Remember those halcyon days when Orlando Pace would take out the first guy he was supposed to block, then roll over a linebacker? Behind him came Nicky Sualua, the goliath of bowling balls – knocking downs DB's like so many pins. And if anyone was left standing, they had to face Eddie George with a 10-yard head start. Ahh, those were the days, my friend. It's not quite the same watching Adrien Clarke trying to get out of the way of Brandon Schnittker while Maurice Hall prods for a crease.
Yes, those were the days. Those were the days when Ohio State recruited the fiercest fullbacks that roamed the earth, culminating in the career of Jamar Martin, perhaps the last of that species.
It is difficult to project what kind of fullback Jim Tressel wants because I have never seen one. We have a bulked up tailback (Branden Joe) and a big athletic reformed linebacker (Schnittker). We have a walk-on linebacker in Jason Bond. And – possibly – a new H-back in the even more athletic Stan White. But it's hard to see a Sualua/Martin amongst all those pretenders to the fullback throne.
What exactly does the "new scheme" want out of a fullback? We don't have them carry (about 5 times last season). We don't throw the ball to them (less than 5 times last season). Maybe that's why Tressel got excited about moving Andre Tyree to FB last year: could he see the position as an extra offensive linemen? Kind of like he sees the tight end position? Trouble is, even counting the fullback and two tight ends and the five other offensive linemen, that still only leaves eight guys blocking the nine defenders who are bunched up in the box predicting that we are going to run it down the middle!
Let's get technical here with the analysis. Branden Joe is a junior in eligibility, Brandon Schnittker is a soph and Jason Bond is a senior. We have three walk-on freshmen (George Anderson from Columbus Mifflin, Grant Miller from Roscoe Honengah, and Steve Fender from Toledo St. Francis), and we also have promising transfer Ryan Franzinger who could get into the mix next year after transferring here from Holy Cross, following a great high school career at St. Ignatius.
I am discounting Stan White, Andre Tyree and other fullback position transfers until Tressel indicates he wants to go a new – and different – direction.
That leaves us with a cupboard full of low-cal treats. Progression-wise, the guys fall just right. Unfortunately, they fall a yard or two short of the aforementioned Sualuas, Martins or a Pete Johnson or Champ Henson from the old days.
What to do? What to do?
There appears to be no relief in sight – in Ohio or from the farther reaches of the Netherworld. The only great physical presence we are recruiting is Dwayne Jones from New Jersey and he wants to be a tailback. And we haven't offered. Two Ohio kids who are at least on the fullback radar screen are Jamell Benjamin (Cleveland Glenville) and Tony Johnson (Lakota East). Neither seem make the OSU recruiniks go gaga.
And that leaves us where we started. Fullback is a position that we have yet to define and a position we have yet to recruit. Thus, Dr. Recruitnik sez that OSU won't take a fullback this year because we aren't looking at one.
Wait until next year…
Dr. Recruitnik will check in on a regular irregular basis as the mood seizes him. Since he doesn't have access to computers (or sharp writing utensils), please send all feedback to Mr. Bucknuts at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com