Mr. Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets

Mr. Bucknuts checks in this Labor Day with his opinions on Saturday's game. Click here to read.

And here is my first game summary: We won. They lost. Next…


* * * * * *

Oh, you want details?…I will say that the Tresel troop of coaches knows how to keep the fannies in the seats. How else do you explain that atrocious let's-keep-them-in-the-game call on fourth-and- where we ran a slow-developing play into a line that wasn't getting any push? How else to explain the bizarre "clock management" at the end of the first half: call times-out to conserve the clock on defense then run your QB once and let the clock expire. And why else send in Troy Smith when Justin was obviously finding his good groove? OK, so you want to throw off future scouting. You want to keep it close enough to lower expectations. That I understand. But the stadium was stuffy enough - give us some breathing room, man…

Some first game baggage…Were you worried about our punting? OSU solved that problem by having Turano only kick once, and it was a beaut. And you were worried about our kick-off returns? Maurice Hall, who as a running back - couldn't find a hole if he was a ground hog, looked sensational. Worried about freshmen getting some action? We saw Ted Ginn, Tony Pittman and Marcus Freeman when it mattered and Gholston, Nicol and Curtis Terry a little later on. Lots of players got involved and most made really good first impression. Hey - Bam played great and there were very few OSU penalties, with a young team. What were the odds on either of those scenarios?

* * * * *

My (ahem) prediction…As the millions of listeners of the Bucknuts Radio Hour are aware, I said we would win 27-10. I apologize now by how far off I was on the Bearcat part of the score…But just like in golf, where you never want to describe what you were trying to do until the ball stops rolling, my prediction came close without necessarily following my reasoning. Just the facts, ma'am. I thought Gino would tear us up on short passes. He didn't. Without our two turnovers, Cincinnati wouldn't have scored at all! I thought we would get points on special teams. We didn't. Our special teams looked decidedly, well…not that special. Nothing glaring, just nothing terribly productive. And if you told me we would lose the turnover battle 3-0, I would have adjusted that score. Maybe even adjusted the "who won"…But you can look it up: We won. They lost. And I was pretty darn close…

* * * * *

Grades from A to Zwick…The big story of the first game was going to be Justin Zwick. And so it was. How to conclude his performance with a grade? I say he got an A- on all the positive plays he made and a C- on the ones he didn't. That is, he showed poise and good judgment and skills and then he made plays just like it was the first college start of his career. Which it was. On those frantic plays where Craig Krenzel would have eaten the ball, Justin forced it. On those calls where Craig might have fought to live another day, Justin died with fumbles or interceptions. Bad judgment and inexperience have always gone hand-in-hand. And the only way to cure "inexperience" is by getting through it. Justin made it through and will be better for the experience. And for better grades as he moves along.

* * * * *

One for the books…We are privileged at Bucknuts to have media credentials, which gets us a free copy of the Ohio State media guide. There are always useful facts and figures in there, some more inspiring than others. From the time football was started at OSU (1890) under first year coach (Alexander Lilly), we learn that the first All-American was an end (Boyd Cherry). But before I end this meandering thought, I just had to bring you a special snippet. What would you consider a great all-around game by an individual Buckeye? How about this one: Vic Janowicz "sent two kickoffs out of the end zone for touchbacks, recovered two fumbles on defense, scored on an 11-yard touchdown run, returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown, threw a 12-yard scoring strike, and kicked three extra points". Quite a game, eh? Vic did all that in the first five minutes of the game!

They just don't make Heisman Trophy winners like they used to…

* * * * *

Behind the ‘zines…For those of you that didn't catch Bill Conley's first chat here at Bucknuts, you missed a lot. We were pleased with how forthright the ex-coach was. After 15 years of being the recruiting coordinator for the Buckeyes, we knew there would be stories to tell and an insider's perspective that we only guess at. Great stuff… As to the alleged offer/acceptance of Kenyon Buford: "Self hype is a major problem. He didn't understand an invite to a game doesn't mean an offer". As to the speculated theory that Dwayne Jarrett committed to OSU last year: "Jarrett did…verbal". As to if the Buckeye staff follows all the hi-jinks on the internet: "Someone is assigned to do that". He also commented on which players will win spots and opinions on the other coaches and…well, you can share with the Coach by jumping in! We are pleased to have Coach Conley with us this year. You will see columns from him during the season, more chats as well, and appearances on the Bucknuts Radio Hour around the state…

* * * * *

Silly stats and the people that use them…As everyone knows, 38.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Most stats are only useful in retrospect. Look at the opening game stuff that you hear about the Buckeyes: We are 99-12-4 on opening day. We've won the last 25 home openers. We now lead the all-time Cincy series 12-2 (the last losses were in the 1800's…).We've won 17 straight at home and are 21-1 over the last two+ seasons there…Yes, we haven't lost an opener since Art Schlichter got skunked by Penn State 19-0 in 1978. You realize that there was no one on today's Buckeye squad even alive then? You also have to realize that these kids don't follow the history and traditions like the stats guys do, so what impact does it have on the game? It's much more a coincidence than it is cause-and-effect. It's about as useful a predictor as knowing that we won our first home opener (1890) against Ohio Wesleyan 20-14. Uh oh, we dropped the second game against powerhouse Wooster 64-0. Does that mean…

* * * * *

Finally, as we move along…It has been said (sometimes by me) that the biggest difference between the Cooper-coached Ohio State teams and those guided by Jim Tressel was that Coop's teams seemed to fall apart as the season went along, imploding about Michigan time and the bowl game. Tressel's career has been marked by solid steady improvement as the season progressed. We have a young and talented team here at Ohio State. And if they keep making the kind of progress that was trying so hard to blossom this past Saturday, it could be a magical ride, indeed.


E-mail Mr. Bucknuts at

Buckeye Sports Top Stories