Helwagen Chat: Sept. 23 Archive

Here are excerpts from Thursday's Chat session with Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen. He conducts these Chat sessions each week for Bucknuts.com subscribers.

APittmanDaMan (Sep 23, 2004 1:07:56 PM)
pittman's the man!!

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:08:57 PM)
Yes, I like Tony. I think Coach Tressel does, too. With OSU in the lead most of the way last Saturday, I don't think he felt a need to throw him in there against N.C. State. Those guys were big, they could hit and it would have been a rough baptism. But I think you'll see more of him as they go.

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 1:09:01 PM)
Steve, i read today about Hartline graduating early to rehab faster at OSU. can you tell us a little more about this?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:09:56 PM)
Brian has discussed the possibility of graduating after the first semester in January and coming down to Columbus where he could be under the care of OSU medical people and rehab at the sports medicine clinic here. Not a bad plan, but he'd miss track.

BuckeyeDave (Sep 23, 2004 1:10:00 PM)
What the latest on Brandon Joe? How much of a difference would he have made on Saturday?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:11:24 PM)
Branden still was not 100 percent Saturday. The trainers fiddled with his ankle wrap the whole day, it seemed, just so he could play a few plays. The way Coach Tressel described it once he'd get some activity, then sit, it would swell up on him. But the coach said he looked good at practice on Wed. Like Pittman, I look for him to take a more active role from here on out. Would be great if he, Lydell and Pittman each averaged 70 yards a game the rest of the way, huh?

bucksfan47 (Sep 23, 2004 1:11:32 PM)
Steve, what is your overall opinion on ashton's play last week? I along with several others think he is going to one heck of a lock-down corner in the future. Thanks, Go Bucks!

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:12:35 PM)
I thought he played great. NCSU, I thought, was hamstrung by its QB play. He just didn't seem to make any plays until the end of the game. A lot of that was due to the strong play of OSU's DBs. Great sign to see him get OSU's first turnover of the year, I know that. NCSU was driving when that happened.

BuckeyeDave (Sep 23, 2004 1:12:43 PM)
How is Coach Tressell at halftime motivation? Does he ever get really excited and animated in order to fire up the players? If he doesn't, who does?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:13:27 PM)
I'm not in there, so I can't say. He may bring them together at the end real quick, I don't know. I would think he spends much of the half making offensive adjustments while Snyder does the same elsewhere with the defense.

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 1:13:33 PM)
Did you feel good that your prediction for last saturday was wrong? Does this give them an extra win and a 10-1 finish for you now? (you origianlly predicted 9-2 i think)

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:14:07 PM)
Yep, make my new predict 10-1. Don't see 2 of these remaining teams beating OSU. The toughest 2 are back-to-back at the end with Purdue and Michigan.

buckmark (Sep 23, 2004 1:14:16 PM)
steve, why do you think we have not gotten a top RB commit yet. It would seem with just pittman and haw returning that some hotshot would see instant playing time.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:15:19 PM)
Hard to say. They have not offered a bunch of backs. It looks like it's Wells, Ringer (maybe) and that's it. You hear Jon Stewart might like to take a look. But he has not been offered. I agree, the opportunity is there for the taking.

APittmanDaMan (Sep 23, 2004 1:15:25 PM)
which freshman OL has impressed the coaches the most so far? I've heard Person looks real good. Mitchum needs more weight but he looks like a player in a couple years.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:16:14 PM)
Probably Person. I think Rehring is way ahead of where he could have been at this point by coming in early. Mitchum, I understand, was hobbled somewhat by a hamstring injury. Nothing serious. Skinner has also been impressive. Four keepers, it sounds like.

nugerules (Sep 23, 2004 1:16:20 PM)
Steve, have you learned your lesson now from picking against our beloved Bucks? I can't tell you how disappointed I was to hear you on the radio last week saying that you didn't think the boys were going to get it done on Saturday.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:17:29 PM)
Well, that's the way love goes. Learned my lesson? I'll make a deal with you: I'll pick them when I think they'll win and not pick them when I think they won't (ha ha). If N.C. State commits 3 turnovers and 7 penalties, do they win the game? Was I that far off?

ImBack45 (Sep 23, 2004 1:17:36 PM)
Steve, any word on how the freshman lineman are doing? I assume they must be far behind if they haven't played or on the two deep by now and that concerns me with the way the line has performed so far, especially the run blocking.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:18:35 PM)
This was asked a minute ago and you can refer to that answer. The obvious inference is they want to keep them together, let them grow and mature and put them in the rotation next year. You'll have those 4 and the 3 newbies (Boone, Cordle and Bemoll) all as freshmen next year. Wow!!

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 1:18:40 PM)
Do you think Fox is back in time for Purdue? He always seems to play well against them and the more experienced DB's we have against them the better....

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:19:21 PM)
Gary said he heard Fox could have possibly played this week if needed. They likely won't rush him back before Iowa, though. He is definitely expected back by the end of Oct. so, yes, he should be in there against Purdue.

dully (Sep 23, 2004 1:19:24 PM)
Do you know any more on the Antwon Hight situation?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:20:46 PM)
No, I have not talked to anybody directly (the coach or Hight). We were all led to believe something serious had gone down. Come to find out he was suspended 2 games for something relatively minor. Just goes to show you that you can't take rumors to the bank, huh? I'm just glad we never publicly divulged what we were all being told.

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 1:20:49 PM)
When will Marcel Frost see action?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:22:09 PM)
Hopefully soon. I think he would help the running game to have another big, agile blocker to tie up some ends and LBs. Plus, he could be an athletic receiving threat. We want to be down on this offense, but if they can get Joe, Pittman, Ginn and Frost and Roy Hall all involved in some meaningful way there would be plenty of production. Not firing on all cylinders yet, by any means.

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 1:22:13 PM)
Will Mike Kudla be back for Northwestern?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:22:51 PM)
No idea about his status. He was wearing a blue jersey as he came off yesterday, which means limited contact. Again, think big picture. No need to rush him back until they're sure he is 100 percent.

Bellybuck (Sep 23, 2004 1:22:56 PM)
Hey Steve- What is the inside scoop on John Kerr-are you hearing anything?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:24:06 PM)
I honestly do not know where he stands. I thought I saw him coming off the field yesterday without pads on. He is on the official roster, which is a good sign. I asked Coach Tressel about him last week and got the impression we should not look for him any time soon. Will follow up on Tuesday, if possible.

BuckeyeDave (Sep 23, 2004 1:24:15 PM)
Was the 2nd and 3rd team defense on the field for NC State's second TD?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:25:23 PM)
No, absolutely not. It was still a two-score game. Those were the ones. For the second game in a row, Snyder was kicking himself for not coming after the quarterback. One of the safeties (Salley, I believe) was out of position on the touchdown. It was not Whitner. Whitner said there was a coverage breakdown without Identifying the man who screwed up.

BuckeyeDave (Sep 23, 2004 1:25:26 PM)
Was the problem in the O-Line or was it Lydell Ross?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:26:57 PM)
I plan to watch the tape again tonight and will comment in Buckeye Grove hopefully tomorrow. I think it was both as well as bad play calls and bad non-audibles by the QB. N.C. State's defense is a bitch, guys. Those guys are big and can run. If they get any help from their offense, they may be a top-three team in the ACC. I'll let you know after my in-depth analysis. Mangold said yesterday on every play it was something different.

bucksfan47 (Sep 23, 2004 1:27:03 PM)
Steve, I hate asking this question, and I know you get tired of answering it, but who do you see being are next verbal commitment? soon or later?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:27:49 PM)
My count is OSU only has 9 spots left in this class. May take a while before the next verbal. Possibly Daniels or Wilson in-state. Out of state may be November or later before we hear something.

Guest (Sep 23, 2004 1:27:56 PM)
Steve, are there any of the young players that you feel may really step up and earn some PT at the "showtime scrimmage"?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:28:15 PM)
buckmark asks who I'd look for to shine in the Showtime scrimmage.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:31:51 PM)
Regarding Showtime, I think people like Haw, Welch, Gholston, Freeman, Lyons, Dukes and Boeckman are guys who you'd look at there. I doubt it will make them rethink redshirt decisions, though.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:32:16 PM)
There was a question regarding whether they would look past NW for Wisconsin. The questioner said he heard Fraser mention Wisconsin.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:33:18 PM)
No, I don't think they are looking past NW. All you have to do is put the tape in and see how effective Basanez has been thus far. He is moving the sticks. Fraser's comment dealt with the road ahead and how after they play NW they then come home and face Wisconsin, kind of in the "every game is tough" mold.

APittmanshouldstart (Sep 23, 2004 1:34:16 PM)
Steve, Rory Nicol. When are we going to see those Shockey-like skills utilized?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:35:46 PM)
Nicol is a nice player, but he's a freshman. He caught 18 passes as a high school freshman, so we're not talking about a prolific receiver. He did make some nice plays with the ball in preseason camp. I think this is a growing year for him and he'll just have to make plays when he can.

rbuck (Sep 23, 2004 1:35:50 PM)
How soon till Pittman or Joe are atleast splitting carries with Ross. As soon as that happens I see it becoming more and more lopsided. It seems to me that JT is almost loyal to a fault to the upperclassmen. Is it not painfully obvious that Lydell just isn't getting it done? Your thoughts?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:37:38 PM)
It's obvious to the untrained eye. Lydell was their steady guy. But now he has committed fumbles in back-to-back games. That opens the door to others. But none of them have been healthy. As badly as we all want to see Pittman and/or Joe play, they aren't going to rush them on the field before they're ready. That was proven Saturday. I think it's obvious that somebody else needs to pick up some carries. Also obvious that the OL and play calling need a boost, too.

APittmanshouldstart (Sep 23, 2004 1:37:48 PM)
How have the two WR's, Dukes and Lyons, performed thus far?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:38:42 PM)
Fine. They each made nice plays in one of the scrimmages I attended. Maybe Lyons gets more of a look if Roy Hall can't get it done. Again, they are in no rush to put these young kids on the firing line.

nugerules (Sep 23, 2004 1:38:53 PM)
Not sure this is entirely the correct venue for this, but I would like to publicly commend the Bucknuts staff for bringing Bill Conley into the fold. His chats and updates have been forthcoming, informative, and an entirely new perspective on the world of OSU football. Bill has added a great deal of excitement to the early part of the season so far. Keep him involved!!!!

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:39:55 PM)
Thanks for the comments. Bill has a lot on his plate with us, his radio show and his MAX Sports venture to keep him busy. That's why we'll take whatever we can get from him. I agree, his insight has been great to have on a regular basis this fall. He'll Chat again right here at 3 p.m. Monday.

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 1:39:59 PM)
What is going on with Roy Hall? Bam started over him last game... Is he just not asserting himself in practices and games?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:41:26 PM)
That's probably a good way to put it. I would assume he's just not getting open and making himself available to the passers. He made a great TD catch in traffic against Marshall. Tremendous throw by Justin and great grab. It was telling that he was only used sparingly against N.C. State. Perhaps he was dinged, we don't know because we get no injury reports at all without asking specific questions.

scribeohio (Sep 23, 2004 1:41:42 PM)
Speaking of Salley - late to TD pass vs. Marshall and vs. NCST. Poor coverage, weight-gain, just bad plays?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:46:30 PM)
first from ScribeOhio, he asks about Salley and getting beat and whether it relates to his added weight, etc.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:47:50 PM)
I'm not sure about that. Those situations can be awful confusing. N.C. State was in the hurry-up using 5 wides and different formations on every play. That's a lot to keep straight. Again, I need to watch the tape to confirm what happened. Nate has made a lot of good plays for OSU and has experience. I think he'll be OK.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:48:15 PM)
Then, ScribeOhio asked about the need to establish receivers besides Holmes and what's up with Roy Hall.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:49:36 PM)
I wanted to ask Coach Tressel about Roy Hall yesterday, but did not get the chance. He is still just a soph, but the light needs to come on quickly. Holmes simply ran by the DBs from Cincinnati and Marshall. He won't be able to do that (as much) in the Big Ten. Others must step up. Childress is doing about everything he can. Ginn has yet to get off. Hall needs to make it happen.

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 1:49:42 PM)
I haven't seen Sian Cotton in the games much... Is this a result of the great play of Marcus Green, or has he been hurt?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:50:39 PM)
Cotton is caught in a numbers game. With Patterson, Penton, Green and Pitcock ahead of him, there aren't many opps. I hear good things about his progress, though. Don't give up on he or Maupin yet. And also remember Abdallah is waiting in the wings as well.

King of Blues (Sep 23, 2004 1:50:42 PM)
Will there be a report on the scrimmage friday, are reporters invited.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:50:51 PM)
As of know, no invitation I know of.

dozer51 (Sep 23, 2004 1:50:58 PM)
Just listened to Coach on his call in show, it sounds like the coaches will be on the road four days this week. Do they visit already committed players, or do they typically go after those still needed? Just wondering! I have a feel that most of our commits are prettty solid!

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:51:39 PM)
They will definitely look in on the guys they have verbals with, if possible. That is important because we've seen so many guys defect. You have to recruit them over the goal line on signing day, in many cases.

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 1:51:51 PM)
Any new rumblings on Javon Ringer? I know on your "rival" site they reported a couple weeks ago that he was putting recruiting on the back burner for now and focusing on the season and grades.... Is he doing this as a result of what tOSU is reported to have done with his offer (making it contingent on classroom performance)?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:52:24 PM)
I guess. Ringer's status won't be known until after the first grading period or first semester, either October or January, probably. It's kind of a sit-and-wait thing right now.

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 1:55:03 PM)
Do you think Troy Smith stays after this year, or does he transfer?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:58:00 PM)
So far, Troy has said all the right things. But when Justin throws for 324 yards in his second start, something no other soph has ever done here, that pretty much says it all. In the future, Tressel will err toward playing the guy who has experience (provided Zwick doesn't go completely into the tank). If Troy has any aspirations of playing college football, he may have to leave. It's sad if that happens because he'd play practically anywhere else. His options are limited, too. He couldn't go Big Ten and get a scholarship. If he goes I-A, he has to sit out another year meaning he'd only have one year to play. If he goes down to I-A or II or III he would at least have 2 years left. But he would not be playing at the highest level. I see no movement afoot for him to play any other positions, either. Maybe they convert him to RB. I don't know.

dozer51 (Sep 23, 2004 1:58:04 PM)
After chatting with Ronnie Wilson on the Bucknuts Radio hour, does he seem to have turned a bit luke warm towards us all of the sudden?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 1:59:51 PM)
I don't know. I know Ronnie is looking hard at Florida, N.C. State, Pitt and OSU. I know Ronnie really likes Ohio State. I'm sure he'll end up wherever he thinks he has the best chance to play. I have no idea what the rosters look like at those other schools. At OSU, he'd become the 15th or 16th OL on scholarship next year. OSU has built the depth back up on the OL. OSU can survive with the 4 they got last year and 3 they have in the fold this year. Wilson or any other OL would just be a bonus at this point.

King of Blues (Sep 23, 2004 1:59:56 PM)
Do you think JT sticks with Ross if he continue's his ways of this season?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:00:08 PM)
That's a loaded question ...

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:02:22 PM)
Do I think Lydell has played well? Heavens, no. But the OL isn't getting it done and the play calls into some of these 8- and 9-man fronts have been ludicrous. They ran the ball on 18 of their 23 first downs last week. How the hell do you expect any of those running plays to succeed. They never completed a first down pass. Why would you expect to run the ball at all with that kind of predictability. It's ridiculous to even suggest it. So it has not all been Lydell's fault. That said, there are guys coming (Pittman and Joe). The coaches want competition. Ross will always have a role, provided he is healthy. But if it means splitting 30-40 carries 3 ways, that's what they'll do.

King of Blues (Sep 23, 2004 2:02:52 PM)
Why is it we hardly ever see JT run a trick play i.e. reverse, flea flicker, or a HB pass?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:03:56 PM)
Because goofy plays like that lead to turnovers, plain and simple. I'm still waiting for Zwick and Smith to line up in a split backfield and the snap to go to one or the other, pitch to the other one and throw it. Why they don't use that simple wrinkle is beyond me. That's so simple it's stupid.

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 2:04:01 PM)
Derek Morris was Wilson's host at NC State this past weekend so I imagine he didn't hear flattering things about tOSU....

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:05:21 PM)
I've tried Ronnie several times since then and got nothing. No idea what big Derek whispered in his ear. I doubt Derek said anything too bad about OSU. That would be low rent. Plus, after the game, Morris and Bollman exchanged plesantries on the field. Deep down, he can't have too many bad feelings about OSU. Most of what happened to him he did to himself, I believe.

rbuck (Sep 23, 2004 2:05:24 PM)
Do you see TG Jr. playing defense this year?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:06:21 PM)
Doesn't look like it. They lost a corner in Fox and never thought for half a second about moving him back. They desperately need play makers on offense. He is staying put for the time being. Maybe when he is a junior (and Underwood is gone), he'll play both sides of the ball. For the time being, he is an offensive player.

OSUBucks22 (Sep 23, 2004 2:06:28 PM)
or a WR pass from Teddy Ginn would be a good play too Steve

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:06:33 PM)
Yep, it would be.

rbuck (Sep 23, 2004 2:06:43 PM)
Would you agree the defense in 2002 was impacted immensely (in a good way) with Chris Gamble coming over full time...Do you see the same thing happening on offense with a Pittman or Joe taking more of the carries from Ross. Or is this just wishful thinking?

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:07:41 PM)
Well it can't hurt. Pittman got in the same game Ross was struggling in and got 9 yards on 2 carries. Is that enough to make a statement that Pittman is better. No, Tressel likes the test of time. We'll get that test at NW, hopefully, so then they're ready for Wisconsin and Iowa.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:08:51 PM)
Is there anything else we can do today?

rbuck (Sep 23, 2004 2:09:30 PM)
Could you sum up with one word the job Thad Matta has done to date, and then give your thoughts. Thanks Steve.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:09:44 PM)
Well, he has not lost a game yet ....

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:12:29 PM)
but, seriously, he and his staff hit the ground running. They have stabilized their recruiting with the transfers Lewis and Mayes. Those guys help out the backcourt situation and even out the classes a bit. Now, they need 2 dynamite seniors (Douglas-Roberts, Chandler, Bell and/or Herrera) to sign in the early period. Then, they need to lock 4 or 5 of these great juniors like Cook, Conley, Oden (probably a pipe dream), Dewes, Semrau and whoever else from Ohio. Matta and his staff have gotten in on those guys. That is a great first sign. Now they need to lock their share of them up. (I guess that was more than one word.)

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:13:35 PM)
It has been fun ... I'm gonna run ...

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:13:53 PM)
Remember Gary (probably) here tomorrow (I assume) and Bill Conley at 3 p.m. Monday.

SteveHelwagen (Sep 23, 2004 2:14:14 PM)
See you later!!

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