Tag Archives: Toledo

‘Vegas Bracketology’ includes 5 Ohio teams

Ohio State, Cincinnati, Xavier and Cleveland State are all included in this edition of  “Vegas Bracketology” published by Fox Sports and Don Best Sports gaming analyst Todd Furhman.

He has the Buckeyes highest at at No. 4 in a killer region with No. 1 seed Louisville, No. 2 Arizona and No. 3 Kentucky.

Cincinnati gets a six seed in another region while Xavier is rated as a No. 11 seed, Cleveland State is a 12 and Toledo a 13.

As Furhman freely admits, this bracket projection has some unique and surprising entires topped by Iowa receiving a top seed, but he explains the differences are a result of using the power numbers generated by Vegas oddsmakers.

Check it out: Vegas Bracketology : Outkick The Coverage.

Per ESPN, highly regarded Ohio girls’ basketball prospect attends all-boys school

Tierra Floyd is a highly regarded junior guard from Toledo who figures to get plenty of looks from big-time programs between now and next fall when she can sign a national letter of intent.

Hopefully big-time schools already recruiting her such as Ohio State don’t rely on information from the ESPN database to find her, though, because the Worldwide Leader erroneously lists the Notre Dame Academy standout’s school as St. John’s (Actually it says, “Saint Johns,” but we’ll assume that’s a typo). FloydProfileScreenshot

Tierra Floyd 2015 High School Girls’ Basketball Profile – ESPN.

But if a coach were to show up at St. John’s Jesuit looking for Floyd, it’s safe to say he or she wouldn’t find her – or any other potential women’s basketball standouts, for that matter.

Why? Because St. John’s is an all-boys school.

UPDATE 5/28: Several months later, this was finally fixed to reflect the correct school.

Toledo Second Thoughts

I would have had this done sooner, but I had a lot of procrastinating to do… 

My review of the Ohio State-Toledo game did not change much of my opinion about the contest. Overall, the Buckeyes’ effort left something to be desired, but Toledo should get a tip of the cap, too. The Rockets are a good team that will have a good season. They also have a coach with insider knowledge of the Buckeyes’ methods, and there was a natural window for a letdown after the emotional opener against Akron.

As for the evaluations…

Quarterback: Joe Bauserman’s struggles seemed a bit worse live than upon replay, but  I had him down for more negative plays than positives. He got off to a good start, obviously, but left too many opportunities on the field, sometimes because he missed open targets but more often because he seemed unwilling to take any chances.

As for the decision not to play Braxton Miller, I thought they were the ones being overly conservative when they chose to hold him out because the game was close in the second quarter, but I can see the sense of keeping him out based on the combination of his still nascent knowledge of the offense, missing practice last week and not being fully healthy.

Running backs: Carlos Hyde showed a nice burst on his touchdown run, and I liked the wiggle he displayed in the flat on a swing pass, but he’s still a work in progress. He said himself he missed some holes and cutback lanes and left some yards on the field.

Rod Smith had one nice run when they gave him the ball in the open field, but I found his fumble far from excusable. Like the one against Akron, he wasn’t hit that hard and the strip was not all that dramatic.

Wide receivers: Verlon Reed is coming on nicely. I liked handing him the ball early in the game, although Ohio State has never seemed to execute that play all that well in the past decade. Reed has good size, catches the ball with his hands and can set up defenders to make them miss. Good also to see Devin Smith solidly in the rotation.

Chris Fields’ had the big impact with the punt return for a touchdown, but he appeared to make a big mistake offensively when Bauserman wanted to throw to him in the slot on a third-down play. Bauserman had to abort at the planned hot route when he started winding to throw to Fields, who was uncovered  before the play. It made Bauserman look silly and indecisive, but I don’t blame him here. They would have had an easy first down if he just looked ready to receiver a throw.

Tight end: Jake Stoneburner proved his old wide receivers coach, Darrell Hazell, correct about his speed when he ran through the Rocket secondary to haul in Bauserman’s pass for the first touchdown of the day. He has great acceleration for a young man his size, and he showed he can block, too, especially in the open field. Reid Fragel also proved he’s still an option in the passing game even if he might end up as an offensive lineman eventually.

Offensive line: This group did not have one of its better days. While the Rockets did load the box on the opening drive and for much of the second half, the extra man rarely seemed to have a great effect on the running game aside from a couple of short-yardage situations.

There were a handful of times they appeared crossed up by Rocket blitzes, letting them overload one side or getting someone through unblocked. Communication was a problem on some combo blocks when two players would turn the same guy loose thinking the other man had him with the main culprit being Marcus Hall. He also struggled as the kick-out man on the “power” play. Overall, Hall did not have a good day no matter if he was on the play side or the backside. I’ve seen much better from Hall in the past, so this might be just an anomaly for whatever reason. He did had a hard time establishing himself at any point in the game.

The other starters were not conspicuously good or bad overall, but the unit struggled as a whole.

Defensive line: This may be the one group that looked better from week one to week two. The pass rush improved as the game wore, culminating with Johnny Simon pressuring the Toledo quarterback into an off-target throw on the final defensive snap of the day.

Simon was a monster when he wasn’t battling cramps, showing the ability to get free around the corner and inside. I had him down for seven good or outstanding plays.

He had a greater impact than Johnathan Hankins, but only by a hair. The hefty sophomore earned a fair share of double-teams both in the passing and running game, and he excelled in both areas. He pursued hard down the line on running plays and played to the whistle consistently. The way he dipped his shoulder and powered through a guard’s block with an inside pass rush move was something to see as well.

Garrett Goebel and Adam Bellamy also had solid days, but Michael Bennett flashed more often in his chances to play. He has star written all over him. J.T. Moore never appeared to be a liability, but he failed to do much to stand out in his first college start.

All of the linemen were noticeably effective using their hands to shed blockers, perhaps the influence of Mike Vrabel on the coaching staff.

Linebackers: Andrew Sweat had another exemplary effort. He tied Simon with seven “flashes” in my book, and he got some extra attention from Toledo as several times two blockers were sent out in search of him. He recognizes things quickly and closes with a vengeance.

Etienne Sabino had a couple of minuses, such as a poor effort in taking on a blocker and the ball carrier on Adonis Thomas’ touchdown run, but his performance was much more good than bad. He ran down a couple of those screen passes and had an effective pass rush that resulted in intentional grounding in the fourth quarter.

Storm Klein looked good dropping into coverage for his interception, but he failed to get outside fast enough on some of those bubble screens, and his missed tackle on Thomas in the open field opened the door for one of the Rockets’ scoring drives.

True freshman Ryan Shazier continues to earn more trust from the coaches. He was part of the dime defensive package as a pass rusher. He also laid the last block on Chris Fields’ punt return for a touchdown.

Secondary: Dominic Clarke had another standout day in coverage, but he lost leverage on Eric Page’s 66-yard touchdown catch when he went around a blocker instead of fighting through him. That opened up more room for Page and exacerbated the poor angle C.J. Barnett took to the sideline. Bradley Roby was guilty of the same thing on the other side a couple of times, but this improved as the game went on.

The same can be said of Tyler Moeller, who had a hard time getting off blocks or forcing plays back inside in the first half but stepped it up in the second and started attacking the bubbles better. He wasn’t credited with any tackles, but he probably could have had one that Klein cleaned up, FWIW. One might look a lot better on the stat sheet than zero.

Orhian Johnson made a nice tackle on a screen pass that could have been a bigger play on the same drive Klein snuffed out with his interception, but Johnson still does not really wow you in anything he does. He is not a liability, but he doesn’t come up and make a lot of plays despite being in the box a lot. I’m just not sure he recognizes things very quickly as they are happening. Nonetheless, I had him down for only a couple of bad plays, and he did a good job of avoiding blocks when he had to. More positive than negative.

Christian Bryant did not make an impact until late, but as usual, he was noticeable. He allowed Page’s catch to convert a fourth-and-long on the final drive, but otherwise the plan to bring him in at the end to shadow the Toledo star worked pretty well. He also came up twice to stop screens before they could get started. I still want to see more of what he can do.

Barnett had a good day patrolling the last line of defense. He broke up a couple of deep balls still looks like the biggest playmaker of the four starters back there.

Overall, I still view this game as a perfect storm of circumstances. Hankins said the Buckeyes knew what the Rockets wanted to do, but they were surprised at how well the visitors ran their stuff. That is an indication of a good team, and perhaps a bit of a reminder that Ohio State was not completely dialed in.

The only people who should have become alarmed by this game are those who expect this team to blow through the schedule undefeated. It comes as no surprise that there are many things these young Buckeyes need to do to get better, especially with Nathan Williams and Travis Howard unavailable on defense or Jordan Hall on offense. Williams was replaced by a redshirt freshman while the other two had sophomores starting in their place. There are going to be some growing pains.

Howard and Hall are due back this week and should provide a noticeable lift for a team that needs explosive plays on both sides of the ball to go down to Miami and come out with a win.

Living and Living Well

The first two weeks of the Ohio State football season served as a reminder there’s a difference between living and living well, as George Strait told us so many years ago. But when all is said and done, all that matters is getting the win in the absurdly zero-sum world of college football. There is always next week to worry about what you did wrong, and the Buckeyes will need to do just that before heading to Miami (Fla.) for a Saturday night showdown.

What we learned last week: I think a variety of things caught up with Ohio State when the Buckeyes took on Toledo last week.

Although none of the players would say it in the post-game interview room, attrition surely was a factor in the too-close-for-comfort 27-22 win over the Rockets.

Some of those missing pieces were, well, missed at various times. That’s especially true on defense, where eight starters from last season were missing once Nathan Williams was declared out for the game. The No. 1 replacement at cornerback was out as well.

Yet I think the defense was not bad overall outside of a couple of big plays on the two Toledo touchdown drives. Eric Page and Adonis Thomas accounted for 1/3rd of the Rockets’ yards on two plays.

I saw three overriding problems: The offensive line didn’t sustain a lot of blocks, the defensive back seven didn’t come off enough blocks and the quarterback couldn’t figure out when to go for the big play. The alternative of the latter could be far worse, but let’s leave that one aside for now.

The first two should be fixable and may have been temporary lapses anyway. I don’t want to get in the habit of making excuses, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some there was some kind of an emotional letdown last week. It’s only natural.

Blocking, tackling and defeating blocks can all be greatly affected by effort and emotion, and I thought all week leading up to the Toledo game the Buckeyes were primed for a letdown. It wasn’t the opener. It wasn’t Miami, and it wasn’t a Big Ten team. Oh, and by the way, spending a night watching the Hurricanes on national TV before they even had to start thinking critically about Toledo probably did not help focus during the week.

The Buckeyes didn’t look flat, per se, but they certainly weren’t as sharp as a week before when an entire offseason’s worth of emotions were unleashed on an Akron team that is almost certainly one of the worst in the country.

What does that mean? Well it means this young group needs to grow up and cut it out if they want to have the type of season Ohio State is used to. While that’s certainly possible, now we all have a better idea of what kind of abyss could await if the team doesn’t mind its Ps and Qs. This team is talented but not so much so that it can just roll the helmets out there and daydream about September trips to Florida, which is where they will be headed at bowl season, too, if they continue to block and tackle like they did against the Rockets.

Learning experiences are a part of life and football, and the best thing to do with these wishy-washy September games is be thankful when they go down in the ‘W’ column and move on with the idea some of the things done wrong can’t become habit before more serious things are on the line.

What we can expect to learn this week: Maybe we’ll find out what the Ohio State coaches think their offense does well.

After watching the game plan against Toledo unfold, we can safely conclude Jim Tressel was not solely at fault for crafting game plans more focused on the opponent than the Buckeyes.

I found it strange they seemed so insistent upon running laterally with those end-arounds and tosses against a smaller defense. I was impressed with the way the Toledo linebackers recognized plays and pursued, but I think Ohio State played into their hands to a certain extent considering their available and healthy running backs are more battering rams than ballerinas. And when the Buckeyes did try to get powerful, they relied too much on the “power” play (a.k.a. “Dave”) as opposed to the isos and lead zones that worked so well against the Zips. Both Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith (who again looked tentative and uncomfortable when he got the ball) are big, shifty backs who look better suited to read a block and run to daylight than to wait for the power play to develop with the pulling guard getting to the hole to blow it open.

Toledo sometimes put an extra defender in the box, but that did not look like the biggest reason the running game struggled. It seemed to have more to do with the Rockets quick front beating the blockers to a spot and mucking things up while at the same time Hyde and Smith were getting started without much of a head of steam. Some members of the offensive line looked to be on different pages a few times as well.

I think the isos and lead plays (of which there were a few but not enough) better lend themselves to play action, too. Joe Bauserman’s fakes were nothing to write home about throughout the day against Toledo, but he’s going to need to affect some eyeballs downfield this week against a far more physically gifted Miami defense.

I guess we’ll also find out what types of pass plays he can execute. Toledo played a lot of coverage and took away a lot of the throws Bauserman was hitting with ease and confidence in the opener. Could his week one success have been a result of simply taking advantage of bad defense? That may well be the case. It’s better to be too safe than too reckless, but a good offense needs a quarterback who knows how to toe that line. It’s really the No. 1 thing that separates the wheat from the chaff, and through four years of open practices and scrimmages, I have never been convinced Bauserman can make those types of decisions in a positive way over the long haul. He has the arm strength to fit the ball into tight places but his inconsistent release hurts his accuracy and reduces the margin for error. If he’s going to airmail a couple or more every week, he really has to know when to hold’em and when to fold’em or the big jackpot hands will be too few and far between. In that case, the Buckeyes will scratch for points against even average defenses.

All-Buckeye Beater Nominees: Eric Page is, of course, a given. He accounted for 14 points, not only catching a pair of touchdown passes but also throwing for a two-point conversion on a play the Buckeyes had covered initially but he kept alive until a teammate was able to get open.
Running back Adonis Thomas (158 yards from scrimmage, one TD) will garner some consideration when it comes time to pick the players who played the Buckeyes toughest, and John Morookian stood out on the offensive line.

Defensively I was most impressed with linemen Malcolm Riley and Johnathan Lamb, linebackers Terrell Anderson and Charles Rancifer and of course cornerback Taikwon Paige. Riley and Lamb were the most disruptive inside while Anderson and Rancifer ran well and wrapped up the Buckeye running backs. Paige broke up three passes, including one on a perfect throw by Bauserman that would have been a touchdown to Verlon Reed. Paige is a bit undersized but looks like a future pro.

DVR Directions: For scouting purposes, you’ll want to record Colorado at Colorado State at 3:30 p.m. if you get the appropriate Fox Sports Net affilaite. At the same time, the best game to watch live figures to be Michigan State at Notre Dame on NBC, where Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins figures to light up a battered and broken Fighting Irish secondary. Those games have a history of being highly entertaining regardless of the quality of the teams. Warm up at noon by flipping back and forth between Penn State-Temple (ESPN2) and Pittsburgh-Iowa (ESPN).

Cus Words Big Ten Power Poll (last week): 

  • 1. Nebraska (1): Blackshirts gave up 444 yards; Martinez 345 yards, big play when team needed it despite some inconsistency.
  • 2. Wisconsin (same): Another efficient day for QB Russell Wilson and the ground game, but how about a real opponent one of these days?
  • 3. Michigan State (4): Made 27 first downs and allowed 1 against Florida Atlantic. Outgained Owls 434-48. When 44-0 score is third-most impressive number, you’ve done something right.
  • 4. Ohio State (3): Youngsters going to have to grow up quickly.
  • 5. Northwestern (7): Another good performance from fill-in QB Kain Colter for ‘Cats.
  • 6. Michigan (8): Could go undefeated if every team left on schedule chokes like Notre Dame.
  • 7. Illinois (9): It was only South Dakota State, but Fighting Illini piled 519 yards, allowed 96.
  • 8. Iowa (5): Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Hawkeyes give up fourth quarter lead, eventually lose.
  • 9. Penn State (6): Potentially respectable defense but quarterback is a black hole. Jones/McGloin combined 12 for 39, averaged 3.7 yards per attempt against Alabama.
  • 10. Purdue (same) Has to be the first team ever to have first two games decided by blocked field goals.
  • 11. Minnesota (same): Two-man show on offense impressive but not enough for Gophers.
  • 12. Indiana (same) I guess losing by three to a bad BCS conference team beats losing to Ball State on a neutral field

Overheard at Ohio State Football: Toledo Week

Cleaning out my reporter’s notebook after another week on the beat… 


The head coach of the Buckeyes was happy only a couple of guys ended up cramping badly during the win over Akron. Meanwhile, almost 100 people had to be escorted out of the stadium with heat-related problems.

The offense played 79 snaps while the defense had only 49.

He said he was happy to turn on the film and find guys still battling in the fourth quarter. That was what he felt best about coming out of the game.

Both quarterbacks played well not just in the obvious ways people could see – completions, TDs, etc. – but also little things like decisions and demeanor and sideline presence. He liked their competitiveness and leadership and said Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller can expect a similar rotation to what they found last week.

Asked about how the various guys filling in for suspended players performed, he said quite well. He was especially happy with how the tailbacks stepped up with only two – Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith – available.

Fickell saw Toledo head coach Tim Beckman – who was on the Ohio State staff with him as cornerbacks coach in 2006 and ’07 – when he was helping with the Buckeyes’ summer football camps but hasn’t done a very good job of keeping up with him.

Asked if he has evaluated his own performance Saturday, Fickell said not really. He realized he needed to be careful how he balanced his involvement with the defense and keeping tab on what is happening offensively. He made some adjustments at times defensively and was part of the playcalling on defense while making sure he listened to what was being called offensively. He will work on trusting others to do their jobs.

He was glad they could get the freshmen some playing time because that shows them the coaches have confidence in their ability to perform. That’s a big thing for a young guy’s piece of mind.

He was happy with how Hyde and Smith played last week, although Smith must tighten up his ball security. Fickell will make sure they all continue to understand they need to master every task of playing the position, not just running the ball.

In terms of things his team can improve moving forward, Fickell identified tackling, takeaways and many technical things. He wants to see better pass rush as well. The effort was what he was looking for overall from the team.

He got lots of congratulatory messages after the game, and director of athletics Gene Smith gave him the game ball, but Fickell wanted to make sure everything continued to be about the players on the team and their efforts.

The players will be aware of Toledo’s status as a giant killer in the past, and they’ll know the Rockets have a good team that includes a dangerous receiver and kick returner in Eric Page. Fickell does not expect the Rockets to be in awe because a lot of them faced Ohio State two years ago. Toledo’s offense does a great job of keeping people honest, and it has more playmakers and a better offensive line than the typical MAC team.

Fickell said he didn’t watch any of Miami’s loss to Maryland on Monday night, but he did hear from one of the other coaches that someone was wearing “wild uniforms”.

He saw what he expected from Bauserman in terms of confidence and demeanor. Miller did a good job and handled the adversity he faced early in a way that made the coach feel good. Miller didn’t get made about the bad snap or the dropped pass or missing his chance for his second series to come in the second quarter because of when the Buckeyes got the ball back. Bauserman is still one of the guys despite being fairly older than all of them, but he might be the only one who owns his own house.

Someone asked him about the postgame exchange with Akron head coach Rob Ianello that supposedly became a bit heated, but Fickell downplayed it.

He was happy his guys heeded his edict to play hard for four quarters and ignore the score (implying that might have something to do with what could have set off Ianello).


Safety C.J. Barnett wasn’t surprised to see the guys filling in for suspended players play well because Ohio State only recruits good players. They got a chance to prove that.

Toledo is really good and has two good quarterbacks. They like to utilize the quick passing game, and OSU will need to be fundamentally sound. Tackling in space will be important. He knew Toledo beat Michigan a few years ago but wasn’t aware of much of the rest of their history of beating BCS conference teams.

His knee felt fine Saturday, and he even said he feels faster now than before he was hurt. Someone said, “Really?” and he said, “They hooked me up, man,” and everyone laughed.

He pointed out a lot of teams quick-pass them anyway to avoid their defensive line.

He was asked if Christian Bryant and Orhian Johnson were rotating at safety against Akron and said he thought that was the case.

Dominic Clarke also makes those plays in practice, so he wasn’t surprised to see him do it in the games.

Right tackle J.B. Shugarts was already aware of Toledo’s history of success against BCS schools.

He expects an active defensive front from the Rockets, who love to blitz and stunt and twist. They might blitz more than any other team they see this year. On the bright side, Mike Brewster is maybe the best center in the country at recognizing blitzes and making adjustments.

He disputed the idea this is a trap game with Miami coming up next. They know they can’t sleep on Toledo. He did watch Miami on Monday night and saw some good things. He thought they had some younger guys working hard to step up in a tough situation.

Jordan Hall is a great player who is explosive and makes great cuts in the open field.

Linebacker Etienne Sabino played with a pad and a wrap on his broken hand and figures to do that for a few more weeks. He didn’t notice it other than it makes it hard to catch.

The Buckeyes are closer than anyone can understand and they can deal with them.

Both Toledo quarterbacks are dual-threat type guys.

He doesn’t think they will overlook Toledo with Miami on the horizon. He’s been getting grief from Hurricane fans about going to Ohio State ever since he committed back in high school.

The young linebackers played great against Akron last week with Ryan Shazier making plays on defense and Curtis Grant wreaking havoc on kickoffs. He personally had a good game but there is always room for improvement.

The Rockets play at a fast pace and won’t be intimidated. They also have a wildcat formation.

Fickell seemed the same on game day as he did when he was linebackers coach. He was pretty laidback and told them they win with their preparation during the week. Saturday is just the time to let it all out.

He split time about evenly with Storm Klein at MLB. He’s not worried about where he plays as long as he is playing.

Nathan Williams played some Sam linebacker and that fits him well because he is a playmaker and just a natural football player. He could succeed at a variety of positions.

Left guard Jack Mewhort said the team is equally ready to follow both quarterbacks, Bauserman and Miller. They trust the staff to pick the right guy to be back there. Bauserman has stepped up his leadership this year and has a great attitude.


Running backs coach and special teams coordinator Dick Tressel said Jordan Hall will be available Saturday but Hyde will start the game. Hyde earned that with his performance against Akron and his work in practice.

Tressel expects Hall to play well once he gets his chance, but he is excited about what he saw from Hyde and Smith last week. They maintained their focus beyond their years.

He was impressed with the effort on special teams. They weren’t perfect, but the established a good starting point for the rest of the season.

Kick coverage has a big challenge this week in Page, who has a good feel for space and knows how to set up blocks. He can break tackles, too.

Nate Ebner brings a real joy to the field. He loves playing special teams, and you can tell by the neckroll he wears that he really wants to hit somebody whenever he’s out there. He’s a war daddy.

Jaamal Berry’s hamstring is 100 percent healthy, but they had to work this week on getting him game ready getting him as many reps as they can both with the offense and special teams. Fickell said the next day he should play.

All of the running backs worked hard in the offseason as if they were going to play. No one worked kind of hard with their eye on contributing just down the road, so that leaves them in a good position now.

Rod Smith turned it loose a couple of times against Akron. He is an excitable guy, and he has another level he could reach. Both Smith and Hyde did well on their assignments against the Zips. Hyde was 100 percent in pass pro and Smith was almost perfect as well.

Smith changed his number from 24 to 2 because they wanted him to cover kicks but 24 is the number Drew Basil wears. They gave him a choice of a few numbers, and 2 is what Smith picked.

Cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson said all of the corners are getting reps this week and will be needed with pass-happy Toledo on the horizon.

He is not sure who will start, but Dominic Clarke and Bradley Roby both played well enough last week to maintain their spots in the starting lineup even with Travis Howard back from suspension. They look at a lot of passes going in the air as a lot of chances to make plays. Tackling and discipline will be important this week.

Page is good because his confidence is through the roof.

Johnson figures his guys should all be on alert for attack because they are all young and/or inexperienced. He pointed out even older guys get attacked sometimes, too, such as Malcolm Jenkins… at least until teams figure out they shouldn’t do that.

Howard has had a great attitude since he got in trouble last week and since he returned.

Roby just barely edged Clarke for the starting spot in fall camp but there was not one particular thing that stood out between them.

Johnson talked to Beckman after Johnson agreed to take his current position, which Beckman vacated to become defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. Johnson wanted to get to know more about the guys he would be coaching, and he considers Beckman a friend. They also coached against each other when they were at other MAC schools.

He expects Toledo to change personnel some and put the Buckeyes in their base defense at times. Plus, OSU will want to change up looks against them so they can’t get too comfortable, either. He doesn’t see much difference between the two Rocket quarterbacks. The team seems to believe in both of them.

Doran Grant worked his way into the depth chart by learning the system and showing he had the maturity to handle all the things they threw at him. Plus, he’s obviously talented or he wouldn’t have had all those scholarship offers.