Yeah, it was only one day, but the Buckeyes’ DBs had a definite different look as they opened spring practice this week.
In case you were wondering, Nick Saban is still the worst secondary coach in Ohio State history – at least statistically.
The 2013 Buckeyes came close to setting a record for most passing yards allowed per game at 268.0 but fell short of the mark of 273.1 yielded in 1981.
Saban was Ohio State secondary coach that season as well as in 1980, when the Buckeyes allowed a school-record 621 yards passing in a game to David Wilson of Illinois. The only other 500-yard passing game by an Ohio State opponent also happened under Saban’s watch in ’81 at Purdue via quarterback Scott Campbell.
Head coach Earle Bruce fired Saban (along with defensive coordinator Dennis Fryzel and line coach Steve Szabo) after the ’81 campaign, but the Kent State graduate recovered nicely, as you may have heard.
He got his revenge on Ohio State in 1998 when as head coach at Michigan State he led an upset of what for my money is the best Buckeye team of the past 25 years at least. Oh yeah, then he won a total of four national championships at LSU and Alabama. Saban also was head coach at Toledo and served four seasons as defensive coordinator of the Browns before becoming the big boss of the Spartans.
As for his time in Columbus, Saban told the American Football Coaches Association convention last month the most memorable victory of his career was the Buckeyes’ 14-9 upset of No. 7 Michigan in 1981. Saban’s secondary was key in that victory as safety Todd Bell’s late interception prevented the Wolverines from adding to a 9-7 lead in the fourth quarter. Art Schlichter then engineered the game-winning touchdown drive for the Buckeyes.
You should definitely read the whole back-and-forth between former Ohio State players and current ESPN analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Robert Smith and Joey Galloway, but the part that I want to highlight comes from Herbstreit.
He seems to agree with my contention one of the NCAA’s biggest problems is perception, something it does little to help with its consistently tone-deaf responses to the debate about how major college athletes are compensated.
“It’s just bizarre to me that I don’t think we’re doing a good enough job of selling the student-athlete experience,” Herbstreit continued. “When you’re at Ohio State, it’s not just playing football and going to school. There are so many opportunities that you have that you don’t understand when you’re an 18- to 22-year-old kid and you’re going to these events and you meet people who are in the business community. Urban just committed an entire offseason to introduce athletes to business leaders in Columbus. You’re not going to get that if any of your sons or daughters went to Ohio State. I don’t know what an education costs if you’re there for four or five years, and you throw everything in, travel, all the stuff that you’re afforded.
“I just feel like people assume everybody is a Joey Galloway or a Robert Smith and they make it in the first round and make millions of dollars. 95 percent are me. They don’t play a down in the NFL and use this degree that I got from Ohio State to try to make something out of myself, and I just think we focus too much on the, ‘Wow, the athlete is being taken advantage of,’ when he’s not being taken advantage of. Maybe Braxton Miller is being taken advantage of, but everybody else on that roster is not being taken advantage of, so I just disagree completely with this notion of paying student-athletes. I just disagree with it.”
At the end he lapses into the overly simplistic “paying student-athletes” phrase that often trips people up in these discussions (because they are paid, so the debate should be if they get enough), but overall he hits the themes that people miss for the most part: While the system certainly could be better and needs some adjustments, it is already a pretty good deal for the players. That includes the rather large portion of the roster that never become standouts or even play, arguably players who get more out of their scholarships and college experience than they really pay back.
Some of the things being discussed could end up making things worse for many while only improving it for a few – and I would argue most of those who would see that improvement are already made whole when they reach the NFL, thanks in no small part to their college experience.
Here’s the full story, including responses from Smith and Galloway as well as debate about the Ed O’Bannon case, profiting off likenesses and more: Scout.com: ESPN Buckeyes Debate Paying Players.
Ohio State 2014 signee Makayla Waterman personally tied Springfield 11-11 Wednesday night in Greater Western Ohio Conference girls’ basketball action. Meanwhile, Waterman’s Kettering Fairmont teammates outscored the Wildcats 91-0 as the defending Ohio Division I state champions improved to 14-1 on the season (H/T).
As you might expect, the 102 points for the Firebirds is their season high, but they have rolled early in GWOC play with an average margin of victory of 43.2 points during a 5-0 start.
Their level of competition will ramp up considerably this weekend when they head to Berlin, Ohio, for the annual Classic in the Country, where they are scheduled to play Toledo Notre Dame and Solon. TND (despite what ESPN might think) is led by Tierra Floyd, one of the top junior prospects in Ohio.
The final 2014 Scout 300 had 17 Ohio State verbal commitments and 19 players from Ohio.
There are 21 four-star prospects in Ohio, and those Buckeye Staters who aren’t going to be Buckeyes are going to the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and – believe it or not – the Ivy League.
So another season of college football is over. And what did we learn?
The SEC isn’t the only conference where teams can be made up of big, strong Southern athletes, although anyone who didn’t know that must be under 30 or have a very short memory.
That’s because Florida State cornered the market on dominance for more than a decade leading up to and through the beginning of the BCS era. Before SEC teams were getting the benefit of the doubt in the polls because of recent history, it was the Seminoles. And they earned their place at the top by taking the place of the Miami dynasty that went off the rails after a swaggering, successful decade of the ‘80s.
I am curious what Michigan State might have been able to do in the national championship game because of its defense – the same reason I stopped being curious about how Ohio State would fare on the same stage. Continue reading
New head coach Kevin McGuff inherited an Ohio State women’s basketball roster with only 13 players for this season, and it shrank to 11 available after one decided to transfer and another suffered a likely season-ending injury.
He signed five players in November for the 2014 class, and this week added two more who were part of the 2013 class when top 50 recruits Kianna Holland and Shayla Cooper decided to transfer to Ohio State from Duke and Georgetown, respectively.
My look at the personnel the Spartans will bring to the Big Ten Championship Game against Ohio State.
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.