Helwagen Chat: April 24 Archive

Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen answered your questions for two hours following the Scarlet and Gray Game. Click this free link for all of the questions and answers on what is really happening with Ohio State football.

Here is the archive of Saturday night's Chat with Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen. For the first hour, he answered questions for Bucknuts.com subscribers. Then, the Chat was opened to all site users in the second hour.

san diego loves the bucks! (Apr 24, 2004 6:04:13 PM)
hello steve, love the web site. I usually dont get to participate in these chats as they are over before I get off work... so this is fun... I listened to the game on 1460's web site... I thought Pittman sounded real impressive. He even converted a couple 3rd and shorts for 1st downs. What are your thoughts on the young Pittman?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:06:20 PM)
Nice day for him. He was on the same team as Ross and, as I suspected, they allowed Lydell to sit after a few early carries. Plus, the Scarlet with a decent OL and Zwick throwing, was also able to run effectively. He really showed some nice things. He bounced it outside and had good speed to the corner. He broke tackles and seemed to get stronger as the day went on. He was 15 for 78 in the second half. I think, at worst, he can be the changeup back.

buckeyeronnie (Apr 24, 2004 6:06:24 PM)
Steve, How much better has smith looked in practice's you have seen vs. today. I thought he really struggled. Just from todays performance Zwick has the job. However it is a long time until Sept. Your thoughts?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:08:55 PM)
He looked much better last Saturday. He was hamstrung by the rules (no running until late in the scrimmage). And his team had no running game after Ro. Parker went down. So the Scarlet defense just teed off on him. He started great 4 of 4 on first drive, etc. But was kind of flustered by the end because of the Scarlet defense. You have to agree with what Coach Tressel said: Justin would start, but Troy should also get a chance to play. I guess that is how the season may begin, with the idea they need a clear No. 1 in place (at least in my mind) by N.C, State or., at worst, Wisconsin on 10/9 I believe.

Silver_Bullet (Apr 24, 2004 6:11:25 PM)
I was just curious... What were Pittman's runs like? Was he getting great blocking? Did he breakout some long ones and then gets stuffed a bunch?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:13:18 PM)
Pittman looked good. His longest run was only 13 yards, but Gray had some thumpers, too, like Schlegel. He got outside quickly, which was nice to see and he hit the hole hard. He was fun to watch today. Scarlet kind of put the game in his hands in the second half to run some clock, and he did fine. He never lost a yard, so I wouldn't say he got stuffed. Just a lot of nice 5- and 6-yard runs. Those spend too (VBG).

san diego loves the bucks! (Apr 24, 2004 6:13:23 PM)
How bad is the injury to parker?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:14:06 PM)
No idea. Nobody said anything about it, other than he was hurt. I never even noticed it, although I usually try and do about 12 things during games.

buckeyeronnie (Apr 24, 2004 6:14:10 PM)
I think it is a given that most if not all were impressed with Pittman. However I thought Lydell was hitting the hole and running with authority as well while he was in. What do you think.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:15:45 PM)
Yes, Lydell is positioned to have that dreaded Tressel career-best senior year. Will he contend for the Heisman? No, I don't think so. But if he can just stay healthy and this line continues to develop (and they also throw effectively for "good balance") then he has a legitimate shot at 1,000. I know that's several ifs in there. But Ross had a really good spring. They did the right thing today by not overworking him. I liked Lydell's TD, too. He powered in, taking Fraser with him, although Schlegel thought they weren't in the right defense.

Silver_Bullet (Apr 24, 2004 6:15:56 PM)
One more question about Pittman. Did he break any tackles? Is he capable of running over anyone? Thanks.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:17:47 PM)
SB on Pittman, who broke a few, not a lot. He just ran with good vision and bounced things outside when he had the chance. He did have a nice second effort to get a first down in the second half. He also caught a nifty screen for a 25-yard gain negated by a hold. He will help them.

san diego loves the bucks! (Apr 24, 2004 6:17:53 PM)
It sounded like carpenter made a few pressures off the corner.. With our abundence of talent at LB... any thought of moving him to the "leo end" like what Smith played last year?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:19:27 PM)
Haven't heard any such plans, just because they have some Leos who can play, too, with Kudla, Frost and Reggie Smith. Maybe they will do some shifting in certain situations, but, yes, Carpenter showed the speed to blitz and wreak some havoc in the backfield today.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 24, 2004 6:19:33 PM)
Late to the chat, sorry if this has already been covered. - Should we be more excited about Ross, Joe, Schnittker or Pittman?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:21:36 PM)
Ross didn't show much today by design. He only had 5 carries for 17 yards and a nice 1-yard TD (well blocked and powered in). Joe was limited due to injuries I believe. He never carried the ball. Schnittker caught three balls, which was good. But this was Pittman's coming out party. He helps them in the fall, no doubt. Ross had a good spring and is still No. 1, but now you know you have at least 1 other guy you can count on.

vonmanstein (Apr 24, 2004 6:21:45 PM)
What about Jay Richardson and Marcel Frost? How'd they look?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:23:20 PM)
Wow. Richardson was almost not blockable at times. They had him for 2 sacks, but I had him for 3. I think he abused the walk-on OT John McLaughlin a couple times. Frost also had a couple sacks. Not bad for a couple guys who have 3 and 4 years, respectively, in front of them. They will be on the field in the fall.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 24, 2004 6:23:34 PM)
It sounded like they were trying hard to get the ball to Hollins? Was that your take too?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:25:51 PM)
Oh, I don't know. Gray had some mismatch problems at corner with walk-on Haslem trying to check Hollins and Gonzalez (Underwood was locked on Holmes a lot). So he was open quite a bit. I think Haslem blew the coverage on the 29-yard pass to Hollins. Whitner made the tackle then went to Haslem and said something. Great to see for Hollins. He could be a nice third receiver, maybe even the starter. Not sure what's up with Roy Hall, but that's two full-go scrimmages where he has been silent.

buckeyeronnie (Apr 24, 2004 6:26:08 PM)
I realize we have a lot to replace re: the front 4 but when healty Kudla, patterson, penton, and Frazier along with Cottin and Frost (who looked very encouraging. Could this defense rival last years , (more depth at LB and DB) ?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:28:27 PM)
It could. You had to be impressed by the way both sides stiffened when the offense got inside the 40. It was just tough going for both sides. The LBs will be improved over last year, no question. The DL may take half a year until Heacock settles on a 6 or 7-man rotation he likes. The guys you mention are critical. They need Green, too, to come back at DT. Cotton will be much better used as a sub as a RS frosh than as an 80 percent of the time guy. They have the makings of a good defense. They just need to put it all together.

buckboy81 (Apr 24, 2004 6:28:40 PM)
Was the Gray OL that bad? or was the Scarlet DL that good?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:30:28 PM)
The Gray tackles had a tough day, I thought. That was McLaughlin, Schafer and Rehring. Frost, Richardson and Cotton played well for the Scarlet. I thought Datish went down for a short time as well for Gray, and that could not have helped, either.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 24, 2004 6:30:37 PM)
Will Ohio St face any Heisman candidates this year? Seems like the 'Shoe is becoming the place Heisman dreams go to die!

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:33:04 PM)
Good question. Maybe McLendon from N.C. State, Jim Leonhard from Wisconsin (just kidding, I just can't believe the pub he gets sometimes), Kyle Orton from Purdue will be nice, maybe Edwards from Michigan. That's about it, and I don't think any of them are on Heisman watch lists right now. (Oh yeah, I forgot Leinhart in the Orange Bowl ... don't you wish ... ha ha).

spbuck (Apr 24, 2004 6:33:23 PM)
What did you think of Roy Hall? I expected more productivity from him.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:35:24 PM)
I didn't watch him on every play. My guess is, between Youboty, Jacobs and Roberts, they just did a nice job on him. Smith had a hard time getting any kind of a rhythm going after that first series, so that hurt, too. I guess just be patient and see where this heads. He is in excellent condition and that punt block and return were pretty. No disgrace in getting tracked down by Mitchell, who I thought hammered people all over the field all day.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 24, 2004 6:35:33 PM)
How well did the O-line and the D-line play today?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:38:09 PM)
Scattery probably best describes it. The Gray OL allowed 9 sacks, although those were "touch sacks" since the QBs were off limits. In real life, that's probably just 4 or 5 (especially with Smith back there). The Scarlet DL did a nice job overall and so did the Scarlet OL, opening holes for Ross and Pittman and surrendering just 4 sacks. Fraser and Kudla each had a sack for the Gray DL. It's hard to draft teams like this and throw them out there. Mangold hasn't repped that much with some of the guys he was in there with today on the Gray, so cohesion is a major issue.

san diego loves the bucks! (Apr 24, 2004 6:38:41 PM)
Hall had a couple drops that I remember... any danger of hollins or another WR (gonzales) threatening for his position?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:40:40 PM)
No, I don't think they're there yet. Remember, we only saw 2 scrimmages like this. Who knows how he did on the other 13 days. For all we know, his position is probably secure in the coaches' minds. He is a specimen. They need to get him the ball. The QBs (and line) are a big part of this, too.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 24, 2004 6:40:46 PM)
I may be out of touch...but...what happened to Maurice Hall?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:42:28 PM)
Hall underwent some knee surgery (or surgeries) and was held out of spring ball. They will make a determination this summer regarding whether he will play this year or redshirt. He could come back as a senior in 05 potentially if he and the medical people don't think he's ready. They never really discussed this last year, but he was hurt most of the year and tried to play through it (with little success, as you'll recall). Great kid I only want the best for him.

buckeyeronnie (Apr 24, 2004 6:42:39 PM)
Have special teams been having all the problems we witnessed today in previous practice's. Was this just a matter dividing players up too much ? I hope that is the case IF not this is a Real Issue!

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:44:37 PM)
Matter mostly of dividing players up, I feel. It's hard to throw together a punt protection team. Today's results were the best thing that could have ever happened. The punters will be drilled between now and the opener that they have to be quicker and better. There were a number of botched holds in the kick scrimmage last week. Simply fielding snaps seems to be an issue, but some of these guys are just green right now.

san diego loves the bucks! (Apr 24, 2004 6:44:55 PM)
I am also worried about the O line... There were a couple false starts for the gray line in the red zone.... should we just assume this is growing pains in the spring game, or is our focus missing with the O linemen? Is the talent there to be a top notch big ten line next year?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:47:32 PM)
Young OL flinch. It's just a fact of life. It's hard for them to maintain that concentration over a prolonged period of time. You only do it by doing it repeatedly. Young OL blow their assignments. That's also been proven. Today, you saw a lot of young OL thrust into some key spots. Mangold and Sims will be solid and Kne is a workhorse as well. Datish seems solid. I think there is some concern at RT with Schafer and Downing, though. They may be on a rotation. Maybe one of the new guys helps out, but that's hard to expect as well. Hurts that Barton went down with his ankle problem (on crutches with boot today).

spbuck (Apr 24, 2004 6:47:45 PM)
I was very impressed with Gonzalez at receiver. Was he that good of a route runner and getting open, or was his productivity due to who was covering him? I don't recall who covered him??

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:49:37 PM)
As we said, the Gray had some coverage issues with Underwood and then walk-on Haslem. They tried their hardest to trade for Scarlet's "third corner" Roberts, but could not get a deal done. Gonzalez looked good today across the middle. I liked that. I guess he has been bothered by some hamstring problems. He dropped a couple last Sat. He's a nice guy to have in the rotation, for sure.

san diego loves the bucks! (Apr 24, 2004 6:49:50 PM)
How about the special teams... any punters catch your eye... and any returners look good? (i know the teams are split so the true return teams are not together)

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:52:28 PM)
Turano looks the best to me. Huston had a good kick scrimmage, but had his only punt blocked today (no fault of his, Hall was virtually unblocked). Not as optimistic as I was after the kick scrimmage, but between Turano, Huston and Trapasso somebody should be able to handle that job. Not much happened in the return game today. Kicks were short and well covered, by and large. Youboty had a nice 11-yard return to give his team possession in Gray territory.

spbuck (Apr 24, 2004 6:52:42 PM)
Who do you see as our starting right tackle? After watching today, Shaffer, who I have high hopes for and Downing, who has the pedigree, both looked shakey. Does Barton stachk up favorably to these two?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:55:27 PM)
Didn't get to see Barton hardly at all this spring. Missed first 2 weeks, then went down early in the jersey scrimmage. Give that position an I for incomplete. Schafer is listed No. 1, but it's far from a lock in my mind.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 24, 2004 6:55:54 PM)
JT won't ever try the Rugby-style punt, will he?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:56:59 PM)
Regarding the rugby punt, I don't like that. Michigan tried it against Iowa and couldn't execute it and they lost the game.

san diego loves the bucks! (Apr 24, 2004 6:57:02 PM)
This is off the spring game theme.... but does three 1st round draft picks this year (Smith, Gamble, Jenkins) help tOSU recruiting? Also, were any recruits at the game?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 6:58:57 PM)
I think it has to help, although it will be overshadowed by Miami having the record 6 in the first round today. OSU can break Miami's overall 7-round draft mark of 11 guys, which would be nice, too. There were some recruits at the game. I posted a story on it. Biggest names were probably Denlinger, soph RB Chris Wells from Akron (next Reecie, without the tude?), Harrison and Ringer and more. Check out the story on the home page.

sflbuck (Apr 24, 2004 7:04:18 PM)
What your take on QB Play?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:05:57 PM)
I don't think either has cemented the starting job. Zwick got 26 chances to throw today and completed 16 without a pick, which was good. They were kind of hampered by the format with no running and no contact on QBs. It's a two-man race and the competition will linger into the fall. Everybody is saying the right things now, like "Not a competition, we're just trying to get better," etc. Just stay tuned I guess.

san diego loves the bucks! (Apr 24, 2004 7:06:04 PM)
What are your thoughts on kerr.... did he have an impact for the scarlet D?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:08:20 PM)
They had him for 3 tackles. I honestly didn't pay much attention to him. Their overall defense was pretty good, though, to hold Gray to minus-33 rushing.

TBDBITLBUX (Apr 24, 2004 7:08:23 PM)
Schegel ended up with 9 tackles but seemed quite from what I saw. What was your take on his performance?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:10:36 PM)
He did his job. I think the Scarlet O accounted for him. I saw he made some plays on some short yardage situations when they already had the first down.

TBDBITLBUX (Apr 24, 2004 7:12:42 PM)
I didn't see Turano punt but think he averaged 43 yards. How was his hang time?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:15:20 PM)
Good. I think he and Huston and Trapasso can all hang it. Maybe Huston the best. Boy he just had a cursed day with a blocked FG and punt, missed 23 yarder and missed 53 yarder.

ghjkgjh (Apr 24, 2004 7:15:24 PM)
do you feel that that Pittman could challenge Ross for the starting RB position

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:16:58 PM)
Oh, I don't know. If he plays like that all the time. But it's a long year. Ross has been through it. You want a battle-tested guy. I see Ross getting 20 carries a game, Joe probably 5-8, Pittman 5-8 and whoever else 5-8. Just a guess right now, but that sounds right to me. Lot of variables involved, but I think Tressel intends to ride Lydell as far as he can and he is as good as he's looked yet in my opinion.

bigbuckeye41 (Apr 24, 2004 7:17:03 PM)
Is it a big deal to get 3 sacks in a spring game, like Jay Richardson, is that a sign of good things?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:19:04 PM)
Well it is and it isn't. It's just the spring game against walk-on OL in a format where the QBs could just be touched down (although Jay twice roughed up Smith). Jay has the look of a real good athletic, rangy DE, almost in the Spellman mold (certainly not at that level yet). It is a sign of good things, no doubt.

5starbuck (Apr 24, 2004 7:19:07 PM)
What did you think of the play of Thomas Matthews today and how will the Bucks use him this year.. Sure looks like this kid has got to be on the field...

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:21:48 PM)
Thomas had a great scrimmage last week and showed well again today with 7 tackles. He blasted Childress when Boeckman hung him out to dry. Just a nice player. He'll get a chance somewhere along the line, I bet,to help them win a game. Snyder and Fickell will keep him interested and involved. Guys like he and Hollins are great examples for the young players that you just have to push through all the way to the end sometimes, regardless of whether they're using you or (in Hollins case) you're hurt.

Guest (Apr 24, 2004 7:21:55 PM)
How much playing time did Hawk get today?

wells20 (Apr 24, 2004 7:21:59 PM)
Steve, What do you consider the biggest positives from the scrimmage today?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:23:50 PM)
Biggest positives, nobody really got banged up that bad, at least it seems. Pittman, certainly, got some experiences that will serve him well headed into fall camp. There is a buzz surrounding him now. The QBs don't appear to be at a Big ten championship level, but, again, they were hampered by the format today somewhat (no running, no contact and, apparently, no intermediate routes in the playbook ... everything was 5 yards off the line or a bomb, it seemed, unless it was third-and-13).

chuck_jax (Apr 24, 2004 7:23:54 PM)
Steve - Who surprised you today?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:26:01 PM)
Pittman, certainly, although you thought he had it in him to be a quality back. Richardson was a big and pleasant surprise. Whitner is becoming an every-down player. Marcus Freeman made the first tackle of the game and also had a nice sack. Boeckman stepped up and made a play or 2. Zwick was OK. Irizarry looked good early. And Hollins and Gonzalez give them WR depth.

Ethel Merman (Apr 24, 2004 7:26:10 PM)
How do you feel about the running game and offense overall? It seems hard to gauge going up against ourselves, with 1st teams (on both sides of the ball) split up and a lot of 2's and 3's playing good minutes. Is there just no way to really tell until we meet up with UC?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:29:10 PM)
There will be another jersey scrimmage in the fall. When the OL should be coming together andRoss, Joe, Pittman, Haw and maybe Guilford or M.Hall will take their cracks as well. That's when we'll know a little more. Of course, Green, Penton and Patterson will also be back for the DL. You may not know for sure until they play the nonconference sked. Offense overall? I think Tressel would have liked it if one of these guys had nailed the job down at QB. But that hasn't happened. And, as you know, today doesn't show that much because of all the mixing and matching. I think the RBs, WRs and TEs are fine. The QBs and OL need to work up a notch or 2.

osubuckeyes2731 (Apr 24, 2004 7:29:14 PM)
did Zwick show that he deserved to win the job?? who do you think was most impressive

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:31:56 PM)
Zwick was more impressive today, but Smith was rattled by poor OL play in front of him and the format (no contact on QBs and he could not run the ball ... which was the whole reason Fox and the Gray captains drafted him). Then, RoParker went down and Gray had no running game at all (ended up minus-33). It was just a tough day for the Gray offense as a whole and Smith individually. He started out great 4 for 4 on first drive. Then Boeckman subbed in second quarter and Parker went down. Tressel said, going on the body of the 15 practices, Zwick would start a game today but Smith would also play "significantly." I don't know about you, but that sure sounds like a platoon to me.

Guest (Apr 24, 2004 7:32:04 PM)
What kind of injury does Ross have?

ptplacebuck (Apr 24, 2004 7:32:15 PM)
It sounds like Freeman had a good day. How did he look to you?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:33:28 PM)
Regarding Zwick, he was much better than he showed a week ago. He was fairly efficient (16 of 26 for 165). But I think most think he was kind of tentative and didn't look for as many big hitters as he could have. Plus, he reverted to throwing off his back foot a time or 2.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:35:02 PM)
Freeman looked good. As I said, he came out and made the first tackle of the day, which is a good sign. He also sacked Zwick on somewhat of a naked boot. He did a nice job. He tipped a pass in coverage that Gonzalez caught for a first down. He was mad he didn't make the pick. Great first showing in the Shoe for him, I would bet is Coach Fickell's answer on that. Marcus certainly looked like he belonged.

chuck_jax (Apr 24, 2004 7:35:08 PM)
Did we learn anything today? Is this really a format that you can learn from today's play? I've heard it said this game is for the fans, so I wonder if this just isn't a "fun" day for everyone.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:38:57 PM)
The format makes it almost pseudo football because the QBs could not be tackled and were told not to run the ball. Well at Ohio State, as we've found, that's half the offense. But it points up the importance of not risking injury just to put a show on for the fans. I guarantee you Tony Pittman took something important from this game (and Freeman and Richardson and probably 10-15 others). Those guys know they can play at produce at this level if called upon. That's important. Coach Tressel seems to be the kind of coach who doesn't base decisions on one day or one series or one practice. He made the comment that throughout the spring, Zwick and Smith had over 200 throws in live situations (scrimmages, team and perimeter). There is some data for the coaches to pore over when they decide when and how to use these guys.

ohiobuck88 (Apr 24, 2004 7:39:05 PM)
steve,how about louis irizarry? what do you think louis will bring to the offense?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:41:07 PM)
Louis looked great at the beginning when the Gray was in sync. He made 3 catches and you won't find a better looking TE anywhere than LI. He has the ability to stretch defenses. That is so important for the run game and throwing to the receivers. I see him potentially having some Stratton-like 6 and 8 catch games. That would be something, wouldn't it.

cderekw (Apr 24, 2004 7:41:39 PM)
Sorry I'm late. Would like to comment on the Qb situation. Kind of disappointed Smith was not allowed to run. I thought this was a qb competition, it was like telling Ray Allen he can play basketball but can't take jump shots. If he was allowed to run in the jersey scrimage, why not the spring game. JZ looked great and probably would have won the job anyway, I don't think Troy was giving an equal opportunity. Your thoughts

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:44:31 PM)
cderekw, check the answer just above. Nothing was decided on the basis of this one day. There were 14 other days and Troy made his case, I'm sure, on those days too. This format didn't fit Smith's style, no doubt. But I can hear Coach Tressel's voice ringing in my ears as I type "This was what was best for the team as a whole." You could make the argument you did, and I don't think anybody could dispute it. But setting a scrimmage up so he can shine isn't as important as the big picture (they need both of them upright and healthy in the fall). And it's not who starts the game, it's who helps you WIN it, right?

TBDBITLBUX (Apr 24, 2004 7:44:53 PM)
To me it seemed the O-line had some positives and negatives. Who do you feel played well and who struggled?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:46:41 PM)
Played well? Hard to say without popping the tape in and grading every play. Let's say I have strong opinions of Mangold, Sims, Kne and maybe Datish. I think the rest (Downing, Schafer, Coleman, etc.) need to step it up. That's overly simplified, but kind of where I'm coming from right now. You can't mask the fact that the Scarlet DL dominated the Gray OL for a good part of the last 3 quarters today.

san diego loves the bucks! (Apr 24, 2004 7:46:52 PM)
Do you feel the 2nd saftey position right now is between Mitchel and Whitner? And which of those has the upper hand?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:48:24 PM)
Whitner is, in my mind, the starter. But Mitchell can flat out play. So can Everett, but he was hurt a good part of the spring. I wonder if Mitchell is the nickel right now. But Youboty and Everett (and probably Ginn and maybe even Jacobs) will also be looking for time in the secondary in the fall. Great problem to have.

Ethel Merman (Apr 24, 2004 7:48:44 PM)
What's the latest on Maurice Hall and his health? Will he be 100% by fall? If not, could he possibly get a medical redshirt next year?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:50:14 PM)
What I heard was Hall and the medical people would assess his situation this summer and decide if he will play or redshirt. I also heard he may just hang it up, too. Just wait and see I guess.

chuck_jax (Apr 24, 2004 7:50:31 PM)
Steve - You really think we're okay at RB? To me, okay for OSU is having the #1 or #2 running game in the conference. Do you think we have that potential?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:53:23 PM)
You're better than you were last year, correct? With Ross, Joe and Pittman you have three guys who can play. MHall is a situational back if he makes it back. Haw is the great unknown, but is expected to push for stardom here on raw athletic ability and speed alone. Guilford needs to get back on the field and we'll see where he's at. I see 6 bodies, where there were only 3 a year ago. You're better at the position. Are you great? I don't know about that. A lot of how they'll show is dependent on the OL. I think OL will be above average by the time it all gets sorted out (they did OK last Sat in jersey scrimmage, even if they didn't "finish" drives as well as you might like).

tennesseebuckeye (Apr 24, 2004 7:53:44 PM)
I came in late so I am sorry if this has been addressed. Since I have had no opportunity to see anything I am basing my question on the comments of others. Everyone is speaking well of Tony Pittman. Can he be a factor without adding some substantial strength to his legs or does he appear more situational for this season?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:55:15 PM)
He's the changeup back right now until or unless something happens to Ross. I see him getting 5-10 carries a game to Ross' 20. Of course, Haw and Joe may also factor into this equation as well. He is 195 or so now. Maybe he'll add a couple lbs. this summer. But he looked good today.

Ethel Merman (Apr 24, 2004 7:55:29 PM)
With Underwood and Youbouty looking good, would Ginn become the nickel back if he shines in fall camp? Or is someone else slotted for that, say Mitchell?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:57:09 PM)
They like to use safeties as nickel backs, but they might make an exception in Ginn's case. They do that for better tackling, I guess. I think Mitchell has to play. If you pinned me down now its Fox and Underwood at the corners with Youboty and maybe Ginn lurking and Salley and Whitner at the safeties with Mitchell and Everett working. Great problem to have. No qualms whatsoever to playing the nickel or even the dime as need be.

ptplacebuck (Apr 24, 2004 7:57:16 PM)
Any suprise recruits on the sidelines today?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 7:58:16 PM)
No, we posted the story on recruits on the home page. Usual suspects: Ringer, Harrison, Denlinger and soph sensation RB Chris Wells (good to see him at OSU).

chuck_jax (Apr 24, 2004 7:58:29 PM)
Based on what you have seen this spring, do you expect the D-line to have a significant drop off from last year, a small drop-off, no drop at all, or "I dunno."?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 8:00:30 PM)
There will be a drop off, no question. Smith, Anderson and Scott were beasts when healthy. But it doesn't have to be a big dropoff. It hurt that Penton, Patterson and Green missed spring ball. But that meant more reps for Frost, Richardson, Cotton and Maupin and they showed today they can all play a little. Kudla, Pitcock and Fraser are the leaders. It's a nice group, but not a great group yet.

san diego loves the bucks! (Apr 24, 2004 8:00:35 PM)
Does Matthews have any chance at cracking the starting line up on d?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 8:01:37 PM)
No, not that I see, unless something happens to Hawk or Carpenter. He'd probably be next in line at OLB. He had a great jersey scrimmage and played well again today. I really like him.

Kirk (Apr 24, 2004 8:01:39 PM)
We'll have to make this the last question...

chuck_jax (Apr 24, 2004 8:02:01 PM)
Steve - A lot has been said about the (conservative) play calling of JT. Do you think there will be any significant wrinkles in the 2004 campaign, or really more of the same approach - let the D win the game and the offense "not to lose?"

osubuckeyes2731 (Apr 24, 2004 8:02:52 PM)
what do you expect our record to be from what you have seen so far

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 8:03:46 PM)
He is ingrained in his thinking and his philosophies. I think the defense can again be very good, which might lead him to believe he can get by with minimal risks (once again) on offense. But I think they have to open it up a little bit and let people like Holmes, Childress and Hall (and irizarry, Hamby and Hollins, too) get their touches. That will make it easier to run the ball. Coach Tressel said that himself tonight.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 8:05:05 PM)
My pick for a record? Hmm. Anywhere from 9-2 to 10-1. I still think somewhere along the way youth and inexperience will do them in. When was the last time they went unbeaten with a soph at QB? 1968, of course. So it ain't easy. Those Big Ten road games at Purdue and Iowa loom awful large, as does the roadie to N.C. State and the finale with Michigan.

chuck_jax (Apr 24, 2004 8:05:10 PM)
Thanks to both Kirk and Steve! I really appreciate your time

Kirk (Apr 24, 2004 8:05:23 PM)
Thanks everyone for stopping by!

SteveHelwagen (Apr 24, 2004 8:06:30 PM)
Good night from Columbus.

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