The NCAA does itself no favors by continuing to keep up the PR front that it is all about preserving amateurism because that word has lost whatever power it ever had, but maybe U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken did the organization a favor by weeding out such arguments up front. Continue reading
Ohio State’s senior quarterback and head coach worked to quiet concerns Braxton Miller’s surgically repaired shoulder will hinder him at the start of the regular season.
Ohio State did not allow media to watch any part of day two of preseason football practice, but the school published a YouTube video of highlights.
Because this is the Internet and pixels cost little compared to ink and paper, here are about 30 seconds worth of takeaways from two minutes of clips:
- Braxton Miller can still throw, and Devin Smith can still make one-handed catches.
- Cardale Jones can throw interceptions. Related: fellow Cleveland Glenville alum Marshon Lattimore can catch interceptions. Lattimore is a youngster to keep an eye on defensively.
- Also making an appearance: Super talented redshirt freshman Jalin Marshall, a receiver who had his first season wiped out by injury and could be a big-time player for an offense that figures to be somewhat retooled.
- Cornerback Gareon Conley, another redshirt freshman the Buckeyes probably could have used something from last season, makes a diving interception on an out pass by Miller.
- And in what can only be read as a nod toward Jim Tressel, the video concludes with a punt.
So there you go for now. We’ll be allowed in Wednesday afternoon for day three, so be sure to check back for details here, on Twitter and at BuckeyeSports.com.
The dawn of another Ohio State football season is upon us, and 2014 figures to be an unpredictable year with so much change on both sides of the ball.
Most indications are the DNA is going to be different with the offense and the defense, one change being personnel-driven and the other caused by extreme struggles of a year ago. Both ways, Ohio State is going to have to count on a new cast of characters to carry out what is in all likelihood a plan that is at least somewhat different than it was last year, for better or for worse.
Offensively, Ohio State has the best player in the Big Ten back to trigger an attack that is probably going to look more like Urban Meyer and Tom Herman intended it to when they arrived than it has for the past two seasons. They want to have playmakers all over the field, not strictly smashing people up the middle.
Most avid fans of Ohio State football know Michigan football has long made a living off talent from the Buckeye State. Mark Dantonio has taken up the practice at Michigan State over the past seven years, too, but that’s not all.
Turns out the Spartans’ defensive strategy is a direct import from Ohio as well.
Dantonio, of course, first became well known nationally when the defense he coordinated at Ohio State was an integral part of the Buckeyes’ 2002 national championship season. Dantonio, a Zanesville native who was brought to Columbus by Jim Tressel in 2001, moved the Buckeyes from the imposing, press defense installed by Fred Pagac Sr. in the late 1990s to a scheme built around more zone concepts, though pressuring the quarterback was a key for both men.
One of the biggest topics of the Ohio State football offseason has been rebuilding a defense that regressed as the year went on into one of the worst in memory.
Chris Ash was brought in as a new co-coordinator of the defense and safeties coach, bringing with him an aggressive style of play in the secondary that has fans champing at the bit to see a return of the famed “Silver Bullets” defenses of the past.
The hiring of Ash also brought about a lot of talk about a unified voice among the coaching staff, something that can easily sound like coach-speak but that senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett gave more credence earlier this week when he met with reporters at Big Ten football media days in Chicago.
“We’re gonna be more aggressive, and I think that’s just Coach Ash,” Bennett said. “I think the biggest difference is we’re going to be more together. So instead of blaming people and instead of just trying to be the D-line and then the linebackers and then the safeties and then the corners, we’re the whole defense. We’re the Silver Bullets. I think that’s the biggest change that I’ve noticed. The coaches have been all about defensive unity. That’s the best thing that’s happened to our defense because you have to have everybody together.”
The Buckeyes’ nose tackle went on to say the defense, which I always thought was more plagued by allowing big plays than by the dinks and dunks bemoaned by many fans and sometimes even head coach Urban Meyer, grew apart as the 2013 season went on. That’s not surprising to learn, but it is surprising to hear such an open and honest assessment these days.
“The struggles last year through the end of the year started dividing us,” Bennett said. “Even I was subject to, ‘You know what, let whatever they’re going to do happen, as a D-line, let’s just go to work.’ That was the wrong approach to take. The D-line still ended up doing pretty well, but you have to be there for your brothers and I personally am trying to change that and make sure we include everybody. If something happens on the back end, I look at the D-line and say we need to be better so that doesn’t happen again.’”
Of course this is the time of year when everything looks rosy moving forward and it is easier to admit past mistakes (thanks in no small part to the yet-to-be-tested notion they have been fixed), but it is also worth pointing out this emphasis on togetherness strays from the “Do your 1/11th mantra” that has been preached consistently by Ohio State staffers and players on defense for the past decade or so.
There is certainly room for the two philosophies to coexist, but it will be interesting to see how this continues to develop through preseason camp and the start of the 2014 season.
Monday in Chicago at the first of the Big Ten football media days, the head coach of Buckeyes was asked his thoughts on the Nov. 8 clash with Michigan State in East Lansing, a game getting more preseason hype at this point than the traditional regular-season ending clash with Michigan at Ohio Stadium.
The natural followup was about the state of the “rivalry” between the Buckeyes and Spartans, the two teams that clashed in the Big Ten football title game last year and are considered the top two teams in the new Big Ten East Division this year.
“When I was at Ohio State back in the mid-80s they beat us at Ohio Stadium, so there’s a great rivalry already there. You’ve got to be clear, though, there’s one rival and that will never change. However, Wisconsin became a very big game and then obviously this one’s a huge game, and it’s a credit to both schools that they’re good programs, but there’s one rival.”
So, which state (other than Ohio) has produced the most Ohio State football players over the past 30 years? You probably won’t be surprised to find out it’s Florida with 52.
But who is the best of that bunch? After all, more than half have become starters, and one quarter have been drafted into the NFL.
We narrowed it down to six candidates and gave BuckeyeSports.com readers a chance to vote for their favorite. We did the same for Buckeye football recruits from Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan, too, and you can find the stories below. Continue reading
The crystal football of the Bowl Championship Series is gone, replaced with a trophy of hardened steel surround by gold brackets.
It is three feet tall, and like the last trophy is composed of two distinct pieces so the 26.5-inch 35-pound “virtual football” trophy can still be lifted off the base, as winners famously were able to do with the crystal football trophy.
The biggest sports story in Ohio this year — and perhaps in much longer — is the return of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years in Miami.
Ohio State has long maintained a relationship with the Akron native, even setting up a locker for him in the men’s basketball locker room and wearing LeBron-branded stuff. Continue reading