Silver Bullets Reloaded: Defensive Backs

Written August 25th, 2011 by Jim

Orhian Johnson is the lone returning starter in the secondary.

 

After losing three starters from last season, one would think the secondary would be in rebuilding mode at camp. Like the rest of the defense, that has not been the case at all. The starters (with one small exception) have been set from day one.

Continuity in the secondary is important, and the Buckeyes have had plenty of it so far. Outside of the offensive line, communication and coordination is more important in the secondary than anywhere else on the football field, and having the same players together helps out tremendously.

I have been very impressed by the secondary during practice. Despite three new starters, they all play (and most importantly communicate) like seasoned veterans.

Bold prediction time: despite the attrition, the 2011 defensive backs will be better than a year ago.

Here is a player by player breakdown of the two-deep. Read More

 

It's coming soon.

It has been a long and arduous off season for Buckeye Nation.

The anticipation and anxiety surrounding the August 12th NCAA hearings alone are enough to put someone on edge. How severely will the NCAA ultimately punish Ohio State for its transgressions?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Next up was the resignation of all-time great Jim Tressel and the resulting uncertainty surrounding Ohio State’s next head coach. Luke Fickell is a great defensive coach and an even better Buckeye, but will he be the long term answer to Ohio State’s head coaching vacancy?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Finally, what initially looked like a 2012 recruiting class for the ages is quickly turning into another source of concern for fans. As I have mentioned previously, it is still much, much too early to give up on the class, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a source of stress for the next several months. Will Luke Fickell (or the next head coach) be able to salvage the 2012 recruiting class before signing day?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Clearly there will be plenty of uncertainty and things to worry about in the coming months. If you are like me, however, you are already so sick and tired of worry and speculation that you have entered a state of comatose. Obviously, being in a state of comatose isn’t very much fun, so I have decided to switch my coping mechanism.

While this off-season has dragged on to the point that it seems like it will never end, the light at the end of the tunnel is coming into view and the season is fast approaching.

Rather than worry about things outside of our collective control, it’s time to refocus our energies on getting excited about the football season that kicks off in 65 days.

Here is a list of some things that I am most excited about for this season and beyond. Read More

Silver Bullet Points is a Son of a Gun

Written June 19th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye
The gift that keeps on giving

Happy “Dad’s Day”, to all the fathers (intentional and accidental), grandfathers, and father figures out there…

Buckeyes

  • Future Buckeyes cleaned house at yesterday’s Big-33 game, won 50-14 by Ohio’s all stars over their compatriots from Pennsylvania.  Standouts were Doran Grant, with a 101 yard pick six, Devin Smith with 3 catches for over a hundred yards and 2 TDs, and Cardale Jones’ stellar day at QB.
  • The star for Ohio was Akise Teague, future Bearcat, who won MVP awards. I think that we’ll be hearing a lot more from Mr. Teague in the future… you can count me among the ones disappointed he didn’t get a Buckeye offer.
  • At the Big 33, Ejuan Price confirmed that he had received his release from Ohio State, and was more than likely headed to Pitt. In spite of speculation that his decision was based on the current “scandal” in Columbus, his comments point to something many of us had thought all along-

“It had nothing to do with the allegations. I know what kind of people they are. Everybody makes mistakes, but that’s just not where my heart is. I don’t think that’s where I wanted to go in the first place. They’re still good people whether all of that stuff happened or not. Coach Tressel is still a good guy. They’re still all right with me.”

If anything, the linebacker from Richmond, Va., said, the troubles have served as motivation for not only him but also two of his fellow freshmen, defensive back Doran Grant and quarterback Braxton Miller.

“I talk to Doran all the time, and to Braxton, and our attitude is, ‘Let’s go in and do it, man. Let’s be a big three and go in there and help make it happen,’” Curtis Grant (no relation to Doran) said before arriving on campus this weekend. “I told Braxton he’s got to lead that offense, and that I am going to do my best to come in and try to get a starting spot, and try to lead the defense the best way I can.

Read More

Spring Game Primer

Written April 11th, 2011 by Jim

Excited for football yet?

With spring practice well underway and the spring game quickly approaching, it is time to move from “way too early looks” at each position into some more informed analysis based on practice reports.

[Note: I apologize for not getting to the defensive backs in my “way too early looks”.]

This offseason has been a tumultuous one to say the least. The tattoo revelations leading up to the Sugar Bowl and the resulting suspensions guaranteed a shadow over the off season. The additional news concerning Jim Tressel didn’t exactly make that shadow go away.

Fortunately, time heals all wounds, and cracking pads on the field helps to speed up that process- at least for me. After some time off from writing following the Tressel news conference (which is part of the reason why I didn’t get to the DBs), my enthusiasm for football is back in full swing.

So what follows will not only be a look at the DBs for the first time, but also a review of all of the position groups with some updated thoughts based on news from practice. I apologize ahead of time if this ends up being lengthy.

My rebuttal: FOOTBALL!

My attitude this offseason has always been that no matter what happens, when the Buckeyes take care of business on the field everything else will fade into the background.

Redemption through wins.

Off field BS be damned.

Here is a look at how each position is looking heading into the spring game.

Read More

Doran Grant is a Buckeye!!

Written January 5th, 2011 by Jim

Doran Grant

After an extended wait, Ohio cornerback Doran Grant has announced his decision to attend The Ohio State University at the Under Armour All-American game.

Grant is arguably a top three player in Ohio regardless of position and one of the top defensive backs in the midwest, if not the entire country.

It goes without saying that Grant is a great addition to the 2011 class. On top of being a great player and a great addition for the Buckeyes, with the graduation of starting CBs Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence, Grant has a very real opportunity to make an immediate impact in 2011 (think Christian Bryant this season, minus the season derailing injury).

Some people may consider Grant a bit undersized, but his combination of freakish athleticism (40 inch vertical) and physical style of play makes size a non-factor. He is a play maker, end of discussion.

Beyond the fact that Grant is a top national prospect, the ability of Ohio State lock up another great player from their own back yard makes this commitment all the more sweeter.

Due to family connections, the tale of Grant’s recruitment has largely been a two way battle between Ohio State and Michigan State. The Spartans have been a heavy contender from the start due to Doran’s father, Ted Jones, playing in East Lansing in the early 80′s and subsequently bleeding green and white.

Despite this family connection, most Ohio State insiders have felt Grant would be a Buckeye throughout the process, and luckily enough for Buckeye Nation they were correct.

Landing a top national prospect with the ability to contribute immediately in 2011 is a great way to follow up an outstanding bowl victory yesterday. Yes, the Sugar Bowl victory just got a little bit sweeter.

Highlights after the jump. Read More

Under Armour and Army All American Game Previews

Written January 5th, 2011 by Joe Laing

This week you will all have the ability to see a number of our incoming frosh in different all-star games.  When everyone gets excited about hats, you know it’s a good time…

Under Armour Game

The first game of the week will be the Under Armour Game.  This game is really starting to take over as being the premier all-star game, obviously the ESPN television spot helps. The game takes place Wednesday @ 7 PM Eastern.

The Buckeyes have 3 current commits in this game and 4 guys on the watch list. On the commit list are Florida OLB/DE Ryan Shazier, Dayton Huber Heights Wayne star QB Braxton Miller, and Canton McKinley DE Steve Miller.

Others to watch are AVSM CB Doran Grant, Florida WR Jujuan Story, Florida CB Jabari Gorman, and Maryland ATH Darius Jennings

Top Storylines:
  • Braxton Miller – He is going to get to show off what he can do against other top competition, and what he might have to bring early in the season next year, if he can land the starting spot.  We will get to hear soon enough where he stands in the pecking order as he will be enrolling in the spring.  Early word from practice is that Braxton has really showed well as a game manager, and understands when to tuck it and run, and when to stay in the pocket and deliver a strike.
  • Doran Grant – This highly rated CB Is expected to make a declaration choosing between his two favorites Ohio State and Michigan State.  (Many are calling for Ohio State, including me)
  • Darius Jennings – Expected to be held out of the game due to a concussion, We are in his top 3, not expected to make a commitment.
  • Steve Miller and Ryan Shazier - Hopefully we get the opportunity to see these two guys rush the passer and disrupting the opponents backfield.
  • Jabari Gorman – Along with Grant he is also making a declaration.  Most expect him to stay home somewhere in Florida, either Miami or Florida.  Coaching changes could have that up in the air, and Shazier has really been in his ear, but a commitment for Ohio State would be a minor upset on this one.
  • Jujuan Story – He is said to be making a late visit to OSU, currently a Florida commit.

Two Alabama commits might peek your interest as well being the two Ohio boys playing in the game LB Trey Depriest and OL Ryan Kelly (will not play due to injury in his last high school game).

Recruiting Update: Big Weekend for the Buckeyes

Written December 20th, 2010 by Jim

Back in the mix.

If you follow Ohio State recruiting even a little bit, I am sure you are aware that several high profile recruits were making official visits to Columbus this past weekend.

Virginia linebacker Curtis Grant, Pennsylvania linebacker Ejuan Price, California JUCO defensive back Byron Moore, Ohio defensive back Doran Grant, Maryland athlete Darius Jennings, and Georgia long snapper Bryce Haynes were all in town for their official tour of Ohio State.

The Buckeyes will be looking to fill the final spots in the 2011 class primarily from this pool of talent, so it was an important weekend for the good guys.

One thing to note before proceeding is that all but one of the visiting players are from out of state. Also worth noting is that all of the prospects are waiting until relatively late in the process before making their decision.

Ohio State’s history with late-deciding out-of-state recruits should be taken into account before getting too excited about any of the players. Duane Long has a nice summary explaining why Tressel’s recruiting style is the main culprit for his yearly last minute misses.

Good or bad, that’s just the way it is.

That being said, there was plenty of positive news following the big recruiting weekend.

Read on for the details. Read More

Recruiting Update: Glenville Academic Woes

Written December 2nd, 2010 by Jim

Doran Grant (middle) appears to be Ohio State's top target in Ohio. Glenville players? not so much.

Unfortunately, as the title indicates, this update is full of more apparent bad news on the Glenville recruiting front.

Last week, I mentioned that Ohio State’s interest in Akise Teague is likely due to uncertainty about Shane Wynn‘s status with the Buckeyes.

I also speculated that the recent offer to JUCO defensive line prospect Tank Carradine may have been the death knell for Andre Sturdivant‘s chances at being a Buckeye.

The initial optimism about Carradine’s interest in Ohio State may have been exaggerated, but the implications in regard to Sturdivant remain the same.

If that weren’t enough, the most recent Buckeye recruiting buzz is of an impending offer to Illinois lineman Chris Bryant (teammates with 2012 line prospect Jordan Diamond, who is receiving early interest from Ohio State).

It doesn’t take much imagination to see that Bryant’s  listed measurables (6’5″ 330 lbs.) are almost identical to Glenville’s Aundrey Walker. Read More