One Fan’s Opinion: Defensive Dreams

Written April 29th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Mike checks back in with part two of his post-spring look at the Ohio State football team, getting defensive this time:

When asked to write about the Silver Bullets, I cannot express to you the level of excitement and overall outlook for our beloved Buckeyes that got me pumped for the passing of summer. This will be an improved and potentially dominating defense that will make us proud as fans.

As far as I am concerned it started with the addition of Chris Ash (DC) and Larry Johnson (DL). These coaches are difference makers at practice, game time and recruiting. The impact is already present as witnessed by over 61,000 Buckeye Fans at the Spring Game.

The scheme employed by Ash will be simple, yet aggressive in the back end of the defense. He will allow the players to use their instincts and athletic ability to make plays on a consistent basis. This will mean more press coverage and much less of the “Bend Don’t Break” mentality we have witnessed in the past.

With that being said I would like to highlight a few players that stand out to me in the secondary heading into fall:

  1. Doran Grant gets forgotten about at times with all the talented youth waiting in the wings. We need to remember this is a former 5 star recruit who is suited to be more physical at the line of scrimmage using his hands and size. I really think he has a big year and finally shows he is the player we recruited. He will also be counted on to be more of a leader this year as we have a lot of youth on the depth chart.
  2. Eli Apple/Gareon Conley will both play a lot this year, though it will be a dog fight to see who gets the starting nod if they can beat out (Armani Reeves), which I think happens by mid-season at the latest. Both players are taller cornerbacks (6’1) that are rangy with speed and good hips. One play during the Spring Game I seen Apple “lay the wood” to Corey Smith as he attempted to catch a pass over the middle making me realize what a good hitter he is as well. Conley covered very well and had his hands involved frequently. In a nut shell, if they both stay healthy and out of the dog house, the sky is the limit for both these young men!
  3. Vonn Bell if healthy is penciled in as one starter at Safety. He missed most of the spring with a torn MCL, and it’s being said he “should” be ready for fall camp which we need. He is fast, athletic, a strong tackler but most impressive is his Ball Hawking ability. He will be fun to watch.
  4. Cam Burrows is a 6’0 converted Cornerback that I think will be the other starting safety. He has good coverage skills and will also be able to be an enforcer up in the box when asked. I am really excited about his potential and cannot wait to see him live in action. The only area of concern right now is depth (especially with the Thompson transfer) but once the rest of this recruiting class arrives, we improve right away in that area. Erik Smith is the one kid who I think will be in the 2 deep almost as soon as he walks on campus and contribute!

I am very confident in our young players and Coach Ash’s ability to scheme and motivate. Once healthy, this unit is going to wreak havoc on opposing offenses in the passing game as well as run support. We will be a young secondary from day one but very solid and a group that will improve vastly as the season progresses.

The Linebacker group is the most concerning to me as a whole. Read More

One Fan’s Opinion: Offensive Wish List

Written April 22nd, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Once again we’re joined by a faithful reader and great Buckeye fan to give us his thoughts on the Ohio State program. Today, Mike checks in with a post spring-practice look at the areas where Ohio State will look find leaders to step up for the 2014 season. See what you think about his look across the offense, and be sure to give him a follow on twitter.

This is what I see the biggest needs are on Offense after the team’s Spring preparations. I will hit on a couple of positions, depth (or lack thereof), and finally I will give you who I think breaks out this year on offense. For the sake of this reflection, I’m not going to address our stable of Running Backs or Tight Ends… Ohio State is an embarrassment of riches at those positions.

Of course, when the fall comes and the rest of the rookies join the program, there may be some changes.

Anchor

Offensive Line:

Our true biggest need is replacing 4 starters on the Offensive Line. We know Decker can play and will start at LT, he has gotten stronger and a potential leader that this offense will surely need especially with such young guys needing to step up. Next up, Pat Elflein who will most likely line up next to Decker and start at LG as he has some experience and proved he can play at this level, maybe not elite but better than average. Then you have Jacoby Boren, who I think will be the starting Center day one. I know what everyone is thinking, what about Billy Price? Well I see Billy Price starting at RG and becoming a dominate player of the next couple years. His mean streak and strength is what every Offensive Lineman (or Defensive Lineman for that matter) should have.

I would have loved to see Kyle Dodson be that starting RT, but unless the light comes on by fall camp, I see him as depth right now (which is a shame due to his talent level) which would open the Door for Evan Lisle to step in at RT. I think this RT battle will continue through spring with one of these two guys as the starter. The one wild card here Kyle Trout (He will be a Tackle) who is enrolled early, if he can get the system down after being in the weight program with Mickey Marotti he could be the real sleeper in this Offensive Line group, in my opinion.

With all this being said, we have some nice freshman coming in who will provide some much needed depth. This is my biggest concern on the Offensive side of the ball right now. We need young men to be developed and then they need to “Step-up” and seize the opportunity.

Quarterback: Read More

tBBC Roundtable: Spring Wrap-up

Written April 17th, 2014 by WVaBuckeye
The BIG show with Matt Finkes is on The GAME

Finkes makes it a BIG Show!

tBBC loves to do round-tables and I in particular really enjoy the interaction that I have with fans and  former Buckeyes who have helped out here. This round is no different, we welcome back my buddies from The Game in Columbus 95.5 and the guys from the new BIG show with Matt Finkes, and producer Adam Sabie. They can be heard weekday mornings from 9-12 and bring you some great co-hosts, and have a nice format for all.

I will be introducing you to a super fan in this round of questions in Michael Doty Sr. who is a U.S. Air Force veteran, a huge Buckeye fan and as many others do, put’s his family first. I had the privilege of meeting Sr. recently as he stopped in my area for lunch on his way to a party in Columbus called the Spring Game, which just happened to be his first time in #TheSHOE. Sr. does his homework and knows his Buckeyes, we welcome him to his first go around with us.

Sr and me before he heads on to Columbus

Before the Spring Game

As usual, we have our own guys putting in their most important two-cents worth. I have included links in all of our participants names so you can follow them on that twitter thingy. Lets get started!

From the start of practices to the game Saturday, who stood out to you the most on Offense and why?

Matt FinkesBrionte Dunn. Stronger more physical and has home run speed now.

Adam Sabie –    I want to say that Cardale Jones stood out the most on offense to me.  Not because his performance in the Spring Game was great, but because he clearly has potential and that, if it were developed, could be great for the Buckeyes.  One thing he and Barrett definitely need to work on though is their deep ball passing.  Jones is still a year away, so let’s hope that he can practice on that for whenever he takes over for injured Braxton mid-season.
Michael Doty Sr. - Let start by saying no player stood out but I will say that Brionte Dunn looked like all business out there.  Very improved and ran hard and determined….I see him be #2 on the depth chart with fall practice opens. I was also impressed with Corey Smith’s ability  to get open and his speed, needs to work on his hands though.
MaliI was impressed with Jacoby Boren, to be honest… we know he comes from good stock, but there’s always been a concern that he was undersized for the center position.  On Saturday, I thought he played pretty well, and I’ve been really excited to hear about his role as a team leader throughout the pre-season.
Patrick - I guess I’d have to say the receiving corp. You keep hearing good things out of Michael Thomas and Corey Smith. No doubt this group needs to improve.
WVaEven though he did disappoint in the spring game itself, I was impressed with Nick Vannett and him stepping up with Heuerman being out of commission. Nick showed some flashed last season of being a guy who should be on the field at the same time as Jeff. There’s only so many footballs to go around but Nick has probably earned his reps now.

From the start of practices to the game Saturday, who stood out to you the most on Defense and why? Read More

What Do You Want To See At The Spring Game?

Written April 11th, 2014 by WVaBuckeye

We’re pretty good around these here parts of letting people know what we want to see when it comes to the football sport. More specifically, what we want to see form our Buckeyes! Alot of it’s wishful thinking but for the most part, it really is what the folks wanna see. I provided the outline with offense; defense; back-up QB play; new playmaker show; how many times will Coach Coombs’ hair catch fire; and whatever else they want. Let’s get started with the head honcho.

Mali

Joey Bosa: Man-child accidentally killed NW player, will he get one of his own Saturday?

Joey Bosa: Man-child accidentally killed NW player, will he get one of his own Saturday?

Offense- We’ve been hearing about some of the new aerial weaponry, it’s time to see it- Vannett/Baugh at TE and the stable of athletes at WR.  I’m also interested in seeing Curtis Samuel after hearing a lot of good things this spring.

Defense- We’re running Press/4 coverage exclusively now… what will that look like against the spread? How will our linebacker play be different than last year? And will Joey Bosa kill someone on accident?

Back Up QB play- No one will replace Kenny G’s leadership, but is there a serviceable option for when Braxton’s resting?

New playmakers Show-  Again, Curtis Samuel is the guy that I’m keeping my eye out for, as well as some of the young pups on the offensive line

How many times will Coach Coombs hair catch fire- Depends on if he gets to run with the “can you beat a Buckeye” contestants again. :)

What Else? -  I’d like to see some momentum on the recruiting front. It’ll be a big weekend in Columbus; will we get any new additions? Oh, and no false starts.

Patrick Read More

Silver Bullet Points. Shaken, Not Stirred.

Written April 2nd, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Happy Wednesday, and happiest birthday to the young Buckeye in my avatar photo.  Given all of the excitement here on the left coast over the past weekend, my choice for today’s soundtrack was pretty much decided for me. Thoughts and prayers go out to our friends in Chile and South/Central Americas as well…

Ken has his beverage, I have mine

Buckeye 411

  • He Guapo’d Me With Science! In news that’s sure to make Charles and Eric gleeful, former Buckeye Carlos Hyde will be involved in an upcoming edition of Sports Science. He also got some tips from a legend today as a part of his trip to Los Angeles… there are exciting things ahead, for sure!
  • Injury Bug Strikes- Already missing Vonn Bell and Jalin Marshall, the Scarlet and Gray announced today that starting tight end Jeff Heuerman will miss the rest of the spring following surgery to address an ankle sprain. According to Meyer’s press conference on Tuesday, though, Nick Vannett and Marcus Baugh are more than picking up the slack in practice.
  • Good Day For The D… Coaches continue to rave about the defensive line and their efforts during Spring ball; and Coach Meyer pointed to Josh Perry as someone who’s also rising to the occasion at the linebacker position.
  • …Means A Bad Day For The O- Taylor Decker and Cardale Jones were both identified as players who struggled Tuesday, although Curtis Samuel was mentioned as someone who’s really catching on quickly in practice. We’re also hearing solid things from Mike Thomas, who’s work in the off season may be starting to pay huge dividends.
  • On Collars- Coach Meyer again addressed his passion for having a “blue collar” team, and said that the defensive side of the ball was what needed the most attention in this area; that the “culture had slipped”. Later, though, he talked about his belief that college student athletes, while working hard, are not employees… but also said that they deserved a greater stipend than what they currently received.
  • Something To Keep In Mind- Using the NCAA’s Strength Of Schedule Metric, Ohio State’s upcoming season is ranked #35 in the country. The mighty Crimson Tide come in at 95… out of 128 or so.  Roll Freakin’ Tide.
  • Hoop Hope From Hokie? Thad Matta has already added one “big man” via transfer this season, might seven footer Trevor Thompson be next? Would certainly change the face of the team…
  • Spring Game- Will be televised on BTN, and livechatted here at tBBC.
  • Student Day- If you’ve still got your BuckID, head down to the WHAC on Saturday for the third annual event. If you needed motivation, Sammy Silverman provides it: Read More

Nothing Conflicted About Silver Bullet Points

Written March 26th, 2014 by MaliBuckeye

Life is full of decisions. Sometime soon (Friday?) we’ll get the official word that LaQuinton Ross has decided to head to greener pastures… but until then, here’s the soundtrack for our midweek musings.

Decisions, Decisions…

Practice Notes

  • Receiving Praise- Coach Meyer talked on Tuesday about the need for the receiving corps to be a strength of the team, and highlighted Devin Smith,  Corey Smith, Michael Thomas, and Johnnie Dixon as players who were standing out.  Jeff Greene is working hard as well, but has some catching up to do. Dontre Wilson is in the “H” position full time now, and has put on the weight necessary to be successful this season.
  • We Are The Champions- After Saturday’s scrimmage, Tyvis Powell and Nick Vannett joined Pat Elflien as those who graded out with a “champion” mark. Elflien has also earned the starting right guard spot, according to Meyer. The center position is a “toss up” between Jacoby Boren and Billy Price, according to coach Tom Herman
  • Getting Defensive- The defense “won” the scrimmage this past weekend, and Meyer said that the Fickell/Ash process is going well.
  • Those Who Can’t, Teach- Braxton is being used to help groom the younger quarterbacks, including breaking down and grading their practice footage. Cardale still is taking the majority of reps at the position, but the others are coming along, according to Tom Herman.
  • Running On Empty? Not a chance, with the backfield being a source of strength for Ohio State this season.  That being said, the coaches spoke about how the offense will look different- losing four starting linemen and El Guapo will do that to you. Rod Smith had a good Tuesday practice, and EzE is still showing some “freshman moments”. Read More
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