Sunday, April 15, 2012

Flirtin' with disaster

Hard to believe the 2012 Scarlet and Grey game is already coming up this Saturday. Times fly's when you're having fun, I guess.

I hope some of you were able to attend this past Saturday's student/faculty BuckID open practice. I gave a brief reminder on this last week. It seemed as though it was going to be a pretty exclusive event and something not to be missed if you had the means to get in. Unfortunately due to the weather, it was moved from Ohio Stadium into the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. For some reason when I first heard they moved it inside to the WHAC, my initial thought was "that would be so much cooler than having it in The Shoe." After seeing the photo's from the various Buckeye websites and the Dispatch, that first premonition was confirmed resoundingly.

Despite my constantly telling you to check them for the best and most in-depth news,
I am in know way affiliated with the O-Zone. But, once again they were all over Saturday's BuckID practice in The Woody. Check for great stories and amazing pictures from this incredible event.

While it was just another spring practice for the team, it was anything but another spring practice for the players. Getting to perform or train in front of fans is no doubt a part of why these guys do it. Of course their is the glory of winning, the camaraderie of being on a team focused on achievement, a chance to potentially make millions in the NFL, and a free education. But don't think for a moment these guys aren't stepping it up another notch, even in practice, when there are fans in the stands. You've heard the phrase "game speed" versus practice speed. And it's not just a cliche', it's true for most athletes on any level.

If you haven't read about the open practice, and definitely if you haven't seen any pictures from the open practice, what Urban Meyer did to Drew Basil was truly fantastic for the fans in attendance and had to be the best way to achieve a kick under pressure for Basil in a practice setting! Open this link to see Tony Gerdeman of the O-zone's photo

Spring fling

There a lots of things to watch for on Saturday during the Scarlet and Grey Game. Here are a few of the things I'm looking forward to seeing:

- Offensive speed from the end of one play to the snap of the next
Along with that, I'm interested to see just how fluid things look at the line of scrimmage and with substitutions. It will be a good indicator of how quickly these guys are absorbing the Meyer playbook. There's going to errors, but a low count on false starts and illegal procedures can be a great tell as to how the offense is coming together.

- Braxton's decision making and accuracy
Yes, it's only the spring game. But a Braxton Miller looking confident, precise and in tune with his receivers will make the summer even more unbearable to wait through.

- The absolute monster on the defensive line
John Simon is easily one of my favorite Buckeye players in the last who knows how many years. I wanna see if anyone on the offensive line can keep him out of the backfield. That's it. Just contain him a few times.

- Team speed on defense
The Silver Bullets flying around. Curtis Grant, Ryan Shazier, CJ Barnett, Travis Howard... We've all read and seen pictures of what strength coach Mickey Marotti did to Ryan Shazier in just one winter. I am dying to see if they look (and I'll bet they will) noticeably faster at linebacker and in the secondary. Don't forget sophomore Michael Bennett coming off the end opposite John Simon.

How much do you miss football Saturday's? Me too. Take advantage this Saturday to whet your football desire and be fully involved. If you can't make it to Ohio Stadium for the game, then try and get down the Lane Avenue after. If you can't make it to the game area, for lack of better term, then turn on WFAN 97.1 for the pre, game and post game broadcasts. And if you're out of town like me, plug in online and get lost for a few hours in Buckeye football. You deserve it.

Quick hits

Watching the Cavaliers on NBA League Pass, around half the time I'm subjected to the other teams broadcast. A few observations I've picked up listening to many opponent broadcasts:

- Most feel the Cavs must get Kyrie Irving an all-star caliber rookie or free agent/trade immediately. Duh.

- There's a lot of "get back" from the announcers due to some of the beatings teams took during the LeBron era, notably the Washington Wizard broadcast from Saturday night. You think we don't let stuff go...

- Fox Sports Net regional channels along with Comcast Sports Net and even the Madison Square Garden Network have a nice treat for the male fans during quarter and tv timeout breaks. She's typically dressed like a "normal chick" and tries to say something hip about the game, but she's really there for us to go "I wanna go to a game and see her in person!" or something like that (you stalkers all loved that!) Fox Sports Ohio has Jeff Phelps. While he is superior to all these lady's in hoops knowledge, understanding what's happening during the game, listening to coaches during timeouts to get an idea of what is going to happen, he's still Jeff Phelps. And they're, well, they're them! And don't tell me about Dionne Whatsherface either, she doesn't count.

- I'm sticking with my draft pick of Trent Richardson. He makes the most sense. He's one of the 4 or 5 elite talents in this years draft. He runs angry. He blocks like he was born to do it. He has soft hands. He's elusive. He's got speed. "Experts" are grading him in the Adrian Peterson range... All of which are reason's why the Browns will probably trade out of the four spot or take Ryan Tannehill. I really really really really hope I'm wrong. Sometimes the answers are really simple and right in front of your face, like Joe Thomas was. Tommy Heckert, Mr. Big Show Holmgren, don't over-think this. Take Richardson at four.

- So apparently since my last blog came out a week ago, Michael Floyd has risen the charts like Pedro Cerrano with a rocket up his ass. Some are saying he may even go as high as nine or ten. I will stick my original plan: If a trade is to be had, and it doesn't involve next years number one, I'd do it. Even if you lose pick 22 and 37, you still walk away on Thursday night with Trent Richardson (God willingly) and Michael Floyd. That's something to be excited about.

- Why is everyone so down on the Browns because of the schedule? Talk about Chicken Little and the sky falling... It's dates and opponents on a schedule. Some of them are against teams that were pretty good last year or have acquired some pretty good players. People, this is the NFL. You all freaked out accordingly when the Browns were crushed in the opener by Pittsburgh in 2007. How did that season turn out? Have some faith in Dick Juron and that Brad Childress can help Pat Shurmur be the best Pat Shurmur he can be. And we have no idea what that even looks like. You, me, we're all Browns fans, how often have we been the favorite in our lifetime?

- The Indians are playing baseball. That's all I got on Cleveland's "major league" baseball team. They did, however, sign Johnny Damon. I'll take anyone right now.

NASCAR? Why not...

I took about a twenty minute ride on Easter weekend with my pops to Kannapolis and Mooresville to see Hendrick Motorsports and DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc) headquarters and race shops. I'm not much of a race fan, yet it does peak my interest on occasion and is something I will watch when any of he Hendrick drivers, especially Dale Earnhardt Jr, are in the front. Back to my point, those shops are amazing! They don't allow tours of the facility on Saturday's, but the team shop and trophy rooms are open to the public.

When entering the Hendrick "team shop/trophy" room, you instantly realize that this is no team shop. Sure, you can get any type of hat, t-shirt, sticker etc of the HMS drivers that you can ever imagine and more, but the items they have on display are truly historic. And the place is HUGE.

Wanna see the car that Jeff Gordon won the first ever Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis in? And not just see it, but be able to stand so close to it that you can't help but not accidentally bump in to it? It's there.

Want to see Jimmy Johnson's car he won the championship in a few years ago, with rubber spatter and dirt from the track still on it? It's there.

Wanna see one of Jeff Gordon's Daytona 500 winning cars, fresh with champagne and soft drink streaks still on the windshield and confetti permanently fused to the car from the sticky mess? It's there. Want to see your dad reach down and start removing tape from the radiator cover of said car despite signs everywhere imploring people to not touch a damn thing? It happened.

And I can't even begin to recollect all the trophies, helmets, gloves, fire suits, artifacts, etc. that are on display at HMS. It was pretty awesome!

Though it is no Hendrick Motorsports, DEI was impressive as well. Coming around a back country bend on a stretch of highway that looks straight out of a Tim McGraw music video, in the distance you can see an ugly beige massive structure emerging. It is Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. Checkered flags on the side walks. Red and black number 3's everywhere.

Upon entry, you are greeted by one of Dale Earnhardt's black "Intimidator" #3 cars and a constant loop (with words and instrumental) of AC/DC's "Back in Black". All seven of his championship trophies are on display, along with historic cars driven by DEI team members, including Dale Jr's Daytona 500 winning ride. Oh, and there's a team shop stuffed with every number 3 item you can ever imagine.

It was definitely a great experience on an absolutely beautiful North Carolina day without a cloud in the sky. Next time, we go when the shops are open and we can take the tours. I can get in to a lot more trouble that way!

Until next time, SEE YA!

Metallica track of the week

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted new members in Cleveland this past Saturday night. The last time the induction was in Cleveland, I was there to see Metallica get inducted. Here is the nights performance of Enter Sandman with former bassist Jason Newsted! (BTW it sucks that James didn't get to do his normal vocal exercises before this performance... and just to rub it in one more time, I was at this!)

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