Helwagen Chat: March 26 Archive

Here are the excerpts of Friday's Chat session with Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen. He conducts these Chat sessions each Friday for Bucknuts.com subscribers. Click this free link for a look at the archive of this Chat.

edbuck51 (Mar 26, 2004 1:38:58 PM)
Do you think it is really likely that OSU will start a freshman punter this season?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:40:17 PM)
Yes, it seems about a 50-50 certainty that Huston or Trapasso will punt. Maybe a walk-on will emerge. MOre on this in one second, please

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:41:37 PM)
I'm afraid they may be in a case this fall where people are scratching their heads and wondering, "At a school with 50,000 people and they can't find anybody better than this to punt the ball." I hope not.

edbuck51 (Mar 26, 2004 1:41:43 PM)
Is there any chatter coming out of winter conditioning, or are things pretty quiet over there?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:42:39 PM)
Quiet as can be this week with spring break. It will pick up Tuesday with a pre-spring luncheon. Then practice Thursday, Friday and Sat. Stay tuned.

Susan (Mar 26, 2004 1:42:53 PM)
Steve, I've never been to a hockey game, but am wondering if college hockey is as violent as the pros, which is terribly out of control? Please tell me NCAA icers are forbidden from turning the ice rink into a boxing ring.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:44:13 PM)
Yes, there is next to no fighting in NCAA hockey. If you get the game tonight, you will enjoy it. Obviously, the NCAA and the schools have a hammer over these kids. If they fight, they miss games, they hurt their teams and, if it gets too bad, they'll pull scholarship money, etc.

edbuck51 (Mar 26, 2004 1:44:17 PM)
How many hours per day do you think JT works on football?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:45:39 PM)
You hope he sleeps 8, works 8 and plays 8. But anybody who knows JT knows it's probably more like sleeps 7, works 12 -14 and probably plays 4 (at least I know that's my sked, so I imagine his is similar ... ha ha)

bigbuck (Mar 26, 2004 1:45:52 PM)
Why are you allowed to fight in hockey, and not in any other sport?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:47:19 PM)
It's part of the allure for some fans. They do penalize the players for fighting with various numbers of minutes up to game misconduct. But rarely is anybody suspended for fighting. They suspend when people deliberately take "cheap shots" to injure like the Bertuzzi deal. The league was built on fighting. That's old-time hockey, I guess.

Susan (Mar 26, 2004 1:47:29 PM)
Brandon Schnittker was a back up punter last year and I think Brian Pierce practiced punting, too. Would either of those two be able to help out? Certainly, they'll be looked at, too.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:47:36 PM)
It's real bad in the minors, where they have to beg people to come.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:48:41 PM)
Possibly Schnittker. I'm not sure Pierce is still around.

OSUScooter (Mar 26, 2004 1:48:46 PM)
As a Bam Childress fan, it's sad to see this his last year. Do you think that 2004 is going to be the year of the Bam? Much like Dimitrius Stanley in 1996.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:50:46 PM)
What a great idea. He showed in the Fiesta Bowl what he is capable of in the open field. Bam Childress is Mr. April. I have no clue whether he will have a Stanley-like 1996, but I know one thing: He's gonna have a 4th great spring in a row, probably culminating in 2-3 highlight reel TDs in the spring game. He's like death and taxes in that regard.

tsteele316 (Mar 26, 2004 1:50:51 PM)
do you see either Haw or Pittman redshirting? With both hall and ross graduating, would it be a good idea to let them both get some carries?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:51:56 PM)
I don't know how either of them would redshirt. I think both of them would have to play if they're healthy. Pittman gets an advantage by going through spring ball. But Haw has the potential to be an awesome back here at OSU. It will be fun to watch them work.

bigbuck (Mar 26, 2004 1:52:55 PM)
Is it safe to say that the leader coming out of spring practice for qb, is the sure stater in the fall .

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 1:54:49 PM)
No. Nothing is ever set in stone until the week of the first game. They may announce one has the edge over the other. But there would still be 3 weeks of practice before the game. They spend the first 2 weeks drilling fundamentals and making more personnel decisions, then spend the last week game planning, in this case, for Cincinnati. They may announce a two-deep at the end of spring ball, but it is always subject to change. Having said that, I think once Tressel decides on a QB he will stick with him. He doesn't like to jockey them.

buckhuinter (Mar 26, 2004 1:54:53 PM)
Steve, any new names or happenings on the recruiting front? Has anyones stock rose or fallen since film is now being evaluated?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:00:04 PM)
We're not aware of any new offers. As mentioned, this is kind of the quiet before the storm with spring ball now, evaluations mostly in May and camps in June.

Seabus (Mar 26, 2004 2:00:19 PM)
Steve, I love reading your Buckeye Grove series. Your insights into all things Buckeye is execellent. One bone of contention I had with your last Buckeye Grove was from your five areas to watch in spring. I realize it is tough to just choose five, but I definitively would have put the development of the LB corps in my top 5. Probably right after QB and OL. Any thoughts on how good the LB's will be this year in comparison to past LB groups?? Who was your favorite group of LB's at Ohio State?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:04:04 PM)
I went with the DL because everything starts up front. You've had great defenses because Scott, Smith and Anderson (primarily) have abused OLs the last 3 years. You won't have them beginning this year. Finding new monsters up front is the single most important think happening with this defense. Think about it: They rush the passer, pressure him and they stop the run. If they don't get it done (like at Michigan), you get trampled. If they don't pressure the QB, I don't care if you have Springs, Winfield and Gamble back there. They will pick you apart. You need 3 guys who have never started to step in. At LB, Hawk is an All-Big Ten performer. Carpenter has played quite a bit. Schlegel is a former All-Mountain West MLB. They have experience. Their play is predicated on the DL ... continuing in one sec,

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:06:39 PM)
This year's LBs have the chance to be a great group. When you think that Kerr and D'Andrea may be left for scraps, that is something (and don't assume those guys will not be playing and/or starting, either). My favorite group of LBs? Hmmm. I liked the Miller-Bellisari-Katzenmoyer group in 96. Katzenmoyer-Diggs-Rud was good, too. Grant-Wilhelm and Reynolds wasn't bad, either. Going back, you had to like Cobb and Marek together, Spielman and Kumerow, etc.

edbuck51 (Mar 26, 2004 2:06:43 PM)
Lydell Ross is a hard working, dedicated Buckeye. For some reason that hasn't transfered into major stardom on the field. Do you see B.Joe taking over at that spot this season?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:07:58 PM)
No, I think Lydell will get every chance to be a leader and, as Tressel says, have a career best year as a senior. If it doesn't look like that is going to happen, yes, I think Joe should get a chance to carry the ball and make some things happen. At 250, he's a load for opposing LBs and DBs if he can get by the LOS.

Guest (Mar 26, 2004 2:08:06 PM)
With the abilities of both zwick and smith this could possibly be the year of the two headed monster.

OSUScooter (Mar 26, 2004 2:08:11 PM)
At 5'10" 180 pounds, Santonio Holmes may be the best pound for pound receiver in the country. But without a blazing forty time and ideal NFL size, can we really expect him to leave early? I love Santonio, but I don't think the NFL will love him as much come draft day.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:09:44 PM)
On Ross, real quick, my new motto is "Ross for 1,000 in 2004!"

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:10:33 PM)
On Holmes, he is just a slippery dude, kind of like all those guys at FSU and Miami. That play against MSU where he eluded 2 defenders and made that long TD catch was amazing. Some guys are great pass catchers, others can run in the open field, this guy is just a nice receiver. He is hard to check. Does that translate into pro success? I don't know. I agree he is kind of smallish. But I like what I've seen of him so far. I call him The New Freak.

TulsaBuck (Mar 26, 2004 2:10:38 PM)
It seems to me that recruiting takes on a hysteria that makes these incoming freshman superstars -- and makes us forget last year's crop. Do the guys already on the team get resentful when they hear the big talk from guys coming straight out of HS?

TulsaBuck (Mar 26, 2004 2:13:18 PM)
Case and point: just read some news on USC that indicates neither Davis or Jarrett may start!

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:14:40 PM)
No, I don't think so because everybody has been there. I don't know what happens in the locker room, but I think most vets think the rookies will learn the score once they've been through the bad conditioning or had their bell rung a few times. It ain't all glory, believe me. I would agree with you that there are some nice players who redshirted last year who will come up big this year, maybe a Hiley or a Marcel Frost or Tony Gonzalez (potentially great on special teams). Likewise, they are pinning their hopes on some seldom-used third year sophs like Datish, Coleman, Schafer and/or Downing. One or more of them has to come through. It's all part of the dues paying process. How bad was it in 2000 and 2001 when guys like Clarke and Olivea were pressed into service so quickly? Thank goodness those days have passed. Yep, I see what you're saying about USC and those freshmen. It takes time to make an impact at this level. Only 1-3 guys a year do it as freshmen, your Paces, Katzes and Reecies, etc.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:15:47 PM)
Coop used to say after signing day, "Now we have to de-recruit these guys."

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:17:17 PM)
He'd also say "You want to gamble, but you want to gamble with my chips!" and "If a dog is going to bite you, he'll bite you as a pup," and so on. (Ha ha)

TulsaBuck (Mar 26, 2004 2:17:49 PM)
When does Antonio Pittman sign on with Bucks?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:18:47 PM)
I have been trying to get a hold of Pittman and do a story on when he arrives, etc. like I did with Trapasso. But have not tracked him down yet. I assume he moves in Sunday and starts class on Monday like everybody else. Then begins practice on Thursday with the team.

TulsaBuck (Mar 26, 2004 2:18:50 PM)
Does Spring practice give him a big advantage over E-Haw?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:21:16 PM)
Big advantage? It's an advantage to have the terminology and an understanding of how the team practices, certainly. But Haw will be playing in the 2 all-star games and working out, so he won't just be sitting around. If Pittman has a great spring, yes, it gave him an advantage. But Haw can come in and show what he can do right away too to negate that.

AJ (Mar 26, 2004 2:21:19 PM)
steve what freshman will make an impact this upcomming season in your opinion?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:23:17 PM)
Good question: Probably Marcus Freeman on special teams, Ginn on specials and at corner, Haw and Pittman at TB (mostly as backups unless and until Ross gets dinged), Trapasso at punter. Have to take a long look at redshirting most of the rest, I would think, unless there are injuries, etc.

Seabus (Mar 26, 2004 2:23:29 PM)
Steve, one of the most disappointing things from last year was the lack of solid punt and kick return game. Do you think Darrell Hazell will have an affect on this aspect of special teams? What personnel do you see playing a role in returning kicks and punts?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:28:29 PM)
Jim Tressel said Hazell has been successful in the past as a return game coordinator. Apparently, Rutgers has been good in those stats. Rutgers was 23rd in punt returns and 60th in kick returns last year. OSU was 105th in both categories. As they say, things can only get better. I think Holmes and Ginn would be likely return candidates.

TulsaBuck (Mar 26, 2004 2:28:33 PM)
Nice article on Schlegel on ESPN or one of other websites. Everything positive. Have never actually seens his speed and strength numbers. From what you've heard will he have speed for Big 10 play?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:29:56 PM)
Good question. Very physical player, no doubt. We'll just have to see. I can't make that judgement for or against today. It's been a year since I last saw him really be involved, so I don't know. Good tackler, though. Should fit in well if the line play is up to snuff.

dantheman (Mar 26, 2004 2:30:00 PM)
Steve: get Ginn the damn ball. I want to see him at flanker, catching passes in open spaces, hopefully.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:31:17 PM)
That would be nice. The problem with how they used Gamble was they telegraphed it. If they put him in the game, most everybody knew they were going to him. You can't do that and expect a good coaching staff or smart, veteran defense to let you get away with it. Would like to see him maximize his potential with the rock, that's for sure.

Guest (Mar 26, 2004 2:31:25 PM)
Any more word on Maurice Hall taking a medical redshirt? Any chance his career is over? Fans have been pretty hard on him -- does that factor in decision?

Guest (Mar 26, 2004 2:31:29 PM)
Do you know if D.Kennedy is playing in any all-star games?

OSUScooter (Mar 26, 2004 2:31:34 PM)
Tressel should start a Wisconsin clock. It's the only team in the Big Ten he has a losing record against. Is this the year we finally beat them in the horseshoe?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:34:26 PM)
You would hope. They lose Sorgi and Evans. But they still have the fine RBs, Schabert who filled in admirably against OSU and some good defenders like Hawthorne up front and Leonhard at CB. They ended up 7-6 after losing to Auburn in the Music City. Flanker Brandon Williams is also tough. They've got a few guys who can play. But how do you lose to UNLV and Northwestern? Hmmm.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:36:07 PM)
OSU's last win over Wisconsin in Cols. was 96, I believe. Lost to them at home in 99 and 01.

Kirk (Mar 26, 2004 2:36:26 PM)
Any more questions for Steve today?

Seabus (Mar 26, 2004 2:37:08 PM)
Steve, a quick buckeye hockey prediction for tonight.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:38:05 PM)
Now there's a team that can beat Wisconsin. I'm saying Frozen Four with this group. They win a 5-3 wild one tonight, then beat Maine tomorrow.

Kirk (Mar 26, 2004 2:39:08 PM)
Ok, thanks a bunch Steve for stopping in today. We'll chat with you again next week.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:39:52 PM)
Thanks again everybody! Next week should be fun after the first day of practice.

Seabus (Mar 26, 2004 2:40:05 PM)
Thanks Steve.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 26, 2004 2:40:09 PM)
Gary, I think, is coming next Thursday, so he may not be available unless we do it from here in Cols. we shall see.

Kirk (Mar 26, 2004 2:40:22 PM)
Thanks everyone, talk to you soon

Susan (Mar 26, 2004 2:40:45 PM)
Thanks Kirk. See ya.

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