Thursday, August 25, 2011


While discussing the defensive backfield section of yesterday's blog this morning (8/25) with a great Buckeye friend Alonzo Foreman (@ZoForeman on twitter) we were advised by the Ozone's Tony Gerdeman (@GerdOzone on twitter) that Dionte Allen is 5th currently on the 2 deep at corner. Thanks to both guys for bringing this to my attention! Sorry for the mistake on my part!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Been a long time coming...

Well Buckeye Nation, we are finally on the lip of the cup ready to drop it in, ten days away from kickoff 2011. It's been a long off-season, to say a lot has happened is selling it short by a mile. But we've persevered, we plowed through and have came out on the other side ready to get this party started in The Shoe next Saturday vs Akron.

There's no need to recap the off-season. All of you were there. You all sat through it, you read about it and were told horrible stories that were just that, stories. So, I'll wrap up our "summer of discontent" briefly and move on. One word from me to sum up Labor Day until now? Tough. It was tough to go through. It was tough to watch cable sports programs and in one case an entire network. It was tough to read sports websites. We found out that some of these alleged sports sites are merely "TMZ for the sports fan".

Something else that is tough? These players on this team and their resiliency. Any one of them could have jumped ship (pass a nasty glance toward Kyle Kalis) and transferred or quit. Very few did. And the ones that are gone, we may very well find out that we're better for it.

And lastly, to my friends at the worldwide leader, aka the mother-ship, aka the sporting worlds FOX News, but better known as ESPN, tough! Guess what? We're here and we aren't going anywhere! As much as you may have wanted to smear us, turn everyone against us, ruin the reputations of great men and twist the arms of some of our favorite alumni and force us to have issues with them, Buckeye Nation still stands tall. This Buckeye thing is bigger than any one player or any one coach... or any one network.

PS: Good luck setting up that pop tent for Gameday behind St. John Arena, and I'd get a thicker/stronger net to surround the on stage "talent".


So now that we're ten days out, what about actual football? There's a few brewing stories and players I'm very interested in following over the next week and a half and into the beginning of the season.

Who will be the starting quarterback? We've debated on this site, discussed on the twitter machine, everyone has a different opinion. Consensus from us fans, at least in the responses I receive, are that everyone expects Joe Bauserman to start with Braxton Miller seeing spot duty when the coaches feel comfortable throwing him in. To be honest, that sounds like a pretty solid plan to me. Unless Luke shocks us and comes out early next week and says "Braxton (or Kenny or Taylor) really came out and knocked our socks off and won this competition to be our starting quarterback", I'd expect Joe behind center on play one September 3rd. Though it's not out of the realm of possibility, if one of these guys were clearly standing above the other three, someone in our local Columbus media or the various websites that cover the team would have picked up on it and written about it. So far that hasn't happened.

Something interesting I read from LeCharles Bentley on twitter today (@LeCharlesBent65) about 6'-3" 280lb freshman defensive tackle Michael Bennett from Centerville: "Michael Bennett has the potential to be one of the best int D Linemen to play at osu. What he brings to the table..not ever seen at osu" and later says, when asked if Bennett was in the category of former LSU star Glenn Dorsey "I'll say this,kids like Mike Bennett choose the SEC-BIG12 will raise hell n BIG10". That's pretty high praise from a guy who knows a thing or two about interior line play at every level of the sport. If you're wondering what he means, especially with the SEC-BIG12 comment, it's that Bennett has the rare combination of size, feet, speed and strength to dominate the interior of the defensive line. He can command a double team in the middle and beat it, or he can drive center straight into a quarterback at the snap of the ball. Check out some highlights of Glenn Dorsey in his LSU days, John Henderson at Tennessee or Richard Seymour at Georgia. More recently look at Nick Fairly at Auburn and Marcel Dareus at Alabama. They're freaks of nature, almost like 'linebackers that are too big to play linebacker but probably could in a pinch' they're that special of an athlete with massive size and speed to support it. This is high praise for Mr. Bennett and should put a smile on the faces of Buckeye fans across the country. If Bennett turns out to be this good, losing out on Jadeveon Clowney will be a long, distant, forgotten memory.

I think the Buckeyes are absolutely loaded in the secondary, and that's good news considering how thin things got in the second half of the Sugar Bowl that didn't happen this past January. Travis Howard and Dionte Allen (transferred in from Florida State) are being reported to having lockdown-type potential, and Doran Grant (true freshman from St.V&M in Akron... yes, the same St. V&M that King Nothing the quitter made famous) is chasing them down and playing well behind them. Ohrian Johnson is back. So is CJ Barnett, who was becoming a force prior to his season ending injury in the Miami game last year. Christian Bryant has a full year of experience, so does Corey Brown. Nate Ebner and Donnie Evege provide senior backups with some under fire playing experience on their resume. The back end of the Silver Bullets is loaded.

Etienne Sabino broke his hand but is expected to be ready for the opener. I asked the Ozone's Tony Gerdeman if this opened the door at all for highly touted freshman middle linebacker Curtis Grant to step into the role. In typical Gerd fashion, he eloquently replied "no". So while Grant may not, in Gerd's opinion, be in the starting eleven, expect him on the field. A lot. several reporters at practice have commented in the articles how Mike Vrabel is taking extra working with Grant, almost like he is his own project to mold. That can't be a bad thing.

Folks, we made it. Rejoice. Smell the air, fall is coming. The nights will be getting colder, the days less humid and soon that breezy fall chill will be in the air making you feel ready to get out the Halloween decorations. It's that time, football time in Ohio!

Metallica track of the week
I've been listening to the black album a lot recently, mostly in celebration of it's 20 year anniversary on this past August 12th. So our track of the week is "Wherever I May Roam", perhaps one of the more under appreciated cuts on the album. And the road becomes my bride... carved upon my stone "my body lie, but still I roam!"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Well paint me purple and gold...

Never thought we’d say this, but thanks to Les Miles and LSU! Yesterday in a ruling that nobody knew was coming on violations that nobody knew occurred deemed LSU worthy of one year probation and a loss of two scholarships. What did they do? It’ll sound familiar...

Here’s the skinny: ex-assistant coach D.J. McCarthy improperly arranged for transportation and housing for former defensive lineman Akiem Hicks in 2009, then later tried to cover up those actions. McCarthy resigned in December 09, Hicks never played a down for the Tigers. Guess what violation LSU was charged with? If you said 10.1, you’re a winner!

Does 10.1 sound familiar? It should, that’s what Ohio State is charged with in the Tressel email-tattoo violations. Let me correct that. Ohio State is charged with one count of violating rule 10.1 while LSU was charged with violating it twice in the McCarthy-Hicks saga. The NCAA committee on infractions labeled the violations “major” and a coach lost his job. Any of this sounding remotely familiar? (please catch my sarcasm, I know you know what I’m talking about).

LSU imposed self sanctions, as Ohio State did. Their self imposed penalties are a reduction of two scholarships for 2010-11 academic year, 10% reduction in official recruiting visits and calls, and one year probation. No vacated games. No bowl games that now supposedly didn’t happen. No forfeiting of conference championships. And these terms, for all intents and purposes, were accepted by the NCAA, who only added that the 10% recruiting reductions have the 2011-12 academic year added to it. I’m sure Les Miles was very upset by that...

What played the biggest part in LSU escaping any major penalties was their compliance and self reporting. This is something that, as mentioned last week, USC fans and Ohio State haters don’t seem to be able to wrap their heads around. When you self report, turn yourself in, provide all the information asked along with your own findings, assist the NCAA in their investigation, cooperate in general, they have a lot more leniency toward the situation and realize that you’re admitting fault and trying to work towards fixing the problem and eliminating it in the future. NCAA Committee on Infractions chairman Dennis Thomas stated "The committee really felt that the LSU compliance staff and institution did an excellent job, and that they assisted the (NCAA) enforcement staff in the investigation regarding these violations. That was critical. If that had not been done, the institution could have really been under more severe and serious penalties as well." Ohio State has been just as compliant from day one.

Ok, so what did LSU really do? That’s the question that keeps being thrown at me. Like their violations were petty compared to scandalous Ohio State and their prostitution ring and drug cartel. LSU was found have made 3,600 recruiting calls from three “noncoaching” staff members. Can’t do that. McCarthy was found to have improperly arranged a visit for Hicks, paid for his transportation, and then later tried to cover it up.

Cut away the fat on whether you decide in your opinion that trading memorabilia for tattoo’s is worse or better morally than a coach paying for a recruit’s visit. Remove the action and the cover up remains in both cases, thus violating article 10.1. Both coaches lost their jobs, and I would say that Jim Tressel’s departure from Ohio State will have much more of a negative impact than McCarthy leaving LSU. Both cases saw the Athletic Department offices and compliance offices do everything in their power to make it right and assist the NCAA once the cover up by the individuals was revealed. and let’s not forget, LSU was found to have violated the dreaded 10.1 twice. Tressel and Ohio State only once.

When you remove the action it’s as simples as a “major” violation is a “major” violation and violating article 10.1 is violating 10.1. The self imposed penalties Ohio State put on itself certainly reflect the magnitude of their situation and the involvement of a lot more than just one player. But taken into context with what we have just seen in Baton Rouge, I think they seem more than fair.

Where are the hounds?

My biggest question regarding the LSU situation: Who knew? Because the national media didn’t pick up on this story until the ruling was released... yesterday. Yes, we heard about the coach getting fired (or resigning) and that LSU had committed some sort of violation and that they’d eventually have to go the principals office. However, where were the Yahoo’s and ESPN’s of the world to crush LSU when they receive their letter of investigation? It was never reported, by anyone, when they received their letter of allegations citing violation of article 10.1. We were made to believe that a violation of article 10.1 could result in the death penalty it was so severe. Yet LSU gets handed two allegations of the same violation and nobody even bothers to report on it? Where is ESPN’s lawsuit with LSU demanding more information and emails?

I wrote this on twitter (@ScriptOhio) yesterday, and I’ll say it again here: Buckeye fans should be outraged! Of course, if you listen to LeCharles Bentley’s comments on WKNR last week, you know what this is all about and why it is what it is.

To summarize: LeCharles Bentley was doing his spot on WKNR when he told the story of ESPN and the Big Ten. Short version, in 2004 ESPN top executives approached Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney about working out a new tv deal that would tie the Big Ten to ESPN for a long long time. Apparently, according to LeCharles, ESPN decided to lowball Delaney. When Delaney told ESPN that if they didn’t offer a better deal, one more commensurate with that if the other conferences (namely the SEC) and ESPN, he would start his own network and ESPN would rue the day. They called his bluff and in 2006 the announcement came that their would be a new Big Ten television network, what we all know now as the Big Ten Network. Oh, and it’s partnered with FOX, something ESPN really had to not be happy about. (Nice shot Jim!)

Even more upsetting to ESPN, it’s successful and turning a profit. Naturally, when you have a rival, what do you do? You go after it’s biggest asset (in this case Ohio State) and you try and destroy it. You rip apart the Big Ten’s top dog and devalue the product. All those negative reports on ESPN, senseless investigating, reporters calling former players and asking if they wanted to talk about “you now, anything” the all-out smear campaign ESPN analysts have put on Ohio State since this whole tattoo situation started, is it starting to make a lot more sense now? I would kill to be a fly on the wall when negotiations for a new Big Ten tv contract with ESPN/ABC come up at the expiration of the current deal in 2016. Things may be a little tense at the tables!

Maybe move on?

Don’t the Big Ten and ESPN need each other? Not really. Let me explain. According estimates based on the current deals with the SEC and PAC-12, the Big Ten deal with ESPN in 2016 would range anywhere from 8-10 billion dollars. That is a lot of money for ESPN to be losing out on, as clearly they feel they’d make double that in profit or they wouldn’t offer it. But now that deal, and possibly any major deal, with the network and the Big Ten could be in jeopardy. The Big Ten Network is turning a profit. It’s getting into the right homes and the conference has just added Nebraska which expands strong interest to the St. Louis market all the way west to potentially as far as Colorado and Wyoming. In short, it works. FOX Sports has already outbid “the worldwide leader” for the rights to the Big Ten title game and the PAC-12 title game. The significance in that winning bid is that it shows FOX is willing to spend money to cut into ESPN’s chokehold in the lucrative college football money market. You don’t think ESPN put all its cards on the table to get those two championship games, especially after just signing a new deal with the PAC-12? You bet it they did! And they lost!

Back to the whole “need” thing. I think the Big Ten can survive without a major deal with ESPN. Thinking out loud and outside what some may see as possible, but really follow me here, what if Delaney brings the Big Ten to FOX in five years? What’s to stop them from signing a deal that would put the Big Ten on FOX nationally every Saturday afternoon and prime time? Couldn’t you see a FOX “Big Ten game of the week” at 8 after regional matchups at 3:30 or noon? FOX also has the Fox Sports Net affiliates to broadcast regional games so that the people in southern Indiana can see the Hoosiers take on Illinois on their FSN affiliate while the national broadcast shows Michigan v Penn State. And don’t forget the Big Ten Network, which is part owned by FOX. This now puts real games on the BTN in prime slots. We could a Saturday prime time lineup featuring Ohio State v Wisconsin on FOX national and Nebraska v Michigan State on the BTN both at 8:00.

As for the “mother ship” over in Bristol, they’ll be fine. They’ll just dump more money into the SEC, PAC-12 and their new University of Texas Network. They’ll continue to slam Ohio State when they can and likely even when it’s not warranted.

The bigger question may be, with all the laughing and finger pointing being done our conference rivals (I’m talking to you scUM) how will they respond when they reach a level of success and ESPN comes after them? Because if you think this thing exclusively applies to Ohio State, oh fan of the stinky fanged rat, you are gravely mistaken! go ahead and win a Big Ten title or two, get into some BCS games regularly and watch the hounds at ESPN start invading your campus digging for anything they can find. You’re no exception. Nobody in the Big Ten should let their guard down to ESPN. They want to ruin Ohio State first, but they’ll take you as soon as they can get it.

Metallica track of the week
"Orion" no lyrics neccessary, just pure power and melody. If you've never listened to this masterpiece, you truly don't know what you're missing!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Who says you can't go home?

Friday morning The Ohio State University athletic department released copies of its response to NCAA allegations brought forth in March of this year. Self imposed sanctions were put into place as a means to punish the football program for the violations they truly were guilty of in the investigation. The response also brought to light the culmination of an interesting "behind the scenes" discussion answering the question was Jim Tressel pressured to resign or did he do it on his own free-will? As it would be revealed, he indeed was asked to step down.

Many believe Tressel should still be in place acting as head coach of the program. Others feel he should not have been given the opportunity to resign (or as it turns out, he actually retired from the head coaching position) rather he should have been ceremoniously fired and then immediately tarred and feathered in his front yard and drug through the streets of Upper Arlington right to Bruce Hooley's front door where... Sorry, I got a little carried away! Where was I? Tressel retired, that's it... Look, I'm not saying Tressel did the right thing as it pertains to the emails and the tattoo shop on goings. He should have reported what was happening immediately and sat those players the first five games of 2010. That would have been the right thing to do. As a matter of fact, forget about it being right, it was his responsibility. Nobody with an ounce of common sense denies that fact. But you can understand why he didn't it, just look at 2010's 12-1 record for proof. With those guys on the field, short of an ambush they should have been better prepared for in Madison, this team would have been unbeaten. And Tressel knew what he had. Ultimately, not forwarding those emails to Gene Smith and suspending those players immediately would be his undoing.

However you stand on the morality of the reporting of the emails issue, you can't deny that Jim Tressel fell on the sword for Ohio State's football program in the form of the response letter. When you read it, you can almost see Gene Smith standing next to Tressel with his arm extended and finger pointed directly at him, jumping up and down like the kid on the playground at recess who couldn't wait to tell the teacher exactly whom it was that slipped and said the "s word" when he fell and skinned his knee (damn you Scott Blakely!) on the blacktop. Gene was none too upset about pinning everything on JT, though he did his best to make it look like it. And for the most part he did it rightfully so. But where was his own accountability? Instead of saying "I wish he'd have told me" why didn't he go find out? How is someone in that position in charge of this football program at this university not watching Tressel and the players like a hawk? I understand basketball is a big sport at Ohio State. The kids who do the balance beam are important too. But Gene, this school, this state revolves around THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL PROGRAM.

Enough about Gene and Jim, let's talk sanctions

The athletic department imposed its own punishment in the vacating of all wins in 2010, the 2011 Sugar Bowl victory, two years of probation and the forcing out/firing of a legendary head coach. Given what went on, the facts, losing a coach like Tressel on top of the penalty is pretty harsh stuff. Yes, I said it, it's a pretty harsh penalty, but fitting.

The 2010 wins had to be vacated, they played what would have been ineligible players in said games. Despite everyone being cleared to play by the NCAA, they threw in vacating the Sugar Bowl for good measure. They also put the athletic department, now mind you this is the entire athletic department, not just the football program, on two years of probation. So if that dude mentioned above who excels at the balance beam gets out of line, they all get whacked!

Naturally, the national media was appalled and threw a fit at the response. "Who does Ohio State think they are?!" I read "Nice try Ohio State, but you've got a real whopper coming!" And my favorite "The audacity of this program!" I'll be the first to admit, we may see scholarship reductions for the next three years. I don't know why, maybe the history of these type rulings in cases like Ohio State's that I've been reading on websites from writers like Tony Gerdemann at The O-Zone and Doug Lesmerises of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, I think we'll see a scholarship reduction. If for no other reason, so the NCAA can play the bully and add something on. Probably another year of probation as well. However, I feel it's highly unlikely, we still may see a one year bowl ban for the 2011 season. But folks, that's it. I'm sorry Joe Schad. Tough luck Bruce Hooley. I feel for you Sports By Brooks. But unfortunately for all of you, that's the max it will be.

For some reason that I can't seem to figure out, all these pundits want to point at USC as the example of how our punishment should be brought down. What's sad is that if these guys did their jobs and read the NCAA allegations, if they read Ohio State's response and then look solely at the facts, they'd understand that the USC case is not even remotely comparable to what went on at Ohio State.

At USC you had a player receiving cash, cars and his family a house from boosters. That was proven as fact. At Ohio State you had players trading memorabilia for tattoo's, that was fact. The cars they were accused of getting "deals" on were proved to be all legit. You had a coach who turned a blind eye to the whole thing, never admitting what he truly knew or didn't know, and then escaped to the NFL without even attending the hearing. He wasn't forced out or fired, he quit and ran. And the biggest difference, USC fought their allegations tooth and nail, kicking and screaming the whole way. Ohio State self reported and has been apologetic and admitted their mistakes from the start. Self reporting is a big factor in the NCAA's eyes.

So when USC gets hammered with two years of no bowl games and x amount of scholarships lost per year and everything else that was dropped on them like a lead balloon, it's pretty deserving. Ohio State? Not so much. Make sure and set your dvr the day the NCAA announces its punishment based on the August 12th hearing. That will be must see tv when the national media folks heads achieve full combustion live on the air!

Kyle Kalis

Certainly you've heard the name Kyle Kalis recently. He is the top 20 nationally ranked offensive tackle from Lakewood St. Ed's who de-committed from Ohio State and then this past Sunday announced he had been hooked by Flounder (Brady Hoke, keep up with my nicknames!)and was going to take his talents to Ann Arbor next fall. You know what? Good for him. Enjoy life in the suck.

Here's what really angers me about Kalis and some of it isn't even his fault: recruiting services and magazines attacking this kid (and any other top rated recruits) with advice about what they should and shouldn't be doing. He should be worried about homecoming and getting ready for double sessions in August, instead he has "Joe Writer" from "Recruting Bedazzler America" website and magazine on his porch and blowing up his phone 24 hours a day. The fact is, he's a 17 year old kid in high school who's the big man on campus. He's getting more phone calls nightly than you can even begin to imagine from coaches, he doesn't need recruiting services trying to get scoop and filling his head with nonsense. So when Kyle Kalis announces back in April that he is staying with his commitment to Ohio State after talking with Luke Fickell, then announces he is re-opening his recruitment, then finally submits to the dark side and Darth Flounder, more or less it's really not his fault. I wouldn't be surprised if he changed his mind again and said he was going to Notre Lame.

What is his fault is the double talk. Don't say that you're re-opening your recruitment when things look bad and blame it on the uncertainty of things in Columbus, then two days after Ohio State responds to the NCAA allegations by imposing sanctions that will have no bearing on you and your time in Columbus, decide you want to go to Michigan because "I shouldn't be punished for something I had no part of." That's true, you shouldn't. And if you had stuck to your word that you would wait until after the NCAA made it's ruling (oh yeah big boy, I read that little column in Sporting News!) since signing day isn't until February anyways, you just may have found that the NCAA ruling had no impact on you as well.

Mike Vrabel

Maybe the worst kept secret of the past few weeks was finally announced officially today when former Buckeye defensive end and 3X Super Bowl winner Mike Vrabel was made linebackers coach at Ohio State. I don't know what kind of teacher he will be other than what I've heard from Bill Belichik and Teddy Brusci. Both stated that of all the players they coached and had as teammates, Vrabel was clearly the one to become a coach and be more than pretty good at it. That's high praise from some people who've reached pretty high places! The addition of Vrabel is a breath of fresh air on what has been a spring and summer the likes we will never forget, though we will try as hard as we can to remove the stain of this offseason as quickly as possible. Vrabel is the first step in the right direction toward becoming The once again.

Metallica track of the week
"Battery" Speed and thrash at its finest! "Smashing through the boundaries, lunacy has found me..."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

So, what are you going to do now?

When I was young, I took great pride in representing my city and school by participating in youth football. Playing on those teams in grade school was a great time and a valuable learning experience. Despite the wins and trophies, the thing my friends and I really looked forward to was getting into high school and being able to play for the varsity. We wore our game jersey's to school on Fridays, then to the game that night. It was foreshadowing, seeing all our coaches at the games watching players they coached at our age who had moved on to the "big time", knowing one day it'd be us they were watching. There is something really special about those Friday nights when you're at that age.

On the rarest of occasions, for various reasons that may come to me in my sleep one night but currently elude my memory, a few of us would get the honor of going into the varsity locker room. Seeing the red lockers, the shiny red helmets above them with all the battle scars nicked into the plastic. The smell of Sports Cream, tape, deodorant and sweat all blended into a beautiful aroma. It was quite a scene! And of course we would have to retell, in detail, to those who didn't get to go. Amidst the painted mascot pictures, championship years were the sayings on the walls. Ones like "WILDCAT POWER" or "STRENGTH OF STRUTHERS" and the ubiquitous "T.OGETHER E.VERYONE. A.CHIEVES M.ORE" Amongst them was one that stuck with me, and I used to ponder on my own during those times when kids daydream. Near the door leading up the steps to the field was painted "So, what are you going to do now?"

At first the saying was met with a bit of comedy amongst foolish kids. "So, what are you going to do now?" Well, I'm going to get the hell out of here before someone sees us and realizes we shouldn't be here! "So, what are you going to do now?" I don't know, maybe a snow cone or some Starburst, too many options.

Then one day, away from my friends, alone with my thoughts, out of the blue it hit me and I realized the purpose for its having been painted. Just blew out your cross town rivals? "So, what are you going to do now?" Down by 6 at halftime? "So, what are you going to do now?" Coach just crushed you for missing an assignment? "So, what are you going to do now?" It was there to keep the players grounded and motivated. To keep them never too high from the spoils of victory. Never too low from the agony of defeat. It was also a challenge. Especially since I always read it in Mick from Rocky's voice in my head. I was never more upset as it would pertain to interior design than when they painted the locker room after my sophomore year and covered up that slogan.

I realized yesterday that we are nearly an exact month away from from players reporting for fall camp and college football season to begin. If given the opportunity, amidst the spring/summer of turmoil in Columbus, upon their arrival at the Blackwell Hotel I'd ask one question to coach Luke Fickell and the Ohio State Buckeyes: So, what are you going to do now?

Now that what people say won't matter and you'll be judged on what happens between the white lines, what are you going to do now? Because the haters and doubters will have a picnic discussing your downfall and how far this program will sink, what are you going to do now?

As Buckeye fans, it's this test of resiliency that we are waiting for. It's, hopefully, the positive results of such test that will allow us to say "we're going to be just fine". And I think our boys are up to it. It repeats what I've said before, if you take highly skilled, near professional level athletes, coached by some of the most experienced and best in the business, spend 10 months discussing how their program is a sham and they are the laughing stock of the sport, it can only lead to a few results once the whistle blows. One result is a wilt and die approach. Take the criticism, take the problems that have happened since December of 2010 and use them as an excuse to allow failure. Some may also refer to that as "the easy way". Or, you can train harder, study longer, rally together as brothers and use those past indiscretions, add in all the negative energy from the doubters and prognosticators as a fuel to drive the machine and roll over anything in its path.

Hey coach, hey Buckeyes, "So, what are you going to do now?"


Naturally, one of the big topics this fall will be who the next head coach at Ohio State will be. I've thought of trying to put a list together, but for some reason I can't get past about four guys and have solid reasons why all of them will, but most likely won't, be the new head coach. So, I'm going to throw out a darkhorse candidate that I think you all should pay very close attention to (especially since my source on Oregon mentioned his name more than once in conversation). Follow along, we're going to go through this quick...

My four on the "wish list" are pretty obvious: Bob Stoops, Urban Meyer, John Gruden and Bo Pelini. We can sit here all night and discuss why one guy will or won't take the job, and that's another blog on another day. Who do I want the most? Stoops. Who do I think would drop everything he's doing at his current gig and take it in a heartbeat? Pelini. Who do I think is a darkhorse and not on the "wish list" but someone you better know the name of? Dan Mullen, head coach at Mississippi State.

Metallica track of the week

"Broken Beat and Scarred" Pretty blunt, show your scars. Be proud of who you are and where your from. Whether positive or negative, take control and use those experiences to your advantage. Like Papa Het says "WHAT DON'T KILL YA, MAKE YA MORE STRONG!"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Waste My Hate

I try to write from an objective point of view. I try to look at the facts, good or bad as they may be for my vested rooting interest, and make educated comments and provoke thoughts among my readers as to the who, what, where, when and why of such a situation occurred. I try to make you see my point of view, but not by jamming it down your throat or trying to bully. And, hard as it may be, I never want to write from of a point of anger. But sometimes it just happens, and things like this get written.

As with most Northeastern Ohioans, my summer allegiance falls to the Cleveland Indians. In my youth, the team was a mess. A pure calamity. The laughingstock. In the mid 90's, something changed. Coinciding with the opening of a new ballpark and new ownership, my baseball team, yes that major league baseball team, the team so consistently terrible they made a movie about them winning, that's how far fetched an idea it was, was actually making moves and looking good. We all remember the mid-late 90's and the first few years of the 2000's. Close but no cigar. Typical Cleveland crushing defeats at the pinnacle moments. But, through it all, you can't blame the effort or the front office being willing to go the extra mile or spend the extra dollar to try and get over that hump.

Then suddenly for a few years it was back to below .500 summers, empty seats at the yard and scalpers giving away tickets. After nearly breaking out in the year before, the 07 team kicked in the door, crushed the division and steamrolled into the playoffs. That season would end with me sitting stunned, again, as my guys lost game 7 in Fenway Park during the American League Championship Series. One win shy of the World Series.

This season, despite preseason talk of "hoping for a .500 team" and prognosticators predicting an all but assured last place finish, the Erie Warriors jumped out to a 30-15 record and first place in the Central Division. Even as I write this, after being swept by the world champion San Francisco Giants over the weekend, they sit a mere half game behind Detroit in the Central pennant race. So why am I not optimistic and excited for a summer run that should leave us tuning in to our radios and checking scoreboards all season long? Maybe it's because Bobby Valentine's comments during the ESPN broadcast Sunday night ring true to me: The Indians look like a team that is going to be content playing out the string and seeing what they have, getting ready for next season.

Of course, and I hate to keep going back to this, but maybe it has to do with that 07 team again. Jog back a few years and make a stop in July 2007. The Indians were solidly set on the hill with CC, Fausto emerging, Jake Wesbrook and Paul Byrd. All that was missing was a bat in the lineup to protect Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez. And not just a stick, they needed a bat, someone who came to the plate with dinger potential. They needed Adam Dunn or Jason Bay. Both were available.

I remember being at work and the text messages started rolling in. "Indians made a trade!" and "Indians made some kind of move!" and "World Series!" In my state of pure excitement, I clicked on to the internet, searched around to see who had the story first, and there it was on The Indians had done it... they acquired 40 year old Kenny Lofton to help with the playoff push. What about Dunn? When is the Jason Bay announcement? Kenny Lofton... as if it were 1995 all over again.

To his defense, Lofton performed like a champion. He mentored the young guys, made plays on the basepaths, he looked good for 40 years old! It's no slight to Kenny, but he just was not what the team needed to get that coveted World Series ring... but damn if he didn't try! And I still owe Joel Skinner a shot in the jaw for holding Lofton up at third during game 7 in Boston... talk about stupid.

I guess my anger, actually there is no guessing, it is full on anger, is that the Indians are a half game out of first and I can't see them doing anything about trying to get back into first and making waves in the playoffs short of promoting some farm players. And what really gets me boiling is the excuses I hear from other fans. "They can't trade top prospects, they have to think about the future. The idea is to build a team that wins now and in the future." Alright, listen, maybe you're not keeping up with the score here, but how about we win A championship before we start planning out our dynasty?! You know, a championship, that thing that has eluded us since 1964!

I understand the business aspects and the "can't trade away guys without getting real value" point of view. And I'm in no way saying Chris Antonetti and Mark Shapiro should go off like drunk pirates and offer the farm for anyone who's ever sniffed a batting title or been to an All-Star game. You of course have to be responsible and make what, in your best estimation, are the right moves. I get that. However, you have to make some moves, or you're just throwing in the towel.

And all this talk of people saying "well, we weren't supposed to be very good anyway, so let's be glad they'll be at or above .500 and look to next year", will you people please raise the bar on your expectations a little bit! Please?! If the Indians were ten games under .500 right now and starting to come on a little, sure I'd agree with you, let's hope for the best and look to next year. Except they're not. They're a half game out of first. As in first place. As in a playoff spot. As in getting into the big tournament that leads to the World Series. And it doesn't matter how they got here, or where they were supposed to be. The fact is, they're here! Carpe diem, seize the day! Got get it!

But I know nothing will happen. I heard Bruce Drennen today talking about Vlad Gurerro and all I could do was shake my head. As much as I agree with him, that Vlad would be awesome to rent for a few months and stick in right field, never mind it would probably not cost very much to get him, they simply are not going to do it. Nope. They're going to bring up Lonnie Chisenhall and Jeanmar Gomez. They're going to toss words around like "young" and "experienced" and "toughness" to get us all thinking this offseason will produce shrewd maneuvering and next year will be the year. And then they will do what they did in the offseason in 2007 going into 2008 to help get that team back into the playoffs and this time win it all... they'll do absolutely nothing.

Chris Antonetti, Mark Shapiro, please prove me wrong. Nothing will make me happier than to write about how I was way off on what the Indians front office would do when faced with serious personnel questions being a half game out of first a week away from the Fourth of July. Please.

Cavs Draft

I'm not sure if any of my Twtter followers could tell, but I was not in favor of drafting Jonas Valucuaninanisiunus at number 4. I was fine with Irving at 1, but in no way was I willing to sit by idly and watch them draft a 7' tall stick-figure from Lithuania who may or not be able to play in the NBA both contractually and based on skill-set. If they took Jonas, much to the fear of my Twitter followers who would have had to experience it live, I'd have shot myself in the face in protest. Luckily it didn't happen and the Cavs selected Tristan Thompson out of Texas at number 4... my face thanks you, Tristan, for being such a quality player and having Chris Grant think so highly of you.

As for the picks themselves:

As I wrote last week, Kyrie Irving was the pick at number 1. Most people felt it would be, though some thought it could very well be Arizona's Derrick Williams. As it turns out, hearing Chris Grant say that they had Irving as the clear cut number one, and that it wasn't even close, gave me an odd sense of comfort. I railed for Derrick Williams for weeks, I still love his game. But if Chris Grant, and especially Byron Scott, see something in Irving that not only makes him the number 1 but the clear cut head and shoulders above number one, then I have to go with that too. I'm no NBA expert. They are, or are at least supposed to be, or at the very least are paid like it. So, Kyrie, you the man!

It's a shame that the only thing people want to talk about regarding Tristan Thompson is his agent Rich Paul and his affiliation with LRMR. Granted, not the smartest group of people to try and "talk up" in your first "new home town" press conference. But, let's face it, a lot of guys are represented by these clowns. Should the Cavs now and forever avoid LRMR clients? All Tristan needs to do is produce on the court and nobody will care who he has for representation.

The drafting of Thompson leads me to believe one thing: JJ Hickson's days as a Cavalier a short.

Buckeyes talk

Tomorrow, in a bit of a shocker, for the first time since Jim Tressel was forced out err resigned, players will be available to speak to the media. Joe Bauserman, Nate Oliver, Michael Brewster and John Simon are the players selected, and if I were taking an early poll I'd bet most say these four will be captains this fall. It should be very interesting. We can also infer that with John Simon being one of the four, he must have been cleared of any of the wrongdoing that he was accused of by one George Dohrmann in Sports illustrated.

Luke Fickell will be on the Dan Patrick radio show at 10:30 eastern tomorrow 6/28.

Metallica track of the week
"No Leaf Clover" as it states "then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel, was just a freight train coming your way" Keep running that mouth Flounder. Nothing you and your boys or the fans are saying will be forgotten on November 26th.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Do the eyes deceive?

Even before the departure of Terrelle Pryor, one of the big (if not the biggest) stories going into this preseason is who will take the reigns and become the next Buckeye quarterback? Talking about quarterbacks brings heated debate among football fans, and perhaps no debate is more spirited than when it comes to the ability of someone to evaluate talent and make a selection on who to get behind and root for. We've seen it a lot at Ohio State, even recently: Steve Bellisari or Austin Moherman, Craig Krenzel or Scott McMullen, Troy Smith or Justin Zwick to Pryor or Todd Boeckman.

This year the Buckeyes field four potential candidates in Kenny Guiton, Joe Bauserman, Braxton Miller and Taylor Graham. If you listen to the national pundits, it's Bauserman or Miller, with a lean toward Miller getting the nod roughly mid season, since the "experts" don't want to go out on a limb and say "start the freshman". They'd rather leave that for Luke Fickell to do and them to second guess and criticize.

It would be easy to say Braxton Miller is the most athletic and can be dangerous with his legs and his arms, based solely off his high school game footage. He also comes in as the "blue chip" recruit. However, you could probably make a pretty strong case that Kenny Guiton can be as effective with his feet as Miller, and he has been in the system and knows the ropes a little better. Taylor Graham, I thought, threw some fantastic balls in the spring game and looks to be the a stand in the pocket and be a "gun slinger" type utilizing all the weapons the offense has to offer. Graham also has the pedigree with his dad being former Buckeye signal caller Kent Graham. And then there's Joe Bauserman, who has the most practice reps, by a mile, over the other candidates. Joe brings a small sample of actual game experience, along with him having been around the block, so to say, playing minor league baseball. Attributes we hope can lead us to believe that acquired experience and maturity would be a big plus to his advantage.

All of that being said is what drives me nuts about this debate. Short of the spring scrimmage and a few spot snaps for Bauserman, we have no idea what any of these kids can do under the bright lights on a Saturday. Thank you, God, for giving us Akron and Toledo to work out some bugs in the first two weeks.

Who's my money on? Ok, for whatever it's worth, here goes nothing: I think you know what you're getting with Joe Bauserman. He's (hopefully) a guy that can stabilize the offense, get the ball into the hands of the loaded running back group, make some plays when you absolutely need him to. Conversely, he's likely be the cause of the offense to turn it over, in one form or another, at an average of at least one per game. Then you've got Braxton Miller, the young buck chomping at the bit to get in their and flex his muscles. If we all can agree that based on his recruitment and scout opinions he is the future, the only question then becomes "when?" Taylor Graham will need to play head and shoulders above Miller to get the spot before him. Why? Miller's recruitment. While they aren't going to let Miller fall on his face and look foolish if he isn't ready, they also aren't going to sit a five star recruit unless someone is clearly outplaying him. Because remember, other five star recruits are watching. And Kenny Guiton, poor Kenny Guiton, is going to have to "huck it, chuck it, football!" like Mike Vick to get a serious look. It just is what is for Kenny Guiton.

Cavs and Kyrie

I've come to terms with the reality that Thursday night the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to call the name of Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the first pick in the NBA draft. I've read as much as I can possibly find time for on him, watched youtube highlight reels and scouting videos, I'm believing the hype that the kid should be a difference maker. So why then am I still getting an upset stomach thinking about the Cavs passing on Arizona's Derrick Williams? I'll tell you why, we've seen him play! I can be told by as many scouts and talent evaluators all day long about how Kyrie Irving is the next Chris Paul etc, the fact is I've seen a lot of Derrick Williams and not a lot of Kyrie Irving.

In many ways, it compares to the Ohio State quarterback situation. Coming into the NBA, both of these guys futures are up in the air. They could hit and miss like when Derrick Rose-Michael Beasley or LeBron James-Darko Milicic went 1 and 2. They could wind up being the best number 1 and 2 picks from the same draft ever. Though I drew the parallel, the big difference between the Ohio State quarterback derby and the NBA number 1 draft pick is that their is no "we'll get'em next week" to try and fix things if you screw it up. And, maybe most importantly, the two candidates aren't unknowns in major competitive basketball. At least one for sure isn't. The other played eleven games. One guy spent over 2000 minutes on the floor over two seasons. The other guy just a hair over 300 minutes during one injury plagued season. While their stats may be near equal as it regards points per game, rebound and assists canceling each other out since they play different positions, Williams body of work is over a two year period. Kyrie's body of work is that one injury plagued season.

I guess my biggest fear is, what if the Irving-Williams draft mirrors the Greg Oden-Kevin Durant draft? Durant was a scoring machine, played a full season at Texas and was ready to move on. Oden, on the other hand, missed most of the season with an injury but was considered by experts to be the guy with the most upside, the "difference maker". The Portland Trail Blazers picked number one, ignored the on court body of work, took Oden and have been kicking themselves ever since. Just something to think about.

By the way: If you haven't seen any film or watched any of Derrick Williams games, please I implore you, the kid is a human highlight reel! Go find some and check it out!

Oregon and West Virginia

I said a while back that I was told that Oregon was next for the NCAA investigation and that it allegedly had to do with recruiting. Today, the story broke, check the story here What truly amazes me is the scandal involved, yet ESPN's College Football Live episode today doesn't even mention it. Second on their list of "lead stories"? Ejaun Price asking to be let out of his scholarship with Ohio State. And, absolutely no mention that he is the only incoming freshman not to report and ask out of his letter of intent. Instead, they gave only a grim "see, we told you they'd be losing players, guys jumping ship like it's the Titanic in Columbus!" tone to their voices discussing Ejaun and his apparent need to be near his cousin Dorian Bell at Pitt... which also wasn't mentioned.

And what in the world of burning couches went on at West Virginia last week?! To get you up to speed, Dana Holgorson was brought in to be the offensive coordinator for 2011 and assume the head coaching responsibilities in 2012 when Bill Stewart was slated to retire. Problem is, Dana has a wee little bit of a drinking/partying/staying out late and getting into trouble problem. Let's just say he listens to his music while watching television (if you don't get that Talladega Nights reference, I can't help you and you have bigger issues, probably need a therapist). So, apparently not too keen that his replacement has already been selected and the AD has packed his bags already for him, Bill Stewart decided he'd call a Pittsburgh Post Gazette reporter and "confidentially" tell him to look into Holgorson's private life, since it's not exactly on the up and up. Well, if there's one thing we know about Pittsburgh people, they simply cannot keep their mouths shut. It's impossible. So Mr. Yinzer Gazette decides to start looking into Holgorson, then blabs that it was Stewart who told him to do so! Needless to say, Bill Stewart was fired and Dana Holgorson is assuming head coaching duties effective immediately. But now his reputation is tarnished before he even really gets started since everyone knows the guy still thinks he lives in a frat house!

The whole thing is completely surreal.

Special thanks goes to Ben Nesselroad (twitter @Ben_Nesselroad) for the tips on the WVA story. When he first brought it to my attention about three weeks ago, it looked like a potential scandal involving a litany of people, the least of them being Bill Stewart. Who would have thought he was the guy feeding the information.


Real quick shout out to the Indians for sweeping Pittsburgh over the weekend!!! I don't care if it's football, baseball, high jump or marbles... BEAT PITTSBURGH!

Metallica song of the week
"Ride the Lightning"
You can play the whole album or just the title track. The title track falls comfortably into my all-time top 5 of 'tallica tracks. Do yourself a favor, go to youtube and search "Metallica Ride the Lightning live Mexico City" and turn the volume up to 11.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Nervous? Sanctions? LeBron lost?

Ok, I'll admit it, Luke Fickell looked a wee little bit nervous today during his introductory press conference. Not that I can blame him, especially considering how him taking "the big chair" came about. But really, who among us wouldn't be a bit nervous given that same situation?

Put yourself in Fickell's shoes for a moment. Think back to something that you truly loved as a child. Something that you aspired to be a part of since your earliest childhood memories. Throw in the fact that the dream lives in your backyard, literally, as you grow up mere miles from where it all takes place. Every day, even when you don't want it to be, it's there, teasing you. Imagine in high school you realize that dream and have said dream come to you and offer to have you take part in it on their dime.

Imagine, if you will, after giving your heart and soul to that dream, when it concludes you establish a new goal. Except this goal is to fulfill a bigger purpose. This goal is to give back to the institution (or in your case, maybe, profession) that as a kid you dreamed about and longed to be a part of. You start working your way up the ladder toward reaching the ultimate goal, the seat at the head of the table. Imagine your working hard and feel like you're on the cusp of being ready... when suddenly it's thrown into your lap without warning, and everyone turns their heads collectively and looks to you to be its savior. That's Luke Fickell these days.

Can't blame him for feeling a little jittery on the stage today.

What do we know?

First question is, what do we know about Luke Fickell? For starters we know he's going to work hard. Nobody starts 50 games at nose tackle in the Big Ten, quickly rises through the coaching ranks in the competitive world that is college football that isn't a hard worker.

We know he's got fire. I stand by my assertion a few years back that the difference in the Laurinaitis led defenses and the changeover to Ross Homan/Brian Rolle led defenses was the move made that put Luke Fickell back on the sideline and Jim Heacock into the press box. The attitude changed. The intensity on the field and camaraderie seemed to be back after disappearing (or at least getting stale) for a few seasons after the Hawk-Carpenter-Schlegel trio left campus. The Silver Bullets clearly had their mojo back back, and it just so happened to coincide with Luke returning to the field.

We know he's a Buckeye through and through. Columbus kid, Buckeye starter for four years, Buckeye assistant coach, married and raising his family in Columbus. And that should mean and count for something. It does to me. I like knowing that if my team falls, the head coach is going to take it harder than me. You don't always see that in sports, especially when it comes to professional players.

Though many will say Fickell is set up to fail, I feel differently. Only time will tell, but I can see Luke making things really difficult on the search committee when looking for Jim Tressel's full time replacement. Their is talent on the roster, loads of it. Their is determination and a sense of "us against the world" that can drive people (especially young people) to incredible heights. I can make a strong case, and will in future writings, on how I can see the 2011 Buckeyes starting the season 5-0 heading to Lincoln, Nebraska for a good old fashioned showdown at an historic venue in a match-up 55 years in the making. Think TNT knows drama? They got nothing on that!


So, did you hear that the Buckeyes are going to get a 6 year bowl ban and lose 83 scholarships? Or did you hear that they are going to get a 4 year bowl ban, but still be allowed to play in the Big Ten title game IF it falls on an even numbered date? Maybe you heard about the more tame ruling of a two year bowl ban and the loss of some scholarships but vacate the 54 title since those guys are getting up there in age anyway? Regardless of what you have heard or who may be telling you, nobody has any idea what the sanctions are going to be after the hearing. Nobody.

Let's make this clear: On August 12th, Ohio State and Jim Tressel will meet with the review board of the NCAA to discuss and answer to the findings by the NCAA's investigation. They will have the charges brought before them, be shown the evidence and have a chance to explain how or why it happened. When that hearing convenes, it will likely be a minimum of another month to six weeks before a ruling is announced on sanctions.

All we can do is go by is past precedence and try to make a guess at what the ruling may be. Come to think of it, that's all anyone can do. So these guys going on the radio and scaring you with comments like "The NCAA is going to come down much harder on Ohio State than it did USC!" are simply blowing hot air. Take that sentence right there, and I'll give you two good reason's why it's garbage: 1. Ohio State self reported, USC did not. In past cases, schools that self report are typically given lesser punishment. 2. Ohio State can claim it has done everything in its power to begin eliminating the "problems", starting with the removal of Jim Tressel, despite his resignation. That's right boys and girls, ol' JT may win one more for us by falling on the sword and taking all the blame in front of the committee. Was Peter Carroll around to do such a thing for USC?

If you take one thing with you tonight, make it this: Nobody has any inside tip or knowledge or access to what the ruling is going to be after the August 12th hearing. Anyone claiming to provide you with "inside knowledge" or "so and so who's so and so said" is merely a false prophet. Tell'em I said so, because their guess as to what will happen is just as good as mine.


Just when you think someone couldn't be any dumber or ignorant, they open their mouth and remove any doubt that it is indeed possible.

“All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point.”

Mr. Quitter: As one of the people rooting for you to fail, let me just say that your comment provides no shock or sting to my psyche. I'll continue to work harder and longer than necessary at my job to earn my paycheck. Will you? I'm sure you'll continue the same selfish lifestyle you've grown accustomed to, off of the money that those people with "real lives" spent on you. Yep, I have the same personal problems today that I had yesterday and will have tomorrow. But, ironically, so do you... you still have no ring.

You stay classy, LeBron.

Metallica track of the day/week/whenever
In keeping with the LeBron theme, I'd likely suggest "King Nothing". However, that's too easy, so what about "Waste My Hate", since we've all wasted a lot of hate and anger toward a guy who could truly care less about any of us? Forget them both! Todays recommended Metallica selection is "Holier Than Thou". The line "Point the finger, slow to understand. Arrogance and ignorance go hand and hand" amongst many lines in that track, sum up LeBron quite well.

"It's not you are it's who you know
Others lives are the basis of your own
Burn your bridges and build them back with wealth
Judge not l'est ye be judged yourself"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

2 Down...

Yesterday Terrelle Pryor (through his lawyer) announced he is leaving The Ohio State University. Amongst what I'm sure is a plethora of reasons, the one that sticks out and was made mention by him was "for the good of the team". I'm not sure how losing a 2x BCS game MVP helps the team, but with all the turmoil surrounding him, and the news of more investigations, I can see where he's coming from. Stepping aside, taking the heat with him and letting the team try to concentrate on football seems like the right thing to do. Isn't it?

Naturally, the second it was announced he was leaving, the social media world and national sports network talking heads blew up with various types of reactions, ranging from sentiment to pure elation to schadenfreude. Most of it, especially when it is all lumped together, can begin to make your head spin. I know mine was yesterday. It was then I decided I'd walk away, gather my thoughts and put them down on paper err blog tonight.

The Pryor Legacy

One of the more intriguing questions being asked last night was what type of legacy does Pryor leave now that his college career is over? Do you remember just on the field actions? Is his name forever mud in Buckeye Nation? Thinking about it today, I decided for me, Pryor's legacy falls into three category's: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Cue Ennioe Morricone's "Ecstasy Of Gold" and let's head out to the wild west! (yes, that was cheese at it's finest!)

The Good

Fourth and ten, season on the line at Iowa, Pryor takes the snap, scrambles all over and finally runs for the first down in one of the most breathtaking plays of the season. It was something we had become accustomed to, Pryor bailing us out with his legs.

So many other "moments" instantly pop up. His masterful performance against Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Through the turmoil leading the charge in the Super Dome against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. Miami at home. The PSU students wearing anti-Pryor t-shirts, a "white out" and a resulting beatdown on the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley. Three times against Michigan. playing wide receiver and helping nearly pull off what would have been a miracle win over Texas (who could strongly argue they deserved to be in the title game over Oklahoma) in the Fiesta Bowl. Remember his sophomore year early in the season seeking out linebackers to drop a shoulder into before going out of bounds? Maybe you forgot his game winning drive in Madison that same year to beat thee Badgers? Yes, Terrelle, we had a lot of fun.

The Bad

For me, that throwing motion has always been a cause for concern. His 11 interceptions last year (22 combined over his sophomore and junior years) also leaves a lot to be desired. Accuracy has always been an issue. Who could forget Dane Sanzenbacher making circus catches on obviously terrible throws. Even with everything mentioned, I still feel the good on the field far outweighed the bad.

Which leaves...

The Ugly

Where do we begin? We could start with the Mike Vick eye black and roll right into his defense of LeBron James. Not exactly high character (though Vick has served his punishment and is allegedly a changed man, and to be fair, why should a kid from PA playing football in Columbus give a squat about people's feelings in Cleveland?) people to look up to. The verbal spat with Herbstreit (though he did have a point, when did Herbie beat Michigan?) And of course, tattoo-gate. Oh and the car thing. And... you all know the rest.


I find it funny to hear people say "Pryor was never a real Buckeye". Even former coach Earl Bruce said he never felt like Pryor was a real Buckeye. I don't understand that, especially as it pertains to his play. Think about this: Pryor was a Buckeye from day 1 of recruiting. That whole "I'm delaying my announcement" thing in high school was nothing more than an opportunity for him to buy time until after the basketball playoffs ended. Be honest, would you want to select Ohio State over Penn State and then spend three weeks traveling the state trying to win a basketball title in front of people who want to rip your head off? I applauded the move. Dare I say it, but he has a "Block O" tattoo on his arm that he got when he first arrived at campus. He always spent time (until told not to by the athletic office) signing items for fans. He interacted with us on Twitter. He always mentioned Buckeye Nation and being proud to be a part of it. The guy played hurt. I understand what he did was wrong and against the rules. It was also selfish and to an extent juvenile. But to say that in his time here he wasn't fully committed to the fans and the football program is ludicrous!

However, there is more to it than branding a symbol on your arm and talking the talk. And in that regard, I completely understand what Coach Bruce is saying. There is the other side to the "real Buckeye" coin, and it has nothing to do with touchdowns or passing yards. Craig Krenzel said it yesterday "It's not just play on the field that makes you a true Buckeye".

I happen to fully agree with Craig. I want my Buckeyes to be more than just great athletes and winners on the field. I want them to be winners at life and be the type of people that help bring those around them up to their level. And in that ideal, Terrelle Pryor falls short. However I do not feel he should be cast out or shunned. Terrelle Pryor is a 21 year old kid who has made some serious mistakes. Think he doesn't know it? Think he isn't learning the hardest lesson of all, having it all taken away from him. Sure, its from his own doing, nobody to blame but himself. The kid needs guidance. He needs his family. A little encouragement from us that he can make the changes he needs to make in life wouldn't hurt.

And so finally, what is TP's ultimate legacy at Ohio State? Honest answer, I don't think it will be determined for many years. Look no farther than Maurice Clarett for an example. Here's a kid we all loved, then he turned his back on us and admitted to lying for revenge over his dismissal and ultimately wound up in prison. Today on the Dan Patrick Show, Clarett (though he speaks a little too fast) has made it clear he has turned completely 180. And if you've followed his rehab at all, you know today's interview with Dan Patrick wasn't just lip service. Clarett can now admit his faults and owns his mistakes. And I think in time his growing up and making things right will allow him to be remembered more for stripping Sean Taylor of the ball in the championship game and ultimately scoring the winning touchdown than jumping people for money outside a club in an alley. Yes, it's true Clarett's indiscretions did not cost the program what Pryor's are about to. I'm simply drawing a comparison, not saying the two are equal cases. My point is if Clarett can rebuild his image in the eyes of Buckeye fans, certainly we can at some point welcome back Terrelle Pryor. At that time, we can discuss a legacy.

Metallica track of the day/week/whatever time

"Seek And Destroy" which is what our boys are going to do this fall. Take near professional level athletes, some superior, and spend 10 months telling them that their program is a joke, everything they believe in is garbage and that now they are going to fall into a tailspin, backing them into a corner... watch the reaction. Shock the world.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Who's next?

This afternoon the BCS decided to strip USC of it's 2004 championship. The BCS also plans to use one of those Men In Black flashy thingies to erase our minds of the beating USC put on Oklahoma that night, otherwise we'll never forget it. I know the 2010 season is going to be "taken away" from Ohio State. And if that's the big punishment they want to inflict, sign me up! I'm of the mindset that removing wins from a program or team is not punishment. So they have to take down banners and can't sell t-shirts anymore... whoopie! It doesn't change what happened on the field. The memory is what matters. USC fans who were in the Orange Bowl that night, or watching in bars or homes across the country, nothing is going to take away the memory they have of whipping Oklahoma and holding up the crystal ball. Good for them.


On my twitter page (@ScriptOhio) last week, I let fly something I had been told accidentally in private. I begged the person who slipped to let me tell my followers what I had heard, and provided I don't reveal him, he reluctantly agreed. Here's what I know and ALL I know:

- A friend (maybe acquaintance is a better word) has some friends in some very high places. Some people he has been friends with for over thirty years. When he visits these friends, and they discuss things they are hearing may happen, these things happen 99 out of 100 times. If I told you the source of the Oregon comment, you'd would not question it. If it hadn't came from this person, I would have never said it.

- Some may be asking "But Script, what did you hear or what did they say? I can't tweet all day like you. I have a job that is fulfilling that I enjoy, unlike you." I was told, verbatim, "Oregon is next. It's supposed to come out in the next week or so. Supposedly, what these guys are doing makes us (Ohio State) look like child's play." And that's it. Finito. Because I said "Oregon! Why... Wha... But..." and it was met with "I should have never let that slip! Shut your mouth!" I swear to you all, especially the Oregon fans, that's all I got!

- For whatever it's worth, an Oregon writer told me on twitter that he had heard rumblings of Oregon being next. Enter Justin Hopkins of (@JHopkins247) who told an Oregon fan when asked if he had heard about my comments "I have and from my sources i'm hearing it would be an ABSOLUTE shock to Oregon if true. Never know though." He also added this "think about this: Eugene is tiny, public would notice nice cars or big spending by any Oregon athletes way b4 NCAA IMO". I've read some of Hopkins stuff, he does nice work. He also seems like a pretty forward "no nonsense" kind of guy. I base that comment on him saying he hopes Oregon is punished if the allegations he has heard are true.

Let me be 100% clear, Justin Hopkins DID NOT CONFIRM THE RUMOR, just that there IS a rumor being spread. PLEASE make that known, he is not confirming the rumor, just that there is a rumor circulating.

- ::The following is completely rumor!:: Because I haven't heard factual details, doesn't mean that I haven't heard rumors. Today I was told that the word out there is that Oregon boosters and Nike are paying "recruiters" to bring in top talent. Basically, these guys are sent to do the old school "how much ya need to think about coming up to Eugene?" I was also told that the campus is a "pawn shop." All those special Nike uniforms they get? Guess where they are allegedly going? Again, this part is all completely rumor and stuff being passed around by "people in the know." How much is true, time will tell. It could be 100% accurate, it could be 100% garbage.

For clarification, let me say this one last time: I have NOTHING against the University of Oregon, the Duck football program or any of its players. I have only disliked the Oregon football program for all of about 4 hours in my life. (Wanna guess when?) They've always seemed to me to be a program that does it the right way with classy fans. I hope that remains true. I wouldn't wish the scrutiny Ohio State has been under since December of 2010 on anyone... except UM!

Who else?

There's stuff floating out there about everyone. Name your program and there is some dirt being discussed. Auburn is a name that comes up a lot. West Virginia has a story that is on the verge of exploding regarding their coach in waiting and current head coach. Texas seems pretty safe. Good for them.

The same person who told the alleged details of the alleged Oregon story also said this: Due to the holes George Dohrman's Sports Illustrated article, the NCAA is running scared on two fronts. 1. They don't want to wrongfully accuse anyone, or investigate a campus that is (for all intents and purposes) clean. 2. They are afraid that if other schools are looked into as hard and by as many people as Ohio State was, the entire top 25 might be facing punishment. I've said it all along and stand by it to this moment, no program in America could withstand the scrutiny and in-depth investigation that went on at Ohio State. Nobody.

Before some of you start squawking, no that doesn't it make it right. It doesn't in any way exonerate Ohio State from it's crimes against NCAA jurisdiction. It does, however, lead me be to able to draw one big conclusion: Careful what you say and who you bag on, cause if they can get us, they can get you! One minute you're running you trap having a big belly laugh at the Buckeyes and the very next you're in the NCAA's (or whatever media outlet decides it doesn't like you) cross-hairs! What was that you were about to say? I'd think better of it Mr. Glasshouse.

Dohrman and Hooley

It's hard to believe George Dohrman has a Pulitzer. It's not hard to believe that a clown like Bruce Hooley would take his "Martyr 2.0 I Told You I Was Right" tour on every outlet in America that would have him to defend Dohrman's story.

What have we learned about the SI article? Well, according to 97.1 The Fan in Columbus' Scott Torgeson, 9 of the "new" players accused have been found to have no involvement. Three of those players, Storm Klein, John Simon and Nathan Williams, parents are exploring their ability to file lawsuits for slander and defamation of character. The "sources" are one of the tattoo shop owners, someone named "Ellis" and some anonymous drug dealers. Now, we have the tattoo shop owner saying he was misquoted and that he may also be taking legal action. So we are left with anonymous drug dealers and "Ellis" as Dohrman's sources. I'll just say this, if you're doubting me about the validity of the person who told me Oregon is next, then you MUST believe Dohrman's article is a load of waste. But I digress... back to Hooley. Now that we've established these "sources" to be jokes, guess who went on every show in America and said, and I quote "The SI article is well sourced and extremely credible." I'm just going to end this section on that. There's nothing else to say about it.

I've got an entire blog I can write on the bitterness that is Bruce Hooley one of these days. Like how he doesn't understand that he was fired from The Fan 97.1 not because of his anti-Tressel opinion, but because of the way he presented it. Like how he doesn't understand you can't speak to adults like the dog that pooped on the rug, and then try to rub their nose in it. You get fired for that kind of stuff. Anyways, that's another day and another blog... maybe I'll open up my week long email conversation with Bruce where he clearly shows he's lost touch with reality. Maybe...

Metallica track of the week
"The Memory Remains" to all the USC fans who had their 04 BCS title stripped from them today. Soon we'll be singing it about the 2010 season.

Monday, May 30, 2011

So let it be written, so let it be done...

I sit here in the early evening hours of Monday, May 30th and for the first time in 10 years The Ohio State University does not have a full-time football coach. No matter what side of the proverbial fence you sit on, this is bad for Buckeye Nation across the country.

A lot has been thrown around since the bomb dropped this morning that Jim Tressel was stepping down. We've heard he was forced. We've heard his assistants had no idea. We've heard that the Sports Illustrated article (being released online tonight) is the final damning piece of evidence of a program out of control. We're hearing from the Columbus Dispatch that a new investigation into Terrelle Pryor has been launched and that his playing days may seemingly be over.

There's been venom from all angles from fans. Fans glad that Tressel is gone. Fans mad at the players who started the trouble by selling rings and trophy's. Fans upset with the national media, in general.

I've said all along that I wouldn't have an opinion Tressel's fate until we knew all the details. Until the hearing, and we got to hear JT's reason's for WHY he covered things up, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt that it was for some greater good or to prevent some greater evil. He surrenders today to quell the daily turmoil and harm his presence was doing from a reputation standpoint to the university. Unfortunately his white flag comes with the obvious conclusion of guilt. If it were as I had hoped, and Tressel backers around the country were clinging to, and there was some shred of reasoning that justified his actions, it is all but gone now. Why else throw in the towel?

In the end, he did it the right thing. I know some of you will chastise me and make comments, but like it or not, he did it the right way. The university has gone through enough. He and his family have gone through enough. The fans have gone through enough. And, most importantly, the players on the team, the players parents he made promises to when he sat in there living rooms, have been through enough.

What impression or scar does this leave on the legacy of Jim Tressel? For me, not much. I'll always remember Tressel's time at Ohio State as that of a time of rebirth. While John Cooper consistently had top 5 and top 10 ranked teams, he missed the bigger picture: win bowl games and BEAT MICHIGAN. Tressel understood it and walked the walk. 9-1 speaks volumes. 6-4 in bowls with a national championship isn't anything to laugh at either.

Rivals and fans of other programs talking about asterisks and the last ten years now being tarnished are just upset about the final scores. Bottom line: nothing Tressel or his players did gave them a competitive advantage on the field. They broke NCAA rules, but not the ones that protect the game and keep the actual playing field level. Michigan fans and writers, I'm sorry. The last ten years, and especially the last three, Tressel has not only outcoached you but had a large talent advantage. A talent advantage not reached as a result of some back door recruiting deal, or paying players to come to Ohio State. Ultimately it is your program that has faltered while ours has flourished. You wanted accountability from Tressel and him to own up to his actions? Then you own the last ten years! Stop trying to act like it wasn't what it was: you getting OWNED, in your building or ours, for a yearly "know your place" beatdown. Sorry UM (and fans of any other school we've beaten over the last ten years wanting to claim they were screwed or asking for an asterisk) it is what it is. And you lost between the white lines.


And now the inevitable "Who are they gunna git" talk begins.
I for one am very interested in seeing if Luke Fickell can handle the moment. He certainly has the resume, his lack of experience in the big chair is what makes everyone look past him. He's a Columbus kid, played for four years under Coop, been raising his family and coaching at OSU ever since. Being co-defensive coordinator, it's hard to say if he has more responsibility or impact on the Silver Bullets than Jim Heacock. The defense is always loaded, making it even harder to contrast his input on success to the talent level. I do know this: since his move to the sidelines and Heacock to the press box, a noticeable change in the emotion and energy of the defense has been apparent.

You're naturally going to have the "big gun" candidates like Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops, John Gruden and Bo Pelini. All for one reason or another are tied to Ohio State from their roots and background. All supposedly have a "dream job" list with Ohio State at the top. Of that group, to me Stoops is the most intriguing. He's been in Norman for (I believe) 12 years now. When Cooper was fired in January of 2001, Stoops was a hot name for the job. At the time he was coming off of a national title win over Florida State and was just settling in to his spot on the Sooners sidelines. I wonder 10 years later if the opportunity to move back home (well, 2-1/2 hours from home) and finish his coaching career near family and friends would intrigue him enough to make the move? Also, he's seen the dark side in Norman when just a few years ago, prior to Sam Bradford's run, they were calling for his head.

Here's a few names I wonder if they are looking at, and wouldn't be surprised to see come up as realistic candidates: Gary Patterson TCU, Dan Mullen Mississippi State, Jim Grobe Wake Forest, Kyle Wittingham Utah, and here's a real dark horse, what about Josh McDaniels?

So off we go into the fortnight. We mourn the loss of a great coach and even better man. A man who wanted so badly to keep his players out of trouble that ended up costing himself the dream job he coveted and had excelled at. Was it all just to win, or was it all for the good of the athlete? Following Jim Tressel's career since Youngstown State (bastard gave me a "B" on my YSU football camp evaluation my freshman year in high school! I was clearly an A offensive line candidate... despite being 5' 6" at the time lol) I whole heatedly believe it was for the kids. While he certainly skated the rules on occasion previously, you almost always got the sense that in every instance he was trying to do what was right for the player, and they screwed it up despite his best efforts.

It will be an interesting couple of days listening to the rumor mill. And it's not even July!


"Don't Tread On Me" in honor of Memorial Day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Random musings on a busy day...

When I was asked to contribute to this site and post a weekly blog, I was told "write about whatever you want." Instantly the possibilities seemed endless ranging from happy/funny to sad/angry/profane. I also decided that typically I would stick with one topic and sort of focus my efforts toward making you see my way in that particular area... err uhh... I mean expressing my point of view on a solo topic. But tonight, with so much happening around Ohio in the sports world, I decided to touch on a few hot issues.


How could I start anywhere else other than the situation unfolding in Columbus involving our beloved Buckeyes and head coach Jim Tressel. If you're anything like me, the longer this goes on the faster you wish it would end. Unfortunately a hearing has been set for August 12th, so we've got a long wait followed by the final ruling from said hearing by the NCAA. In other words, plan on the speculation regarding the hearing to ruin your summer.

Naturally, the first question someone asked me this morning is "where do you stand on the Tressel issue" expecting a concrete "for" or "against" answer. My answer wasn't pleasing to them because I just can't make a decision whether I feel he should be back or not until after the hearing. Maybe I have "blind faith" or am in line with the herd of sheep (according some of our esteemed former quarterbacks who now suck at the nipple of the worldwide leader and has essentially sold his soul for fake tanner and a weekly tv gig, but I digress) who want to believe that Tressel still has a trick up his sleeve and has a righteous reason for doing what he did.

Big picture, I think we all know deep down, to varying degrees of severity, that what JT did was wrong. Some find it much more heinous than others, and others like Donte Whitner see nothing wrong with it at all. But that's a totally different discussion for another day. My hope against all hope is that there was a reason. That he walks into those hearings and says he knew all along about the tats and trophy's but his hand was forced or he was directed by the Federal Government to keep things quiet. Hell, I'll take just about anything that can count as some form of justification. Seems like a long shot, but he's given me no reason to not give him the benefit of the doubt and my support.

Then there are the haters, and my oh my how the buzzards have swarmed and true colors have been shown. Kirk Herbstreit thinks Tressel should be fired. Bruce Hooley thinks Tressel should be fired. EVERYONE at ESPN thinks Tressel should be fired. To them all I ask one simple question: Without knowing everything, just by looking at what you have been allowed to look at, without hearing Tressel speak without a filter and the pretense of "we have to limit and be careful with what we say as there is an ongoing Federal investigation involved in this matter" can you possibly say "fire him!" How? After all he's done for the program, the city, the school, the alumni, former players, college football in general, HOW?! Just answer that question. I'll be here waiting. You can contact me on twitter @ScriptOhio

So now those venomous haters are pointing at Chris Spielman and Robert Smith and saying "How come those guys are getting a pass and not being ripped apart by people like Script Ohio when they too said Tressel should be fired?" Well Kirk, Bruce and company, the fact is those guys presented a much different picture than what you brought to the table. Those two were genuinely somber, you could tell they were feeling what we the fans are all feeling right now. It felt like they were right there sitting next to us sharing in our discussion, presenting us with a harsh potential option that may turn into a cold reality. Meanwhile, Bruce I'm talking to you especially here so pay attention, the rest of you have presented your judgment as though you have came down from the mountain of righteousness and spoken the gospel word. You've spoken down to us! You've called us "sheep" and said we have "blindly supported" the coach and program. Essentially, instead of being OHIO guys and acting like our friends and giving us the bad news, as Spiels and Robert Smith did, you've decided to walk in with an "I told you so!" attitude and kick us when we're down. Well guess what Kirk, you're finding out we don't appreciate it and just how strong we can be when banded together. And if you're not convinced, just ask Bruce how the job search is going while sitting by the pool at your new home... in Nashville!

I said this to Bruce Hooley a few days before he was fired: It's not that I totally disagree with what you are saying, or maybe even somewhat disagree or at the least can't be convinced that you're right. I just don't like the way you're saying it to me. I'm not your kid and your not the principal speaking to the 4th grade boys gym class that go out of line. He did not heed my warning. Now he blocks me on Twitter.


I went on record after the national championship game saying that the Browns MUST have Marcel Dareus or Nick Fairley. By the looks of these mock drafts, Dareus is not going to be an option. I have been convinced/swayed by the opinions of respected others to take a long hard look at AJ Green and Patrick Peterson. I have to admit, they are both fabulous and I'd welcome either of them with open arms. That being said, if both are off the board at pick 6, and nobody offers a sweet enough trade offer to move up to the 6 spot, do the right thing Tom Heckert and get Nick Fairley. Don't tell me about character issues, the guy is nasty and can play ball!


Just quickly, I'm reserving judgment on the Indians for at least a few more weeks as it pertains to if they can continue competing for the top spot in the Central Division. They are fun to watch! I'm especially waiting for Carlos Santana to get his groove back. The kid really put a charge in the ball when he hit last year prior to the injury. Here's to hoping he find his swing sooner than later, if for no other reason than he's great to watch!


My recommended Metallica track of the week is "Disposable Heroes" of the album Master of Puppets. Hetfield can cut down tress with his riffing that starts at the :33 second mark. Things with JT got you upset? Crank this baby up and let the stress roll off! Works for me!