Silver Bullet Defense!

Silver Bullets Again?

I wanted to talk about some of the talent we have on defense and how the Buckeyes’ new defensive staff will bring the most out of this talented young roster. This will be a two part article as I look at the linebackers and defensive backs.

Before I get into the staff’s new package and way of thinking defensively, I want to say something about our old “bend but don’t break” defensive package. While it was effective for many years, I think it’s just a little too passive with the development of College Football and all the spread offenses the past 5-10 years. With that being said, there is still a place for it, but that would be more for situational uses.

The one issue the Buckeyes could run into is not ensuring the defense has a true understanding of the scheme while keeping it as fresh in their minds as possible, which could turn into a nightmare. This is a good defense to play when the Buckeyes have a sizable lead that does not warrant the old “Pre-Vent defense” (which I absolutely loath).

Ohio State 4-3 Tight

Under the former defensive staff, our defense (attempted) to limit offenses with gadget plays or a breakdown in the scheme as their only options to move the ball. It was also easy to man up on receivers when you were giving such a cushion to the WR’s. The Buckeyes would just seek a big safety to play as the fifth defensive back, while removing a LB from the field.

That brings me to Coach Ash and his “Walkout Linebacker” role, which will be asked to do an awful lot. Finding this type of player to successfully play this position is going to take some serious evaluating and recruiting. This player must be linebacker sized and will be expected to step out and cover the slot receiver at times.

Needless to say, most linebackers do not excel in coverage, so again this will need to be a special player with speed. I mean if linebackers were that good in coverage, you would see the death of the nickel and dime packages as teams would never get out of their base defense. This position needs a new, much more “Badass” name….I think that would work right there as they will need to be one to be successful.

This could turn into a very big positive for the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail as well. How great of a selling point: if you become a Buckeye, you will be able to compete for the “Badass” position and stay on the field all three downs. If you think about NFL teams and what they are looking for, a “three-down linebacker” is one (see Seattle Seahawks).  That is really what it will take to be a high first round draft pick as a linebacker going forward; He must be able to cover as he will be expected to stay on the field for all three downs. Read More

Ohio State 2013-14 Highlights

Written July 14th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Over at the Big Ten Network, they’ve put together this highlight package from the 2013-14 football and basketball seasons, as a prep for the Big 10K race in Chicago.

Even if you’re not running in the event, this should get you ready to run through a wall or two:

Dreaming Of The Next Five

Written July 11th, 2014 by MDotySr
My Dream Sheet!!!

My Dream Sheet!!!

With all the social media and recruiting websites  out there, I must admit that I have issues with recruiting rankings.

I mean the kids love it, but to me it just does not matter as much as The Ohio State coaches evaluation of said recruits.

I believe in most cases, coaches recruit to fill specific needs in regards to the depth chart.

With that being said, you will always have a handful of players you give scholarships regardless. Once you get to a certain point in your class though — just like the NFL draft – you take the best available players and let them earn a spot on the depth chart.

Now I want to stress that in the same breath, the staff needs to get the best players in Ohio every year. This keeps the border protected around the Buckeye State and somewhat makes it a huge pipeline.

Who I would love to see be the next five commitments to The Ohio State in the class of 2015?

Here is my list, or as we called it in the Air Force, my “Dream Sheet”.

1. Josh Sweat, DE, Oscar Smith HS,  Chesapeake, VA. — Sweat has drawn comparisons to Jadeveon Clowning due to his freakish athletic ability and sudden burst.  Last year, the 6’4’’, 240-pound All-American put himself at the center of the national recruiting radar, when he totaled a whopping 22 sacks and 94 tackles, including 31 tackles for loss. Although it’s going to be a dogfight to land this recruit, he did enjoy his visit to Ohio State.

Only question left is, does Ohio State get an Official Visit? It also helps that Hilliard and Cornell are recruiting dynamos.

Read More

Never Too Early: 2014 Rutgers Preview

Written July 10th, 2014 by Patrick
Scarlet. That's cute.

Scarlet. That’s cute.

For the second time in as many games, the Buckeyes will play a new member of the B1G. After a bye week after their trip to Maryland, the Bucks return back home to play Rutgers. Rutgers will be coming off a bye week themselves and will already have two B1G games (Penn State/Michigan) under their belts when they play their first B1G road game. Rutgers will also be playing in their third conference in as many years (Big East, AAC, B1G) and are coming off of a 6-7 season that saw them lost to Notre Dame in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

Getting nine starters back on offense is a big positive and there are a lot of developing names on defense, but this team will have to improve significantly across the board if it wants to return to the postseason as a B1G representative. Head coach Kyle Flood is hoping that a reworked coaching staff will provide the spark needed to compete at a higher level in ’14.

Kyle Flood totally overhauled his coaching staff this offseason, bringing in offensive guru Ralph Friedgen to run the offense. His first order of business is to find a stabilizing force under center for the Knights after a season in which Rutgers quarterbacks threw 22 interceptions and just 22 touchdowns. This is why Flood has opened up the position battle this spring despite Gary Nova (2,159 yds, 18 TDs, 14 INTs) returning after starting most of last year (until the final three games). Read More

WNR: What To Do With Josh Gordon

Written July 10th, 2014 by Jason
Browns Receiver Josh Gordon

Browns Receiver Josh Gordon

The Cleveland Browns have a problem on their hands and it is only getting worse. When they drafted Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft 2 years ago they were aware of his issues.

Now the NFL’s top receiver in 2013 is facing a potential one year suspension for breaking the leagues substance abuse policy and this past holiday weekend managed to get himself thrown into a Raleigh, North Carolina jail cell for a DWI charge.

Despite the issues, it makes absolutely no sense to release Gordon from the team. In all aspects of the situation, everyone comes out a loser if he is cut. Let me explain.

Back story

Gordon came to the Browns in the spring of 2012 having not played a down since late 2010. After being suspended indefinitely and eventually kicked off the team at Baylor by head coach Art Briles, Gordon attempted to transfer to Utah to continue his career. Unfortunately he didn’t file papers in a timely manner and was denied the ability to play in 2011, which forced his entrance into the NFL’s supplemental draft in the summer of 2012. Read More

Silver Bullet Points: Midsummer Dreams Edition

Written July 9th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Thanks for popping by on a Wednesday morning, even if the news for today probably won’t be as exciting as it was seven days ago. Thanks, too, for your patience with the website this week… the people responsible for the tech glitches have been appropriately dealt with. Given our lead bullet point today, here’s your Wednesday Musical Distraction.

We’re Watching…

Buckeye 411

  • Hey y’all… Watch This! It’s “pre-season watch list” time again, and the Ohio State squadron is pretty well represented as you might imagine. Braxton Miller returns to the Maxwell Award list for the best player in the nation, while tight end Jeff Heuerman finds himself on the Mackey Award list for the best player at that position. Wrapping up the offensive, Dontre Wilson is on the list for the Paul Hornung award, given to the most versatile player in the country. A pair of Buckeyes anchor the Bednarik Award watch list for the best defender in America- that both Joey Bosa and Michael Bennett are on there says quite a bit about the state of the Buckeye front. UPDATE: You can add our favorite Aussie punter to the “list list”, as he’s a candidate for the Lou Groza award. Hopefully he’ll get zero chances to earn it this year.
  • Getting Freaky- Bosa’s on there due to his excellent play as a first year student, but he made another list due to his amazing athletic ability.
  • Redemption- We talked a few weeks ago about how Buckeye fans should respond when there favorite players end up on their least favorite pro franchises, and used Ryan Shazier’s tenure with the Steelers as a prime example. If you needed another reason to pull for Mr. Shazier, how about the fact that he’s taking the roster spot and jersey number of a former Wolverine who’s not real excited about those turn of events?
  • Cost Of Attendance, Yay! So sayeth our favorite athletic director… who also highlights my passion that student athletes should be allowed to complete at least one degree if they’ve been a part of revenue production for the University.
  • I Demand A Recount- Ohio Stadium finished second to LSU’s “Death Valley” in a recent survey… which was supposed to assess “Best Stadium”, but seemed to be more about “Best Gameday Experience”, given the parameters outlined by the Athlon staff. Speaking of surveys, this one is total crap.
  • Wanna’ See For Yourself? Single game tickets go on sale on Thursday… and my grandmother is convinced that those game tickets are sure to find that special someone someday.
  • Let There Be Lights! If you get tix for one of the night games this season, you’ll get to enjoy the new luminescence. I’m glad this is finally happening; we can’t always rely on God to drop a beam of light onto his favorite team.
  • A Bit Late- but happy anniversary to Coach Meyer and Shelley!
  • Cover Your Opening- With Oregon Nike doing their annual “It’s not creepy to fawn over high school kids, no not at all. Nope.” event in Beaverton this week, you can bet your bippy that the Buckeyes are well represented (and recruiting others to join the #Elite15). Even though yours truly has connections in Oregon, my schedule this year kept me from traveling north… so I’d strongly advise you to follow longtime Buckeye Brother Jeremy Birmingham, who’s on site and covering the gig for Eleven Warriors. From the sounds of it Hilliard, Cornell, and Tyler Green are all in the ears of Damien Harris (RB), Van Jefferson, Torrance Gibson, and Josh Sweat. Two or three of those fellers would be ice cream on top of the icing on the cake.
  • As If That Weren’t Enough- Sounds like there’s at least one other Buckeye at the Opening preaching the gospel of Scarlet and Gray as well-

Read More

WRR: Jerome Baker and Van Jefferson

Written July 8th, 2014 by MDotySr

A look at Jerome Baker and Van Jefferson.

Ohio State realizes just how important recruiting and developing depth. And after years of linebacker issues tormenting Ohio State because of injuries, attrition, lack of development and a couple recruiting misses; the Buckeyes seem to be working hard at repairing the problem. Maybe over-repairing? I do not believe there is such a thing.

The great thing with the linebacker position is they can usually be moved to another position if better suited. They don’t have to stay at linebacker to contribute. If they have the frame to add size, they can move to a pass-rushing defensive end spot. If they are a “tweener” and fast enough, they can slide to safety.

If they’re versatile enough, they can move over to tight end (Sam Hubbard). And no matter what, they are almost always an asset on special teams, regardless of their position. In the 2015 class, the Buckeyes have already earned verbal commitments from Hilliard and from Dublin’s Nick Conner.

Benedictine’s Jerome Baker moved up his decision to this Friday, July 11th.

Could he be next?

Read More

Tracy Sprinkle Arrested, Dismissed From Football Team

Written July 5th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye
Well, the ol’ gray box of foreboding is back… happy offseason.As first reported by Eleven Warriors’ Kyle Rowland, Ohio State defensive lineman was arrested on Friday following an altercation at a bar.

The Elyria High School graduate is a red-shirt freshman on the football team, and was expected to work towards playing time in a very deep position group.

The initial reports indicated that Sprinkle has been suspended indefinitely; Ohio State representatives could only confirm the incident and did not make any statements regarding Sprinkle’s current status with the team.

Given the suspensions of Roby and Hyde last year in situations where there was no follow up from law enforcement, it’s not hard to project that this may be a likely response from Coach Meyer.

While this initially was perceived as a “bar fight” situation, the Lorraine County Chronicle is reporting something much more serious:

Lorain police have confirmed that Ohio State University athlete and former Elyria High School football payer Tracy Sprinkle was arrested July 4 on charges of possession of drugs, heroin, drug paraphernalia, rioting/failure to disperse.

We’ll keep this post updated as news becomes available.

UPDATE: 7.6.14 AM- The reports of heroin are being recanted, although drugs and paraphernalia are still a part of the charges according to the Chronicle. Sprinkle is expected in court on Monday.

In addition, Sprinkle was suspended from the football program as of Sunday morning, according to OSU staff. His situation will be reviewed once any legal aspects are concluded.

Additionally, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Sprinkle was involved in a large fight outside of a Lorain nightclub, and was placed in the back of a squad car upon arrest.  When he was moved to another vehicle, two bags of cocaine were found stuffed beneath the back seat of the first car.

UPDATE: 7.7.14 AM- Sprinkle pled “not guilty” this morning in court, and was released on $2000 bond; his pre-trial hearing is scheduled for July 31, 2014.

According to an Ohio State spokesperson,

Tracy Sprinkle is no longer a part of the Ohio State football team. His status will be re-evaluated after all legal issues are resolved.

In looking at the police report of the incident, it sounds as if Sprinkle had a chance to do exactly as he’d been instructed and walk away from the incident, but chose not to do so.  Among the issues that this situation will create with him and his head coach, you’ve got to think that failure to do so will be way at the top of the list.

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