Conley Chat: Sept. 27 Archive

Former OSU assistant coach Bill Conley made his third Chat appearance for on Monday afternoon. As expected, the running game and the offense were heavily debated throughout the 65-minute Chat. Click here for all the answers and opinions on the Buckeyes.

kopakigo (Sep 27, 2004 3:03:10 PM)
Bill, what do you know about Javon Ringer? Is he OSU caliber both academically and physically? Where do you see him ending up in February?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:03:39 PM)
Academically, I think he will be fine. I think he's one of the best running backs in the state. I think the Buckeyes are undecided at this point.

philbuck (Sep 27, 2004 3:04:25 PM)
Bill...I think all of us have questioned the play calling at times from the comfort of our seat, and have been told on numerous occasions that JT does most of the offensive play calling even though Jim Bollman is the "offensive coordinator". Is Jim Bollman okay with this do you think, or would he like to be more envolved in this area? I know he is the o-line coach but what are his responsibilities as an offensive coordinator?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:05:43 PM)
I'm sure he is OK with it because he worked with Jim Tressel before at Youngstown State. He knew exactly what the situation was going to be when he took the job. His major duties are the offensive organization of practice, planning the running game for the upcoming opponent and coaching the centers, guards and tackles on an individual basis.

getaback (Sep 27, 2004 3:06:19 PM)
coach conley- what do you think about the five wideouts? could this be a response to the recruiting losses (davis, jarret washington) also why doesn't the current staff go after the biggest of the best backs

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:08:12 PM)
I think the biggest problem with the WR situation is simply graduation. Last year, you had Jenkins, Gamble and Carter go out. What has to happen, though, for the passing game to be solid is you have to get the ball to Roy Hall, Ted Ginn along with Hamby and Childress. Also, play action with throwing to the backs will help out tremendously. OSU every year tries to recruit the best RBs. But RBs, like QBs, don't normally like to go where there is one great player or a lot of depth.

MrBucknuts (Sep 27, 2004 3:08:33 PM)
Bill: You recruited Darius Walker (now starting for Notre Dame) as well as Tony Pittman and Erik Haw. As high school prospects, how would you compare the three?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:09:38 PM)
I would give a slight edge to Darius Walker, even though Haw and Pittman are definitely good enough to play at a major school like Ohio State. Walker has great breakaway ability. He accelerates away from the defenders.

skeelo (Sep 27, 2004 3:10:09 PM)
hey coach please help me understand why our running plays are so slow in developing? is it by design? minnesota really fires off the ball both linemen and backs and they seem to have great success with it. can you see tressel adopting their running style?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:11:44 PM)
I agree that the running game needs a lot of work. Because Ohio State is a tailback oriented offense, the tailback is deeper than where single back teams line their running back. I think one thing which would help out would be more spread formations on first down. That spreads the defense and gives the RB a chance to get in the open field.

Tropical (Sep 27, 2004 3:12:22 PM)
Bill, I am very impressed with your straightforward answers to touchy questions. As to Florida players, every year several players emerge late in the recruiting year. They seem to off the radar for much of the year. Is this because those players do not attend camps, how they develop during the season, or something else?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:14:05 PM)
I don't necessarily agree there are a lot of Florida players off the radar. I think there are so many players in Florida that sometimes the ones that are not going to Miami, Florida and Florida State do not receive the publicity by the Florida media. In the last decade, we have been able to compete reasonably well with those 3 schools and compete successfully against everybody else.

redondo (Sep 27, 2004 3:14:13 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - thank you for taking my question. What steps do you think the Buckeyes should take to imporve offensive production?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:15:33 PM)
They need to do better on first down. The way to accomplish this is more hard play action passes. That means hard run fakes. Spread formations, as I mentioned above, and multiple formations. The idea is to take the aggressiveness out of the hands of the defense. You have to make them think and adjust instead of putting an extra safety in the box and blitzing.

fgpercentage (Sep 27, 2004 3:15:48 PM)
Do we have the talent to be a top notch offensive team or is it a philosophical problem?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:16:26 PM)
I think there is enough talent, some of which is young and inexperienced. The biggest question will be if Justin Zwick is truly a big-time quarterback.

hamiltuckbuck (Sep 27, 2004 3:16:37 PM)
Coach, you can sign any two running backs in the nation. Who are they and why?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:17:56 PM)
Maurice Wells, for sure. There are 2 kids out of Texas that I'm trying to get some film on to make a final decision in terms of ranking them.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:18:21 PM)
buckmark asks about priorities for the rest of this class.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:19:03 PM)
First is defensive end. Second would be running back, probably 2 of those. Third would be a kicker.

redondo (Sep 27, 2004 3:19:15 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - Why do you think the Buckeyes don't throw more to the backs coming out of the backfield? Thank you.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:20:55 PM)
At times they have tried with backs out of the backfield and with TB screens. But they tend to not have the patience to stay with it. That's where I think hard play action passes are crucial because you can slip a back into the flat to make a catch and keep drives going.

ToledoBucknutty (Sep 27, 2004 3:21:10 PM)
Good afternoon Bill! Having seen Purdue over the weekend, Michigan all season, and well let's not even talk about Iowa, is there anyone out there that we at least shouldn't beat if we come to play?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:22:08 PM)
The question will be at the end of the year which offense, Michigan or Ohio State, has progressed the most. These teams have the 2 best defenses in the conference. Ohio State has an edge in the special teams. Will Chad Henne mature faster than Justin Zwick? That will be the question.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:22:37 PM)
bucksfan47 asks for impressions on Alex Boone and Doug Worthington.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:23:32 PM)
I think Alex Boone is one of the most athletic OL I have seen in several years. He should be a great one because he is an athletic OL. As far as Worthington is concerned, I think the jury is out. I'll have a better idea after I see more senior film the latter part of the season.

philbuck (Sep 27, 2004 3:24:05 PM) far as the offensive line play is concerned I have heard on more than one occasion when the running game has not been very good the players have said that is was just someone missing an assignment. It seems like it has been this way for a few years now. When does it stop being the players fault for the average line play and become the position coach's fault?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:24:54 PM)
I think you have a point in the sense that there tends to be some confusion, not only with the running game but with the pass protection. The thing that is most disturbing to me is I don't see the veteran linemen playing like veteran linemen. That means there is a problem somewhere.

TheMinnesotaBuckeye (Sep 27, 2004 3:25:06 PM)
Do you have any opinions on man vs. zone run blocking, and which is best-suited to our current offensive personnel?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:26:44 PM)
I think sometimes people get zone blocking mixed up with zone steps that a lineman takes. Minnesota runs pure zone blocking, which means that 80 percent of your running offense are your inside-outside zone plays. Ohio State runs the zone play as part of their offense, but only a small part. Philosophically, Jim Tressel is an off-tackle running play coach. He's not about to change.

horse (Sep 27, 2004 3:27:11 PM)
Coach-There is a lot of speculation on the Adam MW situation. What are your thoughts?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:28:31 PM)
Adam Myers-White was a young man who impressed the coaches over a year ago at football camp and with his performance as a junior. I hear the same rumors that you do, that Ohio State may be changing their mind. The next couple of weeks should be important in determining where he stands on the recruiting chart.

kopakigo (Sep 27, 2004 3:28:42 PM)
What makes Maurice Wells so special. And, if Ohio State is able to land him, how will he be utilized?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:31:39 PM)
I think he is a great open field runner. He is an outstanding return man. He also has good hands. He reminds me an awful lot of Michael Wiley when he was at his best. He is a very versatile back. You would use him as a runner and receiver.

redondo (Sep 27, 2004 3:32:14 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - I realize it's only been three games, but relative to your earlier remark about whether Justin Zwisk is truly a big time quarterback, how do you think he is he tracking so far? What should we look for this week in terms of development? Thank you.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:33:24 PM)
It looks like his decision making is getting better. The question is what kind of mental and physical toughness will he have once you get into Big Ten play. Because he is young defenses will be coming after him all year. The first half of the Big Ten race will be the answer to that question.

WVBUCKEYE (Sep 27, 2004 3:33:42 PM)
Do you think that Troy Smith got a fair shake at the starting spot? Will anyone challenge Zwick the next 3 years for the starting QB spot?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:34:44 PM)
Only Troy Smith knows what exactly was said to Troy Smith. Hopefully, the coaching staff was honest with him. He'll get his shot if Justin doesn't perform up to his potential.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:35:13 PM)
buckmark asks how I am enjoying life away from coaching and the competition.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:35:49 PM)
First of all, I am staying busy with MAX Sports Center, Bucknuts and WTVN. But I do miss the kids and recruiting.

Bellybuck (Sep 27, 2004 3:35:58 PM)
Hi Coach- What happened with Justin Valentine, Gary Russell and Ernie Wheelwright they all look like they would play for the bucks-was it grades in all 3 instances?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:37:33 PM)
Without talking about each one individually, there were questions about academics, character and ability. Just because someone is playing for another school doesn't mean they were offered or of the caliber other schools are looking for.

philbuck (Sep 27, 2004 3:38:23 PM)
Bill...I'm stuck on the o-line today, sorry but other teams like the Minnesota's of the world have alot of success running the ball. Is it because they have more talent than us and if they do why!? Is it because they have better coaching than us and if they do why!?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:39:22 PM)
They definitely do not have more talent than the athletic ability of the Ohio State offensive line. Plain and simple, for this Ohio State line to live up to the tradition of the great Ohio State lines of the past, they need to come off the ball harder, play lower and maintain their blocks. There's no magic to it.

snoman (Sep 27, 2004 3:39:41 PM)
When there was MC running he found the wholes and had great vison. When Ross and other backs ran they didnt do what he did. Personally I think its the talent of the running back, not the line. Your thoughts

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:40:40 PM)
I think sometimes it's the courage of the running back, along with the vision and talent. The great thing Maurice Clarett gave us when he was healthy and his mind was right, he could physically hurt someone trying to tackle him. After 2-3 quarters of that, guys found a way to miss.

kopakigo (Sep 27, 2004 3:40:53 PM)
You mentioned earlier that Defensive End and Kicker are major priorities. At kicker, we already have Aaron Pettrey and at defensive end we already have Ryan Williams and Doug Worthington. Is that not enough?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:43:07 PM)
You never have enough defensive ends and defensive linemen, in general, because normally they are more athletic than the OL with the exception of tight ends. The smart thing to do is take the ones that aren't quite good enough to be DL starters and move them to offense, like what they did with Tim Schafer. I see that as a major trend and something I have been a proponent of my entire career as a coach and recruiter. As far as I know, Pettrey is not in school yet. So I'm not certain exactly what's going on there. He does have outstanding ability and did a great job at our summer kicking camp. Hopefully you will see him in Scarlet and Gray. But you need to have 2.

bucklover (Sep 27, 2004 3:44:20 PM)
Coach, really enjoying your insight and look forward to continued unput. It seems as though the bucks while talented this season, have a chance to be really special in 05. You know the talent that here. In your honest opinion, how do we rank in terms of overall talent nationally? additionally, did you have 05 circled as far as this team is constituted?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:45:15 PM)
A key will be how this year's recruiting ends up. It is a good start. They need a strong finish to maintain a high quality level of athlete. Next year's graduation will be huge (Hawk, Carpenter, Salley, Mangold, Sims, Hamby, etc.).

murfinatl (Sep 27, 2004 3:45:32 PM)
It seems like we have more depth than any time in recent memory. Does this make recruiting harder (more difficult to play early), or easier (reputation for drawing the best)?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:45:46 PM)
That's a great question and one that is oftentimes discussed ...

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:47:02 PM)
For the great player -- and I emphasize great player -- it doesn't matter who's there. The Cris Carters, Orlando Paces, Chris Spielmans, Eddie Georges, Andy Katzenmoyers of the world, they don't care who's at the school. Other kids of less confidence and abilities will look for a reason not to go somewhere instead of a reason to go somewhere.

horse (Sep 27, 2004 3:47:15 PM)
Because OSU pulled Adam MW offer. Might this indicate we have someone in the fold

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:48:07 PM)
That's not necessarily true. I'm sure there are other mitigating factors (example: injuries).

Bellybuck (Sep 27, 2004 3:49:33 PM)
What is you're opinion on the emphasis that coach Tressel places on religion-can this be a distraction for players who are not as religious-it seems there is a strong christian prescence on the team and I was curious if that ever effected recruiting since OSU is a state school that is funded with tax dollars

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:49:44 PM)
That is not a hindrance.

bucklover (Sep 27, 2004 3:50:02 PM)
Coach-What do you feel is going on regarding the Javon Ringer situation? From an outside perspective it seems if he gets his grades it's a done deal for OSU.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:50:50 PM)
It seems like that today, but things change every day in terms of evaluations and recruiting. They seem to still be evaluating him. As the scholarships get fewer in number, things get more selective.

horse (Sep 27, 2004 3:50:56 PM)
Your prediction this week at NW

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:52:07 PM)
I don't think there is any way Northwestern can stay with the Buckeyes. They simply do not have the talent to play for four quarters. The game will be over, in my opinion, by the end of the third quarter at the latest. NW fans would just as soon read the Wall Street Journal as watch a football game.

loverbuck (Sep 27, 2004 3:52:40 PM)
How good is Boone going to be coach?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:52:57 PM)
He has the potential to be outstanding.

bucklover (Sep 27, 2004 3:53:11 PM)
You mentined the great player. Pace, Speils etc....who on this years squad when you recruited them were considered behind the scenes for the OSU staff were the truly "great" player. Ie services ranked D'andrea as all world, but maybe the staff had others rated higher.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:53:58 PM)
I think Santonio Holmes, Nate Salley and Simon Fraser were players we thought were All-American caliber coming out of high school.

bucksfan47 (Sep 27, 2004 3:54:12 PM)
Coach, F. Lenix is a kid alot of us are pulling for to get a scholarship. With them pulling AMW scholarship do you see them going after Lenix? What is you're impression of him?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:55:07 PM)
I think the Ohio State coaches like Lenix because he can run. They are probably trying to figure out exactly where he will play and how his academics are going to pan out.

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (Sep 27, 2004 3:55:31 PM)
Can you tell us our current chances with Maurice Wells and Jonathon Stewart? Also do you think Ed Collington gets an offer?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:55:54 PM)
I think the first 2 are no-brainers in terms of offers. I think Ed Collington is a kid they will continue to evaluate.

bucklover (Sep 27, 2004 3:56:05 PM)
If oy had to guess, is this the week where Coach Tressel unleashes the likes of Zwick, Pittman, Marcel Frost, Ginnetc..

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:58:03 PM)
Now is not the time to save anybody. There is no tomorrow. The Big Ten starts. I am convinced that Pittman and Frost would have been more in the mix earlier except they have both been injured. It's about time that Ginn gets more action in special teams as well as on offense or defense. I think Zwick is doing what he can at this point. We'll see if he's good enough as the Big Ten season unfolds.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 3:58:28 PM)
Hey, we're going to wrap up in about 10 minutes. Send any last questions you may have of things we have not covered. Thanks.

trolley (Sep 27, 2004 3:58:40 PM)
How much influence do recruiting gurus like Lemming have on recruits. It seems like if one of these people had a axe to grind against a school that it could do some damage.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 4:00:11 PM)
I think that they definitely can have an influence. In some cases, not so much where they go but when they announce. Some, however, do have hidden agendas. I personally do not think Tom Lemming is one of those people.

NYBuck (Sep 27, 2004 4:00:32 PM)
Hey Coach - Do you see the Bucks being really conservative on offense against NW (so Wisc cant scout us) or just opening it up and trying all other options i.e. Pittman, Haw and Ginn on returns ?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 4:01:13 PM)
My guess would be that Ohio State wants to prove they are a physical football team. Northwestern would be good a team to prove that against. Look upon it as an opportunity for the offense to put rushing yards on the board.

bucklover (Sep 27, 2004 4:01:37 PM)
My gut tells me Coach that next year we will see the rebirth of the dominant OSU offensive line. Guys like RJColeman, Kyle Mitchum, Ben Person, TJ Downing, Kirk Barton etc...seem to be athletic and somewhat nasty. Add that to the development of Datish, Sims, Schaefer, Mangold and I just see great potential, and talented epth that can wear you down.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 4:02:09 PM)
You would hope that kids with this kind of talent become more confident and more physical with experience.

Tropical (Sep 27, 2004 4:02:25 PM)
Coach, I'm amazed at the number of high school kids who supposedly run 4.4 40's these days. Is it mostly hyped or training has improved?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 4:03:26 PM)
Training has definitely improved, but there aren't near as many 4.4 40's as are claimed. I would say the number of legit 4.4 40's or below are no more than a couple dozen in the entire U.S. for high school athletes.

horse (Sep 27, 2004 4:03:34 PM)
The next game that concerns me is Purdue. I am not concerned with Wisky or Iowa. Who is our next big test and concern?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 4:04:39 PM)
I'd say first of all, Purdue is definitely going to be a big test. But there is no team in the conference so dominant this year that a traditional contender like a Wisconsin or an Iowa can be overlooked. One game at a time.

snoman (Sep 27, 2004 4:05:02 PM)
I dont know if it was just me, but when Pittman took the first hand off he got 6 yds which was the longerst run agianst NC. He looked like he had speed and got around the corner . Will Tress play him over Ross

kopakigo (Sep 27, 2004 4:06:14 PM)
How good is Fox physically compared to the rest of the nation's DB's? I keep saying that he will be a low 1st or high 2nd round pick, while many others disagree and say 4th or 5th round pick. Thank you for answering all of my questions!

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 4:06:31 PM)
Answer to Snowman: I'm sure the last 2 wees of practice has helped determine that. I am certain the coaching staff is growing impatient with Lydell's inconsistency.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 4:07:45 PM)
Answer to kopakigo, first of all, I think Dustin will put on an outstanding performance at the pro combine. He'll be one of the fastest players at the combine. He could very well have the best vertical. The combine will definitely make his stock go up. The question is how he comes back from his injury. Don't be surprised if he gets drafted as a safety.

WVBUCKEYE (Sep 27, 2004 4:07:53 PM)
Being from WV, I am interested in how RJ Coleman will pan out. Does he have a chance of seeing playing time in the future?

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 4:08:44 PM)
The staff feels that R.J. is close to being in on the rotation. I'm certain if he shows more consistency at practice, you'll see him play quite a bit in the second half of the season.

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 4:08:58 PM)
I think that will do it for this week. A ton of great questions ...

BillConley (Sep 27, 2004 4:11:54 PM)
My next column will be on the site a week from Wednesday. We'll look back at the NW game and ahead at Wisconsin. My next chat will be 2 weeks from today. Plus, check out the radio show from 9-noon each Sunday morning on WTVN here in Columbus. Thanks again and have a great day.

horse (Sep 27, 2004 4:11:57 PM)
Thanks Bill

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (Sep 27, 2004 4:12:00 PM)

LloydSev (Sep 27, 2004 4:12:14 PM)
Awesome Chat

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