he was the catalyst for the comeback in both games.However, lets not dwell on what didn't happen, and instead look ahead to what could happen. It was known that the final four opponent would be a rematch of some sort when Georgetown went up against North Carolina, whether it was a rematch of last year's second round tournament debacle against Georgetown or one of the season's most exciting regular season games when North Carolina topped Ohio State by 9 in Chapel Hill remained to be seen. The showdown between UNC and Georgetown looked like it was going to be a classic, until overtime rolled around and it seemed like North Carolina just got tired of trying. The Tar Heels only made one basket in the extra session en route to a 96-84 loss.So there it is. Ohio State vs Georgetown. For the second straight year. This time, for a shot at a championship. Last season, Georgetown walked up and down Ohio State, winning by a score of 70-52. As I mentioned before, Roy Hibbert was the dominant force in the game, scoring 20 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, both of which were game highs. However, there should be no reason to believe that this version of the game will not be as one sided -- if even the same result -- as last season's. There will be a total of six people starting this Saturday's game that did not start last season's. Of those six, four will be lacing it up for the Buckeyes, and it's not a stretch to say that three of them (Conley, Lewis, Oden) are our three best players, and each of whom will have quite large weekly paychecks come next year.Of course, it would be incredibly naive of me to assume that Ohio State has improved dramatically since last season's meeting, while also denying Georgetown any credit whatsoever. There's an excellent reason why Georgetown is in the Final Four, and it's because of that frontcourt. Last season, Roy Hibbert was a "project" player with tremendous upside that he showed off in that second round game. This season, he is an established force in the paint and is one of the premier centers in the nation. Also joining Hibbert down low is Big East POY Jeff Green, the dynamic 6-9 player that can do a bit of everything. Green, as you may remember, was the guy who hit the controversial travel-shot with 2.5 seconds left in the Sweet 16 game against Vanderbilt. Also part of that frontcourt is the always dangerous DaJuan Summers, who despite averaging only around 9 ppg, is quite capable of exploding for 20, as he exhibited against North Carolina. And we're going to hear his name and see his dad about as much as we did with Laura Quinn in th[...]



Wow.

Fri, 23 Mar 2007 04:32:00 +0000

Un-freakin-believable.

At halftime, I was ready to come here and make a post expressing my sheer disappointment in how a team with so much talent and potential could just not show up.

Needless to say, I'm glad I bit my lip.



Thank you, Ron Lewis

Sat, 17 Mar 2007 19:34:00 +0000

My original plan for today was that, after Ohio State would easily handle Xavier, I would make a post along the lines of Who should take the last shot for the Buckeyes? where I would analyze all of the likely candidates that coach Matta could trust to take one final shot. I had also planned on naming Jamar Butler as the person who I would give the ball to if I were coach.That's why I don't coach.And things don't always go according to plan, either.I always expected today to happen. I just didn't expect it to happen today. I knew that somewhere along the line, Ohio State's knack for playing down to the level of their competition would result in the Buckeyes trying to pull out an improbable miracle. The end result of this hypothetical run, of course, would be a Buckeye missing a shot, most likely a three pointer, in the final seconds. The city of Columbus would go into a state of depression, while the rest of America would rejoice at the arrival of the tournament's first "Cinderella." After all, it is March, the tournament isn't the same without upsets, and a #1 seed is going to have to lose eventually. Can't you just smell it in the air?Well, for about 39 minutes and 51 seconds in basketball time, it appeared that that was going to happen. Then, when it seemed all hope was lost, Justin Cage's free throw rolled off the rim, and the rest, as they say, is history.Ron Lewis entered the game as a good, but not great player with an effective three point shot and the athleticism that allows him to drive to the hoop at will. He left as a never to be forgotten component of Buckeye basketball history. And it wasn't just because of that one shot, either. His performance that entire game epitomized what every Buckeye athlete should be about: Whether you're destined to be great like Greg Oden, or will bounce around from bench to bench in the NBA like Lewis very well may do, you're all part of one team, with one goal, and if you don't do everything in your power to achieve that goal, then you're no more of a help than the man across you. When it seemed like everyone else on the roster had given up, Lewis was the one guy who refused to quit. He was the one guy who gave his all. He was the one guy who fought for the win like there was no tomorrow. And when push came to shove, he was the one guy who put his team over the top. Will he be remembered as a legend like Fred Taylor, Jim Jackson, and Michael Redd? Of course not. But regardless of how the rest of this post-season plays out, he will be remembered as a guy that gave 100% effort 100% of the time. Everyone on the team can learn something from Lewis' performance today, especially the youngsters on the team. Because this time next season, Conley & Co. won't have guys like Lewis to clean up their messes.Okay, that's enough gushing for one day. Now, it's time to get down to the somewhat "objective" part of this post. Ohio State's performance today was, obviously, far from ideal. The Greg Oden that we all came to know and love during the latter part of the Big Ten Tournament and then in the CCSU game was completely non-existent. The dynamite post moves, the thunderous dunks, the intensity on the boards, all of these things were noticeably absent from Oden's repertoire today. He shot just 41.7% from the field, a number which is pretty abysmal coming from the guy that led the entire Big Ten conference in field goal percentage during the regular season (61.4% in case you were [...]



Bring on the Blue Devils

Mon, 12 Mar 2007 00:14:00 +0000

No, not those Blue Devils. The Central Connecticut State Blue Devils, of course!Just one complaintThe NCAA Tournament Brackets were released this evening, and after Ohio State's thumping of Wisconsin earlier today, it came as a surprise to no one that the Buckeyes were named a #1 seed. However, the Buckeyes missed out on the overall #1 seed to Florida. I do not understand how a team that backed in to their conference tournament, going on a streak in which they lost 3 of 4 to the likes of Vanderbilt (6 seed), Tennessee (5 seed), and LSU (sitting at home); none of which were close games in the least bit. Ohio State's only losses this season came at Florida (1 seed, injured Oden), at North Carolina (1 seed, no Oden), and at Wisconsin (2 seed, have beaten them twice since). This goes without mentioning that Ohio State also has the nation's top RPI, and Florida wasn't even ranked in the top 5 at season's end in either of the two major polls. I suppose I will give the selection committee the benefit of the doubt here, however. In all likelihood, they gave Florida the overall top spot, because the Big 10 Championship game today finished so late, and it would have been too late to reshuffle everything at the last minute.Bracket ForcastingBut instead of getting wrapped up in what didn't happen, lets look at what could happen. When I filled out my bracket, I couldn't help but think that the Buckeyes seem to have the easiest route to the final four of all the top seeds. Central Connecticut should, by all rights, hardly be a blip on the Bucks' radars (but, of course, they aren't to be overlooked). The Buckeye's likely second round opponents, BYU and Xavier, are both teams that can be handled. We squeaked past Tennessee earlier in the season, but it is also worth noting that we are playing much, much better than at that time. The bottom half of this regional, however, does have some potential for terror. Memphis is a team that, despite their strength of schedule, is very capable of making it all the way to the Final Four. Teams that just benefit from easy schedules don't win 30 games two seasons in a row like Memphis has, they are definitely legit. Texas A&M plays some of the best defense in not just the Big 12, but in the entire country. They also sport college's version of Gilbert Arenas in Acie Law. Every time he throws up a shot, no matter how ridiculous it may seem, it has a chance to go in, especially in crunch time. Louisville is an energetic young team with a great coach in Rick Pitino, and Nevada has a Naismith award candidate in Nick Fazekas.However, it appears that the road to the Final Four will be much easier than a team like Florida, which will potentially have to play Arizona, Maryland/Butler, and Wisconsin/Oregon. Maybe losing the overall #1 seed was a blessing in disguise.Most likely 12 over 5 upsetEvery season, it seems, at least one 12 seed upsets a 5 seed. This year, I like Illinois over Virginia Tech. No team out of the ACC really impresses me this season, and allegiances to the Big 10 were the deciding factors. Watch out for Arkansas against USC, though. If the Trojans play in that game like they did in the Pac 10 championship, then I have no trouble seeing the Razorbacks win it.3 potential Cinderellas#12 Illinois - I have them in the Sweet 16 of my bracket, beating Va Tech and So Illinois.#6 Louisville - I don't know if a 6 seed counts as a Cinderella, but I forecast them[...]



Someone tell Billy Packer...

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 21:23:00 +0000

...that Jamar Butler is only a junior.

That game, especially the second half, was unquestionably the best basketball this team has played all season. The importance of entering the NCAAs with strong momentum is undeniable. Remember how bad Ohio State played in the Big Ten championship game last season, and how that sluggish play continued in the tournament?

Bracket analysis and other tournament-related stuff coming later.