All posts by Marcus Hartman

An intriguing name for Michigan’s next head coach

This Bill Connelly piece on a potential (now inevitable?) Michigan head coach search in the near future is interesting for a lot of reasons, but the one that caught my eye most was the inclusion of Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen.

As a student of the history of the game and of course the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, this possibility (if it’s even real, which may or may not be) is truly fascinating.

Why? Because it would almost perfectly recreate the dynamic of the most intense period The Game has ever seen: The 10-Year War.  Continue reading

Ohio State suffering a power outage?

For all the talk about the added speed on this Ohio State roster, a power outage may be more to blame for the loss to Virginia Tech.

After finishing my video review Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech, I filed my usual report with BuckeyeSports.com. The conclusion was that Virginia Tech had a good plan considering all the factors going into the game, both from their personnel standpoint and Ohio State’s. For the Hokies, that relates to speed. For the Buckeyes, it is youth.

As Urban Meyer said this week, the defense Virginia Tech used has been used against them before but not regularly and not since his first year at Ohio State. One thing about the spread” It’s supposed to prevent teams from loading up the line of scrimmage against you. I guess when they scout you and decide to do it anyway, that should probably be a sign of a pretty big problem.

Meyer prides himself on still playing power football despite the formation, but there are times I wonder if he and offensive coordinator Tom Herman are a little bit too rigid in their philosophy as far as how they line up. This shouldn’t be taken to mean I have major overall questions with what they do, it’s obviously a pretty effective most of the time, but I do wonder if they have limited themselves more than they need to.   Continue reading

Ohio State Football Week 3: Turn, Turn, Turn

Urban Meyer has shown half of why many thought he could combine the best qualities of the last two full-time head coaches to build a new dynasty at Ohio State.

How did he do that? By mimicking John Cooper and recruiting three straight highly regarded recruiting classes full of players from across the country. 

After Virginia Tech exposed a bunch of deficiencies in his young Buckeye squad, it’s time for Meyer to show if he can compare to Jim Tressel as far as turning a September pretender into a November contender.

That and more in my weekly column for BuckeyeSports.com: Cus Words Week 3: Turn, Turn, Turn – Ohiostate – Scout.

Ohio State Football Week 2 in review

The blog has been quiet this week, but I have been busy. Here’s a rundown of coverage following Ohio State’s season-opening win over Navy and in preparation for the Buckeyes’ visit from Virginia Tech.  Continue reading

2014 Big Ten football picks

I think this will be one of the better Big Tens we’ve seen in the past decade or so, but I’m not sure there is an elite team in the league. There should be depth, and that could set things up for a strong 2015, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Ohio State is rebuilding on defense, but that unit could hardly be worse than it was when the ’13 season concluded, so it’s hard to count that as a negative. Michigan State’s offense was a sore spot early last season but finished on a high and returns almost everyone of consequence. They’ll have some new faces on the offensive line, but that unit wasn’t great anyway so they can probably get by with an average front again this season all things considered. Teams may play them differently now that Connor Cook is a known commodity, though. How he responds to that will tell a large part of the tale this season. Recent conference history is littered with quarterbacks who looked good early in their career but plateaued. Big Ten logo

Michigan State is, pardon the pun, green in some spots on defense, and it is unlikely the Spartans will be as tough there regardless of how good coaches Mark Dantonio and Pat Narduzzi have proven to be on that side of the ball. The same can be said of Ohio State’s offensive line, though, so it all could be a wash when the teams play Nov. 8. Continue reading

Johnny Manziel on Braxton Miller

Johnny Manziel has only been a Cleveland Brown since May, but he seems to be doing a good job of getting in good with the stars of some of the state’s other teams in relatively short order.

First there was LeBron James (even before he returned to the Cavaliers), now it is Braxton Miller. Continue reading

Ohio State football: The Song Remains The Same

The first game week of the season brings with it the first 2014 edition of my “Cus Words” column at BuckeyeSports.com.

After an eventful offseason that took a surprising turn toward the end, where do the Buckeyes stand heading into the Navy game?

I am curious to see the effects of Urban Meyer’s intense efforts to remake the culture of the program. Although he took responsibility, I think at least some of it is residue from the Jim Tressel era. That’s not to say it is from something Tressel was doing wrong but rather that these two coaches were not necessarily looking for the same attitude in a recruit.

Cus Words: The Song Remains The Same – Ohiostate – Scout.

Ohio State football 2014: Potential pitfalls

I wrote for FOXSports.com after the Braxton Miller news became official that his absence need not mean all of Ohio State’s hopes for the season go down the drain, and I do believe that. But it would be foolish to ignore the fact that plenty of the questions facing this team, both before and after Miller got hurt, could go either way. That was true with or without him.

Ohio State Marching Band closes its famous video game show during halftime against Nebraska
Ohio State could be in trouble if a few things break wrong.

So, what could go wrong?

Well, the offensive line might not be able to protect new starter J.T. Barrett. Right tackle in particular is a question mark until we see Darryl Baldwin in action.

Running back is well-stocked with a variety of body types and talents, but will anyone be able to create as many yards as Carlos Hyde did after contact? And, by the way, the new starter at running back is likely to face contact sooner than Hyde did, so this issue becomes even greater.

Will the receivers step up as expected? That’s another big if considering Devin Smith has had a tendency to drift in and out of games and fellow senior Evan Spencer is coming off a nasty injury in the Orange Bowl. We’ve seen glimpses of what Dontre Wilson can do, but he will certainly need to be more dynamic than he was in games last season to be a major factor this year, especially if defenses pay any extra attention to stopping him. Everyone else, for all their potential, has never done anything in a college game.  Continue reading