All posts by Marcus Hartman

Ohio State spring football reactions: Offense

Evaluating the offense the same way as the defense is hardly fair considering all of the injuries that beset the Ohio State scoring unit, but there were some lessons to take away from the spring nonetheless.

For one thing, the depth the Buckeyes were thought to have at running back is real. Ezekiel Elliott showed he brings a very enticing package of size and skill to the position. A smooth runner, he seems like the perfect back for this offense. I like the way Warren Ball keeps his feet moving and slides through holes, and Bri’onte Dunn leaves no doubt the physical ability is there if he can bring consistency to the table. Ditto Rod Smith, who could be the best of all of them but can’t seem to keep himself on track.

Then of course there is Curtis Samuel. Even with the unprecedented success of Carlos Hyde last season as a power back, Urban Meyer does get enamored with little guys who can go, doesn’t he? Samuel runs strong for his size, but speed and agility are the name of the game for him. It will be interesting to see if they carve out a role for him this fall.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman mentioned at one point the staff has come to like having a power back, which was new for Meyer’s offense since it was developed at his previous coaching stops, so you can bet they want to maintain that facet, but it’s alway nice to have options. Continue reading

Ohio State spring football reactions: Defense

So what to make of spring football at Ohio State for 2014? Is it possible to come away feeling good about the defense without also questioning the offense? I’m going to start off by saying yes, but I can’t promise not to change my mind.

The OSU secondary appears to have taken to the new, more aggressive approach brought by co-coordinator Chris Ash. Of course, we had not really gotten to see Gareon Conley or Eli Apple in action much before this spring, but veterans Doran Grant and Armani Reeves seemed to thrive in the new attack as well. All of them certainly seemed comfortable, even from the first day reporters were allowed to watch practice. They got right in the faces of the OSU receivers in position drills, seven-on-seven and scrimmaging. We saw a fair amount of coverage busts — especially involving the tight ends deep — on that first day, but those appeared to dissipate as the spring went on. Continue reading

What Ohio high school has produced the most NFL players?

If you’ve recently run out of ways to brag about old alma mater, Pro Football Reference has just the tool for you: a database of high schools for the 22,000+ NFL players in the site’s database.

It’s not perfect as there are some duplicate schools and typos that need to be cleaned up, but it’s still awesome if you’re a nerd who wants to know where the best players come from (And if there was any doubt, I’ve proved I fall into that category with previous pieces on the recruiting of Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel and John Cooper at Ohio State for Buckeye Sports Bulletin).

And speaking of bragging rights, the Ohio schools at the top have one of if not the premier rivalry in the state: Canton McKinley and Massillon Washington

Continue reading

Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian talks CFB unionization

It’s safe to say the pair of young men who shared the Northwestern quarterback duties for the past two seasons do not see eye to eye on the issue of the Wildcat football team unionizing.

While Kain Colter has been the face of the movement since he completed his eligibility after last season,  Northwestern senior-to-be Trevor Siemian voiced his opinion against today on a teleconference the Big Ten held for coaches and players from the West division to discuss spring football with the media. Continue reading

Ohio State football assistant joins student races

Ohio State held it’s annual Student Appreciation Day in conjunction with an open spring football practice today, and assistant coach Kerry Coombs jumped in on the action as students raced for the right to take on the speediest Buckeye football player at next weekend’s spring game.

He’s the one in gray in the middle, and it looks like his participation got some of his guys fired up.

Ohio connections to 2014 Women’s Final Four

Stanford’s win over North Carolina in the second regional final game played Tuesday night means a fourth Final Four in five years for Beavercreek’s Mikaela Ruef, who redshirted because of a foot injury early in her career.

Ruef joins Malina Howard (Twinsburg) and Chloe Pavlich (Cincinnati Sycamore) of Maryland as the three players from Ohio to earn a trip to Nashville.

Meanwhile, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer is headed to her 11th Final Four with the Cardinal since leaving Ohio State after the 1985 season, when she led the Buckeyes to the Elite 8.

VanDerveer coached Ohio State as women’s basketball became an officially sponsored Big Ten sport and led the Buckeyes to the first conference title.

Her top assistant at Stanford is Amy Tucker, the captain of the 1982 Ohio State squad that played in the first NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

Ohio State came in second for Ruef, who has family on the West Coast and was also swayed by the opportunity to get a Stanford education. Interestingly, back then Ruef’s father told me VanDerveer talked to them about what great memories she had of her time at Ohio State.

The Buckeyes also went hard after Howard, who was ESPN’s No. 1 center prospect in her class two years ago, but she did not have Ohio State among her finalists when she chose the Terrapins.

A Buckeye who was nearly a Wildcat weighs in on CFB union issue

Michael Bennett, a senior defensive lineman for Ohio State who seems to have a good shot at being a captain for the Buckeyes this fall, was asked yesterday about his thoughts on the movement at Northwestern to create a union for college football players.

“I don’t know the full reason behind their union. I don’t agree necessarily with football players being unionized. We don’t necessarily see the money, but we are getting a lot of benefit out of our scholarships. It just kind of seems silly to want to be unionized because we get a lot of stuff that people don’t get. Yeah, we don’t get the same opportunities, but we can get set up for life after football if we really want to. So it’s all about taking advantage of what you do  get. I don’t think the union is necessarily a great idea. Everyone wants to get more money all the time, but I mean we’re getting a good amount.”

Bennett was a four-star line prospect as a senior at Centerville High School near Dayton four years ago who had Northwestern as a finalist when he chose Ohio State. One of his former high school teammates, Ifeadi Odenigbo, is a current member of the Wildcats, but there was no indication last night if the pair have discussed this issue amongst themselves

Before talk turned to football, Bennett was asked if he was in favor of an addition stipend for players, but he did not sound too fired up about that issue, either.

“Yeah, it would be nice to get a little bit more, especially… I mean the cost of living is going up and I don’t think our stipend is going up, so I’d say a little bit more money is always nice but I’m not really in the business of trying to force people to do that.” 

Of course this is just one man’s perspective, but I found it interesting nonetheless.

Each Ohio State QB progressing his own way this spring

Tom Herman’s top three quarterbacks all have different things they are capable of focusing on this spring, and the Ohio State quarterbacks coach has stressed for them to do just that.

That includes not only Braxton Miller, who is working on the mental side of the game while sidelined following shoulder surgery, but also Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, who are battling for the right to back Miller up this fall for the Buckeyes. 

Scout.com: Each OSU QB Progressing In Own Way.

Overheard at Ohio State football March 25

Cleaning out the reporter’s notebook after Urban Meyer and Tom Herman met with the media in Columbus yesterday. 

URBAN MEYER 

Ohio State’s head coach was asked how the new Chris Ash-Luke Fickell collaboration on the defensive coaching staff is going and he said well.

Losing Vonn Bell for the spring was a setback, but they have three safeties they feel good about who are practicing.

Urban Meyer meets with local media in Columbus.

Urban Meyer meets with local media in Columbus.

Asked about Dontre Wilson, he said the sophomore is the starting H wide receiver, taking over for Philly Brown.

Meyer thinks Braxton Miller is absorbing what they want him to as he is sidelined during practices, but he isn’t sure until he can test him out.

Continue reading

Mark Cuban apparently not that informed about NFL TV or the hog market

So Mark Cuban made headlines by saying Thursday night NFL games that have been around for a decade, and Saturday games that legally can’t be televised until after the college football season is over, could lead to over saturation that hurts the league, and that was covered by everybody under the sun?

His ability as a newsmaker is unmatched.

(Full story: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says ‘greedy’ NFL ‘ is 10 years away from an implosion’ – ESPN Dallas.)

I must say I am endlessly fascinated by these situations that come up from time to time in which a person suggests something that seems plausible and could perhaps even be true but fails almost completely to actually say anything to prove their point.

Before the NFL expanded its push into Thursday night (as ESPN consistently failed to deliver worthwhile college matchups over the past few seasons), I would have agreed it seemed like a risky proposition. Though my Twitter feed seems to be clogged with people complaining about the quality of the games, ratings were up last season

"Mark Cuban just doesn't get me."

“Mark Cuban just doesn’t get me.”

Also amusing, at least to me, is that Cuban pretty much missed the mark with his fat pig analogy, too, as lean hogs have dominated that market for decades, perhaps even to the detriment to the industry.

Otherwise, he really nailed this.