Helwagen Chat: April 2 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 excerpts of this Chat.

Kirk (Apr 2, 2004 1:06:58 PM)
efox13 wants to know -- "With the departure of Coach Conley, is it realistic to expect a noticeable drop in recruiting the next couple of years, or is Ohio State just too big and successful to be seriously hurt by this?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:09:10 PM)
Ohio State is just too big and successful to be seriously hurt by this. Tressel is too good, his machinery is in place now. He has people like Tucker, Fickell and Snyder in place to deliver the players. Losing Conley hurts, particularly in Fla. But Hazell recruited down there, too. They will weather this storm.

Kirk (Apr 2, 2004 1:09:34 PM)
To those just arriving, thanks for stopping by... feel free to send questions and we will post them one at a time. Right now there is a wait of about 3-4 questions.

Redondo (Apr 2, 2004 1:09:44 PM)
Hi Steve - Even from my remote vantage point, Coach Conley's departure seems odd. Was he forced out? If so, why? If he was frustrated and left, what were the causes? Your thoughts, please. Thank you.

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:13:58 PM)
I know some things and can only guess at others. Bill had tried to get a head job elsewhere. They don't admit it, but I think there was a style clash of sorts between he and Tressel. But they worked great together for these 3-plus years. He is 53. I think he just decided now was the time to jump off the merry-go-round. Channel 10 said there would be an announcement on Monday regarding his future. I just think he was tired of the rigors of college coaching, though he didn't say it. It is a terrible grind for an assistant.

stephen lynch (Apr 2, 2004 1:14:45 PM)
steve...who do you like right now out of state that could be become buckeyes? WElls, king, etc..and what about instate..haas? cordle?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:16:59 PM)
Out of state, I really don't know. Perhaps the lineman Akers from Maryland. He was here for senior day. One of the QBs, Delle Donne or Stull, each seem to love tOSU. Wells and King seem like long shots to me. I think Cordle ends up at OSU, but he is at ND and Ill. (did their combined wins match OSU's ... last 2 years?) this weekend. Haas not so sure about. The OL Brewster from Wyoming was in yesterday. Maybe we should check him for an offer. Hmmm.

Stephen Novonty (Apr 2, 2004 1:17:24 PM)
Is Mario Manningham that good? I don't think he's that great, He goes to a big school and isn't that were the greater recruiting goes. About EDS, Igs. Harding, Glenville, thats why there is so many diamonds in the rough... like hawk

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:19:12 PM)
I have no idea if Manningham is that good or not. I saw him in the state title game as a soph and he looked doggone good to me. He is a smallish receiver, but they seem to do well with those kind of guys in their scheme. I agree, people can get caught up in where the kids play and miss some great players ... like Hawk (ha ha).

BuckeyeDave (Apr 2, 2004 1:19:20 PM)
Given that you've a whole day to think about it (grin), who would you like to see replacing Conley?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:23:02 PM)
Tough call. If it was just a tight ends coach, I know one former OSU assistant who played tight end at Ohio State ... Fred Pagac. Now there is some baggage there: He did go for the head job (although that was 3 years ago) and some don't like him as a recruiter. But I'd put him in the category of a Conley, Esco guy who just loves the place and would do anything for OSU. His defenses were great. Maybe he'd look at the TEs job as a new challenge. I have a feeling he'd walk back here (not sure if he is even with Raiders still or not with new HC there). Beyond him (and that isn't necessarily my choice, just a thought), I've seen people suggest Bryan Deal at Pitt. He's doing a nice job there as the RC and has the Dublin Scioto and Cinti. Princeton background. Tressel has so many contacts in coaching, I'm sure he'll pull out all the stops to make a blockbuster hire for this one. This is their opportunity to really get somebody great.

slimkid (Apr 2, 2004 1:23:34 PM)
Any ideas on who might replace Conley? What about a guy like Bryan Deal from Pitt?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:23:46 PM)
Maybe time for a high school guy, too.

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:25:02 PM)
Yeah, I just speculated Deal could be agood choice. Most of his ties were with the Cooper assistants like Conley, Pagac, etc. I'd have to grab my YSU media guide and peruse who worked for JT at YSU. They always seem to be up to take people away from Mason at Minnesota (ha ha). I just don't know.

scarletbuck (Apr 2, 2004 1:25:11 PM)
any truth to the rumors that Brandon Harrison has soured on OSU and favors scUM and Iowa because he thinks we are too focused on Jamario O'neal?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:28:04 PM)
Our Charles Babb is doing an Ohio High magazine story on Harrison. As I recall, he does mention OSU among his faves. But some other schools may be coming on stronger. Remember, OSU is pretty much loaded at corner and DB. They have O'Neal committed and seem poised to add Myers-White probably sometime this summer. That would give them 14 DBs for 2005. How many do you need if you're playing 5 at the most at one time? Lukens also repping, I believe at safety now. At least that's where is listed.

DuckOfDeath (Apr 2, 2004 1:28:20 PM)
Hi Steve - We lost out on Williams last year due to academic issues. Everyone was pulling for him and it was a letdown when he went South. This year there are some other recruits who seem to be in the same boat. In your experience, what are the chances that a recruit and cram his last year and qualify? How often are they successful?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:31:13 PM)
Depends on the kid, his environment, his parents, his coaches and his counselors and even his teachers. They all need to pull together, in some cases, and push the kid over the goal line. There have been some hopeless situations in the past that miraculously worked out. I assume that's because the kid took classes on test taking and just buckled down. I was at Glenville the other day and bumped into their academic coach. He said it's a full-time job. I told him I've been doing this for 10 years and, invariably, when I call kids even at late as 10 on a school night, they're not home (not all, but some). And then their parents and fans and everybody wonder why the kid has a 2.2 with a 15. Duh. It's because nobody is making him focus on what is important ... preparing for his future and doing everything he can to get a free education.

TulsaBuck (Apr 2, 2004 1:32:43 PM)
With Conley resigning, any scuttle that he was disappointed for not getting a promotion that several other coaches received?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:36:59 PM)
I do not have their salary structure in front of me. But it was my feeling that as one of the "coordinators" he was already at a higher level. That would have included the off. coord, the def. coord and rec. coord. Now, this year, they moved Tucker to co-coord (certainly more money, done in part to keep him) and Heacock to asst. HC (certainly more money). I'm not sure if those guys moved by Bill on the pecking order, per se. Perhaps he was unhappy because he has the most time of anybody there and Heacock got the nod for AHC. But I think these issues are just anciliary even if there is any validity. I was EZBoxed by one of his former high school players in January saying he would retire after signing day. When signing day came and went and he didn't say anything, I assumed he would be sticking around. But something happened in the interim. Maybe we will know more on Monday. I want to wish Bill only the best of luck. He has been such a great guy to talk to, a tremendous resource and a great friend. I don't really don't feel right specuilating about back stories. ... Ah, what the heck (ha ha).Besides, my obligation is to you, not anybody else. If you ask me a question, I'll try and answer it the best I can.

brutus4prez (Apr 2, 2004 1:38:21 PM)
HH implied on bucknuts, "it wasn't his choice". Wonder what that means?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:40:32 PM)
He may know more about it. He seems to have some impeccable sources at times. Tressel portrayed it that they actually sat down and Conley agonized about it several times. Tressel said each time they came back to where only "Conley would know if the time was right (to leave)." If he is being truthful, then that points to this being Conley's decision, solely.

Kirk (Apr 2, 2004 1:41:15 PM)
Feel free everyone to send in your questions for Steve. Moderation is on and we'll post them one at a time.

TulsaBuck (Apr 2, 2004 1:42:23 PM)
A lot of us Buckeye fans (and OSU pundits) are always after the next "big" back ... but if you look at many of top runners in NFL, they are between 195 and 210 -- E. James, M. Faulk -- they don't get tackled with the first hit. Do we have a "size" fixation? Looks like Pittman and EHaw are the right size for either of next two levels.

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:46:23 PM)
I agree. Clarett was obviously a case unto himself as some kind of superhuman talent at times. But Gary Housteau told me he likes what he has seen of Pittman and Haw. Haw is 210 or so, Pittman around 190. He thinks Pittman is a home run hitter, and I know Haw is. Pittman looked good yesterday in helmet, jersey and shorts. A very welcome addition ... even if he couldn't find his way to the facility (Tressel said he called from the vet school when he got off at wrong bus stop, missing first third of practice ... what a nightmare that must have been for him. I have dreams like that where I'm late for an exam or can't get where I'm going. His first day of practice and he nearly missed it.)

TulsaBuck (Apr 2, 2004 1:46:27 PM)
Best NFL back is Priest Holmes -- barely 200 -- and much better than his fellow Texan Ricky who ways 235.

DuckOfDeath (Apr 2, 2004 1:46:29 PM)
Many have said that they would like to see Ted Ginn Sr. on the staff. I feel he is doing more good for Ohio State right where he is. He also is helping alot of young men become all they can at Glenville. What are your thoughts? And what position at OSU would Coach Ginn be suited to?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:50:19 PM)
Coach Ginn does an incredible job at Glenville with the football and track programs. The kids come there, work hard and reap great rewards. They had 12 kids sign with college football programs on signing day. Incredible. Ginn is an offensive coach. I'm sure he could coach TEs at OSU if called upon. But for some reason, I don't think the timing is right. He is putting together a juggernaut at Glenville. His next team may be his best, actually. They have linemen in the pipeline now.

Seabus (Apr 2, 2004 1:54:04 PM)
Steve, it seems like this team more than the past two, is equipped to spread the ball around. I read from the spring practice reports that you have Joe, Hamby, White, Irizarry, etc catching the ball out of the backfield or on short routes. Throw Chirldress in there and we should be able to do lots of different things. Do you see that coming or will be still operate like the past two years?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 1:56:38 PM)
Yes, they will be spreading the ball around. Craig seemed like he was always locked in on Jenkins, then Hartsock and maybe the flanker. They want everybody to touch it so they can attack from more angles. Plus, Tressel admitted they have much more athletic linemen so the dreaded "screens and sweeps" prayers we've heard for 3 years may finally be answered.

TulsaBuck (Apr 2, 2004 1:56:46 PM)
Any surprises on depth chart so far? Datish has been off radar screen for awhile and now he's pencilled as starting guard.

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:00:14 PM)
The way Bollman talked at bowl time, Datish was the backup center. I think he has moved himself to the front of the young guy group and they need him on the field. Glad to see it. For as "disappointing" as his first 2 years were, he could still be a 3-year starter here. Tim Schafer as a starter at RT is a mild surprise. No other real surprises from what I can see. With the guys who are out (there are 5-10 of them), some important guys will get plenty of work (Coleman, Schafer, Downing, Pittman, Penton, Cotton, Freeman, Kerr).

Ygtbuckeye (Apr 2, 2004 2:00:19 PM)
what do you think about the early season match-up , glenville vs harding; o'neal vs manningham?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:02:53 PM)
That will be interesting. Ginn believes Glenville is turning the corner and becoming a "complete" team with better line play. This will be a litmus test. Outside of Ignatius and maybe Lake St. Ed's, I don't know any team in NE Ohio with more depth than Harding. They are typically loaded for bear. O'Neal is a big corner, just as quick as MM. He may make it his mission to shut him off. Will be interesting to see OSU vs. Mich., huh?

DuckOfDeath (Apr 2, 2004 2:02:57 PM)
Steve, do you know if Myron Howard from Glenville is going on to college? He is doing real well in track this year so far.

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:04:53 PM)
Yep, Howard signed with Akron. I was wrong they had 11 signees on signing day. 2 to OSU, 2 to Calif. Univ. of Pa., 1 to Army, 4 to Akron (and we think we have a Glenville pipeline), 1 to N.C. A&T and 1 to Central State. And I understand at least 1 other has signed since then (not sure where).

slimkid (Apr 2, 2004 2:05:00 PM)
I noticed that Joe Bradley, a walk-on from Upper Arlington, is listed in the 2-deep at LB. Is this simply because of injuries to other players, or is he one of those walk-ons who may become a surprise contributor?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:06:13 PM)
No, Bradley can definitely play. He was on the same title team as Fraser and Backes at UA. He's had injury issues his last 2-3 years, but was out there yesterday. Listing him ahead of Freeman may be a courtesy as an upperclassman, though.

TulsaBuck (Apr 2, 2004 2:10:07 PM)
With all the new starters -- what's your early prediction on our 2004 record?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:12:00 PM)
9-2. I think they have some great young players ... but youth sometimes gets you beat. 10-1 obviously would be a great year with so much transition. 9-2 and a Rose Bowl (or BCS bid, period) would be phenomenal in my book. 11-0 and an Orange Bowl would be optimum (ha ha).

russiabuck (Apr 2, 2004 2:12:02 PM)
When do you expect to hear something form Malik?? What are our chances?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:14:12 PM)
I hear it may not be until mid-April. The signing period begins the 14th or 15th, so maybe on or about that day. Everything I see and hear leads me to believe it is UCLA. But Buckaholic's eternal optimism is rubbing off on me and I still think there is a 25 percent chance it is OSU. I don't think it can be stated how big a coup that would be. He would be OSU's best signee since Jackson. Like Jackson, the kid is a winner (27-0 senior year). That is what this program is lacking now, among other things.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 2, 2004 2:14:22 PM)
Steve - Will you be at all the away games next season? I'll be at Purdue, N'western and Iowa.

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:16:59 PM)
Yes, plan to attend all 11 and the bowl as it stands. The traffic sucks in and out of Purdue. NW isn't bad because of Chicago. They took their football seriously at Iowa when they sucked. I just wonder what we'll walk into now with Ferentz having that program operating at maximum capacity (yes, that was Iowa in the BCS in 2002). I remember 3 years ago when they were terrible. Bellisari went out there and had a career day, I believe, last time OSU was there (maybe 2000). Answer my own question, yes, they won 38-10 at IC. That's a nice trip, too.

Ygtbuckeye (Apr 2, 2004 2:17:21 PM)
Why don't more players from glenville go to YSU , or is it because that is a D-1AA school ,when you can go to akron a D-1A.

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:19:59 PM)
I have no idea about that. If they have a choice, yes, Akron would be a half-step ahead of YSU.

Kirk (Apr 2, 2004 2:20:16 PM)
Only a couple more questions for Steve then we'll let him go...

alabama buckeye (Apr 2, 2004 2:20:19 PM)
When should we expect a direction on Conleys replacement? Will we see any more offers or commitments prior to summer camp? Could we get one during NIke Camp?

BuckeyeDave (Apr 2, 2004 2:20:21 PM)
Didn't Iowa lose way too much talent to be considered a real threat next season?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:23:15 PM)
Alabama, I doubt Tressel will spend much time on it during April. This month is booked with practice prep, meetings and practices. Maybe when they have an off day he'll start thinking about it. I would hope by mid-May they have somebody in there, working with them and getting to know the players before school ends. Yes, I think you'll see some more offers and commitments before summer. Maybe 2-3 verbals. I agree with earlier questioner that it does look good on Cordle. Not sure what significance Nike Camp will be.

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:24:51 PM)
Yes, Iowa does lose Russell, Sanders, Gallery and the QB. Quite a bit. But Ferentz has a good program in place. The LBs (Hodge and Greenway, I believe) return. They'll be good again. They also had a nice young WR who should be back.

alabama buckeye (Apr 2, 2004 2:25:15 PM)
If we get Cordle and Haas prior during summer do we just take one more (OL)?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:26:56 PM)
I'm not sure Haas is in that mix at this point. I think they take 3. Boone, probably Cordle and maybe this Brewster who visited yesterday. Duane really likes all 3 of those guys. This class is starting to grow on he and I both. This was supposed to be a down year. But, really, the OL are good, the WRs are pretty good and the DBs are as deep as any group Duane has seen. OSU just needs to mine it's share, fill its needs and move on to the next hole. ( a golf reference)

Seabus (Apr 2, 2004 2:26:58 PM)
Steve, real quick, who is the starting LEO vs Cincinnatti?

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:27:55 PM)
Mike Kudla, not much doubt. I like him a lot. Marcel Frost is a name to remember at end as well. High, high motor kid. He was shoving around some upperclassmen yesterday.

Kirk (Apr 2, 2004 2:27:58 PM)
Thanks Steve for stopping in today, and thanks everyone for joining us for chat. Check back later today for practice photos and later on for the transcript.

Steve Helwagen (Apr 2, 2004 2:28:53 PM)
Thanks everybody! If you like our service, tell everybody you know. If we can grow it, it will only get better. I am planning a 6 p.m. (or so) Chat after the spring game in addition to the weeklies. Stay tuned for more details.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 2, 2004 2:35:05 PM)
Thanks Steve!


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