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

Change Comes To Happy Valley

Written February 19th, 2014 by Patrick

When Penn State was rocked by arguably the biggest scandal in college sports in 2011, they one thing on most B1G football fans minds was, who will be the guy to lead PSU through this dark time. Many names were tossed about and when the dust settled, they landed on a little know NFL assistant named Bill O’Brien.

O’Brien had no ties to Penn State and had no head coaching experience at the top level of college football. He had a knack for developing quarterbacks and designing great offensive game plans. His passion and desire for football quickly won over most of the PSU faithful, although many in the college football world wondered aloud how long O’Brien would stay at PSU.

Some felt he would bolt for the NFL once a good opportunity arose and others felt he would use PSU as a stepping stone to a bigger named school. Over the course of his two year tenure, his name would come up when any top job became available. Texas, USC, Auburn, the Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs were just a few over the past two years that O’Brien was linked too.

O’Brien received a raise and contract extension after his first season in Happy Valley and went as far as telling an Orlando Sentinel reporter after the 2012 season,

“The players who are here now and the guys who were here last year could’ve gone anywhere…They didn’t have to stay at Penn State, but they committed to each other, they committed to Penn State, and they committed to our coaching staff. I felt it was important that they understood that I was committed to them. What are you if you’re not a man of your word?”

Many of the PSU faithful took solace in that quote that O’Brien would be the guy to guide them through the last two years of their probation and return them to top of the college football mountain.

THEN……..it happened. Read More

Rumblin’, Stumblin’, Bumblin’

Written January 24th, 2014 by WVaBuckeye

It’s taken me quite a while to build to just talking about basketball on a Friday night in RSB and alas, I will have a singular reference to football. To be fair, I will take care of that pre-RSB.

Someone in Happy Valley won't be so happy Larry Johnson Sr. landed in Columbus, HUGE recruiting get.

Someone in Happy Valley won’t be so happy Larry Johnson Sr. landed in Columbus, HUGE recruiting get.

The Buckeyes football program has done some work the past couple weeks with respect to coaching staff additions that will cause a lot of fans to be quiet, for now. First and foremost, and probably the biggest hire since Coach Meyer hired his original staff is the hiring of Larry Johnson Sr. to replace Mike Vrabel. Johnson will coach the defensive line where he was hugely successful at PSU and has already helped in some of the damage briefly felt after the Vrabel exit. Kudos to Coach Meyer for bringing him in.

The new co-defensive coordinator, Chris Ash, will have an opportunity to infuse some of his beliefs in a defense that needs a new direction. We will see a glimpse of them in the spring and should know pretty quickly what kind of an effect he has had. He will be going against an offense that will probably no longer be about power and be mostly about speed. It’ll be fun to see the match-ups in the spring! Now let’s get rolling with rumblin’.

RUMBLIN’

There are a lot of sports teams that you could change coaches with and the change would be minimal. Then you have the situation at Ohio State with the women’s program that has shed some considerable light on how little Coach Foster was actually coaching the women’s team. It had been said by several and was really probably the reason he was dismissed, but the proof they say, is definitely in the pudding.

the moment the change began. Coach McGuff has turned the program around with what was given to him. B1G COTY candidate

The Moment The Change Began

What Coach McGuff and his staff has done in a short amount of time, with practically the same group from last season is remarkable. There has been a higher standard of work ethic for sure. Coach McGuff has two on staff in Joy Cheek and holdover Patrick Klein who have done an amazing job developing what they have into contenders. With upsets against ranked opponents and paying TTUN back last night on the record, they have sent a message loud and clear, get your shots in while you can because they will be stealing some win this season.

They have what could arguably be the number one class coming in next season and has a great start on the future with two really good tranfers. The next class could have an impact on some of the size being lost. It’s nasty defense with some up tempo scoring that will get better as the season goes and then next year . . , look out. High fives all around for their efforts so far.

STUMBLIN

This will be the first time all season that I do not mention the stupidty of some fans . . , wait . . , I just did. Oh well, it will be okay!!

Hopefully The Worst Is Over

Even though the Buckeye men’s team got the monkey off their backs against the Illini last night, I don’t think they are out of the woods just yet. They played a team that is in an even worse downward spiral which may cost John Groce his job at the end of the season. The mesmerizing part of the Buckeye stumble is the play of the ever-consistent Aaron Craft. During the four game losing streak his assist to turnover ration was a disastrous 1:1, 31 assists to 31 turnovers!!! To put that in perspective, his career ration is 4.9 to 2.4 or right at 2 to 1.

To right this ship permanently, Shannon Scott is going to have to weather some of the load and Aaron needs to score alot more. It has been very uncharacteristic of the team but they will go as their leader goes with regards to taking care of the basketball. The other stumblin piece is the fact that this team could win a title with the level of defense they play; however, they haven’t got an offense going that requires a special defense by the opponent. Very little threat to bust the zone they have seen much of the time this season.

BUMBLIN

It amazes me at how frequently people provide me a topic to discuss in this portion of RSB. I haven’t been very picky in the past when it comes to who to include because mostly its been about the fans that have been off their rockers, and the one time I went off on our favorite person to hate in Mark “I’m a TOOL” May. The people square in my sites this week are the owners of the Cleveland Browns.

I am sorry, I couldn't hear you. Who?!

I am sorry, I couldn’t hear you. Who?!

At what point do the fans give up hope of things ever changing? They finally have their man, but I can tell you that most fans probably believe that he will not last two to three seasons. Pettine has an impressive defensive resume, but it is not the resume that Jim Tressel has. I don’t care what level you expect a coach to have experience at, JT can flat out coach any level in my opinion. The fact that Browns brass refused to even acknowledge the fans desire to give him a shot tells me they do not care what the fans think.

First and foremost, the fans pay the bills folks. I don’t care how many sponsors they bring in to suppor their payroll, the fans are the ones that never leave or base their decisions on how good the return on the investment will be. I am not a Browns fan, but I remember how disastrous it was when the original team left for Baltimore. All of those sponsors pulled out and went on their merry way and the local radio that carried the broadcasts suffered for it. Those fans that went through that then should have a say in what happens now.

The request to at least give Coach Tressel an interview was viable and needed. Now because of their refusal to do so, JT may end up in Detroit of all places. Hopefully this group will learn from this mistake and do whats necessary to bring coach in when Pettine fails to get things going.

Imagine him riding the shoulders of Browns’ fans

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