Conley Chat: Nov. 8 Archive

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

TheMinnesotaBuckeye (Nov 8, 2004 3:05:33 PM)
What's your opinion of Steve Rehring's play so far/ What's his potential? How much has he improved since January? Is he as hard a worker as people say?

Bill Conley (Nov 8, 2004 3:07:33 PM)
He is a plesant surprise. He can run pretty well for a big guy. The thing that is most impressive improvement he has made since January and spring practice is his pass protection. It has gotten better in relation to the improvement of his feet. He does have a very good work ethic.

Buckeyejoe (Nov 8, 2004 3:07:38 PM)
Will Pittman play this week?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:08:17 PM)
As far as I know, he should play unless the disciplinary part of it has not been resolved. I'm sure he will not start in front of Mo Hall, though.

OSUBucks22 (Nov 8, 2004 3:08:23 PM)
Coach, you were one of the first ones in on Maurice Wells. Where do you see him landing?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:09:06 PM)
I believe if he leaves Florida, he will come to Ohio State. A lot may depend on who the new head coach at Florida is because he wants to go a school where they run the football.

nevadabuck (Nov 8, 2004 3:09:20 PM) Tressel oblivious to the fact that other teams are crowding the line of scrimmage (and know that we don't run outside)?? or is he stubborn and believe that execution will overcome these obvious tendencies??

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:10:13 PM)
The second comment is more toward his philosophy. He has always had the off-tackle play as his base play. Don't expect to see that change.

redondo (Nov 8, 2004 3:10:31 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - Since this is the last chat of the regular season, i ahve a question about Michigan. Is stopping B. Edwards the key to this game? If so, how would you suggest the Buckeyes go about it? Thank you.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:11:24 PM)
Obviously, it's going to take at times some type of double coverage. But I really think the key is getting to the rookie freshman quarterback Henne by combining your blitz with bluffing and disguising the blitz.

bucksfan47 (Nov 8, 2004 3:11:39 PM)
Hello Coach! I wanted to get your opinion on Troy Smith, and his play to date? Also do you see remaining the starter for the remainder of the year, and does Zwick play if healthy vs. that team up North?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:12:59 PM)
I think the strong points of Troy Smith so far are his leadership and the confidence he exudes on the field, which tends to be rubbing off on the team. The other is the strength of his passing arm. He can throw the out cut on a rope. He just needs a little more touch on the deep ball. The only way I see Zwick playing is if Troy gets hurt or starts throwing interceptions.

OSUBucks22 (Nov 8, 2004 3:13:19 PM)
Coach, why even put Lydell on the field? He doesn't seem to be able to hang onto the ball. Why do you think Pittman is not playing? I don't buy JT's punctuality comment. I think it's because Lydell's a senior.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:15:16 PM)
Going into the Michigan State game, the performance of Mo Hall and Lydell Ross was fairly equal. I believe that Mo Hall, with his performance at MSU, has shown to be a more physical football player. He is also reading his blocks better. I agree that Ross should be the third TB on the field due to his performances so far. Pittman's only issue is maturity. Hopefully, he'll learn from his mistakes.

OmBuck (Nov 8, 2004 3:15:44 PM)
Bill, Can you enlighten us a little on what you reported about Clarett yesterday? I guess I don't understand how the NCAA can spend months investigating him as well as the Athletic department spending thousands on an independent comittee to look at the academics in the athletic department and no problems were reported but a year later we have this. I guess it's hard to believe that if something major occured it wasn't discovered the first time. Thanks.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:17:00 PM)
I really don't know more than what was mentioned on the radio. It is a fact there were some national media here last week. But I don't know all the specifics of what they were looking for. But remember there is a difference between the national media and the NCAA. Sometimes there is no tie whatsoever.

wells20 (Nov 8, 2004 3:17:14 PM)
Coach, what immediate changes would you make to create more 12 - 20 yard plays? Seems we miss a lot of open field, particularly in the middle of the field, for pass plays of this distance.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:17:52 PM)
I think passes to the tight end would help. More motion and crossing patterns by the wideouts, to hit them underneath coverage, and more screen passes.

Bellybuck (Nov 8, 2004 3:18:03 PM)
Hi Coach- Coming out of high school I thought Erik Haw would have an immediate impact- with all the problems at running back this year why do you think that Haw has not got a shot.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:19:13 PM)
I believe the coaching staff did not want to use up his redshirt year. With two graduating seniors, that leaves a year of separation in the freshmen in terms of eligibility. If we can get a great tailback this year, that would give us a great foundation for the near future.

zville (Nov 8, 2004 3:19:25 PM)
Any update on the major RB recruits.....Wells, Ringer, Stewart, Gwantley, etc? We need TWO upper tier recruits in the pipeline IMHO. Your thoughts?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:20:56 PM)
Wells is set to visit to Ohio State for the Michigan game. Gwaltney visited for one of the recent home games. The others have not scheduled visits yet. If you can get 2 great ones, you take them any time you can. I would not recruit a great one and a good one. I'd take the great one and wait till next year and try to find another.

redondo (Nov 8, 2004 3:21:10 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - At this time of year, typically, how many high school prospects are there that the Buckeyes are seriuoely in on that a site like Bucknuts is right now unaware of? Is it not that many or more than we might think?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:21:57 PM)
Probably not more than 8-10 that are under the radar. It's almost impossible with the media today to keep guys hidden.

TheMinnesotaBuckeye (Nov 8, 2004 3:22:09 PM)
What was behind Mangold not starting?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:22:43 PM)
I am certain the only reason he did not start was because of the nagging leg injury he has.

riddledoctor3 (Nov 8, 2004 3:22:50 PM)
Bill, thanks for allowing us to trade notes with you on recruiting. Your insight is very helpful and truthful.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:23:01 PM)
Glad to be here.

redondo (Nov 8, 2004 3:23:13 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - What would you suggest the Buckeyes do defensively to improve their third down coonversion percentage. My perception is that teams have way to high a conversion percentage against the defense, especially on third and long? Thank you.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:24:32 PM)
They are playing zone coverage and using a zone blitz. I always like the idea of disguising the blitz and then coming with a man blitz concept as a change-up. The Buckeyes do not do a lot of that.

riddledoctor3 (Nov 8, 2004 3:24:56 PM)
Do you see any of these three players wearing Scarlet/Grey: Gwaltney, Alaeze, King, Lymon, or Beckum? Thanks Bill.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:25:10 PM)
I think that's 5 players but ...

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:25:36 PM)
Gwaltney may have the best shot, especially since he's already visited.

ImBack45 (Nov 8, 2004 3:25:49 PM)
Hey Coach, why is it, we never play bump and run coverage with all the talent we have in the defensive backfield? What's the difference giving up the 75 yd pass versus having the defense starve out there for eight minutes at a time. Thx.!

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:26:33 PM)
When you play bump and run, you are into a man concept. The defensive coaches know that Coach Tressel does not want to gamble on giving up the big play. That's why you see so much zone blitz.

bucksfan47 (Nov 8, 2004 3:26:45 PM)
Coach, Roy Hall has been non-excistant for the past three weeks. Do you feel as though he has been some what of a dissapointment? and do you see him responding in the next couple of weeks, or next year?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:27:38 PM)
I think Roy Hall has the potential of being an outstanding receiver. He's big and physical and runs good routes. The best he can hope for at this point is to be the third receiver in a three-receiver set with Holmes and Ginn.

riddledoctor3 (Nov 8, 2004 3:27:53 PM)
How does a coaching staff find those "not so public recruits?" I know OSU along with every other major school gets flooded with tapes from players, and my guess would be that the tapes are how you put together your list of recruits to call, write, and offer. Your thoughts?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:30:41 PM)
The list is compiled due to a variety of information. First is the known talent we have seen around the country while recruiting seniors. While we do that, sophomores and juniors catch our eye. Secondly, we use a number of recruiting services, in relation to obtaining films, which, when I was the recruiting coordinator, we would evaluate approximately 2,000 players in the spring before we went out recruiting in May. We also would obtain combine results from around the nation, noting especially 40-yard times, verticals and pro shuttle times. Lastly, our camp was a key way of evaluating talent. We ended up having ...

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:31:00 PM)
... approximately 3,500 kids the last few years at our camp.

Bellybuck (Nov 8, 2004 3:31:12 PM)
With the kicking game being such a huge part of our current gameplan who do you think has a chance to be the next great kicker? Skeete? Pettrey? or are we still looking for a good one?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:32:40 PM)
Skeete is not the answer. Pettrey might be. I'm certain the staff is scouring the country to see if there is another Mike Nugent out there. But we also need a punter for next year with Turano graduating.

wells20 (Nov 8, 2004 3:33:04 PM)
Coach...Do you have a prediction for this weekend? Forecast is mid 40's for a high, mid 20's for a low over here, and Orton will start if healthy. Does that help your prediction? I say 26-21 Buckeyes!

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:34:37 PM)
I definitely believe the Buckeyes will win. If Orton plays, it probably won't be decided until late in the third or early in the fourth quarter. I don't see Purdue's defense being very strong, as I said early in the year. If Orton does not play, I think that will allow the Buckeyes to play more man coverage and get after the other quarterback, Kirsch. If that's the case, Ohio State could win by two touchdowns.

riddledoctor3 (Nov 8, 2004 3:34:58 PM)
Coach - I loved watching corners playing bump-n-run, and backers blitzing in such confusing ways. I love watching Rob Kelly/Mike Doss hit the line of scrimmage on a blitz and destroy a RB. I miss the old days, and am wondering if you know why OSU has gone completely away from being the traditional aggressive blitzing defense of old? Thanks.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:35:41 PM)
With the conservative philosophy of Jim Tressel, he does not want to give up the big play, which is a threat when you play pure man coverage.

ImBack45 (Nov 8, 2004 3:35:50 PM)
Coach, just wondering your take on Joel Penton. Is he really that much better than Cotton and Maupin? I never see Penton applying any pressure. Am I missing something? Thx.!

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:37:03 PM)
I think the jury is still out on several of those players. Penton seemed to do a better job this week. Cotton has a chance of being a very good player if he ever gets his mind to it. Somebody needs to light a fire under Maupin.

wells20 (Nov 8, 2004 3:37:24 PM)
Coach...If one of those 'great' running backs doesn't commit, who else might OSU take? The Buckeyes will still need some depth there, even that player is good but not great.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:40:05 PM)
Even though he is hurt, I think Javon Ringer is still in the mix. He had a great first half of the season. They like Jerome Hayes from Bayonne, N.J. and Mario Henry from Erie, PA. And of course Freddie Lenix from Glenville. Don't be shocked if Lenix doesn't move toward the top of the list and OSU recruits him as a RB. He can play on that side of the ball, too.

labsbeabmm (Nov 8, 2004 3:40:24 PM)
I'm trying to be optimistic about next year but have a hard time seeing zwick or smith keeping us competitive with henne. how about boeckman?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:41:26 PM)
Troy Smith has done a good job so far. But it's tough to judge how good he can be because the Big Ten is not very strong this year -- at least the teams he's played so far. I think Boeckman has a chance of being very good, maybe outstanding. Time will tell.

nevadabuck (Nov 8, 2004 3:41:36 PM)
what is your gut on Javon Ringer.....??? It seems tht OSU is just waiting on grades and then he should be ours, what are your thoughts?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:42:27 PM)
I think it depends how it goes with a couple of the out of state RBs. He may not want to wait for Ohio State to make a decision. His injury has bought the Buckeyes a little bit of time.

ImBack45 (Nov 8, 2004 3:42:52 PM)
Coach, how disappointed are you with 2003 recruiting class? I believe at last count four of the fourteen are no longer with the team and two of the others Lukens and Jordan are out with injuries. How big of an impact does a recruiting class like this have?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:45:46 PM)
I think the players identified as potentially great ones still have a chance. The players lost to academics were not a great surprise as athletes or students. Lukens will be a role player, especially on special teams. Jordan is a lot like Michael Jenkins was early in his career. But he needs to pick up some speed and toughness to progress like Mike did. Guys from that class like Youboty, Whitner and Barton are starting to make some inroads.

diddy (Nov 8, 2004 3:46:12 PM)
Why does it seem like this team has forgotten the tight end.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:47:27 PM)
I'm sure the loss of Irizarry has a lot to do with that. But Ryan Hamby does have very good hands and should be getting the ball more. But if you notice, they have also left the TE in to block more than normal.

mulder (Nov 8, 2004 3:48:07 PM)
Our current offensive scheme does not seem to be the most effective way to utilize the talent we have on hand. Would you agree, and what changes would you like to see?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:49:31 PM)
By getting Ginn involved, that alone gives the Buckeyes two threats at the wideout positions. That will not only help the passing attack, but it will also prevent opposing defenses from playing the safeties up so close for run support. I would take Holmes and Ginn and motion them a lot from backfield sets to get them on the match-up you want against the defense.

bucklover (Nov 8, 2004 3:49:52 PM)
Coach C-I'm sure you still follow recruiting pretty closely. In your opinion, who finishes off this class. My guess is Gwaltney makes too much sense in how he fits in here. I think Daniels, Ringer, Wilson, and Rico McCoy are solid bets. Thoughts?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:50:32 PM)
I don't think any of those guys are solid bets. We'll know more by Dec. 1 because that's the point at which most kids have their visits set.

riddledoctor3 (Nov 8, 2004 3:50:45 PM)
With the inconsistency of our QB's this season, I think Boeckman will be the '05 starter for the Buckeyes (according word of mouth out of columbus). Do you think this is just a farse or is this kid for real? Thanks.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:51:53 PM)
I think, at this point, it will be a two-man race between Smith and Boeckman. Knowing JT. unless one is so superior to the other, you probably won't know until the first game next season.

buckeyenole (Nov 8, 2004 3:54:02 PM)
Coach, with the current success of SO many MAC QBs in the NFL Roethlisberger, Pennington, and Leftwich and other QBs who ran the spread in college like Brees, Eli Manning, Rivers, and Carr, is it plausible to think that the spread offense that many of these teams run better prepares QBs for the NFL in terms of speed (you msut get rid of the ball), number of decisions (more receivers in the pattern), and the necessity of accuracy and trusting the system where maybe you throw it to the spot before you know for sure if the receiver is open? Is this "High Risk" offense? Would the NFL do anything "high risk" considering the dollars they're laying down?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:55:45 PM)
The main reason MAC coaches and other Division I schools that normally don't have a lot of great players run the spread offense is to give them a chance to be successful and many have done it well. It probably does prepare those quarterbacks better for the NFL because the pass/run percentage in the NFL favors the pass by quite a bit.

labsbeabmm (Nov 8, 2004 3:55:58 PM)
ed collington of pittsburgh is a good not great back to be considered

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:56:16 PM)
Yes, he's a good back, maybe not a great back. I think he's a tough back.

Seabus (Nov 8, 2004 3:56:35 PM)
Coach, most of us Bucknuts are concerned about the RB situation because of the seniors we are losing, the lack of production from that group for the past 2 years, and the importance a RB has in our offense. With this, how do you evaluate running backs? When we watch their tapes on the insiders site, what should we be looking for? Thanks.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:56:44 PM)
Good question ...

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 3:59:11 PM)
First of all, acceleration. Oftentimes that is more important than pure speed. Second, the vision. Do they see the holes? Next, do they split defenders or, as Woody used to say, do they go north and south? Toughness is also an important aspect. One way of judging that is not necessarily just how he runs, but how does he pass protect? Obviously, breaking tackles is crucial. No one man should bring down a great back in the open field.

muratduke (Nov 8, 2004 3:59:35 PM)
Coach ... what about using Ginn as a smoke screen on running plays, I mean, having him run around as if he is going to get the ball on a fake run from the QB and run around end, kinda like a reverse, by doing so or faking as if you will do so, I think you may keep the outside LB anD DEs from cheating towards the middle where most Buckeye runs seem to go and they know it.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:01:07 PM)
Part of the shotgun series is bringing a player like Ginn in motion to either give him the ball or fake it to him, just as you have described. Also, don't be shocked if you see Troy Smith at some time run the option with Ginn as the pitch back off of motion.

redondo (Nov 8, 2004 4:01:25 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - USC seems to be the darling program of the moment. What is the OSU staff's reaction or posture when they find out they are going head-to-head with Pete Carroll and the Trojans these days? How do they turn the percentage more in their favor?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:02:52 PM)
The only way you're going to turn it more in your favor is if USC is recruiting in the Midwest. Just like USC has a definite advantage on the west coast. Pete Carroll does a good job of emphasizing his pro connections, being that he was an NFL coach. Ohio State must counter this by continually reminding recruits of how many players we have put into the NFL in the last decade.

buckeyenole (Nov 8, 2004 4:03:15 PM)
Considering our success along the dline why have we had trouble closing the deal with bigtime rush ends the last few recruiting seasons? Is it a matter of geography; are a lot of the guys we've gone after from too far away? Is it depth chart? Are we not aggressive enough? Which do you think it is or if it's a combination how do they combine?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:04:47 PM)
I think it's a combination of several things. First of all, we had a great defensive front for several years. That makes it tough. Secondly, there hasn't been a lot of those great ones in the state. That means it's crucial to recruit more defensive end type athletes out of state than you actually need. It becomes a percentage game.

Seabus (Nov 8, 2004 4:05:03 PM)
Coach, a followup on the earlier evaluation question. With Ohio being such a key area, how did you go about evaluating all of the top juniors and narrowing in on who you want from instate? How does the staff then adjust after the kids start their senior seasons?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:06:56 PM)
First of all, we always gave the instate players the benefit of the doubt on initial evaluations. An out of state player had to be outstanding on film. An instate player we would continually evaluate if he showed he was good with great potential. That's why football camp in June was so important. Rarely did we find an instate gem after September of their senior year.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:07:37 PM)
We're only going to go a few more minutes and we have plenty of ??? to sift through. We will try to get to as many of them as we can. Here we go.

MinnesotaBuckeye (Nov 8, 2004 4:08:03 PM)
Is it just me...but when Mo Hall broke that 51 yard TD run at the end of the game, it was one of the few times the whole game that our backs busted out to the wide side. Granted, MSU was expecting another up the middle run, so good for Mo, but our backs don't seem to know when to bounce it wide at times, when there is not a hole. Thoughts?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:08:53 PM)
That was a good bounce play by Mo. He showed good vision. Obviously, MSU didn't expect us to go outside at that point in the game. Mo's vision seems to have improved the more he has carried the ball.

bucklover (Nov 8, 2004 4:09:18 PM)
Coach-in your opinion, is OSU a top 5 team next year?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:10:16 PM)
Not unless there are major improvements by the interior lines on both sides of the ball. Hopefully, Santonio Holmes will decide to stay another year. That will also be a major factor.

bucklover (Nov 8, 2004 4:10:36 PM)
Coach-any chance Ira Guiford comes back to the team, how about Darious Hiley?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:10:50 PM)
I don't believe there is a chance on either one.

bucklover (Nov 8, 2004 4:11:03 PM)
Coach-In your opinion, who is their # 1 priority player this year?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:11:43 PM)
Probably Maurice Wells, given the need at RB and his ability. Also, it's going to be crucial to hold on to some of the early commits.

buckeyenole (Nov 8, 2004 4:13:04 PM)
Is Zwick out of it? Would he flourish more in an offense like FSU's, UF's, or SC's? Duane mentioned something along those lines in his assessment of the game this week and it really hit me that many of Zwick's problem are EXACTLY the same as Chris Weinke's problems the year before the NC. Lots of passes sailed b/c of poor footwork and jumpiness in the pocket, but they didn't stop letting him heave it downfield. Which gave him confidence and rapport with his receivers, imo. Your thoughts? Did Zwick need more trust/leash from the staff?

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:13:40 PM)
Justin Zwick has to prove his decisionmaking ability on the field. He's been unimpressive so far in the heat of battle. I don't care what type of offense you're running.

jcfiesta (Nov 8, 2004 4:14:12 PM)
Coach, can you give us the terminolgy used to call a pass play out of the I formation? I'd also like a WR in motion...Does this language allow for the backs to do more than just the ISO play action fake? I'm from a modified run and shoot offense where terminology was very flexible and simplistic. Just curious what our players are hearing in the huddle. Thank you and GO BUCKS!

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:15:16 PM)
Out of the I formation, the passing terminology is what is called 80 passing. For example, 84 Y-Shallow means the TE runs a drag, the split end runs a curl and the flanker runs a post.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:16:21 PM)
If it's the flanker in motion, it can be Z-Fly or Z-In. For example, in one the flanker goes across the formation, on the other he just motions slightly in without crossing over.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:17:00 PM)
Each passing protection gives the RB his rules, whether he blocks, fakes or releases.

BillConley (Nov 8, 2004 4:17:31 PM)
I think we're gonna run now. Thanks to everybody for the great questions. We appreciate it and will see you again here 2 weeks from today.

EDITOR'S NOTE -- Look for Bill Conley's next column on the site on Wed., Nov. 17. His next Chat will be Mon., Nov. 22.

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