Conley Chat: Oct. 11 Archive

Here are the excerpts of Monday's Chat session with former OSU assistant Bill Conley. He conducts Chat sessions for subscribers every other Monday.

buckmark (Oct 11, 2004 3:00:22 PM)
Coach, in your last article you talked about the "powers that be" and the fact that they don't have the passion for tOSU and its traditions that others have had. Who exactly are you referring to?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:05:39 PM)
in response to Buckmark, I think some read way too much into that. The simple point was there is a proud tradition at Ohio State to live up to. And if everybody gets on the same page, it will solve a lot of problems. Administratively, the only point was that there are very few Ohio State graduates in those positions.

philbuck (Oct 11, 2004 3:05:45 PM) appears after these first two league contests that we are a middle of the pack big ten team at best. Do you feel that this is going to be one down/rebuilding year or do you feel we can expect 2 to 3 years of this before we get back to where we need to be?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:07:39 PM)
At Ohio State, you never want to talk about rebuilding. You want to talk about reloading. The key for the football team is how much they improve the next couple of weeks. There are a lot of young teams in the Big Ten. Some are getting better and some are staying the same. It's imperative that we improve the rest of the way. I'm optimistic about the future, as long as recruiting goes well.

redondo (Oct 11, 2004 3:08:04 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - Justin Zwick was wearing a black sleeve on his right elbow (throwing arm) on Saturday. I don't think he was making a fashion statement. My guess is he has sustained some form of injury, either sore arm or taken a hit. Is that your take? And, if so, how much do you think that effected his performance? Thank you.

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:08:49 PM)
My guess is -- even though I have no medical proof to back it up -- is it's just a sore elbow, which is not uncommon to a QB, similar to a pitcher in baseball who gets a lot of reps. It is probably not a big deal.

cderekw (Oct 11, 2004 3:09:00 PM)
Bill, it is hard to watch this yrs team, obviously JT is set on playing JZ hoping he gets better. If it was such a competition for the job, why don't we see Smith in there for nothing else put a spark.

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:10:14 PM)
I felt that in the third quarter of Saturday's game, being that Wisconsin had scored on 3 consecutive drives, 2 in the second quarter and one in the third, and we were not moving the ball, Troy Smith could have been a spark, at least psychologically for the team at that point. You've got a good point.

WVBuckeye (Oct 11, 2004 3:10:33 PM)
Is part of Zwick's problem his throwing mechanics? and Is Troy Smith ever going to get a chance?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:12:19 PM)
Justin has a tendency to throw sidearm and also off his back foot, which would lead to inaccuracy. The funny thing about the QB position, however, is that production is the key, even if the mechanics aren't perfect. Art Schlichter threw a wobbly pass, but was extremely accurate. So personal style has a lot to do with being a QB. Technically, Justin does need work. Putting Troy Smith in wouldn't seem to hurt at this point.

tbdbitlI10 (Oct 11, 2004 3:12:26 PM)
what was dan doerings impression of the buckeyes, and was it hurt badly by the loss?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:13:17 PM)
For a good player like him, you look at it 1 of 2 ways. One, it could be a bad experience because the team didn't play well. Or on the other hand, he may look upon it as a great opportunity to play early because he knows Ohio State has a great tradition and won't be down long.

BuckeyePavs (Oct 11, 2004 3:13:30 PM)
Hello Bill. I've always been curious about this particular recruiting situation. Can you tell me about the recruitment of Ben Roethlisberger out of Findlay? Did we offer him? I've heard conflicting stories. The one that is most frequent was that John Cooper was not very interested at all. Can you tell me why we did not get him?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:15:01 PM)
Yes, he was offered a scholarship. We thought he was an outstanding high school player, even though he didn't start at QB until his senior year at Findlay. He told us he questioned whether he would be good enough to play QB at Ohio State. We thought he could. History has proven that to be true.

Crestfallen (Oct 11, 2004 3:15:20 PM)
Coach, if you were head coach today, given what you've witnessed to date, what concrete changes would you make right now? Personnel changes? Gameplan and playcalling? Adjusting expectations and giving the freshman some playing time?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:16:28 PM)
I guess the 3 things I would do at this point after 5 games, one, Pittman would be the starting TB, Troy Smith would get the opportunity at QB and I would get Ted Ginn into the action more.

WVBuckeye (Oct 11, 2004 3:16:51 PM)
Speaking of recruiting, why would an offensive player, a blue chip player, want to come to OSU and be mediocre?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:17:42 PM)
Hopefully, the mediocrity is only temporary. And it would give a great player exposure early in his career knowing that so many of our players have gone on to the NFL.

Bellybuck (Oct 11, 2004 3:17:54 PM)
Hi Coach- Year in and year out Ohio State is included in the top10 recruiting classes in the country. Many teams in the big ten (Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern) never make these lists yet it appears that they have more talent on the field currently. Is Ohio State struggling to put these youngsters in the proper place to succeed when they get on campus or is there another issue. Being young does not cut it as many other teams are playing young players and succeeding. What do you think?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:20:35 PM)
First of all, the 85 scholarship limit means there is a fine line between players at all these schools. Also, we have a tendency to lose some of our great players early (like Gamble and Clarett), compared to other schools. The academic requirements at Ohio State have not allowed us to recruit some outstanding players also. Example: Larry Fitzgerald and Pierre Woods.

getaback (Oct 11, 2004 3:21:00 PM)
bill- is it possible that some backs(lydell ross) in their attempt to withstand the punishment of a big 10 season put on to much weight and muscle and therefore lose prescious flexibility necessary to make cutbacks. in his freshman season he seemed to show more cutback and change of direection than 2004 version. vision is one thing yet if the back can't make the cut with explosion he'll be stopped in any case-your comments please

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:22:25 PM)
I really don't think that is a factor. With today's strength and conditioning programs, athletes get more flexible and more agile as they put on weight. A perfect example is Eddie George, who put on about 20 pounds and got better each year. It seems to me Lydell's problem may be one of confidence and the fact he really hasn't been pushed for his spot until lately.

matz2 (Oct 11, 2004 3:22:36 PM)
Hi Coach - what do you see as the biggest problem so far QB, OL, or RB?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:23:27 PM)
I believe the whole unit has to get in sync. I don't think it's one over the other. However, I don't think it is wise going a lot of shotgun and especially empty sets with a QB that is struggling throwing the ball.

tbdbitlI10 (Oct 11, 2004 3:23:48 PM)
Coach, i havent been able to find much on Selwyn Lymon. His size and speed look awesome, but other than that I haven't been able to find any other description of the type of player he is, and what he can become. What are your thoughts on Selwyn, and do you see him as a buckeye next year? Thanks

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:24:45 PM)
I think he is a very talented athlete, football and basketball-wise. I think he's got good speed. The teams we may have to beat at the end could be Purdue, Michigan and ND.

redondo (Oct 11, 2004 3:25:05 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - Gary Danielson compared the two starting quarterbacks Saturday. He said Justin Zwick takes way too many sacks resulting in OSU playing behind the chains too much. Do you agree that he should be coached to make quicker decisions and throw the ball sooner?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:26:44 PM)
I truly believe he is being coached to not take a crucial sack. I would have hoped that with four games under his belt as a starter, progress would be made in that area. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be the case against Wisconsin. Also, in terms of the technical part of the game, he's a little slow bringing the ball up when he takes it from under center. That could be one of the reasons why he was in more shotgun sets this week.

Guest (Oct 11, 2004 3:26:58 PM)
Coach, you witnessed the competition between Zwick and Smith first hand. What was your evaluation of the two and the competition between them?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:27:21 PM)
buckmark asked about the competition between Zwick and Smith and for my evaluation of the two and the competition.

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:28:33 PM)
Each has their strong points. Troy throws a better pass, technically, and is better athletically. Justin is taller and seemed like he improved a little more in spring practice. Unfortunately, game conditions are impossible to compare because Troy has not played except for a limited number of snaps.

bucksfan47 (Oct 11, 2004 3:28:49 PM)
Coach, do you think with the play of Nate Salley, Coach Tressel will go with Brandon Mitchell. Do you believe Brandon has the cover skills to pull this off?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:30:01 PM)
Besides getting beat on a TD pass Saturday, I believe Nate Salley is a good football player. He is one of the more physical players in the secondary. He's bigger and brings more of a load when he tackles. He's also a very smart football player. Brandon Mitchell is one of the top six secondary players and I'm sure his playing time will increase.

murphy98 (Oct 11, 2004 3:30:41 PM)
Bill, your thoughts on Schlegal so far. Was there too much hype put on this guy from the media ? Is this a case where the stars in the WAC are average at OSU. He seems to have trouble getting out of traffic. From what I have seen Fraser is getting knocked all over the place and getting in the way of the LB's on sweeps. You take ? Thanks Bill and Go Bucks

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:30:51 PM)
First of all, in terms of Anthony Schlegel ...

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:32:41 PM)
I think he is a true MLB run stopper, from tackle to tackle. As I've said before, he's limited in the open field in relation to pass coverage and making open field tackles. The only thing I would say about Simon Fraser is that I'm sure he feels he has to make a lot of plays because he's the veteran on that front. His ability as a defensive end, I believe, is excellent.

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:32:48 PM)
You'll see him play on Sundays.

TheMinnesotaBuckeye (Oct 11, 2004 3:32:58 PM)
How important is Dustin Fox to this team, in terms of his ability and his experience? Could he alone have made a difference in the last two games?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:34:23 PM)
I think losing a Dustin Fox, not just because of his ability as a player but as the leader of the secondary unit, is sorely missed. He's also very smart and gets people lined up. He may have made a difference against NW. I'm not sure if anybody would have made a difference against Wisconsin. That was a team loss.

buckcherry (Oct 11, 2004 3:34:41 PM)
Bill..last week you mentioned "passion" in your write-up, and also the name; Chris Spielman. Do you think he would be a good addition to the staff in some capacity, and during JT's hiring, was there any consideration given to Chris by JT?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:35:46 PM)
I don't know for a fact but I do believe Chris has been offered a job a couple of times. But I believe with his home situation, recruiting would take him out of town way too much. The one thing for sure if you look up the word passion for Ohio State in the dictionary, you'll see his picture.

Wildbill (Oct 11, 2004 3:36:17 PM)
I think that 3 yrs of not much offense abd minimal ground game, offemsive line coach and now coordinator would semm to need a change. What are chances of this happening after the season is over?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:37:00 PM)
I honestly don't believe JT will make any coaching changes. That's not been his history.

philbuck (Oct 11, 2004 3:38:19 PM)
Coach...I know that you have personal relationships with most of the coachs on staff but it just doesn't seem like there is any improvement from the first game up until this point. Do you think we have a quality group of coaches who can get the job done?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:39:42 PM)
I feel I do have a good relationship with all of the coaches. They all work extremely hard on coaching. It is important, however, that progress be made as the season continues. By the end of the season, you will have answered your own question.

redondo (Oct 11, 2004 3:40:27 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - I agreed with Gary Danielson's assessment Saturday that the Buckeyes made way too many silly errors, which seem to me to be a lack of concentration and focus. I further thought the offense got frustrated in the second half. What can the coaches do to address these issues by next Saturday? Thank you.

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:41:36 PM)
Silly mistakes, like delay of game after the clock had been stopped, are inexcusable. I believe that Wisconsin won the game physically and after a while it affects you mentally also, as a player. I am sure it was frustrating to the coaches that nothing seemed to be working.

clevelandbrowns (Oct 11, 2004 3:41:50 PM)
Did we ever try and recruit Adrian Peterson? He is a beast.

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:42:50 PM)
I actually recruited Adrian Peterson. He is from Palatine, Texas. He was a great kid to talk to on the phone, but he made it clear he was going to stay fairly close to home. He probably would have gone to Texas if Cedric Benson was not there.

WVBuckeye (Oct 11, 2004 3:43:01 PM)
Given JT's conservative play calling and dismal offensive performances the last 2 years, does this have a positive or negative implication when recruiting offensive players?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:43:45 PM)
I do not think it will affect in-state recruiting because most kids grow up wanting to be a Buckeye. That's the way it should be. It could have an effect, however, on out-of-state recruiting if performance there does not improve.

TheMinnesotaBuckeye (Oct 11, 2004 3:43:58 PM)
What's your opinion of redshirting all of our frosh o-linemen this year? Is it hurting us at all this year? Is it best for the future of the program?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:44:56 PM)
I don't think, with the 85 limit today, that redshirting is feasible unless the NCAA says all freshmen will be redshirted and give them a 5th year of college ball. It's also easier to replace 1-2 guys than an entire line, which would happen if you did a lot of redshirting.

ToledoBucknutty (Oct 11, 2004 3:45:19 PM)
Addendum to that last question...Do you think Troy is still being punished for issues away from the field? And is that justified? If he never plans on playing him, shouldn't he think about getting Boeckman some reps? I know this may sound dramatic, but it all seems so ridiculous!!

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:45:43 PM)
I really don't think that is the case. I just believe JT has made up his mind that Justin Zwick is going to be his guy.

RossfordBuck (Oct 11, 2004 3:46:03 PM)
Was listening to you on the radio Sunday morning. I think you indicated the line has been slow to pick up on Bollman's techniques, can you elaborate?

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:46:58 PM)
I don't remember saying anything about linemen being slow to pick up techniques. I did say they needed to fire off the ball a little harder and faster so we could get a surge at the point of attack.

Barry (Oct 11, 2004 3:47:40 PM)
Bill, given that recruiting is a tough job, why has Ohio State struggled to find that outstanding quarterback and Big 10 running back since Germain and George left? It seems that Ohio State has been facing a more talented quarterback more often than not these past four or five years. Shouldn't a program like Ohio State have a top running back and quarterback in the program at all times? Even some of these mid majors seem to have accurate QBs with lively arms where Ohio State has struggled with that.

BillConley (Oct 11, 2004 3:52:13 PM)
We have had some outstanding QBs over the last decade with Bobby Hoying, Joe Germaine and Craig Krenzel, who led us to the national championship. I think it is hard to lure a top top quarterback unless you commit to throw the ball 50 percent of the time. Coach Tressel seems to prefer a 60-40 run/pass ratio. Typically, you do need to be able to run the ball along those lines to win the Big Ten. It will be interesting to see if Purdue, which is throwing quite a bit this year, can go on and win it.

EDITOR'S NOTE -- Due to some technical difficulties with the Chat program, we had to cut today's Chat short. Thanks to all who participated. Look for Chats by Steve Helwagen (Thursday) and Gary Housteau (Friday). Also, Coach Conley's next column on will be published on Wed., Oct. 20. His next Chat will be Mon., Oct. 25.

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