Helwagen Chat: Sept. 12 Archive

Get ready for today's pivotal game with N.C. State by perusing this free archive of Friday's Chat session with Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen. Steve conducts these Chat sessions for Bucknuts.com subscribers each week, usually on Thursday or Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern time.

Here is the archive of Friday's Chat session conducted by Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen. Kirk (Sep 12, 2003 12:47:34 PM) I'll start out with one for Steve. How's the mood of the team seem this week? Are they distracted at all by all this nonsense, or do they seem focused?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 12:49:17 PM) From the limited access we've had (remember, interviews were before Reecie-gate came to a close -- at least for now -- on Wed.), I think everybody would have to be glad that those lingering questions are over with. Plus, last week's showing is enough incentive (i.e. not repeating it) to play a much better game this week. I think that's what we'll see, starting at 12:07 tomorrow.

dagat21 (Sep 12, 2003 12:50:18 PM) Steve - What is your take on Freeman? Is he coming to tOSU?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 12:52:10 PM) That has always been my impression. I think Notre Dame and Willingham has a fighting chance. I think it comes down to OSU and ND, although Michigan and Michigan State (immediate openings available) are also interesting.

dagat21 (Sep 12, 2003 12:54:35 PM) What are you hearing about Fraser and whether he is going to play or not?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 12:56:34 PM) On Tuesday, Tressel said Fraser would likely miss the game. I have not heard anything more about it since then.

Oh8ch (Sep 12, 2003 12:58:24 PM) How will Bucknuts two recruiting gurus be dividing the workload?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:00:20 PM) Oh8ch, you know, this deal just came together in the last week or so. Gary and Duane (the 2 guys I assume you are referring to) each have their strong points (or they wouldn't be here). Duane may concentrate more on evaluation, Ohio's Future Stars and player updates. Gary likes to do his work in the field, watching games and interviewing players in person. They each give us a nice perspective. I imagine we will more closely define everybody's duties as we go along.

nbuck (Sep 12, 2003 12:59:33 PM) Steve did you talk to Gallimore after his visit did he sound genulity excited about his visit?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:02:07 PM) nbuck, I spoke to his dad (Gallimore was still en route home). The dad said he enjoyed the visit immensely. I think OSU, despite the poor showing on the field, made a great impression. They have a fighting chance there, probably going up against Iowa (visits there next week), Michigan and Florida State.

blingbling (Sep 12, 2003 1:01:44 PM) When do you think Tressel finally realizes he has to use a bigger playbook and get Louis, Carter, Hall, etc. more involved? Honestly, the 60-40% run-pass is no longer an option in my opinion. Using all weapons is a must.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:03:47 PM) blingbling, I agree. The problem last week was the trigger (Krenzel) was off. It didn't matter if they tried to throw on every down, he wasn't going to complete many balls. I agree, if I have to watch Hall or Ross dive into a pile of humanity and football equipment for another 1-yard gain I think I'm going to vomit. But Krenzel wasn't hitting, the running game wasn't working, and the works were all gummed up on the offense. Timing was terrible.

nbuck (Sep 12, 2003 1:04:05 PM) since you are in the columbus area what do you think of eric haw?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:05:59 PM) nbuck, I want to see Haw in person. But from what I've seen of him on TV, he is an explosive runner. I know Duane likes him. He has incredible speed and above average power. We'll see how he fits in at this level.

bucknut13 (Sep 12, 2003 1:04:07 PM) Steve along these lines of blingbling's question, why did we use different formations in the Washington game and rotate all these young players in on offense and then against SDSU we ran basically the same formation over and over?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:07:36 PM) bucknut13, I think they felt they could line up and run the ball on SDSU. I felt their corners were pretty good (as was evidenced by the INT and bottling up, largely, of the WRs). But they also played the run well (almost too well). You could have won a lot of money off me by saying OSU wouldn't score an offensive TD against SDSU.

blingbling (Sep 12, 2003 1:06:13 PM) A follow up, along with bucknut 13; we have a molecular genticist as our field general. I realize he is not a pure passer, but how about some multiple TE sets or a sweep play. And why couldn't we adjust to SDSU? One half is one thing, but not being able to adjust at halftime, to me, was unexcuseable.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:08:45 PM) blingbling, that was a consistent theme I heard from people: OK, you started the game flat. But, after leading by 6 at the half, you then get beat in the second half? That was not a typical Tressel-coached team and effort. It was the worst display of Ohio State football since the debacle at UCLA in 2001. Luckily, they won the game.

Derrek Morris is Gay (Sep 12, 2003 1:08:33 PM) any rumors on where freeman is leaning and if tressel is interested in ray williams?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:10:05 PM) DMiG, I don't know if he is gay, but he and his father are 2 of the largest human beings on the planet. I think it's between OSU and ND for Freeman with OSU holding the slightest of edges. Michigan also right there, too, likely.

bucknut13 (Sep 12, 2003 1:09:26 PM) Steve - I need some help here please. From what has been leaked and I tend to disbelieve things I read, more than believe, the guy from Youngstown who gave him things seems to pass the relationship test, I thought. I remember reading the Dispatch last year where they interviewed him and he talked about his relationship with Clarett. I just don't see how this is as big of a deal as it is being made out to be. There has to be more to this, right? Maybe I am in the wrong and I probably am.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:12:02 PM) bucknut13, I guess the way I understand it, the relationship must go back to middle school. This guy latched on, as I understand it, when Reecie reached Harding in the 10th grade. He may have known the family previously, but the relationship took hold in this "surrogate father" manner once he was at this guy's school of choice (Harding).

blingbling (Sep 12, 2003 1:10:20 PM) Is there an inside story as to why O'Neal left Mansfield Senior. I never quite understood if it was already in the works with Ginn or his legal troubles caused it?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:14:37 PM) blingbling, yes, I think the inside story on O'Neal was he and his dad wanted him to get out of Mansfield, where he was with some bad elements and got into trouble with the law. As I understand it, he was living with a grandmother there, and she was his guardian. I think he and the Ginns know each other from the track circuit for several years. Not sure who came up with the idea for Jamario to move in with the Ginns. People can think the worst all they want, but as JT would say the most important thing is what happens next: Does the kid keep his nose clean, graduate and come to OSU and become a two-time All-American? We shall see won't we?

worthbuck (Sep 12, 2003 1:13:51 PM) Steve, it seems like this team has no problem getting up for the big games or Heisman candidates, but rests on its laurels for the lesser schools. We saw it quite a few times last year. I realize it is human nature to take SDSU lightly. Do you think the coaching staff does the same thing.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:18:14 PM) worthbuck, I just think they got caught with an "in between game" situation. Everybody told them they were great for 9 months, then they proved it by slamming the door on U-Dub. Then, they have to come back, really, on 6 days rest and play an early game with SDSU. The Aztecs are building a nice program. They have 3-4 nice guys who will probably play for pay. They caught lightning in a bottle and OSU, which appeared to want to be anywhere other than Stade Ohio last Sat., allowed them to stick around. So that's what you ended up with, a dogfight. Tomorrow, we will get a better barometer of where this team stands and if it's for real.

bucknut13 (Sep 12, 2003 1:14:21 PM) Do you tend to think Guilford goes to the DB position next year? That is unless he is used quite a bit this year and does well.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:19:26 PM) bucknut13, I think if they like their TB depth (and they should, especially if Clarett comes back and Haw and Pittman pan out), I think Ira goes back to defense. He has another 3 years in front of him. He'd probably go back to defense in the spring, especially if it looks like Clarett is back or if Clarett is practicing.

Derrek Morris is Gay (Sep 12, 2003 1:15:08 PM) Hey any word on how lydell is looking and if he is healthy, I still think he is gonna have a breakout year, he seemed to put so much strength on in the off season....

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:20:31 PM) DMiG, no idea on Ross. I guess will know by the second or third series (maybe even in warmups) if he's able to go. Yes, I agree, he should be having a breakout year with no Recalcitrant Clarett in the picture.

terod (Sep 12, 2003 1:16:18 PM) Is our Offense going to produce some TDs this weekend?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:25:18 PM) terod, the hope is they will score more than the zero TDs they got last week. I watched the N.C. State-Wake Forest game and, believe it or not, I think OSU will be running right at State's front seven. I swear I think they think they're Miami or FSU. They don't put 8 in the box. They man up on the corners. The problem is they don't have a Wadsworth or a Wilfork or a Vilma in the front 7. I think OSU gashes N.C. State between the tackles for 150 or more rushing yards.

mcorf (Sep 12, 2003 1:17:39 PM) Steve, any word if Freeman is really announcing this month? Also, I read that McLendon had practiced.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:26:17 PM) mccorf, I think McLendon has been on the practice field. Whether that means he is going to play or not, I don't know. As far as Freeman, I personally have not spoken to him to verify if this reported 9/24 verbal is the real deal or not.

bucknut13 (Sep 12, 2003 1:19:22 PM) Do you think Louis will get in key situations more as the year goes along? I hope they at least try to see what he can do in a game here very shortly.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:27:49 PM) bucknut13, yes, I have to think Irizarry will earn and deserve more opps. This offense is struggling for an identity and for big play guys. I think Irizarry fits that category. He needs to be out there. Of course, how well he blocks figures in this equation as well.

mcorf (Sep 12, 2003 1:19:56 PM) Any chance we go after Ray Williams? I saw him against Howland and he looked awesome!

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:29:04 PM) mccorf, I think size and academics are the 2 knocks on Benedictine's Ray Williams. If OSU doesn't go after him (I would think if they're taking a third RB to go with Haw and Pittman, they will go after a top national name before they look at Williams), somebody will be getting a really nice player -- provided he qualifies.

Oh8ch (Sep 12, 2003 1:21:14 PM) Just scoped the NCSU board for a TA status. Found nothing definitive, but did learn they wont be coming to Cbus til 8:30 tonight - thus no stadium walk thru. Wont see the stadium until game time tomorrow. Interesting strategy.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:30:12 PM) Oh8ch, not sure what the rationale of that is. Remember, Raleigh is a quick 1:20 or so plane flight, so it's not a long trip.

worthbuck (Sep 12, 2003 1:21:46 PM) FWIW, I think they come to play like they did against UW, Wash ST, TTech and Miami etc. Without McLendon, N.C. State becomes one dimentional, and we have shown that we can stop QB Heisman candidates who don't have a running game.

mcorf (Sep 12, 2003 1:21:28 PM) Steve, can you compare Haw and Pittman to Williams?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:31:42 PM) As far as I know, Haw and Pittman are OK academically, so let's start there. Pittman may actually need another point (I'm fuzzy on that). Haw is a great specimen, running an alleged sub-4.3 at around 205 pounds or so. Pittman has just done big things against great competition for Buchtel. Haw can probably go in several directions, Pittman is a guy who will likely be a TB and only a TB.

terod (Sep 12, 2003 1:22:23 PM) What are the rumors concerning MoC staying in school? Any word on him giving a press conference since the report has been sent to NCAA or is he going to wait for their response?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:33:11 PM) terod, no word on a Mo Clarett press conference. I wonder if he'll just take their cue and lay low and work on getting back into the fold. That seems to be his best option because of the (restrictive) way the rules are written. I guess we'll know if he's in class when fall quarter starts on the 24th,

Derrek Morris is Gay (Sep 12, 2003 1:24:00 PM) NCST not looking at the stadium until gameday, thats good, 100k + to welcome Phillip Rivers to smashmouth football =oD (much like we welocmed Dorsey)

worthbuck (Sep 12, 2003 1:27:34 PM) I agree Steve, on the running game. I think the OL shows up and blows open some big holes. So much of blocking is wanting more than the other guy.

ToledoBucknut (Sep 12, 2003 1:28:00 PM) Steve- If you had to put a percentage chance on Clarett returning to the team next year, what would it be? Duane long thinks the chances are practically nil.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:36:51 PM) ToledoBucknut, well, we're betting on a kid whose track record has been erratic to say the least. I hate making value judgments of the kid because I haven't walked in his shoes. He has the potential to be this larger than life figure, but he keeps getting derailed by his own bad decisions. He has to make a conscious effort to want it. OSU, even with all of the bluster, will overlook a few more minor indiscretions just to get this kid back into the fold. Trust me on that. I think it is 60 to 70 percent likely he is back in the fold. But it is totally on him.

deuceOSU78 (Sep 12, 2003 1:32:29 PM) Steve, does Duane know anything about the Dayton CJ rb - Ringer? Gary H and I saw him in the State finals last year - small but FAST!

Kirk (Sep 12, 2003 1:36:37 PM) Just want to throw in a word about Ringer for deuceOSU78... Ringer was Duane's #3 prospect in the most recent OFS, but I think he wishes Ringer was a bit bigger. I got to watch him in the game against Northmont though and thought he was super impressive. I am not too worried about size; like I told Duane, I think OSU would be thrilled to have Anthony Davis or Fred Russell right about now, and I think each of those guys are 5-8 or less. Ringer was listed on TV as 5-10 204 or something like that but did look a bit small

mcorf (Sep 12, 2003 1:32:47 PM) Are either of them good enough to start next year?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:38:31 PM) mcorf, I assume you're talking about Haw and Pittman. I really like Haw. I have not seen muchof Pittman, to be honest. If he is better than Haw, yes, I would think one of those guys could make an immediate impact next year.

terod (Sep 12, 2003 1:34:22 PM) I've seen Cadogan from Portsmouth play. His verbal is still Penn St correct? If so, it's not a real big loss. For his size, he doesn't seem to dominate like he should, not real aggressive. Not a great loss unless the coaches feel like putting some work in on him.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:39:55 PM) terod, OSU's Jim Bollman and his grad assistant Mark Staten worked with Cadogen at camp and didn't offer. That speaks volumes. In Bollman we trust (at least when it comes to recruiting OL, I guess ... VBG).

terod (Sep 12, 2003 1:40:02 PM) Kirk, I think OSU would be thrilled to have DeShawn Wynn right now.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:42:45 PM) terod or Walter reyes at Syracuse

HangOnSloopy (Sep 12, 2003 1:41:43 PM) Do youthink we get close to either goal of 200 yds rushing or 250 yds passing this week?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:42:27 PM) HangOnSloopy, I think OSU ends up with right around 420 yards: 200 rushing and 220 passing. Should be enough to get the win backing this great defense.

worthbuck (Sep 12, 2003 1:39:11 PM) Has anyone heard anything about Brandon Barrett recently?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:41:51 PM) worthbuck, Barrett is a guy who is extremely hard to pin down. I think OSU, PSU, Pitt, W.Va., Va. and Syracuse have all offered. We'll see where he visits, I guess.

worthbuck (Sep 12, 2003 1:42:45 PM) do you know if Barrett is academically OK?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:43:06 PM) I do not know Barrett's academic status, sorry. As I said, he's a hard one to pin down.

Derrek Morris is Gay (Sep 12, 2003 1:45:21 PM) kirk, how good do you think Michigan's defence is this year, and how well will marlin jackson adjust to safety; Im alreaady curiious ab out them and this way down the road. It just looks seems like two top 10 teams playing for the Rose or some BCS

Kirk (Sep 12, 2003 1:54:33 PM) DMG - Michigan fans seem most concerned about their defense. I don't know if they'll need a dominating defense as I think they have the offensive tools to win the Big Ten, but I don't think it's as great as previous years. I don't see anyone in that front seven that just jumps out at you like they always seem to have.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:55:26 PM) I agree with Kirk. The offense seems to be pretty good after scoring 90-some points in the first 2 games. Obviously, ND will be the first true I-A` defense the Wolves will face. But the UM defense must slam the door, something that hasn't happened in A-A in several years.

Derrek Morris is Gay (Sep 12, 2003 1:56:41 PM) thanks guys, i h8 to cheer for either team tomorrow but ill obviously chear for notre dame, but i was curious about there defence after hearing so much about their offence before the season and now

worthbuck (Sep 12, 2003 1:56:41 PM) You still might not get a good indication of the UM defense after the ND game, since ND doesn't exactly have a high powered offense. Quinn saved them last week.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:57:22 PM) Their defense won't be tested by ND's offense, at least I don't think.

ImBack45 (Sep 12, 2003 1:57:29 PM) Remember Michigan had a great offense in 2000 and they lost to Northwestern.

mcorf (Sep 12, 2003 1:45:35 PM) can't figure why they didn't go after Reyes when they went after McFadden?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:46:53 PM) mcorf, I'd have to go back and look at what I wrote at the time. I think they offered Reyes early and when he didn't bite right away, they looked elsewhere. I'd have to research that. It was like 5 years ago.

worthbuck (Sep 12, 2003 1:45:54 PM) Steve, do you know how Jon Skinner has been doing? Is he coming back from his injury?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:47:26 PM) worthbuck, great question. I will try and follow up with his coach after this weekend on Monday. I know they won like 59-0 last week.

terod (Sep 12, 2003 1:50:14 PM) Who's the kid we lost from Ky that wanted to play QB? If I remember right, he had good enough size to be a RB didn't he?

Derrek Morris is Gay (Sep 12, 2003 1:50:55 PM) that was michael bush

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:51:01 PM) Are you talking about Michael Bush last year? He's at Louisville. Some liked him as a WR or DB. He is Louisville's backup QB as a true freshman, I believe.

Derrek Morris is Gay (Sep 12, 2003 1:51:16 PM) michael bush was a pure all around athlete

ImBack45 (Sep 12, 2003 1:50:42 PM) Steve, just curious how strong you think the senior leadership is on this team. If the offense continues to sputter any chance we have a mutiny on our hands and the defense starts falling off and throwing in the towel. I know we have a lot of seniors, but what type of leaders are they compared to last years group? Sorry for the long question.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:54:07 PM) ImBack45, no, I don't sense any splintering. The seniors on this team seem to be great dudes, led by Krenzel, Clarke, Step, Jenkins, Hartsock, Smith, Scott, Anderson and Reynolds and Allen. Just a great group. The big thing, from my perspective, is when or if they lose, they can't let the Rose Bowl get away by losing 2-3 more. Not predicting a loss anywhere than possibly at Michigan. Just concerned that when/if that happens, things could go into retrograde.

terod (Sep 12, 2003 1:57:50 PM) I think the biggest problem seems to be focus. You have the media types forgeting to ask questions concerning the next opponent but rather asking them about Clarret. Everytime you watch ESPN as I did today, they started out with "and now your daily does of the Maurice Clarett story" I mean this has gotten out of control. One game at a time, if they believe one game at a time, they can do the NC again, ugly or not. Also, I'm not concerned with poles anymore. Last year proved that to me. Two best teams went to Tempe.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 1:58:47 PM) terod, I agree. They need to pass this test tomorrow, then gear up to do what needs to be done against BG and NW before they go to Wisky.

Kirk (Sep 12, 2003 1:59:43 PM) I think Michigan will stomp ND, but then again, that rivalry always seems to be closer than expected. And that won't necessarily show much about their defense either. What I'm interested in is their trip to Oregon

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 2:00:54 PM) Now that Gary is in the mix, he and I (and Duane) will try and hammer out a schedule for Chat sessions. You can figure that we'll usually have one thursday or Friday at 1 Eastern.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 12, 2003 2:01:12 PM) Plus, I'd like to do an evening one earlier in the week at some point.


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