Helwagen Chat: Sept. 26 Archive

Here is the archive of Friday's Chat session with Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen. Get ready for Saturday's Big Ten opener by checking out this free link.

Here are excerpts of Friday's Chat session with Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen. He conducts these Chat sessions each Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern for Bucknuts.com subscribers.

dagat21 (Sep 26, 2003 12:57:52 PM)
Hey Steve, do you know the status of Brandon Joe? When he is supposed to return or how he is doing?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 12:59:04 PM)
Coach Tressel said earlier in the week that Branden was "definite" for Saturday's game. This is like a jigsaw puzzle. First they got Ross back, now Joe, then Krenzel and Stepanovich. I want to see this offense at full strength ... then lampoon it (VBG)

dagat21 (Sep 26, 2003 12:59:37 PM)
Do you think that helps the running game a lot, little?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:00:36 PM)
It can't hurt at all to have another experienced player in the mix.Maybe they use him on some short yardage situations to also carry the ball. I like Branden Joe a lot. I'm anxious to see what kind of impact he will make.

dagat21 (Sep 26, 2003 1:00:48 PM)

dagat21 (Sep 26, 2003 1:01:26 PM)
Do you see either Davis or Ginn pulling the trigger anytime soon, or are they NLOI signings?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:03:09 PM)
Davis, I believe, wants to enroll early. But then I saw a quote from Coach Rios that he wouldn't be able to graduate until mid-January, so he wouldn't be able to enroll until the spring. Ginn won't be enrolling early because of track, so his decision will probably linger. Plus, he and his dad want as much attention as they can get on Glenville so some of his teammates will get a solid look.

TrueNorth (Sep 26, 2003 1:02:06 PM)
Steve, do you have any insights/info on the work of the 10 person committee investigating possible academic issues?Are they near completion of report? Any gut feeling on it's contents?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:04:21 PM)
TrueNorth, I haven't heard a thing in that regard ... other than Andy Geiger continually telling people that the Clarett sanctions had nothing to do with the academic probe. Geiger also said that probe will be thorough, so now that most parties concerned are back on campus, maybe it will move forward faster. I honestly have no idea what they'll find. I think we all want to brand this McGill lady as a crackpot (and she may well be). But there is the remote possibility she is telling the truth, too. I guess we'll know when we know.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 1:08:12 PM)
What sort of play calling do you expect this weekend Steve? Will we be mixing it up in the running game as we did against BG and will we unleash the gunslinger and let him put it up 25 times??

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:09:57 PM)
I think we'll obviously see a better mix than the second half of the BGSU game, where 25 of the last 28 plays were running plays after the McMullen interception. I think they will gauge whether they think Scott is effective throwing the ball as to whether they want to put it up a bunch. He had 18 attempts last week, so 25 certainly isn't out of the question. The biggest thing is get the win, get your guys back and go on to Wisconsin in 2 weeks.

TrueNorth (Sep 26, 2003 1:13:59 PM)
Steve, Gary H. stated in a previous chat that it was his strong opinion that Coach Tressel will "never" change his football philosophy ie. conservative button up offense, strong sound defense and kicking game. Two questions...1. Do you agree with this assessment 2. Impact on recruiting ie. wide receivers

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:16:41 PM)
TrueNorth, I would definitely defer to Gary on that because he has followed almost every game Tressel has coached since he went to Youngstown State in 1986. So, no, I don't think he is liable to change. If the running game isn't working, his teams could be in trouble. And, yes,this style may hurt them when they recruit WRs. But the recruiting machinery they have in place and the family atmosphere they have created around the program helps them overcome a lot of liabilities (like style of play). Plus, they'll be able to show they put Michael Jenkins into the NFL and tout that.

FL1Buckeye (Sep 26, 2003 1:15:17 PM)
Whatever happened to RJ Coleman? If I remember correctly, he was WV number 1 HS senior a couple of years ago as a tight end. I think OSU moved him to the OL, but I never hear his name mentioned.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:17:55 PM)
FL1Buckeye, Coleman is still around. He is a redshirt freshman. He is listed as an offensive guard, but he's not in the two-deep. Give him time. Maybe next year he'll be in the rotation.

sandtraps (Sep 26, 2003 1:16:38 PM)
Any recruits other than the usual going to be the game

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:18:23 PM)
sandtraps, haven't heard of any. I think Fred Davis said he was going to try and be there.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 1:18:08 PM)
Steve, great statistical breakdown in your Buckeye Grove this week of the 4th quarter defense. Why, though, do you think we aren't closing teams out like last year??

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:20:35 PM)
Seabus, thanks for the props. In the N.C. State game, they turned it over twice on their own end (Holmes punt, Krenzel INT). Rivers is a Heisman candidate so he converted those two mistakes into points. Not sure if there is an excuse for BGSU. After containing Harris all day, they let him move it right down the field in an 80-yard drive. They also recovered an onside kick that didn't help. One constant in both games was lack of pressure on the QB, at least in my opinion, as the game wore on. N.C. State did a phenomenol job on blitz pickup.

SmellyCat (Sep 26, 2003 1:18:21 PM)
Steve: Do you think this Clarett thing is currently a distraction to the team or are they past it at this point?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:21:55 PM)
SmellyCat, I think, finally, the Clarett thing is not a factor for this team (other than the fact he isn't carrying the ball there any more). I don't think the players care -- and I know the seniors couldn't give a flip (and I'm sure some resent him overshadowing/ruining what was supposed to be their year) -- about what he's doing.

TrueNorth (Sep 26, 2003 1:21:02 PM)
Steve, Gary H. also stated in a previous chat that there is the potential for some "dissension"(his choice of words) on the team depending on who becomes the starting QB next year ie.Zwick or Smith. Do you have sense that this issue could be a devisive one???

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:26:13 PM)
TrueNorth, I would hate to see that. I'm not sure if Gary has any inside information or is just making the assumption it could become a black/white thing (there were rumors in the late 90s that Cooper started Stanley Jackson over Joe Germaine -- and that was for 2 full years, except the 96 Michigan game -- so he wouldn't have a racial problem on the team). Now, the dynamic is that half the team (it seems) is from Cleveland and from Glenville in particular (just joking of course). I think this staff is so in touch with what this team is all about that they will play the right guy for the right situation and most will support their choice.

SmellyCat (Sep 26, 2003 1:24:06 PM)
Steve: Do you think that no matter what happens, Clarett is DONE as a Buckeye?

BuckeyeDave (Sep 26, 2003 1:24:31 PM)
SmellyCat: Pretty much.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:28:14 PM)
SmellyCat, I have learned that you never say never when Ohio State and Jim Tressel are involved. But I have to think it's bleak. If the kid wins in court, he is going to the NFL. You don't fight that fight and not go. Chances of that happening are 60-40 in his favor, from everything I've read and heard. OSU is just his hedge. If he can't get injunctive relief to become eligible for the draft, he'll be back at OSU next year. Great first sign, obviously, that he is in school.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 1:27:35 PM)
Steve, what's your breakdown of the offensive line?? Who do you think is playing well and what's our best combination of players? I liked rotating in Olds and Kne last week, it seemed to give an added punch later in the game.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:30:23 PM)
Seabus, I agree. The rotation really played well. I really only studied the first half. They seemed to do better when they jumbled the lineup and went with fresh troops, although the starters all nailed their assignments to the wall on the Ross fourth-down TD run. I think my changing the lineup, Bollman is issuing a nice challenge to his guys to keep their heads in the game (because their roles are constantly changing) and to produce because I've got another guy right here who can do your job, too. I want to see how it all works with Stepanovich in there, too.

PasadenaBound (Sep 26, 2003 1:29:39 PM)
Steve- I know that one thing we will have to get used to under Tressel is close games (a lot of wins, but close ones!). One thing that worries me is our QB situation for next year due to the close games. It seems like McMullen is lucky to get playing time when Krenzel is helathy much less Zwick or Smith. I think it is important for your future QBs to get reps in game situations. Do you think this is a big concern? Thanks.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:32:52 PM)
PasadenaBound, no doubt. It's a delicate balance. Tressel says time and time again they try to win games today (tomorrow, actually) for this year's seniors and worry about seasoning guys when they can (i.e. they aren't inclined to go out of their way to insert a young QB at a key moment). Maybe tomorrow is a golden opp if OSU can do to NW what Miami (Ohio) did to them. And, yes, young QBs -- in this program with a ton of tight games -- will get you beat by making just one bad mistake.

bucky (Sep 26, 2003 1:33:24 PM)
why isnt holmes playing at receiver lateley?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:34:23 PM)
bucky, maybe they're down on him for the fumbles. I don't know. They had Bam out there in the fourth quarter last week. I think Holmes needs to play, as his catch against N.C. State off the goal line showed.

TrueNorth (Sep 26, 2003 1:33:40 PM)
Steve, a follow-up to the Clarett questions/comments. IF, ( very large if)Clarett does return to the team next IMO an issue of fairness rears it's ugly head. On one hand you have two quality hard working backs(Ross & Hall) who are entering their Sr. years with aspirations of heading to the pros. On the other hand you have Clarett who expresses no sense of allegiance to the Univ.( as demonstrated by his actions/comments) He too aspires to the pros. What to do if you are the coaching staff? Reward allegiance and commitment or raw talent lacking in these attributes? Any thoughts????

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:35:22 PM)
TrueNorth, I can answer that one very easily, right off Tim Spencer's lips as if he were sitting right next to me: "The best player will play. Period. End of story."

BuckeyeDave (Sep 26, 2003 1:36:10 PM)
TrueNorth - The remainder of this year will have a huge influence on the RB situation for next year. If Claret stays and plays, I suspect the if Ross plays as well as he is capable of playing, he will legitmately challenge Clarett for the spot. Ross has shown glimpses of brialliance over the passed 2 seasons.

BuckeyeDave (Sep 26, 2003 1:34:36 PM)
Any chance John Hollins will see some action at WR?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:35:55 PM)
BuckeyeDave, not that I am aware of. Hollins may as well be in the witness protection program.

bucky (Sep 26, 2003 1:35:53 PM)
Steve...do you think that since marcus freeman has committed that we will start to see a floodgate of prospects start to commit?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:36:59 PM)
bucky, that's hard to say. I think it obviously helps with Davis and Ginn, because they all say they'd like to play together. Maybe it will help them in the Dayton area, but beyond that, I don't know. He is a great get, by the way.

bucky (Sep 26, 2003 1:37:38 PM)
I think Ginn is a lock with O'neal already committing

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 1:37:54 PM)
Steve, what about Brandon Joe?? Is he ready to go this weekend or is Wisconsin more likely?? He seems like a great fit for this offense, especially if the fullback gets more touches.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:39:09 PM)
Seabus, I think Joe will play. Tressel called him definite. How much is anybody's guess. This offense, as it has been presented the first 4 games, ran without a true fullback about 70 percent of the time. Maybe they'll put the I formation back in there if he's 100 percent.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:37:57 PM)
Another take on the RB situation, if Clarett comes back, I wonder if they might redshirt Mo Hall, so they'd have an experienced back in 2005. Maybe Ross would look at that as well as a chance to be The Man in 2005.

TrueNorth (Sep 26, 2003 1:39:00 PM)
Who would be the backups of those two are redshirted???

bucky (Sep 26, 2003 1:39:25 PM)
eric haw...antonio pittman.....charlie jones

TrueNorth (Sep 26, 2003 1:40:18 PM)
Now there is some "raw" talent coming off the bench.

bucky (Sep 26, 2003 1:40:27 PM)
charlie jones is a dream of course

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:40:34 PM)
TrueNorth, well there is no way I'd redshirt both of them. Maybe Spencer sits them down and offers it to one of them. But Haw and Pittman and, I suppose, Guilford, who is still dutifully taking handoffs in practice, would be there in case. And, of course, the redshirt can always come off up until midseason or so if need be. (It could come off in the last game, but that would be ridiculous to sit a kid all year then play him in the last game or 2).

bucky (Sep 26, 2003 1:41:31 PM)
Steve, what quarterback do you see us getting...also do we have a chance to get barrett or jarrett?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:44:48 PM)
Jarrett I think is a long shot. I think he ends up at USC or Pitt. Barrett is so hard to read because he rarely does interviews. I think he likes OSU a lot. But PSU, Pitt, Syracuse, etc. will also push him hard. As far as a QB, I liked Hoyer but I guess he's off the board. With baseball a possibility for Bauserman, I wouldn't mind seeing them take one here. But I think Boeckman earned some nice praise for his work the last few weeks, too. Don't forget about him as No. 3 for the forseeable future.

bucky (Sep 26, 2003 1:43:14 PM)
Give Me Freeman, Lee, Davis, Ginn, Estes, Gallimore, Jones, Mitchum, And that kid from Colorado, and i will be really happy

will (Sep 26, 2003 1:43:42 PM)
Steve, do you think the coaching staff will move Guilford back over to the defensive side of the ball next year, or is his future as a RB?

bucky (Sep 26, 2003 1:44:01 PM)
I like guilford at Safety myself

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:45:28 PM)
will, I think he goes to defense. I don't think he can be a difference maker at TB at 185 pounds.

TrueNorth (Sep 26, 2003 1:44:24 PM)
Steve, one final thought on the Clarett banter. IMO, may the closest Clarett ever again gets to the OSU sideline is on a late Wednes. night when nobody is looking.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:46:41 PM)
TrueNorth, that could be true. His last carry could go down as the TD to win the national championship.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 1:47:52 PM)
Steve, at free saftey I couldn't help but notice Brandon Mitchell went for a big hit all game against BG and failed to wrap up on multiple occasions. Something to learn from but what is your evaluation of the job he and Salley have done so far??

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:49:20 PM)
Seabus, I think they're each doing fine. OSU has faced twice as many passes as runs so far this year and they've weathered the storm. There were some rough spots here and there for both guys. But I like Mitchell as a hitter. Doss made similar mistakes early, but he learned from them and became a great one. Salley has great athletic skills in coverage. Just watch them go.

TrueNorth (Sep 26, 2003 1:48:49 PM)
Steve, assuming you have seen the Jamerio O'Neal(sp?)video of his play as a soph. I did not get a chance to see Doss in high school but wonder how the two compare as "hitters". The video of O'Neal is absolutely incredible in what it shows about his raw power.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:51:32 PM)
TrueNorth, I have an O'Neal video sitting on top of my VCR that I've never popped in. So I won't BS you with what I think he can do. Kirk and Duane have seen it and both rave about the kid. They say he is clearly the No. 1 junior in the state. (Hopefully, they will get his legal situation tied up and he'll be able to play for Glenville soon.) Doss was a great hitter in high school. I did see his prep video and was shocked by how big of an impact hitter he was for such a small guy. O'Neal, sizewise, may be an inch or 2 bigger and a few pounds heavier than the prep Doss, as I recall.

TrueNorth (Sep 26, 2003 1:52:24 PM)
You need to pop in that video.....Oh My !!!!

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:52:50 PM)
I know he wore No. 8 at Mansfield. I'll be looking for him.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 1:54:53 PM)
Who starts in place of Darrion Scott this week??

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:55:24 PM)
Probably Marcus Green, but Quinn Pitcock and David Patterson will also play next to Tim Anderson (and in place of him, too at times).

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 1:55:32 PM)
Pitcock and Green both looked pretty good from my vantage point up in the nosebleeds last week.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:56:27 PM)
I guess they're also saying that Joel Penton could play DT in a pinch. Nice to see Pitcock get a big sack like that last week. He could be a monster before it's all said and done.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 1:57:30 PM)
Also, the DL rotation looks to be beefed up with Kudla, Richardson, etc seeing time, how do you think they have looked so far??

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:58:38 PM)
Pretty good. They haven't let anybody run effectively on them, and that's the key for OSU's defense. I like Kudla a lot and it says a lot that Fraser has been banged up but hasn't missed a beat.

SmellyCat (Sep 26, 2003 1:58:08 PM)
When Kerr plays next year, will he be a Soph or Junior?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:58:52 PM)
Smelly Cat, Kerr will be a sophomore.

SmellyCat (Sep 26, 2003 1:59:32 PM)
Anyone know how Maldonado is doing for Maryland?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 1:59:50 PM)
SmellyCat, I read he'd been suspended.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 1:59:49 PM)
Steve, do you think NW will be able to run on us?? Last year Wright had a pretty good game running the football on us, just shy of 100 yards if I remember correctly.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 2:01:53 PM)
Seabus, no, I don't see NW piling up big rushing yardage against this defense. Walker's spread does a nice job of keeping you off-balance, so maybe they'll hit a few 8-10 yard plays once in a while and the crowd will go "Ooooo!" But I think OSU will contain them. My line on Wright: 20 carries, 83 yards.

SmellyCat (Sep 26, 2003 2:03:06 PM)
I'd love to have regular updates on how players that left the program are doing. Like Ja-Ja, Maldonado, Mocherman, and whoever else. Any chance of that happening?

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 2:03:15 PM)
That would be too bad, I liked our 24 yards a game rushing defense.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 2:03:16 PM)
BTW, Sammy will miss 2 games at Maryland, apparently.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 2:04:37 PM)
SmellyCat, I think Moherman's career is over. He went to Southwest Missouri State, I believe and played 2 years (2000-01) and would be done now. Riley is sitting out a redshirt year at UNLV. Maldonado will miss the next 2 games due to suspension. Another transfer I'm not sure about is Rick McFadden at Akron, I believe. McFadden is not playing football any more. But he is on the Zips basketball roster. He'll be a junior this coming season. He played in 21 games and averaged 2.8 points a game last year.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 2:10:03 PM)
Steve, who do you like returning kickoffs for us??

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 2:14:56 PM)
Seabus, who do I want to see?I honestly don't think Hall and Gamble do that bad of a job. Usually, they aren't going to fumble (Hall has started doing that from time to time). Maybe Holmes or Childress would be better. What is more important on kick returns? Raw speed or great moves? I think Tressel believes most important thing is handing the ball to the official somewhere around the 30.

worthabuck (Sep 26, 2003 2:14:02 PM)
steve, the week off should be helpful to get some people healthy and the give the defense a rest......could the extra week get some people well enough to get back into the starting line-up

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 2:20:29 PM)
I got booted for a moment. In answer to the week off question, yes, this could not have come at a better time. I think everybody believes Krenzel, Stepanovich and Scott will be ready for Wisconsin. Plus, I like Dantonio's chances when he has 2 weeks to devise a plan to stop the Badgers.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 2:20:54 PM)
Washington State vs Oregon??

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 2:21:16 PM)
Minnesota at Penn St??

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 2:23:16 PM)
Seabus, should be a great game. I picked Oregon 31-25. I'm also sweating with Arkansas following up the big Texas win with a win at Alabama. I like Minnesota to win 24-21. Sure, they haven't played anybody and PSU has at least played BC and Nebraska. But PSU's offense isn't very good. If Minnesota gets any kind of defensive performance that one could get ugly at (increasingly Un)Happy Valley. Another potentially sticky game tomorrow is Iowa at MSU. Spartans riding high after big win over ND. They are stepping up in class here, but maybe they're ready.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 2:25:14 PM)
Yeah, I thought Penn St was going to struggle, but not this much. If they take it on the chin this weekend, the nits have to start talking about how to get Joe Pa out.

Seabus (Sep 26, 2003 2:25:39 PM)
I like Washington State to pull the upset, Oregon can't bring the energy they had last week two week's in a row.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 2:26:48 PM)
Seabus, Paterno has stayed too long. It's that simple. They aren't getting enough difference makers. Larry Johnson developed into one in time for his senior year. As far as Oregon, I agree (and I hear they're on the cover of SI, too, must have been a slow week). But it is a home game.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 2:28:02 PM)
Great to spend 90 minutes with our subscribers. Thanks and tell all your friends. Remember, Sunday I'll have the Sunday Morning QB column, we'll have our usual Monday onslaught, coverage of the luncheon on Tuesday (they are still having one even though they aren't playing) and I'm planning to unveil The Big Board in at least five installments (backs and receivers, offensive line, defensive line and LBs, secondary and specialists, and a wrap-up).

SteveHelwagen (Sep 26, 2003 2:29:09 PM)
Good night from Columbus!

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