Tag Archives: football

First impressions from Ohio State spring football 2015

Reporters were allowed to watch an hour of practice on the first day of Ohio State spring football, and then we spoke with Urban Meyer, Joshua Perry and Taylor Decker. There was not a whole lot to learn, but a few interesting things did pop up….

The issue of motivation becomes a cliched one, but Meyer and both players had some interesting things to say about the topic.

Ohio State football spring practice at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center
Ohio State football spring practice at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center

Well, Meyer actually said he’s not worried about it right now, which came as a surprise because I was under the impression he is ALWAYS worried about motivation and other various psychological issues surrounding his team. The coach said right now he just wants everyone in the mood to work hard, but I guess I would think that’s a matter of motivation, too.

Then I have to admit Perry and Decker both made fairly strong cases about how the Buckeyes — you know, the defending national champions who return 14 starters, including a whole bunch of guys who were really young and figure only to get better as more members of their recruiting classes move into starting roles — could actually be doubted.

Continue reading First impressions from Ohio State spring football 2015

This week in the Big Ten extolls nuance

So the intention is intended to be a weekender type thing, but sometimes life or other jobs get in the way, so here you go a little late…  

We start with one championship-winning football coach from northeast Ohio passing some heavy praise on to another as Jon Gruden called Urban Meyer’s 2014 “the greatest coaching job of all time.”

I can admit I was a doubter prior to the Wisconsin game, and I declared Meyer should be the unanimous national coach of the year if the Buckeyes won that game, so I am inclined to agree with Gruden here. But more interesting than his declarative about what Meyer did as far as a coach is what Gruden said about Meyer’s recruiting.

“I think what happened at Florida, he won the national titles, and then he wanted to be the No. 1 recruiting coach in the league and probably signed some players that didn’t fit the Urban Meyer profile. 

“When he went to Ohio State, I think he learned a little bit from that. He’s looking for guys that fit a certain profile, and he’s going to build his team around those guys. That’s clearly what he’s doing.”

This could be interpreted as a type of talent, but I think it’s more about personality. Meyer was so obsessed with putting together all-star teams at Florida, he ended up with a roster he couldn’t control. Now, every roster is going to have some questionable characters, in part because coaches are almost always willing to take a chance on a guy with talent and also because sometimes people just change — especially between the ages of 17 and 22. The best kid in high school could still turn into a problem in college when he gets away from his home and vice versa. That goes for those who grow up in Upper Arlington or South Florida, but the Ohio State players from Florida I’ve talked to over the years took pride in the chippiness and attitude their state is known for.

Meyer has to spread his recruiting over a larger geographic area, but he might find it easier to put together a more balanced roster at Ohio State than at Florida. This was something I’ve been curious about since the day Meyer took over in Columbus

Further discussing the silly freshman ineligibility discussion with some interesting spins last week were Stewart Mandel of FOX Sports and Matt Hayes of Sporting News. Mandel wondered about the real motivation regarding starting discussion about something that won’t happen while Hayes suggested it’s just the first shot over the bow in an effort to overhaul things.

Essentially the idea is administrators are going to start paying players more but feel that means they also have to emphasize the student part in student-athlete more, whether that is for the good of the game, the good of their business or the good of the players. It’s probably all of the above.

The business goes kaput if they have to go to an open market because too many schools would be priced out and too many fans would lose interest if they began believing all that was going on was minor league football or basketball. Some fans would still watch because they like the sports and the competition, but the golden goose would be dead.

FWIW, I do think the administrators truly care about academics. They want there to be a balance. Like anything, there are pros and cons to the arrangement that has evolved over the decades since college sports went from pastime to big business. I even think the vast majority of coaches care about academics to a significant degree, though under the auspices that winning is not optional of course.  And players care about academics, at least as much if not more than the average student…

Outside the sports world, the ever-changing fate of journalism and writing as a whole generally fascinates me, and Newsweek provided a moment that was even more ironic than it probably realized or intended over the weekend.

The magazine republished a column from 1995 titled, “Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana” that as you might expect contained a bunch of amusing predictions about the Internet that turned out to be false and are thus hilarious to look back at 20 years later.

The writer mocked the idea of telecommuting, growth of virtual communities and the rise of online shopping and e-books. He was wrong to question the usefulness of making government data and documents available online (eventually), but I’m not too sure the Internet has improved democracy overall. It’s just made cheating a little harder to get away with (not to mention having a civil discussion about politics, but I digress…).

Most ironically he declared “no online database will replace your daily newspaper,” although I’m pretty sure magazines like Newsweek are in even worse shape, and it’s probably remarkable newspapers have held on for 20 years hence if we’re being honest.

Computers have enhanced the educational experience, but I think most would agree a good teacher still trumps learning from a computer as much as it does getting everything out of a book.

A “network chat line” beats being alone, but it is in fact “a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee.”

So like most things, this story had plenty of bad but plenty of good as well. A piece by piece examination could be rather fascinating, but i guess the person who runs the Newsweek Twitter feed didn’t agree.

I guess nuance is just not something we do on the Internet in 2015. Did Clifford Stoll predict that?

Ohio State football: The new narrative

Of course when something like “winning a national championship” happens, everyone has something to say.

The theme of my reaction column at BuckeyeSports.com was simple: Ohio State not only won a fancy gold trophy on Monday night, it also wiped out every narrative people have used against the Buckeyes — sometimes more correctly than others — since that stunning night in the desert in January 2007.

Need proof? After the jump, find a sampling of the new narrative from around the web, including writers who cover Ohio State and others more national in scope.  Continue reading Ohio State football: The new narrative

Sugar Bowl Ohio State-Alabama coverage roundup

The time has finally come for Ohio State and Alabama to face off in the Sugar Bowl. The winner not only gets a cool trophy but the chance to play for the national championship.

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It’s been a busy week here in New Orleans, so I don’t blame you if you missed any of the great coverage from a variety of sources.

Here’s a rundown of my contributions….

From BuckeyeSports.com:

OSU WRs Bridging Gap from Good to Great – The Buckeyes’ receivers say they are better now because of last year’s poor finish

Overheard at Ohio State’s Sugar Bowl Media Day – Tidbits from Tuesday in New Orleans

Tide Defense Presents New Look for Buckeyes – Ohio State has not faced a defense as big as Alabama’s this season.

BSB’s Take: Sugar Bowl Thoughts – Our four writers in New Orleans break down the keys to the CFP semifinal.

Overheard at the Sugar Bowl: OSU Defense – Luke Fickell, Joey Bosa and other Buckeyes talked about their matchup with Alabama and more

Defensive Progress Gratifying for Fickell – Ohio State’s defensive coordinator prefers to pass praise around, but others expressed happiness

Overheard at the Sugar Bowl: OSU Offense – Cleaning out the reporter’s notebook from New Orleans

Jones Still a Secret Weapon for Buckeyes? – Alabama defenders acknowledged Ohio State prep hindered by lack of film

And from FOXSportsOhio.com:

Doran Grant called the Sugar Bowl the biggest game in college football history, but the Buckeyes say they will not be fazed by the rise in the stakes — like they were the last time they were on this stage. LINK

What will Tom Herman tell Cardale Jones about how to beat Alabama? Just be himself. VIDEO

Taylor Decker called Jones a goofball, but he has seen a lot of growth from the QB. VIDEO

Some overdue Ohio State Big Ten championship thoughts

So, it’s been a week since Ohio State throttled Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.

In an effort to cover that for Buckeye Sports Bulletin and then get back into some semblance of what passes for a normal life during the 36 or so weeks of the year that are not college football season, I haven’t taken the time to get down much about what I thought about that whole thing. I don’t mind giving things some time to sink in, anyway, so I can’t say I went out of my way to sort things out. Because a lot has happened both with Ohio State and some of the programs that are of interest to Ohio State in one way or another.
Continue reading Some overdue Ohio State Big Ten championship thoughts

Buckeyes rounding into form at right time?

Top takeaways from reviewing the win at Minnesota:

With quarterback J.T. Barrett busting off long runs the last two games, this really is the Urban Meyer spread offense in full bloom now at Ohio State. Power back inside, speedy slot receivers who can run and catch, outside receivers who can go the distance via slant or fade. Powerful offensive line greasing the skids. Tight ends who are powerful blockers and can at least chain movers in the passing game.

OSU Football Second Thoughts: Minnesota - Ohio State - Scout

 

If the offense has arrived as an all-around threat as opposed to one revolving around just an outstanding talent or two, the defense is still finding its way. The stop unit was respectable at Minnesota against a Golden Gopher offense that does certain things very well and others pretty poorly, but it will probably need to continue refining its process as the season wears on.

Read more: OSU Football Second Thoughts: Minnesota – Ohio State – Scout.

Buckeyes looking to lock up Big Ten East division against Indiana

A return to the Big Ten Championship Game is in sight for Ohio State, but first the Buckeyes must dispatch Indiana at home this weekend.

Urban Meyer was happy to acknowledge this has been a big goal of the team since the end of last season, when they saw their national championship hopes snuffed out in Indianapolis by Michigan State.

The Buckeyes’ pass defense was their undoing at the end of last season, but that has looked much better under the direction of Chris Ash.

The run defense? Not so much.  Continue reading Buckeyes looking to lock up Big Ten East division against Indiana

Ohio State-Minnesota football week in review

With another week of football season in the books, here’s a roundup of the marks I left on the Internet as Ohio State and Minnesota got ready for a big November football game.

Of course we spent a lot of time looking back at the Buckeyes’ big win at Michigan State, including what that taught us about both programs, but the Golden Gophers deserve some respect after already winning seven games this season, including a spanking of Iowa last season.

There was also time for a little fun from the world of Major League Baseball.

Enjoy!

At BuckeyeSports.com:

OSU Football: Scouting Minnesota – We take a look at the Buckeyes’ next opponent on the gridiron

OSU Football Second Thoughts: Michigan State – The Buckeyes made use of their various talent advantages

Cus Words: Better Not Look Down – The Buckeyes are back on top of the Big Ten, but they can’t afford to overlook Minnesota

OSU Assistants: Warinner and Ash – Buckeye coaches talk win at MSU, look ahead to Minnesota

At FOXSportsOhio.com:

Buckeyes bring in another top 10 class

Adorable daddy-daughter moment highlights reaction to Kluber’s Cy Young

Buckeyes turn sights to Minnesota

Buckeyes lose Wilson to foot injury

Eyeing Ohio State-Minnesota

I circled the Minnesota game as a potential trap game in August. I was thinking about that even before the Michigan State game was moved to a night affair, and that loss of preparation time led me to pick the upset in our preseason predictions for Buckeye Sports Bulletin and here on the blog.

A mental letdown is also natural coming off such an emotional win against the Spartans, and in the summer it was easy to see the Buckeyes having a hard time getting up for a nondescript Minnesota team almost 50 years removed from its last Big Ten championship.

The Golden Gophers at 7-2 and coming off a thrashing of Iowa are too good to call this a trap game, though. I do believe they will have the Buckeyes’ attention, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be an upset. minnesota

Heading into last week, I felt pretty confident Ohio State had better players than Michigan State, but I was not at all sure they were ready mentally to utilize that skill. The first 25 minutes or so of game action validated this belief, but then they righted themselves and turned on the afterburners.

That response — and an even greater talent disparity — makes me think the Buckeyes will take care of business in Minneapolis, but there is certainly a path to victory for Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers dominated Iowa with the help of turnovers, and such miscues were part of their undoing in an upset at Illinois. If they can come out ahead in this department and hit some shots in play action (although Ohio State is curiously enough 2-0 when losing the turnover battle this season), they have a formidable running attack and defense that can shorten the game.

Here’s my full scouting report at BuckeyeSports.com.