Tag Archives: Michigan

This Week in the Big Ten is agreeing with The Vest

Some weeks figuring out the biggest story is hard. This was not one of those weeks.

Jim Tressel did something last Monday he almost never did when he was head coach of the Buckeyes: Create headlines with a substantive speech.

Not only did the former Ohio State head coach stir up the rivalry between his old employer and Michigan by declaring the Wolverines are “a ways away from being at the level where there’s going to be a 10-Year War,” he also shared one of the secrets of their decline over the past decade or so: problems recruiting Ohio.

In referring to his 2002 recruiting class that was highly acclaimed, mostly Ohioan and ultimately very successful, Tressel said (Per ohio.com), “I think we might have lost one guy that whole year to Michigan. The door closed and it hasn’t been open.” 20111221-071738.jpg

This is a key point. Michigan kept bringing in highly regarded recruiting classes in the years after Tressel arrived at Ohio State, but fewer highly coveted Ohioans became Wolverines than in the preceding decades when it seemed Michigan had a never-ending string of stars from the Buckeye State. Tressel was particularly dominant in northeast Ohio, the home of Desmond Howard, Elvis Grbac, Dan Dierdorf and Dennis Franklin, to name a few.

So Jim Tressel was not only 9-1 against Michigan, he also hurt the Wolverines’ chances to beat everyone else. He didn’t do it alone, though. The slide of Michigan also coincided with strong recruiting of Ohio by Big Ten schools such as Iowa and Wisconsin, but of course Michigan State is the gold standard in recent years. Zanesville native Mark Dantonio has made a mint on recruiting his home state since leaving Tressel’s OSU staff to become head coach at Cincinnati and then moving on to East Lansing.

In the past 10 years Ohio State and Michigan State have also won a lot of battles against Michigan north of the Ohio border, a double-whammy that has seen Michigan stripped of its backbone and having to face kids who are more fired up to beat the Wolverines than the average recruit who grew up somewhere else.

I’ll probably have more on this topic in the near future.

Elsewhere…

I’m surprised this came from a traditional media site, and I’m starting to wonder if they are losing their sanity in Nebraska.

Of course many traditions are up for interpretation and they can mean different things to different people, but the idea Bo Pelini making guys earn the Blackshirts was a mistake or some kind of crime against the tradition is fairly laughable for a few reasons.

First, if you read the history of the Blackshirts (which I have always thought from afar is an awesome, badass tradition, BTW), you’ll find they began as something that was earned from day to day. Second, Pelini took over a defense that was like literally the worst in school history, an actual laughingstock. It’s not as if Pelini took something that was working and undid it.

If ever there was a time to have to earn the jerseys, that would be it. Also note this is a very frequent practice among coaches these days, particularly with the current generation of players for which entitlement is generally considered a big problem. It’s actually happening right this minute with the Nebraska basketball team and the coach who was a darling as recently as last year.

Third, the defense actually got good for a while under Pelini, so I guess he knew what he was doing at least at one point. Fourth, the reason the defense went downhill is not because of the clothes but because Pelini didn’t recruit and/or develop good enough players.

If Riley doesn’t change that — and it would be a minor miracle if he does — it won’t matter what guys are wearing or when they get it. But I guess I’ll be interested to see how history is revised then, too…

Michigan’s new offensive coordinator says winning tends to cure most ills. I say so does not having to rely on too many young offensive linemen.

Whoever wins the starting quarterback job for the Wolverines can expect to have the attack tailored to his strengths, another departure from the previous regime.

Connor Cook has high expectations for himself and offers a frank assessment of what he did well and needs to improve from last season. He’ll need to find some new targets this year to continue to improve himself.

Five questions for Maryland as the Terrapins begin spring football.

Strange things continue to happen with officiating when Ohio State travels to Penn State for things.

This week in the Big Ten: Bad idea receives poor reception

Another week of the college football offseason has gone by, and the last day or two was dominated by talk of something that will never happen: freshmen becoming ineligible again. Big Ten logo

Even if this were a good idea, it wouldn’t happen because of the impracticality of it. I guess I agree with those who are viewing this as a shot across the bow at the professional leagues, particularly the NBA, regarding how their rules affect colleges, but I’m not too convinced it’s going to do anything if that is the case. They have plenty of their own things to worry about.  Continue reading This week in the Big Ten: Bad idea receives poor reception

Ohio State football recruiting Mike Weber: Winners and losers

Am I the only one who feels like Mike Weber probably handled the whole circus surrounding his recruitment and the related coaching change better than anybody else?

Granted, his Tweet about being “hurt as hell” was a catalyst for the first wave of reactions, but it’s hard to blame anyone for having an emotional reaction to something affecting his or her future and expressing that reaction. That’s especially true with a teenager who just made a big life decision then saw some of the information he probably used to make it change almost immediately.

Feeling and expressing emotions is an important part of life no matter our age. But actually being part of the process is also kind of key to having an emotional attachment, isn’t it?  Continue reading Ohio State football recruiting Mike Weber: Winners and losers

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 An intriguing name for Michigan’s next head coach

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 2014 Big Ten football picks

Ohio’s latest football export to the north? Michigan State’s defense

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.
Continue reading Ohio’s latest football export to the north? Michigan State’s defense

Urban Meyer on Ohio State-Michigan State (and Michigan)

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.

“If we take care of business, it will be real big. But we’ve got some things in the way before we get there, so if we do our job it could be a real big game,” Meyer said. Big Ten logo

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.”

Big Ten East spring football review

I am going around the league recapping spring football around the Big Ten for BuckeyeSports.com. Big Ten logo

While we’re still rolling out the reviews from the new West, the East is complete.

The race for the first East division crown figures to be interesting as Michigan looks to pick up the pieces from a lost season, Michigan State tries to maintain its defensive strength while growing on offense and Penn State adjusts to another coaching change and the continued effects of scholarship reductions.

Can someone play spoiler out of the group of Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana? The Hoosiers seem like the biggest possibility.  Continue reading Big Ten East spring football review

Talking Ohio State football on 95.5 The Game

I had the pleasure of appearing on the FN’A Show on 95.5 The Game in Columbus earlier this week, where we talked about the Big Ten championship game between Ohio State and Michigan State.

Sun sets on Michigan Stadium
Sun sets on Michigan Stadium

We also discussed who might be the Buckeyes’ best Heisman Trophy candidate, what makes the Spartans’ defense so good, concerns about Ohio State’s defense and Buckeye football more.

In case you missed the segment, here’s the podcast.

Check it out!

 

Ohio State-Michigan Second Thoughts

Ohio State’s 42-41 win over Michigan was certainly worth a second full viewing.

The No. 1 takeaway? The Wolverines played pretty well, but Buckeye mistakes were mostly why it was a close game.

Credit goes to much-maligned Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges, who called a great game all the way down to the final touchdown. His uninspired two-point conversion call, however, might have cost the Wolverines the win… (read more).

 

As for Ohio State, Herman always strives for balance, but Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison practically dared him not to be, and that failed miserably.

I mean, yeah, the Wolverines avoided getting dinked and dunked to death by screens, and they forced Miller to pull the ball down in some passing situations, but why Mattison aside from a handful of field linebacker blitzes never put an extra hat in the box to help against a running game that gained nearly 400 yards is beyond my comprehension.

Read more: Scout.com: Ohio State-Michigan Second Thoughts.