Never Too Early: 2014 Illinois Preview

Written July 27th, 2014 by Patrick

Who Has Two Thumbs And Is On The Coaching Hot Seat?

When the schedule came out and Buckeyes fans saw the Illinois game at night, there was a collective gasp as memories of 2007 came back to their minds. Thankfully Ron Zook and Juice Williams won’t be making the trip this time. The Bucks will be playing their 4th B1G contest of the season as the Fighting Illini will be battling a B1G opponent for the 5th time when the arrive in Columbus.

The third year has usually been the charm for Illinois head coaches. Mike White, John Mackovic, Lou Tepper, Ron Turner and Ron Zook all reached bowls in their third seasons. Now, it’s Tim Beckman’s turn to try to keep the streak going. While the school hasn’t issued an ultimatum, a bowl bid would help secure Beckman’s future.

Gone is his do everything Nathan Scheelhaase; Buckeyes fans remember last season when Scheelhaase single handedly kept Illinois in the game with 2 passing touchdowns and 1 on the ground as OSU won the battle for the IlliBuck 60-35.

Second-year offensive coordinator Bill Cubit wasn’t ready to name a starting quarterback in the spring. He wanted to watch the three challengers compete, but it was clear to those who watched the battle that there wasn’t much of one. Barring injury before the opener against Youngstown State, Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt gets the call. There are big hopes at Illinois for Lunt. He has a rocket arm and a quick release. The coaches also rave about his decision-making.

Lunt will rely plenty on running back Josh Ferguson. The dual-threat back led the team in rushing with 779 yards, averaging a robust 5.5 per carry. He was also second on the team in catches.

By far, receiver was the biggest area of concern for the offensive coaches going into the spring. They have to replace three key departed players. Geronimo Allison, Martize Barr, Justin Hardee and Mike Dudek all pushed for playing time with solid results. Jon Davis and Matt LaCosse are threats at tight end.

With four starters back, the coaches are hoping the offensive line will be a strength. Guard Michael Heitz enters his fourth year as a starter. Tackle Austin Schmidt could turn into a star. Read More

Josh Moore And Joshua Alabi Are Buckeyes!!!

Written July 26th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Sorry to be a bit late on this… we wanted to let the other big news of the weekend stay at the top of our discussion.

Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights camp and recruiting event concluded this weekend with at least three positives for fans of the Scarlet and Gray.

Josh Moore

On Saturday, top quarterback recruit Torrance Gibson named the Buckeyes his top school after his weekend in Columbus; although there’s a long way to go between now and February for his services.

However, that late news should not take away from the earlier fireworks, as the Buckeyes went “Boom” for a pair of 2015 commitments, starting with Olathe Kansas’ Josh Moore, a tight end candidate that many experts had staying west of the Mississippi River for his college campaign.

The thirteenth member of the Elite 15 class is a 6’5″, 250 pound young man with solid hands and footwork who was targeted by Florida State, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Auburn, and may find himself on the Reid Fragel plan and transitioned to offensive tackle by the end of his time in Columbus.

In addition to his on-field skill set, Moore also brings an amazing story of recovery and resilience to Ohio State; as if I needed reason to cheer for him, I can’t help but want him to succeed after hearing about his battle with cancer years ago. Eleven Warriors’ Kyle Rowland provides a great overview of this young man’s life.

After the jump you can check out why Mr. Moore is ranked as the 22nd tight end candidate in the country. Read More

From Columbus To Hollywood: Maurice Hall

Written July 19th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Every now and again, we get an interesting story at tBBC headquarters.

Mr. Hall

Really? Yellow sweater and blue shirt, Mr. Hall?

That was especially true this week, when the team representing Maurice Hall reached out to us to let us know about his new endeavor as well as ways that fans of his work on and off the field could get involved.

Buckeye fans will remember many aspects of Maurice’s Ohio State career, but no moment stands out more than this important fourth quarter opportunity in 2002.

Maurice is no stranger to us here- we’ve been blessed to have chatted with him on a very early edition of The Radio Hour podcast, and have interacted with him on numerous occasions about his experiences in the entertainment industry.  West Coast Buckeyes have to stick together.

His latest project is pretty expansive, and takes advantage of the new business model that we’re seeing in Hollywood.  Formerly, a solid idea or script might languish on the desks of studio heads, waiting for someone to take a chance on a young director or different story.

However recent independent films have found success being funded both by those directly involved and by crowdsourcing the expenses.  But investors and partners are also finding that it’s not just an opportunity to help a new talent out- there are often great “perks” for donors.  You might remember that our friend Mekka Don used this method to release his latest album as well.

After the jump, check out the press release about Maurice’s plan and project, as well as learn how you might be able to win some choice NFL tickets. Read More

Never Too Early: 2014 Penn State Preview

Written July 18th, 2014 by Patrick

Hello, New Guy!

Week 9 of the college football season finds the Buckeyes back on the road and traveling for the second time in the young B1G schedule as they travel east to take on Penn State. Penn State is in its first season under new head coach James Franklin and is coming off a bye week as they prepare to take on Ohio State at home, at night. Unlike the Buckeyes, PSU will have 3 conference games (Rutgers, Northwestern, and TTUN) under their belt when the Bucks come a calling.

The worst is over for Penn State when it comes to NCAA sanctions and new head coach James Franklin comes in after a very successful run in the SEC while coaching at Vanderbilt, and takes over for Bill O’Brien after he jumped ship for the NFL.

Franklin has the luxury of inheriting what may be the best passing QB in the B1G in Christian Hackenberg. What he and Hack both won’t have is their all everything WR Allen Robinson who left early for the riches of the NFL after the ’13/’14 season.

Two All-Big Ten blockers in guard John Urschel and center Ty Howle have also moved on as well as tackle Adam Gress (nine starts). With an elite quarterback and a trio of excellent running backs — Bill Belton, Zach Zwinak, Akeel Lynch — protecting his offensive assets becomes a huge focus for Franklin and the Nittany Lions.

Offensive line coach Herb Hand is one of the most dynamic personalities the SEC had a year ago and now his first job is to rebuild the Lions’ front five. Left tackle Donovan Smith is a great place to start and Miles Dieffenbach has begun to live up to the recruiting hype. Still, other names need to step into bigger roles. Stabilizing the line is imperative if Penn State wants to move the ball on the ground and keep its star signal-caller upright. Read More

tBBC Roundtable: Previewing Ohio State Football

Written July 17th, 2014 by MDotySr
Buckeye Chatter!!!!

Buckeye Chatter!!!!

It’s almost that time of year with only 44 days until The Ohio State Buckeyes play the Naval Academy in Baltimore.

As I sat and thought about it, I realized it would be a good time to get some opinions from the fans of Ohio State and our staff here at The Buckeye Battle Cry.

I look forward to the comments on the site and the discussion that follows. These articles are some of my favorites as it gets as many Buckeye fans involved that want to be!!!

So without holding the process up any longer I think we need to hear from the Best Damn Fans in the Land!!

Here are the questions I posed to the fans and staff:

Who do you think will be the starting cornerbacks for the Buckeyes when the season starts? Mid –Season?

Ken – Doran Grant and Armani Reeves will be opening day starters. As mid-season starters? I have no idea. There is some impressive talent (Apple, Conley, Lattimore, and Webb) but they are inexperienced. I see the variables as; the play of Grant/Reeves, the development of “youngsters and injuries. Let’s talk the week of the Penn State game.

Jason – Doran Grant and Eli Apple. I’ll say the same two at mid-season. As for why, Grant I think is obviously pretty talented. Apple I’m kind of hoping.

@GrChZeboI think Doran Grant and Gareon Conley will be the starting CBs to start and end the season (barring injury). Grant is an obvious choice and I think Conley will better fit the mold of the “new” defense that Coach Ash is looking to install. He’s long and very athletic and I think that’s going to tip things in his favor.

Mali – Grant and Apple, and I have no idea about a mid-season change. I’m hoping that any transition at the position is due to excellence and not due to craptastic play and/or injury.

Read More

Silver Bullet Points Tips Its Cap

Written July 16th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Happy “Archie Days Until Football!“, people.  Oh, and please notice that I spelled that with two “Os” and not a “U”, just the way St. Woody would have demanded.  Look, Imma let you finish Germany, but College Football is the greatest game of all time

Sorry Jeter, This Is My Favorite #2 Jersey

Ahem. Here’s your Wednesday morning soundtrack. Looking forward to Block O and TBDBITL bringing this to The ‘Shoe

Buckeye 411

  • Team Dissension? Did you hear about the all out conflict that the wide receivers and linebackers had within their position groups? Certainly brings a new update on the “shotgun” and “pistol” formations.
  • Watching The Watchmen- More “Watchlist” updates this week- Devin Smith has been named to the Bilitnikoff Award list for the nation’s top receiver, while Michael Bennett and Joey Bosa add the Lombardi award to their end of season possibilities.  Interestingly enough Curtis Grant was named to the Butkus List, which must focus on his senior status at Linebacker U.  To be fair, I’d love to see him excel and win the thing… the timing, though, just seems odd. Update: On Wednesday Morning, Braxton was named to the Davey O’Brien watchlist for the nation’s best QB; he was a finalist in 2013.
  • Paid Forward- The American Football Coaches Association also named Michael Bennett to the Good Works team for his work with Columbus area charities. Making the great state of Ohio proud, son.
  • Getting Crafty! Living on the West Coast, my cable company will often show Laker D-League games; so it was great to watch LaQuinton Ross and Aaron Craft go at it when the Warriors and Lakers squared off.  Q’s time was unremarkable, but Craft stood out both statistically and to the coaching staff. AC4 with the Warriors would be fun, if only because I love watching their current point guard run the show as well.
  • SNAPPER- Rigged or no, the Dude Perfect team is pretty well known for their trick shot videos… and the latest one includes current Rams and former Buckeye (as well as friend of tBBC) Jake McQuaide.  I’m sure he called “Bank”.
  • Dip Jar Not Available- Love the auction based “reality shows”? Well, here’s your chance to get that fix for yourself, courtesy of a Buckeye player and coaching legend, as well as a Super Bowl Champion. When the Vrabel’s moved to Florida, they left some things behind and now those can be yours! (Dibs on the Ohio State varsity jacket)
  • Wanna’ Go Back? Gotta’ Go Back? For those of us who live across the country and can’t get to Columbus on the regular, this panoramic tour of the campus is a quick way to get our fix. I really hope they update it throughout the year; autumn leaves, gameday, Mirror Lake jump would all be spectacular.
  • Getting Closer- While you’re in the office working on TPS reports or at home watching your stories, the Buckeyes are working, as evidenced by Sammy Silverman’s latest:

Read More

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:

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