The #4/3 Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0) host the Fightin’ Ferentzs’ of Iowa (4-2, 1-1) for an afternoon game in Columbus on Saturday. Up until a couple years ago, I always considered this a match-up of two teams with similar philosophies. Now, I see the game as the “new/improved” Ohio State playing a Tressel-ball bound team with less quality athletes, in Iowa.
Iowa under 15th year coach Kirk Ferentz are 104-76 (.578). Other than the team uniform’s similarity to the Pittsburgh Steelers (thanks, Hayden), Iowa is noted for cranking out offensive linemen (Bollman, you listening?) and having a stoic note-taking, gum-chewing head coach.
Coming off an very impressive 11-2 season in 2009, Iowa AD Gary Barta decided to elevate Kirk into the Hayden Fry pantheon with a contract extension through the year 2020 at $3.75 million per year, per HawkCentral.. With this contract, that’s a lot of chewing gum and notepads. Since the impressive contract extension, Iowa has been a less-than-impressive 19-19.
Back to football: Iowa ended their non-con portion at 3-1, then opened their B1G slate with an impressive 23-7 win over Minnesota. The next week, the Hawkeyes got roughed up, physically and statistically, against Michigan State, 26-14. Since I see OSU having a better offense but worse defense than MSU, things will not improve for Iowa. Read More
Tony Gerdeman started things off wondering why the narrative against Ohio State’s strength of schedule had started so early, particularly when that wasn’t the case for other schools in the past. Hell, ESPN created the “Let Boise State Play!” narrative to counter the BCS “bad guys”, and now they seem to be denigrating a team on an 18 game winning streak.
Gerd points out something that Ramzy Nasrallah highlights as well- the Buckeyes are damned if they do and damned if they don’t- Beating Wisconsin/Northwestern soundly makes the conference look bad, winning close games makes Ohio State look bad. Nice of our old friend confirmation bias to show up before the holiday season.
Ramzy goes on to point out that paying attention to things outside of Ohio State’s ability to control is pointless, and that fans should enjoy every moment as they follow their team. What people outside of the program think is not only beyond your ability to adapt, it also shouldn’t matter.
Well, it’s certainly been an… interesting… day as far as news goes. But before we dive into the dregs of college sports (and those who “oversee” it), let’s enjoy the fact that it’s finally FOOTBAW! season. Here’s your “pump up”/palate cleanser before the season kicks off.
Lots of news and notes to catch you up on before Walter White gets back to work.
Absent- Donovan Munger has missed most of camp thus far with some academic issues, and now has a medical (blood clot?) that will see him redshirting for this season. Najee Murray was also not present today, having been suspended for the team for at least the duration of training camp for a violation of team rules. Lots of speculation on this one, but at this point it’s only speculation.
2013 is here, I hope everyone rang in the New Year safe and sound but still had a lot of fun! With a new year brings the opportunity to look forward to what we are expecting and would like to see at this time next year. Let’s rumble!
No drop off on the d-line
For the first time in who knows how long, Ohio State will go into the upcoming football season replacing all four starters on its defensive front line. Gone are Jonathan Hankins, John Simon, Nathan Williams and Garret Goebel. The guys taking their place have big shoes to fill as Hankins may potentially be a top ten pick in the NFL draft, Williams and Simon were deadly on the ends (most notably when on the field together) while Goebel came into his own in 2011 and really blossomed in 2012 as a solid run stuffer. Goebel and Simon were named captains at the end of fall practice.
Fortunately, the Buckeyes appear to be loaded. We watched true freshman Tommy Schutt, Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence see significant snaps, some in critical junctures of big games. Junior Joel Hale was solid when called on. Another junior, Michael Bennett, has the potential to be the next “big time” defensive lineman at Ohio State. More troops are on the way as incoming freshman Tracy Sprinkle, Joey Bosa and Michael Hill are being looked at to perform as well as the Schutt-Spence-Washington trio did in 2012 or better.
There’s also the enigma that is J.T. Moore. He has the size and speed to be a steady hand in the rotation but has yet to show an ability to stay on the field when opportunities arise. Along with Moore, what will become of Chris Carter? Carter has the size to shut down run lanes in the manner that Hankins did in his career, but does he have the desire?
The REAL Linebacker U
Andy Katzenmoyer. A.J. Hawk. Ike Kelly. Bobby Carpenter. Randy Gradishar. Chris Spielman. Steve Tovar. Pepper Johnson. Tom Cousineau. James Laurinitis. Matt Wilhelm. Marcus Marek. Na’ill Diggs. Tell me, Penn State, is your list remotely close to this one? Didn’t think so. Read More
So here’s the thing.
The story of the day yesterday was the first episode of All Access, a behind the scenes look at the Buckeye program under the new regime.
But… in a moment of weakness, I DVR’d it And watched it.
And loved ever second.
How can you hate quotes like “Abso-smurfly”, “Bozo the freakin’ clown”, “I’m glad you’re a Buckeye, bro…”, “I like coaching you…” and other admonitions to play “hungry” and “angry”.
And the precision of the offensive staff’s work, the pride that Coach Mariotti puts into his time with the team, and the focus and plan that Coach Meyer is instilling into the team… it’s a really good piece. If you missed it and don’t mind the spoilers, the gang at LGHL have a really good review with picture pages and everything.
I’d be really excited about this, to be honest, if all things were equal. Given the bad PR that my favorite program received over the past few years for numerous self inflicted wounds, it’s great to get excited about OSU football again- and to see a national response (including Southern Cal and Clemson recruits commenting on it) that was pretty positive.
But, I’ll be honest- It’s still hard for me to not be wary about this series. You kick a dog and reach to pet him, he’ll wince and cower even if he lets you stroke his head again. Given what we know about ESPN’s agenda (Entertainment Sports Programming Network), it safe to see that they are interested in a narrative of redemption up until the point that they bang the drums marking a fall from grace.
Just watch the history- 2002 upset their narrative, and then the 2003 Clarett story was a bottom. The 2006 season’s coverage was the apex of good vibes, and then this past year seems to be yet another trough in their coverage- again, a story that Ohio State wrote for itself, but one that got presented over and over and over again on the largest stage while others were way way off Broadway in Coral Gables and Columbia and Chapel Hill.
So- we’ll watch (yup) and see. And, if nothing else, this will give us the chance to celebrate the splendor and power of an Ohio State team on a very particular mission.
Buckle Buckeye up.
Usually, we reserve “Shots” for game experience recaps. However, given Meyer Mayhem, here’s some whispers and stuff that Joe’s been hearing:
After three straight days of being at the Schott I overheard and saw quite a few things.
Tommy Schutt is one of the top defensive linemen in the country (scout 5-star, rivals 4-star, who cares what the clowns at ESPN rate him) who will be a tremendous addition to Ohio State’s interior defensive line.
With the opportunity to go to his choice of Mid-West schools, Schutt was heavily pursued by Ohio State early in the recruiting cycle. Unfortunately, his interest seemingly fell off after Jim Tressel was no longer head coach. Ultimately, he chose Penn State over Notre Dame and Michigan, but obviously the situation in Happy Valley has caused many of their prospects to look around.
It didn’t take long for the mutual interest sparks to fly between Schutt and Ohio State after Urban Meyer became head coach, and following a tremendous visit this weekend, Tommy decided to officially switch his commitment to the Buckeyes.
Hopefully this is just the start of a series of reversals from players who visited over the weekend (Pittman, Dodson).
Either way, Tommy Schutt is a tremendous addition to the 2012 class and Urban Meyer’s first commitment as Ohio State’s head coach.
Highlights after the jump. Read More