Conley Chat: Oct. 25 Archive

Here are excerpts from Monday's Chat session with former OSU assistant coach Bill Conley. The coach addressed the win over Indiana, the quarterback situation, the Lydell Ross situation, recruiting questions and much more.

OTC (Oct 25, 2004 2:01:34 PM)
What did you think about Troy?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:02:28 PM)
I thought he was a much needed spark, not only for the offense but for the entire team. He showed his athleticism and his ability to make plays. The question is will he be able to do it against better teams.

BuckeyeDave (Oct 25, 2004 2:02:55 PM)
What kind of expectations did the Buckeye caoching staff have for Craig Krenzel and Will Smith when they were recruited? Were they expected to be the impact players they became?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:04:15 PM)
I think we knew that Will Smith was going to be a great one. He ran so well and was so athletic for a defensive lineman. As far as Craig was concerned, we really didn't know which would be better between he and Scotty McMullen. Craig was a good field general. Scotty threw a better pass. So we knew it was going to be dogfight.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:06:08 PM)
we're ready ... whenever you are.

edbuck51 (Oct 25, 2004 2:07:33 PM)
Coach. It seems like recruits are getting offers earlier and earlier. What are your thoughts on early offers, and do you think the NCAA should regulate when offers can be extended?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:09:08 PM)
I think every coach in the country would agree that recruiting is taking place way earlier than they would like. It really doesn't give you a chance to know as much about the players as you would like because you have to make a decision quickly before they commit to another school. Early signing will probably not take place in football because schools that do not have a good home base would not vote for it.

scribeohio (Oct 25, 2004 2:09:29 PM)
Coach, what are the most important things (plan, players, Sr leaders, etc) that helped prepare/win this game. Thanks

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:10:39 PM)
The most important thing for this past victory against Indiana was the spark provided by the new players, meaning former redshirts, and the players who had been running second team. Overall enthusiasm and extra effort by the entire team was inspiring.

OSUBucks22 (Oct 25, 2004 2:10:47 PM)
Hey Coach... Do you think the Bucks just looked more confident this weeken? I thought I definitely noticed that from Troy.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:11:18 PM)
I agree 100 percent. I noticed it the first series, even after a couple of incompletions. The team still seemed very confident and played like it.

Guest (Oct 25, 2004 2:11:32 PM)
Coach, Can you evaluate the play of T. Smith a bit? Looked to me like he threw a couple of nice passes on some intermediate out routes that JZ's struggled with all year. That and the fact that he made some things happen as plays broke down.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:11:57 PM)
BHoying14 asks about the play of Troy Smith and the fact he made some throws and runs Zwick had not made.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:13:03 PM)
Troy throws a great football with a tight spiral and a lot of zip. The ball definitely gets to the outside routes quicker. His athletic ability makes him a threat to the opposing defense. They must make a game plan to stop him running and passing.

bucksfan47 (Oct 25, 2004 2:13:42 PM)
Coach Conley, I'm curious to hear your opinion on Smith's play on Sat.? Do you believe he should get the nod against PSU, or Zwick instead? and why?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:14:52 PM)
I would definitely start Troy Smith against Penn State. His production and leadership ability alone gives him the edge over Zwick. It would not shock me if Justin would play, but I would hope Troy gets the opportunity to stay in the game if he's producing.

edbuck51 (Oct 25, 2004 2:15:01 PM)
How would you compare Indiana's talent vs. Northwestern?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:15:50 PM)
Neither team has very good talent. The only thing NW does differently is they spread you out with their offense. That allows their skilled players to have some opportunities in the open field.

buckboy81 (Oct 25, 2004 2:15:54 PM)
Do you believe Pittman is a better runner than Ross?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:17:31 PM)
Antonio Pittman seems to have the attitude that Lydell had when he was a freshman. Unfortunately, Lydell hasn't improved mentally or physically. Pittman is playing with excitement. Pittman's vision and ability to cut the ball back was shown Saturday.

BuckeyeDave (Oct 25, 2004 2:18:17 PM)
Coach, Your thoughts on Dionte Johnson? He looked "ready" to me. Tony Gonzales? Thanks.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:19:39 PM)
Dionte Johnson is a tough, physical player like his dad Pepper. He'll give 100 percent effort every play. He did a very good job blocking on the off-tackle play. He is also a very good iso blocker. Tony Gonzalez made some key receptions. He has athletic talent and can run. He just needs to show more consistency.

OSUBucks22 (Oct 25, 2004 2:19:51 PM)
Coach, Do you think that the combination of Ross's screwup and Pittman's full-time performance spell the end to Lydell's chances this year?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:21:00 PM)
I think it will be difficult for Ross to break back into the starting lineup. I'm sure he'll play but in a limited manner. Pittman has earned the starting spot by the way he has played. Lydell made a selfish mistake, especially being a team captain.

edbuck51 (Oct 25, 2004 2:21:08 PM)
Where you surprised to hear Coach Zook getting the hook in the middle of the season?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:22:04 PM)
No, I think Gators fans and alumni believe they have underachieved. There is also still the ghost of Steve Spurrier in Gainesville. The fraternity incident didn't help, either.

philbuck (Oct 25, 2004 2:22:23 PM)
Bill...hello. I know that this win was over Indiana but I thought that Troy did a good job of running the offense and pulling the whole team together. I feel that it should be his job to lose and Antonio to. Your thoughts?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:22:38 PM)
I think 99 percent of Buckeye fans, me included, agree.

labsbeabmm (Oct 25, 2004 2:22:50 PM)
I may be premature but I suspect Zwick could transfer next year if he is not the starter, especially with Boekman in the mix, he has too much talent to sit

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:23:59 PM)
It's kind of funny, a few weeks ago everybody was concerned about Troy Smith transferring. Who knows? We may be 2 plays away from Todd Boeckman being the starter.

scribeohio (Oct 25, 2004 2:24:08 PM)
Coach, some RS's came off. Do you think more will come? Are they trying to RS Boeckman if at all possible?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:24:54 PM)
At this point, with 4 games left, I would be surprised if any other redshirts are pulled off unless some major injuries take place. Yes, the plan is to still RS Boeckman, no doubt.

Buckfanatic (Oct 25, 2004 2:25:07 PM)
Coach, assuming you heard Kirk Herbsteit's comments on the offense this past week? Do you agree or disagree with him?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:26:03 PM)
I did not hear the specific comment myself. But I would be shocked if JT would let somebody else call offensive plays. He has always been the real offensive coordinator.

grayslake (Oct 25, 2004 2:26:14 PM)
What do you think is the major difference between the way Snyder calls a game and the way Dantonio did?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:27:42 PM)
I think Dantonio was a little more confident because of his experience as a defensive coordinator in the Big Ten. Whereas this is the first time for Mark Snyder. The defensive talent was more experienced for Dantonio, particularly up front. So the jury is still out on Snyder's performance as the DC.

mattent2b (Oct 25, 2004 2:27:49 PM)
Coach: Did you see any change in the O-line this weekend?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:28:48 PM)
Not a lot. I thought the running backs made the biggest difference. They broke tackles and made some key cutback runs. The advantage for the offensive line with the quickness of Pittman and Troy Smith is they didn't have to hold their blocks as long.

cderekw (Oct 25, 2004 2:29:10 PM)
Bill, With the level of competition aside, What are your thoughts on poise in the pocket, command of the offense as well as leadership when comparing TS and JZ? Thanks.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:30:14 PM)
Troy Smith performed better in all categories this past week. The combined records of the teams we have beaten going into Sat. was something like 13-15, so the teams we beat are comparable.

edbuck51 (Oct 25, 2004 2:30:22 PM)
Is it to early to predict the Bucks chances vs. Michigan? Do you think this team can get much better between now and then?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:32:06 PM)
First of all, we have to get a lot better before that football game. The one advantage we have is that it is obviously at home. Both teams have young quarterbacks. Both teams have good defenses. Ohio State has an advantage in the kicking game. The thing that is most impressive about Michigan at this point is they have won close games in the fourth quarter and in several have had to come from behind.

bucksfan47 (Oct 25, 2004 2:32:23 PM)
Coach Conley, there has been alot of questions surrounding the recruitment of Javon Ringer. With him having the knee injury do you see his chances of an OSU offer greatly effected? or will the production over the past couple of years help him in the end? Thanks Coach, Go Bucks!

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:33:05 PM)
I think the injury has probably hurt him because the coaches have not offered him at this point anyway. I would be surprised if an offer would come at this point unless they lose out on some other RBs.

philbuck (Oct 25, 2004 2:33:21 PM)
Bill...that was a terrific play turned in by Ted Ginn on saturday. Is he on the field for most of the offensive plays now or is it still limited? With his ability to break a play he needs to get his hands on the ball more than a couple times a game.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:34:47 PM)
Ted Ginn is the premier freshman player. He needs to touch the ball as many times as possible. Himself, Santonio Holmes and Pittman all have the ability to make a big play at any time. It was apparent that some upperclassmen were benched to play the younger guys more and if the Buckeyes beat Penn State I'm sure the staff will stick with that formula.

OSUBucks22 (Oct 25, 2004 2:35:06 PM)
Coach, It looked to me that the O-Line got more push Saturday. It also was obvious that we got more pass-rush. Was this due to Indiana or is the coaching staff starting to figure things out?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:36:13 PM)
I think it's way too early to judge if there were major improvements in those areas. There were times where the RBs made good runs even though there was nothing at the point of attack. Indiana is not a very good team, so the jury is out on improvement.

rbuck (Oct 25, 2004 2:36:26 PM)
Hi Coach, Thanks for taking my question. Does someone like Wisconsin really have that much more talent than OSU at offensive line? Is next year going to be much better as far as both lines play?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:38:01 PM)
Second part first: There is no substitute for experience for linemen on both sides of the ball. Ohio State will obviously be stronger next year in those areas. The thing Wisconsin does so well is control the football. They don't do a lot of things, but what they do do they do well. Barry Alvarez may be the most underrated head coach in the country. He gets the very best out of his players.

Bellybuck (Oct 25, 2004 2:38:08 PM)
Hi Coach- What do you think of the tight end play so far this year?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:39:15 PM)
The loss of Benny Hartsock was huge. For the last 2 seasons, he was the premier blocker of the front seven. Ryan Hamby has outstanding hands and gives great effort every play. He just is not as big and physical as Benny.

BHoying14 (Oct 25, 2004 2:39:30 PM)
How does the coaching staff reflect on a game like Indiana? How does a coaching staff cultivate the momentum when everyone's let-down about the season?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:42:14 PM)
If Ohio State had not been 0-3 going into Indiana, I'm certain they would have used Indiana's lack of execution on both sides of the ball as the reasons for the Ohio State victory. But due to the situation, I believe the staff is using the game in a positive manner that this can be the start of a new season and they are, therefore, dwelling on the positives from the game. This was a shot in the arm well needed. In the game of football, you always preach to your players it's not how you start, but how you finish. They could use this as the start of a winning streak and have the potential of a good bowl game.

pmoss (Oct 25, 2004 2:42:34 PM)
Coach Conley, Two Questions. First, which position did you enjoy coaching the most and can you tell us anything about the recruitment of Eric Shelton how close he was to coming here? Does Clarrett sign here if he is here?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:43:52 PM)
I really didn't have a favorite position. As a former head coach, I had coached every position anyway, as well as the coaches. The enjoyment you get as a coach is not the position but the players. Coaching a Chris Spielman, Mike Vrabel, Ben Hartsock and a Mike Nugent and seeing them excel is the charge you get out of coaching ...

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:44:35 PM)
As far as Eric Shelton, he never really considered Ohio State. We thought all along he was going to end up where he is.

redondo (Oct 25, 2004 2:44:46 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - I believe Jonathon Stewart said that Coach Tressel is the one who has been contacting him. Should we place any special significance on that statement? UNder what circumstances will Coach Tressel be the one contacting a recruit? Should we be reading any significance relative to how well the recruiting of M. Wells is going, if what Jonathon is saying is so? Thank you.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:46:36 PM)
Normally, the coaching staff chooses a select number of recruits for Coach Tressel to call weekly. But rarely does he call the exact same ones each week. He may make anywhere from zero to six phone calls a week. Once in a while, as in the case with Chad Henne and Maurice Clarett, he contacted them more often.

Buckfanatic (Oct 25, 2004 2:46:59 PM)
Coach, I read a post recently that had Ashley Walker a heavy OSU lean. Now there are signs that he may verbal to USC after a weekend visit. Do you have any concerns with OSU's recruiting efforts since last year they lost Jarrett and Davis or is USC simply that awesome?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:48:05 PM)
USC has done a great job the last couple of years. This does raise a few questions. As far as Ohio State is concerned, I don't know if the out of state effort is what it should be. Time will tell.

Ncmike (Oct 25, 2004 2:48:27 PM)
How does the OSU staff handle the Ross type situations? Is this purely Tressel's call, or does he ask for other coach's input? How would you punish Ross?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:50:00 PM)
Knowing JT, a final decision on Ross will not be made until all the facts are presented. Once all facts are out there, JT will make the call unless it is a major team rules violation. Then, Andy Geiger will get involved. I would wait and see what all the facts are. You can't make a decision without all the facts.

Ncmike (Oct 25, 2004 2:50:09 PM)
What are the chances Tressel hires an Offensive Coordinator for next season and gives up the play calling?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:50:47 PM)
About the same chance of hell freezing over.

Cville Buck (Oct 25, 2004 2:51:04 PM)
Hello Coach, You heard anything about Ira Gullford, think he will make it back to OSU? Also, How many RB's do think OSU takes this year, and if you had your pick could you give me the top 3?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:53:03 PM)
I do not see Ira Guilford being a Buckeye. I believe they'll take 2. I think you want Maurice Wells, obviously. Stewart would be another great grab. They may look at Shawn Oatis as a RB also. Odds are you may get one of the three, at best.

philbuck (Oct 25, 2004 2:53:29 PM)
Bill...I do not know if Jim Bollman was up in the press box for this game again or not but do you feel that they should put Snyder up there as well? Dantonio seemed to make adjustments better from up there.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:54:16 PM)
Most coordinators, offense and defense, are upstairs because you can see the field better. Some coaches simply like being on the sideline in front of the TV audience.

redondo (Oct 25, 2004 2:54:33 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - When an incident like the Ron Zook firing occurs, how long does it take a school like Ohio State to mobilize relative to UF's current recruits? Could we realistically expect any defections in OSU's direction? Thank you.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:55:45 PM)
An early firing like this probably will not make a major difference. Usually, late coaching changes have more of an effect. Because the state of Florida is recruited so heavily, I'm certain opposing schools will be making extra efforts to contact Fla. recruits this week. Hopefully, the Buckeyes will.

BHoying14 (Oct 25, 2004 2:56:00 PM)
Why is the tackling not as crisp this year?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:56:57 PM)
The key to tackling is swarming to the ball. Rarely does 1 man make a good, solid tackle in the open field. It takes the second and third guy. A perfect example is the late fumble Purdue had against Michigan this past week. It was the second guy who knocked the ball loose.

BuckeyeDave (Oct 25, 2004 2:57:12 PM)
The Buckeyes seemed to open up the offense in an unTressell-like manner on Saturday. It sured seemed like someone else had significant influence on the offensive playcalling to me.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:58:11 PM)
There were a couple of games where Ohio State opened up with deep passes. I think the purpose of having Troy throwing deep early was to loosen up Indiana's defense. Indiana knew Troy was a running threat. This might have surprised them.

scribeohio (Oct 25, 2004 2:58:21 PM)
Coach, little use has been made of the TE's receiving. Is this because of the need to protect the QB/help in the run? What will it take to get them involved?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 2:59:25 PM)
I think added pass protection is definitely one of the reasons. Secondly, they're not using as many two-tight end sets this year. Last year, many times Ben Hartsock was a motion TE, which allowed him the freedom to pass release from off the ball.

mattent2b (Oct 25, 2004 2:59:41 PM)
Coach: Why has Zwick seemed to regress this year? The first 2 games he came out firing, saw the whole field, hit all of the receivers (but with INT's), and now he seems so hesitant and is only focusing on Holmes. He looks like CK. Is he being over-coached?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:00:53 PM)
No, I think the competition defensively got better for him and OSU. It seemed his decision making has not improved. It looks to me like he picks out his receiver pre-snap and doesn't see the entire field once the ball is snapped. He seems to not be playing with a lot of confidence.

pmoss (Oct 25, 2004 3:01:09 PM)
Coach C, With the past 2 years of having injuries (and other things) at the LB spot why haven't we switched S. White over to LB did he come as that . Can you also tell if there was ever talk about moving Kudla back to LB?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:02:22 PM)
The discussion in regards to Stan White was continual because he was such a versatile athlete and could play both sides of the ball as well as special teams. Both sides of the ball wanted him. He may end up back at LB someday. Kudla is not athletic enough in the open field to be a LB in pass coverage.

scribeohio (Oct 25, 2004 3:02:33 PM)
Coach, your thoughts on the impact to recruiting given out 3 loses (and possibly more)?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:03:47 PM)
I don't necessarily think the early losses will be a big negative. Late losses may be a huge negative. I have found out through the years that the real key to recruiting is how hard the coaching staff works at it. Ohio State is such a great product to offer. If you work hard at recruiting, you can be successful.

matz2 (Oct 25, 2004 3:04:02 PM)
coach - what's your prediction for the remaining games?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:04:51 PM)
I believe if we continue playing better, we can win as many as three of the next four. I think it will be tough to beat both Purdue and Michigan back to back.

redondo (Oct 25, 2004 3:05:09 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - What do you see as the keys to beating PSU this week? Is it simply a matter of not making mistakes? Coach Cooper on Saturday said PSU has no playmakers, yet Zach Mills always looks liek the next John Elway when he plays OSU. THank you.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:06:08 PM)
Don't turn the ball over. OSU needs to make some big plays. And don't give up big plays to Penn State. They're not talented enough offensively to have long continual drives.

jcfiesta (Oct 25, 2004 3:06:33 PM)
Coach, who is responsible for coaching our QB's and teaching a proper play action fake? It is frustrating to see QB after QB execute a sloppy play actoin fake. I see a lot of positive w/ JZ and TS. Have you seen improvement over JZ's 3 years in the program in regards to footwork and throwing off his back foot?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:07:20 PM)
Techniques are taught by both Coach Tressel and Coach Daniels. They work on fundamentals each day. I agree that Justin has not seemed to progress as much as I've seen other quarterbacks.

Cville Buck (Oct 25, 2004 3:07:28 PM)
Coach, I work with Eric Boykin. He wanted me to tell you hello.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:07:40 PM)
Say hi to Eric for me!

matz2 (Oct 25, 2004 3:07:50 PM)
Coach - Before the year started, 2005 was the targeted year to make another run at the national championship. Do you think we will be a top 5 team next year and can OSU make another run at it?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:09:07 PM)
It depends on four things. One is progress at the quarterback spot. The second is progress on the defensive front. Third is a good replacement for Mike Nugent. Fourth is good recruiting. Those are the keys.

BHoying14 (Oct 25, 2004 3:09:31 PM)
How does out of state recruiting work with the team struggling? How do coaches shift the focus to the positive? What changes need to be made?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:10:37 PM)
When things are going negative, you sell kids on the chance to play right away. You also need to use the history, especially within the last 12 years, of the large number of players who have gone to the NFL to offset a negative season.

Guest (Oct 25, 2004 3:11:03 PM)
Bill...Bam Childress was a big part of our offense early in the year, now he is practically non existent. Did he do something to get in the dog house?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:11:20 PM)
philbuck asks about Bam Childress and if he did something to get in the dog house ...

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:12:10 PM)
I think the coaching staff wanted to check out some of the younger talent against Indiana. That was their opportunity. The unfortunate thing for a player like Bam is he is limited due to his height as a WR.

Buckfanatic (Oct 25, 2004 3:12:30 PM)
Coach, with the ability of the the freshman OL's and this years recruiting class's OL commitments, do you see the offensive line starting to dominate in the next few years?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:13:15 PM)
The offensive line has enough talent to be a dominating force in the conference. But they must play much more physical in order to accomplish that goal.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:13:39 PM)
We're going to wind down and look for 1 or 2 questions that have not been asked (all questions and answers will be on the archive).

WVBuckeye (Oct 25, 2004 3:13:53 PM)
How big of a set back was it with Maurice Clarrett, meaning how many RB's did we miss out on becuase of the threat of Clarrett being here for 3 years, i.e. recruits not coming because of Clarrett's play as a freshman

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:14:43 PM)
I think it probably hurt a little bit. But if he would have stayed and won the Heisman, the benefits would have been huge.

Burt (Oct 25, 2004 3:15:14 PM)
Coach: What are the attributes of an outstanding recruiting coordinator?

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:17:36 PM)
One, do your homework so you know who is going to be the key person that's going to help the recruit make the final decision where they're going. Two, good relations with the high school coaches. Three, put the time in it takes making phone calls, writing letters and asking questions and being a good salesman. You can't be great at recruiting unless you do these three things. As a recruiting coordinator, you must be well organized, plan out good recruiting weekends and make sure all the coaches are doing the three things above ....

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:17:54 PM)
Hopefully, the head football coach will let the recruiting coordinator do that.

BillConley (Oct 25, 2004 3:18:46 PM)
That's all for today, folks. Thanks for the great questions. We had many we could not get to. Some were the same as others already asked and answered. Answers to those will be on the archive. Thanks again! GO BUCKS!

Guest (Oct 25, 2004 3:21:09 PM)
Thanks for your time Coach.

Guest (Oct 25, 2004 3:21:11 PM)
Thanks, coach. Always a pleasure.


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