Helwagen Chat: Sept. 3 Archive

Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen conducted his usual weekly Chat Friday afternoon. The topic was obviously OSU's season opener with Cincinnati. Click here for all the questions and answers.

BuckeyeDave (Sep 3, 2004 1:08:55 PM)
Whats the word on Brandon Joe. Is the injury serious or is the coaching staff holding him out because they don't want to risk further injury?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:10:25 PM)
No idea, practices are closed, so we have no idea if Joe is practicing or not. Ankle sprains are touchy. If he does play it would not be much.

calibuck (Sep 3, 2004 1:10:29 PM)
Do we know if Ronnie Wilson and Carlton Jackson made it out of Florida for thier visit tomorrow?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:11:12 PM)
It's an unofficial visit, not an official. My understanding is they were to fly out Saturday morning. We'll see if they make it tomorrow.

scribeohio (Sep 3, 2004 1:11:17 PM)
Everything in moderation! Do you feel different about this team from the others going into an opener? Any last minute changes or thoughts about this season/Cinci game?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:12:30 PM)
Well, you have to dummy down the expectations because it's a young team. Watch for how they do the little things, like jumping offsides and mental mistakes because there will be a ton of them. They have talent to burn, but they need to channel it. I will post my Ten Pressing Questions surrounding this game tonight, but many of them are ...

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:13:38 PM)
... things you would expect like how will Zwick play, how will Smith play, how will Lydell play, how will the O-line play, who will take pressure off Holmes at WR, how will Turano punt and so on. So many uncertainties, so many questions. I could have done Twenty Pressing Questions if I wanted (ha ha).

avluey (Sep 3, 2004 1:13:44 PM)
Steve, do you think the D will be strong enough to keep us in the games this year if the offense is unimproved?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:15:23 PM)
Good question. My feeling is they will need to be awfully good. They will need to clamp off enemy possessions early on. Dantonio was content to let teams roam freely between the 20s, hence the soft coverage until you got into the red zone. But OSU, as a whole, does not have the experienced offense or punting (maybe I'll be wrong on that) to work out of its own end all day. The defense may not necessarily be better, but they'll need to force the issue a little more, I believe, this year.

calibuck (Sep 3, 2004 1:15:32 PM)
Do you have a feel for how many scholoships are available for next year? This seems to be a VERY fluid situation right now more so than I am sure most of us thought.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:17:35 PM)
I have them with 82 scholarship players with the 4 walk-ons added. They lose 18 seniors, that puts them down at 64. That means they can add 21. That would be 10 verbals and Pettrey right now. Plus, you wonder if Guilford could get recalled. Not a lot of spots left, either way.

scribeohio (Sep 3, 2004 1:17:40 PM)
Steve, have you noticed any improvement in the OL from spring to present? What individuals improved over the spring? Obviously, Mike D is one big one!

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:20:12 PM)
Yes, they have improved. The staff really likes Tim Schafer at RT much better now than maybe even 3 weeks ago. Barton is also making a good push. Datish is stepping up at LG. Amazing that Everett, Green, Pitcock and D'Andrea missed spring ball and they'll be starting. Kind of debunks the myth of how important spring ball is (don't let the coaches hear that I said that ... ha ha). Underwood is really coming on, too.

BuckeyeDave (Sep 3, 2004 1:20:17 PM)
I may be a little early for this question, but isn't this Ohio St team really built to make a run NEXT season? We lost a ton of experience to the NFL this off season, but numbers-wise, we don't lose much at the end of this season.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:22:23 PM)
That was the big talk we had on WKNR with Ken Roda and Jason Lloyd yesterday. Next year looks like a great year, on paper, with 18 starters due back (as of today). So many really good juniors here with Hawk, Carpenter, Sims and Mangold and Salley (do we already have next year's captains?). But 2002 was supposed to be the year leading to a potential title run in 2003 and it just happened a year early. Same thing this year???? Nah.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:22:35 PM)
Couldn't happen ... could it?

avluey (Sep 3, 2004 1:22:38 PM)
I definitely agree that the D needs to do a little less "bending" this year... mostly because that while I think theline will again be aforce, I'm not sure that they will be the goal line wall we are accustomed to. Do you see this team forcing more turnovers than last year, especially with the ridiculously agressive and active linebackers?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:24:06 PM)
Yes, I expect OSU to get more takeaways this year. Everett, in particular, seems to be in the game to make some picks. Salley's next pick will be his first. The LBs are potentially devastating in this regard. Fumbles and INTs, OSU needs to force a few.

BuckeyeDave (Sep 3, 2004 1:24:10 PM)
Compare the coaching staff's confidence in Zwick this season to their confidence in Krenzel at the beginnig of the 2002 season.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:25:45 PM)
Well, Krenzel had a win, such as it was, over Michigan under his belt. Zwick has no such battle testing. However, he has been training for this day since 1998, when he got his first start at Orrville as a freshman. It's his turn. Plus, you have the dynamic of Smith kind of looking over his shoulder. Will be interesting to study the circumstances of how they jockey the QBs tomorrow.

jturner (Sep 3, 2004 1:25:50 PM)
Coach Tressel has said that he does not plan to reshirt Eric Haw. With three back ahead of him on the depth chart, do you think he will really see the amount of quality playing time that would prepare him for next year and will he be on the field enough to justify burning a year of eligibility?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:28:47 PM)
I'm not sure 3 guys are truly ahead of him. I'd call Hall, Pittman and Haw almost co-No. 2's. In my opinion, Pittman and Haw have to play. Ross has never made it through a season completely healthy. Hall has 2 bad knees and, truly, is a situational player at this point. I think you need to put Haw and Pittman in the game and see which one will respond. Having said that, I don't want to see a year burned like Michael Jenkins was in 2000, when he never caught a ball on an 8-4 team that featured Rambo and Germany and all he did was rush the punter. Those young guys need seasoning for next year, in my opinion. OSU will recruit well (or is that Wells?) at TB, the numbers of years of eligibility will not be a factor over the long haul.

avluey (Sep 3, 2004 1:29:09 PM)
Steve, what are the knocks on Zwick? In limited time last year he looked very poised to me (nice drop Irizzary).... You hear a lot about Smith's arm strength, is his cannon that impressive or does Zwick not have what some would call a plus arm?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:31:06 PM)
Inexperience at this level. Heady player. Dispelled some of the mobility knocks with his runs in the jersey scrimmage. Maybe not the most accurate passer around. Needs to avoid the newbie mistakes (throwing late over the middle, etc.). Smith zips the ball in there hard. Zwick has a strong enough arm to make the throws he has to make. Boeckman is probably the best "touch" passer. He makes some of the smartest throws I've seen in practice settings.

jturner (Sep 3, 2004 1:31:10 PM)
It will be interesting to see how rowdy the crowd is tomorrow. I think this will be a tight contest and we should make full use of our home field advantage. Students aren't back yet, but do you think the fact that we finally have some football after a long break will be enough to inspire the crowd to get off their seats and make some noise?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:32:28 PM)
Noon games are kind of hard. You rush around all morning and you're lucky to get to your seat by kickoff. I hate them. I think people will rise early, converge early and just enjoy the day. Last year's opener at night was an electric situation because people had all day to "get ready." Tomorrow, it's get up, drive down there, go to your seat.

avluey (Sep 3, 2004 1:32:46 PM)
Great point about the freshman RB's.... Seems too early at this point to call one the heir apparent at HB, but redshirting one of them sort of does just that. I think it will be very important to have 2 backs with at least some game experience next year. And since I 've said it may be too earl to name an heir apparent.... who does your gut say it will be?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:34:20 PM)
Why can't they share it like the guys at Minnesota do? They find ways for 2 guys to have 1,000 yards. OSU may need to investigate what successful running teams are able to do (would you have ever dreamed I would say something as asinine as that?). They are both real good. You want to say Haw is just the power guy, but he gets outside and has another gear. I like Pittman's instincts. He finds where he needs to be and hits it hard.

jturner (Sep 3, 2004 1:34:24 PM)
Out of the young guys on the D-line, who do you see making the biggest impact this season.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:35:38 PM)
Probably Patterson, Pitcock and Richardson, all sophs. Green and Kudla are juniors. Patterson said he graded out the highest of the DL in the jersey scrimmage. I had him with 2 sacks that day. He will slide between DT and DE as needed. Gholston is in the 2-deep, but you wonder how much he will play and if Caldwell might slide by him.

buckeye7 (Sep 3, 2004 1:37:45 PM)
Steve, how much do you expect to see the 3-4 defense? I would like to see it maybe 30% of the time to switch it up a little and confuse the offense or is that too much?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:39:02 PM)
I doubt you'll see it that much. They may hold it for third-and-mid range plays like third-and-4 to third-and-9. Beyond that, you go nickel, almost exclusively. They will switch it up. This will be something to track tomorrow regarding when and how they use it.

bellybuck (Sep 3, 2004 1:39:06 PM)
Hi Steve-do you think that the bucks overall athletic ability will be too much for UC to handle tomorrow

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:40:42 PM)
UC is a veteran team. They were in a lot of close games that went against them last year. They let Louisville beat them at the end in the last game to finish 5-7 and that was the last straw for Rick Minter. I would say OSU would have an edge in athletic ability. But this experience -- even with 106,000 in the house -- should not faze the UC guys. They are tough kids and multiply that factor now with Dantonio, who preaches toughness, as their coach.

JohnnyBuckeye (Sep 3, 2004 1:40:47 PM)
Anyone know how good this Ross Homan from COldwater is and who we could compare him too?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:41:48 PM)
Duane loves him and I believe has him in his top 10 juniors. Have not seen him to compare him. He goes 6-1, 215 and is fine two-way player on that great Coldwater team. The small-school bias may be hard to overcome.

jturner (Sep 3, 2004 1:41:57 PM)
How will this years secondary compare with last seasons, and is E.J. Underwood really as good as they are making him out to be?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:43:48 PM)
Yeah, I think Underwood is that good. Hawk raved about him and he's a straight shooter. He wouldn't say those things unless they were the case. Hey, Gamble and Allen are in the NFL now. I thought last year's secondary was doggone good. The only difference this year is the depth factor. In my book, they have 3 corners (Fox, Underwood and Youboty) and 4 safeties (Salley, Everett, Whitner and Mitchell) they can count on. Jacobs and Ginn would probably be close as well at corner. That's more overall depth than they've ever had.

JohnnyBuckeye (Sep 3, 2004 1:43:53 PM)
I have heard that Schlegel got bumped due to his inability to cover the pass, but that on definite run plays that he would be on the field. (i.e. goal line scenarios).

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:45:12 PM)
No, Gary had a source that told him D'Andrea won the job. I think it hurt Schlegel, to be honest, that he was in on that first drive in the jersey scrimmage and they moved right down the field. Then again, he did have 4 tackles on that drive, so maybe that wasn't the issue. I'll have to reserve judgment until we see how they are deployed tomorrow.

seasonishere (Sep 3, 2004 1:45:17 PM)
Hello all from Seattle..is the chat still in progress?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:46:12 PM)
Yes, it is. In the future, you punch your message board handle in first to log on and then use the password to get into this room. No big deal, though. Glad to have you.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:46:24 PM)
I will be here until 2 p.m., by the way, so fire early and often.

seasonishere (Sep 3, 2004 1:46:32 PM)
Steve....you are Jim Tressel, what plays do you call tomorrow knowing MD will bring lots of pressure from any direction, to help Zwick, Smith from being eaten alive?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:48:55 PM)
Probably some draws for Ross, look for that a lot. Screens to the backs (particularly White) can exploit that. OSU has been susceptible to those in the past. probably call the TE's number, too, if he's locked on an LB one-on-one under that scenario. White and Schnittker will probably also be involved in max protection as well -- until the line proves it can handle the heat. I have not seen a lot of short drops in the limited practice settings we've seen. But against pressure like that you have to deliver in rhythm and beat the blitz.

ccfb31 (Sep 3, 2004 1:48:59 PM)
Do the bearcats have any playmakers on defense that should give us any problems?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:50:16 PM)
The two ends are pretty good, Cole (90) and Frazier (91). They were both All-C-USA last year. MLB Enzor (46) and CB Holly (18) are also big play guys.

BuckeyeDave (Sep 3, 2004 1:50:24 PM)
Reggie Bush looked awfully impressive last Saturday. How does Ginn compare to Bush, as a freshman? (Didn't see much of Fred Davis, did we? ;-)

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:53:43 PM)
That's hard to say. Bush is an RB. Ginn is a WR-DB-KR. I know Bush was a big deal coming out of high school. It's hard to make comparisons like that. I can't sit here and say because Ginn was ranked as a top-five high school senior last year that he'll tear it up like Bush did. No way of knowing that.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:53:57 PM)
And no, Freddie didn't see the ball. What a shock (ha ha).

BuckeyeDave (Sep 3, 2004 1:54:08 PM)
Good question from seasonishere. Can Zwick or Smith hit the quick crossing/timing patterns like Purdue?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:54:46 PM)
I haven't seen Ohio State hit those in several years. I wonder if they're even in the repertoire. Everything seems to be a sit down, comeback route.

FootballTime! (Sep 3, 2004 1:54:53 PM)
Steve, do you think expectations for this season are too high? With all the GREAT players that we lost to the draft, winning the big ten title might be somewhat of a reach. Our young players will be good, but do you think fans underplay the importance of the veterans from last year in particular with regard to their experience?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:56:11 PM)
It is possible, strange as it may be, that we are overrating this team. The young talent on this team is in the same realm as LSU and USC and Oklahoma and probably also Texas and Michigan. But they have to assemble, learn on the job and, most importantly, find a way to win tough games in tough stadiums. The experience on this team of guys who have done all that is basically nil.

jturner (Sep 3, 2004 1:56:16 PM)
How similar in style and gameplan will this team be given all the new faces?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 1:58:38 PM)
Well, you have to hope and believe the offense will have some new dimensions, although Jenkins' presence can't be overstated. He's almost a bigger loss than Krenzel, I believe, when it comes to just moving the chains. Craig was a great pilot. But Jenkins commanded a lot of respect from a defense. I guess I'm unsure who will command that attention now. The OL is supposed to be more mobile. They need to get outside and not get branded as strictly a between-the-tackles team (see 2003). Defensively, I think they need to be aggressive. The 3-4 helps them in that regard because the pressure could come from any direction on any play. Those may be my main areas of emphasis in terms of changes.

avluey (Sep 3, 2004 1:58:47 PM)
Do you think that Everett will hold off Whitner all year? Will they platoon at SS with Everett being the starter and Whitner also seeing a lot of the field?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 2:00:23 PM)
I have no way of knowing that. Whitner, to me, had a great spring. I don't understand what happened to him. Again, I think Everett's ball skills (nose for the ball, whatever you want to say) work in his favor. He's making some big plays. Whitner should also play, especially when the weather is hot. Maybe they'll have a 70-30 split between he and Everett. I don't know. Youboty, I understand, will be the primary nickel back to open the year.

avluey (Sep 3, 2004 2:00:28 PM)
Do you expect any significant contributions from any of the freshman WR's? does Jordan's injury impact that?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 2:01:35 PM)
Yes, the injury to Jordan does impact that. They can't afford to wait around if Hall or Hollins aren't getting the job done. Teams will converge on Holmes and kill him. Lyons needs a look, in particular. He's a stud. Dukes could also be a game breaker. They all looked good with 1-2 nice grabs in the jersey scrimmage. Too bad for Jordan, obviously.

FootballTime! (Sep 3, 2004 2:01:39 PM)
Steve, mid-majors have looked pretty impressive so far with TCU beating NW and Utah whooping TAM do you think the Ohio State and the Michigans of the world are in any danger from the Cincinatti and Miami-Ohio this weekend?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 2:04:03 PM)
You're in danger when you take the field, obviously. Just ask OSU about the last time it played UC and last 2 times it played San Diego State. I don't see blowouts in either of these two games, but I think the home teams prevail with some degree of comfort, if that makes any sense. If I'm NW I actually act like I won that game last night. They lose in double OT after their kicker goes 1 for 6 on FGs. The kid was missing 27 yarders. Ouch.

toledo (Sep 3, 2004 2:04:10 PM)
with depth you can have great special teams.. do you expect to see better more effective coverage and espially returns... it seems a lot of starters or at least high 2nd teamers were used last year and this may have burned them out by seasons end.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 2:07:22 PM)
The coverage teams, to me, have not been an issue. Opponents averaged 21.1 on kicks and 6.7 on punts. Hard to do any better than that. Those teams should continue to be lights out. The improvement must come on returns. Your best players have to help out on special teams, but I agree you have to be careful and sprinkle them in there. These are where these excess LBs and DBs have to step up (your Marcus Freeman, Curt Lukens, Brandon Mitchell, Thomas Matthews, Donte Whitner and the rest). It looks like Holmes and Ginn will handle punts and Holmes and Youboty will handle kicks.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 2:07:34 PM)
Are there any last blasts?

jturner (Sep 3, 2004 2:12:14 PM)
After tomorrow and the debut of Ted Ginn, do you think we will be seeing a flood of #7 jerseys like we had with #13 after the Texas Tech game two years ago? Thanks Steve and GO BUCKS!!!

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 2:12:55 PM)
Possibly .. can you imagine the roar if that kids loose and breaks one? Wow. That would be on SportsCenter every hour on the hour (ha ha).

BuckeyeDave (Sep 3, 2004 2:13:05 PM)
Thanks Steve!

SteveHelwagen (Sep 3, 2004 2:13:39 PM)
Thanks, guys. I've gotta run. I'll be on HOMER 1360 in Cincinnati today at 3:30 and possibly on the Channel 6 pregame show at 11 tomorrow.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories