Chat Transcript - Steve Helwagen

We have a transcript posted now from today's club chat with Steve Helwagen. Plenty was discussed, ranging from all the controversy circulating around the team to the Washington Huskies to back-up offensive linemen. Take a look.

Kirk L. (Aug 21, 2003 1:29:49 PM)
Ok, we're going to kick things off now. Welcome Steve!

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 1:29:56 PM)
Hey guys, thanks to Kirk L. for facilitating this Chat. He and everybody at Bucknuts have been great at welcoming me into their family and accommodating everything I've wanted to get done in this first week.

NapervilleBuck (Aug 21, 2003 1:30:12 PM)
Steve....Congrats on your new gig!! A couple of things: 1. How do you see the kicking game this year? Is the holder going to be as good as Groom was last year? 2. Regarding the secondary---Will Salley or Mitchell be the S along with Allen? And who's going to be the nickel? Thanks!!

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 1:33:11 PM)
Thanks Nape. You've been a real friend through all of this and I assume I will see you later this year. Yes, there is concern about the holds. But yesterday seemed to be fine in that department. The guys kicking the ball (Nugent and Sander) did a good job. Protection was an issue, but you have to remember the team was split up. I assume the best protection unit will be on the field for the games and it will look better. That battle between Salley and Mitchell is the best one on the team right now. Salley seems to have coverage down and Mitchell is a great hitter. Tough call. Both will play, probably interchangeably (is that a word?). The "loser" figures to be the nickel. Whitner has been sidelined and fallen off the pace a bit, but we know he can play, too.

Mike68 (Aug 21, 2003 1:34:36 PM)
Kirk or Steve- Will the site be having any links to the papers that cover UW in the days leading up to next week's game?

Kirk L. (Aug 21, 2003 1:34:36 PM)
I will definitely watch the Washington papers... thanks for bringing it up. It's time to start looking over there. There's also a fine UW site for Insiders too.

LightningRod (Aug 21, 2003 1:34:50 PM)
How is Lukens progressing?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 1:35:27 PM)
We have big plans for Washington coverage, beginning Monday,

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 1:36:50 PM)
I thought Lukens had a great scrimmage. It appeared to me he was lining up at OLB. In the series he was on the field, he was all over the place. He hit Justin Zwick as he was throwing on a blitz to force the INT to Graef. I think you will definitely see guys like he and Tony Gonzalez on special teams. No question. Not sure if LB is where he'll stay for good, but with D'Andrea and Pagac hobbling and plenty of safeties running around he may be there for the time being.

BuckNutty (Aug 21, 2003 1:37:03 PM)
Welcome to Bucknuts Steve...who do you think takes over at the Mike for Wilhelm?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 1:39:58 PM)
I think that is still up in the air. Reynolds would love to be that go-to guy. D'Andrea had an ankle injury that cost him a lot of the first week. But I give that kid a lot of credit. He was running around on one wheel last Sat. and he gutted it out. I think the decision is are they better with Carpenter at OLB and Reynolds inside or Reynolds at OLB and D'Andrea at MLB or even vice versa (D'Andrea outside and Reynolds inside). Believe me, they have and will continue to try all combinations thereof. The best 3 in my mind are Hawk (no question, he may be the best), Reynolds and D'Andrea. Carpenter is very close, too. I'll let Mark Snyder sort out that pleasant situation.

brett (Aug 21, 2003 1:40:25 PM)
Hello steve. I am not really familiar with BSB so I was wondering if there is any specific area you focus on(X's and O's, player interviews, recruiting, etc.) or if you will cover a broad range of things buckeye related.

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 1:42:52 PM)
Well, I wore a lot of hats at BSB. I led the recruiting and football coverage in the newspaper and concentrated mostly on football on the internet. X's and O's, I will admit, are not my strongest suit. I try real hard to convey how and why things are happening, but I let the coaches do most of the talking. People like Jerry Rudzinski and others probably will have to "break things down" to that ultimate level. My tack has always been to just work hard at building interesting stories. I've also done a lot of basketball and we hope to improve that coverage here as well.

Mike68 (Aug 21, 2003 1:43:13 PM)
Steve- What is your opinion of Washington, both offensively and defensively? How close do you see the game being for the Bucks? Great to have you aboard!

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 1:45:52 PM)
Offensively, Washington is extremely capable. The passing combo of Pickett to Williams will put up some huge numbers this year. But, like Washington State last year, that kind of plays to OSU's strong suit. UW not well known for rushing or stopping the run. Defensively, they weren't the best last year. But when they wanted to play they weren't too bad.

Guest (Aug 21, 2003 1:46:02 PM)
Hey, Steve. Welcome. Wondering if you think this latest academic scandel is all smoke or are we maybe going to get stung here?

Hondo (Aug 21, 2003 1:46:22 PM)
Steve, I've confused regarding the whole Clarett deal. I thought the reason Ohio State was holding Clarett out was due to a question regarding his amateur status, i.e. "The incident with car". Why doesn't the NCAA look at these as two separate issues and release the findings regarding the car and the police so they can start practicing Clarett? The issue with McGill has nothing to do with that.

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 1:49:27 PM)
I can't speak to what the NCAA is or is not doing. It would all be an assumption. OSU is holding him out of practice until the NCAA rules on the amateur status issue. I agree that the academic situation should be treated separately. I guess they haven't reached a decision on the amateur status issue or I suppose he would be practicing. What a mess.

ODOGG45 (Aug 21, 2003 1:51:32 PM)
Steve..... how are the young CB's progressing ? How would you rate Youboty, Whitner, Underwood, Gonzalez? Which of these guys has the most upside??

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 1:53:48 PM)
Youboty is a nice football player. He should have a nice career here. He is a rangy athlete who can tackle. I thought he made a couple nice plays in yesterday's scrimmage. I look for him to be on special teams. I would say Underwood is the No. 3 corner (top reserve). He just does a nice job on everything and is polished. Whitner is working mostly at safety. Gonzalez has been working at wide receiver, but could go to defense later on. Same with Hiley.

nbuck (Aug 21, 2003 1:54:48 PM)
steve, there has been some hand ringing on the message boards about not offering in state offensive lineman, do you feel that bollman and tress have a great handle on who they want to offer and what they are looking for in lineman?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 1:59:16 PM)
Yeah, they want guys who can move and play. They want athletic offensive linemen who can get outside and lead the way on toss sweeps and screen passes. They can't really do that right now with the really big guys (although they're working hard to get leaner/better). Most of the guys from Ohio (except Barton and Person) must not meet that criteria. Bollman and his GA Mark Staten have had just about every one of these so called top Ohio guys in camp. Of bigger guys, I assume they believe Braxton and the junior, Boone, can play or they would not be so highly regarded. I am on record as saying OSU, in football and basketball, is a national program. I don't care if they come from Tangiers as long as they can play. I know OSU wants to prop up Ohio football, but they aren't running a charity, either. This is big time college football. They need difference makers or they lose to Michigan and, ultimately, they lose their jobs. Their OL recruiting is looking up, in my opinion. Braxton and maybe one of the great out-of-

Hondo (Aug 21, 2003 2:00:44 PM)
Steve, two more questions. In the past Sanders was accused of being too slow punting the ball, has he corrected this?

Hondo (Aug 21, 2003 2:01:01 PM)
Do you think the Basketball Bucks get a verbal from Hairston?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:03:54 PM)
He thinks he has. On the one that was blocked yesterday the snap was high. He says he was told he got it off in 1.67 seconds, which is what he aims for. Maybe nobody blocked Carter. Everybody watching felt a block was imminent. In terms of Hairston, it sounds like he has some loyalty to they and Howland, now at UCLA, because they were each in him early. But when places like Kansas, Kentucky, MSU and the rest of these "traditional" schools pay him so much attention now, it is hard not to get your head turned. It will be tight, but it would be a major coup and assure them of a top-10 class, certainly. They also need a big man, almost as bad as they need Hairston.

ODOGG45 (Aug 21, 2003 2:04:30 PM)
Have any young offensive linemen caught your eye? How would you rate Coleman and Schaefer as Olinemen ??

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:08:56 PM)
The best of the young OL, obviously, are Sims and Mangold. I think, in his way, Downing is making a nice name for himself as a tackle. He is working hard and he plays extremely hard, in my opinion. Datish and Coleman are also coming along. I look for Bollman to rotate those 4 guys in as much as he can, especially if OSU gets some comfortable advantages (i.e. SDSU, BGSU, Northwestern). It is good those guys can develop this year as redshirts, then move in as starters as sophomores and have 3 good years in front of them. I get a little dizzy about next year thinking about a new OL and a new QB in the same year. (Keels: "... and Marshall has done it." Not a VBG)

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:09:26 PM)
Also, Schafer has been splitting time between offense and defense. Tressel gave him nice marks after the scrimmage for going there on one day's notice.

OSUScooter (Aug 21, 2003 2:09:44 PM)
Steve- Welcome to Bucknuts! With the injuries to Maurice Hall and Lydell Ross, do you see 25 pass attempts as likely against Washington? I know both will play, but I don't expect 20 rushes from either of them due to their nagging sores. Plus, is the chris gamble injury serious at all? Thanks!

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:12:29 PM)
Well, I think down and distance and score will dictate the offensive play calls. OSU will come out and try and grind meat by rotating Ross and Hall early in the game. If that works, they'll stay with it. If not, they will mix in more passing as the game wears on and also Krenzel running as a weapon. UW's defense is extremely fast, according to Tim Spencer. Could be like Miami, where they overpursue and Krenzel again makes them pay for it. I think Ross and Hall will be fine by game night. Each could get 15 carries, maybe more. I don't think the Gamble injury is that serious. He has been practicing sporadically even with whatever it's been (nobody will say).

RossfordBuck (Aug 21, 2003 2:12:54 PM)
What are the reasons behind Kudla's performance this year? Lingering effects of the illness, camp injuries?.

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:14:33 PM)
I honestly don't know. He has been on the sideline off and on. It's really too bad because he should be positioning himself as a member of the two-deep at end. His absence is opening the door for people like Penton and Marcel Frost.

pbuck (Aug 21, 2003 2:14:53 PM)
Steve, do you think the recent NCAA investigations will hurt OSU's credibility with recruits and parents?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:16:53 PM)
No, because Jim Tressel's reputation is largely spotless. He and his assistants produce an impressive, united front. They have the machinery in place to land great recruits year after year. Plus, the people who power broker these kids -- your Ted Ginn Sr's and the rest of the influential prep coaches -- know the real score and love the guy.

ODOGG45 (Aug 21, 2003 2:17:27 PM)
Steve- do you think the Defense can be as strong as last years or maybe stronger ??

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:20:24 PM)
That's a toughie. I think the defense will be strong, but can you guarantee me that Darrion Scott will be 100 percent. He hasn't practiced that much, and he is an impact player. Losing 4 of your top 5 tacklers isn't a good thing. Somebody ultimately has to bring people to the ground. We know Fox and Hawk can do it. But who else, really, is proven (beyond the linemen, whose job is to set it up for the LBs and safeties to make the plays)? As good as last year? No, I don't think so. Pretty good still? Yes. Will they need to be as good? No, because the offense should average another TD a game.

Mini-Me (Aug 21, 2003 2:20:54 PM)
Steve: Do you think there is anything to this academic scandal or is it just smoke at this point?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:23:24 PM)
I am all-knowing, but I'm not THAT all-knowing. I'm afraid there are a few too many details and names being dropped to be naive to think that there may be something amiss. I guess be prepared for the worst and be happy when they announce it was just like Tennessee (lots of smoke but no huge flames).

NapervilleBuck (Aug 21, 2003 2:23:43 PM)
Steve.....have you noticed the progression of Doug Datish, TJ Downing, and Adam Olds? I hear Olds is getting manhandled but have heard nothing on Datish/Downing.

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:25:40 PM)
I like Downing a lot. He is tough kid who works hard. I heard some of the same rumblings about Olds, but let's consider who he's going against -- some pretty good d-linemen. Datish, I honestly haven't noticed. He's wearing No. 50 so you have to look for him (he switched from 66 I believe).

CincinnatiBuck (Aug 21, 2003 2:26:23 PM)
Steve I always enjoyed reading the opponent coverage and position breakdown each week in BSB newspaper. Will you bring that over to Bucknuts?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:28:39 PM)
Yes, that's the plan. We will try and have an in-depth at that week's opponent up by Monday, Tuesday at the latest. Then, we will go through the week with OSU comments on the opponent's offense and defense. During Big Ten season, we will also listen to the teleconference for more details from the opponent.

Mike68 (Aug 21, 2003 2:29:20 PM)
What one area do you see the Bucks most improved in for the coming year?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:31:12 PM)
Maybe pass protection and offensive line play. That line has 4 seniors and a pretty good soph with Sims. They were spotty at various times in the year, but should be consistently solid throughout.

Hondo (Aug 21, 2003 2:31:33 PM)
Steve, how much time will Izzy see this year? Will we see him against Wash.?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:33:08 PM)
I think Irizarry will play. I'd say he is No. 3 at TE right now. Hartsock is hobbled with the knuckle injury. If that doesn't heal, then Izzy will be in the rotation on opening night. He has opened some eyes with his pass catching ability. He is a conscientious kid. I'm sure he'll get the blocking down as well. He is just a rook, everybody needs to remember.

RossfordBuck (Aug 21, 2003 2:33:25 PM)
Where does Jordan stand amongst the WR's? Haven't heard a word about him in camp from anyone.

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:35:31 PM)
I haven't seen him catch a pass. Of course we only get to watch Mondays and scrimmages. I'm sure if I was there every day I'd see him more. My guess is with Jenkins, Gamble, Carter, Hall, Holmes, Childress, Hollins and Chattams all available, they will redshirt Jordan. Just a guess, but there is no urgency for him to waste a year.

Kirk L. (Aug 21, 2003 2:35:57 PM)
Ok we're going to wrap things up in a few min...any last questions for Steve?

CincinnatiBuck (Aug 21, 2003 2:36:18 PM)
Steve welcome enjoyed your work at BSB. Will Reynolds move back to outside when D'Andrea is full go?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:38:21 PM)
If they decide they are best with D'Andrea in the middle, yes, I assume he'll move back outside. They are mixing and matching all kinds of combos to see what looks best. Tomorrow they have their rehearsal scrimmage at the stadium. At that point we will see personnel groupings and understand a little better how the puzzle all fits together.

Hondo (Aug 21, 2003 2:38:29 PM)
Steve, are you concerned about the inexperience of the Safetys on the defense?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:40:13 PM)
A little bit. But Allen was almost a regular last year. Before the year, Tressel believed they would play more downs in nickel than in base D and I think he was right, when you consider how many teams try to throw on them after falling behind early. The Salley-Mitchell winner will be learning on the fly, but they go against great receivers every day. Tackling is the key. Tackling in space is the key for safeties. That's why Doss was so good.

RossfordBuck (Aug 21, 2003 2:40:36 PM)
Yeah, will he be at any tailgates for the UW game?

Susan (Aug 21, 2003 2:41:06 PM)
is that scrimmage open to the media, steve?

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:43:33 PM)
I haven't made any travels plans yet. It is my plan to get to Wisconsin. I looked at the viewer's guide I did and that is an incredible day for football with Oklahoma-Texas, Georgia-Tennessee, Florida-LSU, Notre Dame-Pitt, Penn State-Purdue and OSU-Wisky. I want to find a place and watch all of that.

Hondo (Aug 21, 2003 2:43:53 PM)
Thanks Steve, I'm glad you are on board with Bucknuts! I need to go back to work now before I need a job.

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:44:09 PM)
The scrimmage is closed to the public. Media is allowed in, but there are no cameras allowed.

Guest (Aug 21, 2003 2:44:37 PM)
Thanks Steve. Welcome aboard.

Kirk L. (Aug 21, 2003 2:45:45 PM)
We'd like to thank Steve for stopping by... sorry if chat was slow today. Thanks for coming and we will see you soon!

Susan (Aug 21, 2003 2:46:02 PM)
yes..thanks Steve..even though I was late and missed most of it..

RossfordBuck (Aug 21, 2003 2:46:09 PM)
Thanks a million Steve for becoming a member of the family here!!

Kirk L. (Aug 21, 2003 2:46:41 PM)
(Part of the speed was my fault... my computer picked 1:30 as a time to start moving slowwwwwww....)

SteveHelwagen (Aug 21, 2003 2:46:46 PM)
Thanks everybody for making the first Chat here a great one. As mentioned, I want to also institute an evening one maybe on Tuesdays. This Thursday afternoon one should become a regular. May take a few weeks to get the kinks out, though. Thanks again.

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