Helwagen Chat: Dec. 17 Archive

Here are excerpts from Friday's Chat session with Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen. He conducts these Chat sessions each week for Bucknuts.com subscribers. Friday's Chat lasted just over two hours and covered a wide range of topics.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:05:09 PM)
happy holidays to all ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:05:16 PM)
great win for OSU last night and ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:05:22 PM)
the bowl game is inside 2 weeks ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:05:26 PM)
unbelievable.

scribeohio (Dec 17, 2004 2:06:16 PM)
Steve, any changes since the Grove in who you think we land?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:07:30 PM)
No, I figured they would tighten up Laurinaitis, so he is in. Then, we have Wells, L.Wilson, Hodge, McCoy, Lenix, Daniels and maybe Ashley. Those are the primary suspects. My guess is they will get 4 or 5 of those and fill in with 1 or 2 others who have or will visit still.

scribeohio (Dec 17, 2004 2:07:37 PM)
Very happy for coach Matta and the team - needed a good win

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:09:20 PM)
Yes, Bob Baptist made the point in the Dispatch that OSU had not won a meaningful nonconf game away from home since St. John's at MSG in Jan. 2000. They did beat UMass 2 or 3 years ago up there, but that program is a shell of its former self. This was huge. Great to see the General squirm in his seat once again. The difference, in my mind, were the 2 long Stockman three-pointers in the final 6-7 minutes.

scribeohio (Dec 17, 2004 2:09:31 PM)
Steve, do you really any biggie about LOID verbal vs. before that day verbals? Some think OSU doesn't finish well. Your thoughts.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:13:31 PM)
I got booted ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:13:41 PM)
but I recall the question about letter of intent day

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:14:14 PM)
OSU's record on letter of intent day has not been good. No reason why that is. Just the way it has worked out. They say they had Jarrett locked up when he signed with USC instead ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:15:07 PM)
Boone is a top-20 kid who committed to them last summer. He's still a top-20 kid in my mind. But some will get worked up when a top-100 kid disses them on signing day. This year, the vigil may be on Mo Wells just because that is a position of need ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:15:25 PM)
He could get the Malik Hairston Memorial All Eggs/One Basket Award if they don't end up signing him.

browndawg (Dec 17, 2004 2:15:32 PM)
Steve, If we get Maurice Wells do you think we are done at RB this year. No one else seems to be a back that will make a difference. Wells is a great back but was hurt a lot in HS this year and nobody we have can stay healthy either. I just don't see how we will make it through next year with 3 rb on the roster.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:16:30 PM)
James Davis came out in an update and declared Clemson his leader and still doesn't have a firm OSU visit. Conredge Collins may be their only other option. But he seems bound to one of the three Fla. powers, most likely either Fla. or FSU. Not sure who else is even in the running.

rbuck (Dec 17, 2004 2:16:37 PM)
Steve, could you look into your Crytal Ball, and see the day is February 3rd. How many RB's in this class and who are they? I'm still hoping for Ringer??

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:17:39 PM)
Mo Wells will probably be the only RB. Their hedge is Anderson Russell, who like Ira Guilford, could play either RB or DB, I guess. Ringer has verbaled to Michigan State. There are still 6-7 weeks until signing day and I guess anything is possible, but it looks like that ship has sailed.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:18:26 PM)
I'm all caught up ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:19:23 PM)
We have a big staff announcement planned next week. Something we think will help us take the site and our magazine projects to the next level. I am excited about this development and I think this addition will make this site, in particular, even better. Stay tuned.

OTC (Dec 17, 2004 2:20:28 PM)
Heard of any underclassmen doing well in the bowl practices?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:21:32 PM)
Just what I published in the Buckeye Grove this week. Todd Boeckman has really excelled, I understand. Alex Barrow made a play or 2 in the scrimmage and Jonathan Skeete hit a 40-yard field goal. All good news for the future. In next week's Grove column, I will share some comments from the coordinators on who lit them up on the scout teams they faced all year.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:22:42 PM)
ANY ???

OTC (Dec 17, 2004 2:22:56 PM)
Can you project next year's oline, or atleast who you see starting?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:25:33 PM)
My guess is there will be so many positive contributors they will rotate 7-8 guys in and out all year, kind of like they did here at the end of the year. The line for Michigan seemed to be Sims, Downing, Mangold, Kne and Barton. So start there. You'd think Datish has the inside track to get back in at guard in place of Kne. Then who do you rotate in? Mitchum, I hear, has done well. Rehring is at tackle. Schafer played the first half of the year. Person is a contender and Boone will compete for work in the fall (the paper today said St. Ed does NOT want him graduating early). That's probably the rotation.

buckmark (Dec 17, 2004 2:25:55 PM)
Steve, I saw the Matta led bBucks for the first time last night. Enjoyed watching them. It seems like we don't have a slasher type player. BFC and Butler drove to the basket a couple times, but I liked the freshman for Tech (Zeno?) and the way he slashed to the hole. Can anyone on the roster play that way or is there anyone on the horizon who may do that? Maybe Mayes?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:27:27 PM)
You did not get to see much of Sullinger last night for some reason, but he may be their best answer as a "slasher." Foster can also play that role on occasion, but he did not play exceptionally well, either. Mayes is 6-2. He's a two-guard primarily. The slashers are on their way, though, with the likes of Daequan Cook and David Lighty in the pipeline.

BuckeyeDave (Dec 17, 2004 2:27:34 PM)
In the general scheme of recruiting, would the Ohio St staff prefer to be the last school a player visits, kind of "you've seen the rest, now see the best", or would we prefer to be the first, so we can set the standard everybody else has to compete with?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:30:22 PM)
OSU seems to tailor its recruiting protocol to the player. If he wants to make a quick decision, they work him hard early with the visit and the in-home. If he says he wants to announce on signing day or at the A-A game on the 15th, they may slow play it and wait. It just depends on the kid as well as the staff's travel plans, etc. Coach Tressel can only be in one living room at a time (ha ha).

buckeyebill (Dec 17, 2004 2:30:25 PM)
Sorry if this has already been asked...But do you think Tressel keeps the Offense wide open against the Pokes?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:31:57 PM)
Yes, I think they'll stick with what worked. Oklahoma State likes a 4-2-5 defense that allows it to compete with teams like Oklahoma and Texas. So passing the ball up and down the field may not be the best route. That 5th DB is kind of like a small LB. He may be assigned to spy Troy Smith and keep him in check. I am going to watch their finale against Texas Tech and see how they play this week. But my feeling is, after Michigan, they need to stay with it.

BuckeyeDave (Dec 17, 2004 2:32:42 PM)
Do you think the reruiting efforts by Bemoll and Schoenhoft will help us land anybody?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:33:30 PM)
Well, they can't hurt, obviously. There seems to be a closeness about these kids. They all seem to get along and have enjoyed bringing kids like Worthington and maybe McCoy and others into their group. That's how you get things done.

redondo (Dec 17, 2004 2:33:37 PM)
Hi Steve - Any health status updates for the bowl game - guys who didn't play toward or were dinged up getting healthy or any previously thought healthy ones getting nicked? thank you.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:34:26 PM)
All seems to be well. Salley and Whitner were banged up, but should be full-go, I guess. There will be people like Schlegel and others who may need some medical attention after the bowl. But I have not heard of anybody who will miss this game due to injury, which is good.

buckmark (Dec 17, 2004 2:34:31 PM)
Saw that Boone will not be entering early... do you think that will significantly delay his contribution next year?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:35:48 PM)
OSU is so deep on the offensive line, that it may, in fact, put him behind some other guys at the start of fall camp. It hurts that he won't be in spring ball. But if he is as good as he is cracked up to be, he'll move to the front of the line quickly. The OSU defensive front should be improved by the fall. They will exploit any weak links in camp, I would think.

Kyle (Dec 17, 2004 2:35:57 PM)
Steve, can you gives your best guess at how the rest of this years recruiting class will fill out?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:37:15 PM)
My thoughts from the Buckeye Grove column remain the same: Wells, Ashley, L.Wilson, McCoy, Hodge (maybe the least likely with his brother at Iowa), Daniels and Lenix. I would consider Wells and Lenix the most likely to sign at OSU. Not sure what the holdup is with Wilson and/or Daniels. If Daniels makes this Okla. visit this weekend, that could speed the process.

witter (Dec 17, 2004 2:37:25 PM)
How close was Dewayne Jarrett to coming to OSU last year?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:37:45 PM)
Coach Conley has said several times he committed to Ohio State, but signed with USC instead. That sounds pretty close to me.

redondo (Dec 17, 2004 2:37:49 PM)
Hi Steve - Any prediction on the Buckeyes bball Big Ten regular season record? Thank you.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:40:37 PM)
My basketball column said 9-7. I think the nonconf will end up 11-3 (perhaps a loss at LSU and win at home over St. Joe's). The Big Ten wins: Iowa, Minn., at IU, PSU, Purdue, Michigan, at PSU, IU, at Minn. The Big Ten losses: at Ill., at Wisky, at NW, at MSU and the last three, Wisky home, at Iowa and Ill. at home. Hurts to lose those last 3, but that should still get them a first-round Big Ten tourney bye and a spot in the 4-5 game. Don't look for ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:41:25 PM)
... many favors when they reach the Big Ten tourney. They'd be playing a bubble team, probably in the 4-5 game and, like we saw with ineligible Michigan against Indiana in Chicago 2 years ago ... don't expect much help.

murfinatl (Dec 17, 2004 2:41:39 PM)
Hi Steve. D'Andrea is out, isn't he?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:42:07 PM)
D'Andrea is out, yes. He should be back for spring ball and they are fighting to get a medical redshirt for him. He played in 4 games.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:42:16 PM)
That would be great to get him an additional year.

Guest (Dec 17, 2004 2:42:20 PM)
Will BN be having any gatherings in San Antonio?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:42:35 PM)
Buckmark asks about any Bucknuts gatherings in SA ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:43:08 PM)
I have not scheduled anything yet. Maybe we'll have a social hour one evening. But I don't have a feel for where we'll be, etc. Let me look into that.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 2:43:13 PM)
Hester says the Bucks are his top choice, do you think the feeling is mutual?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:44:05 PM)
I don't think OSU has offered. He may be 5-11, 175. I guess we'll have to see if he gets a visit scheduled with OSU (I'm not sure he has a date, either). It could be wishful thinking on his part, I don't know.

DCBuck (Dec 17, 2004 2:44:09 PM)
And Steve, speaking of recruiting, do you feel we are on track for a top ten, or 5 even, recruting year?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:45:04 PM)
If they get the guys I mentioned, that's probably 5 or 6 national top 100 guys. That would be on the cusp of top five, probably. Wells, McCoy and Hodge are all top 100 guys. A sweep of those 3 would be huge.

scribeohio (Dec 17, 2004 2:45:43 PM)
Steve, I assume that Mike D would be held out of the Alamo even if healthy so OSU can pursue an additional year? How's his recovery?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:46:46 PM)
No idea about the recovery process. Will not play in this game because he's not ready. Even if he was ready, they wouldn't play because of the RS issue, I'm sure. One year is more important than a second-tier bowl game. Was told he should be there in the spring ready to go.

Guest (Dec 17, 2004 2:47:09 PM)
Tress and co. have not typically closed the recruiting season well. Why do you think that is and do you see anything to make you think this year will be different?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:47:27 PM)
Buckmark asks about how Tressel and his staff have closed recruiting seasons ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:49:16 PM)
No, it has not gone well the last 2-3 years. I don't have a real good reason why that is. I assume they are working just as hard as everybody else is. That's just the way it has gone for them, unfortunately. The D-day this year appears to be the All-American Bowl Jan. 15 instead of signing day. Will be interesting to see how that falls.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 2:49:25 PM)
Do you think Coach Foster's LadyBucks can make a run at the title this year?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:52:33 PM)
They are having a great year. They lost at Notre Dame in the NIT, but have pretty much run the table otherwise. He has assembled one of the best OSU teams in school history. They need to get to the Sweet 16 before they start thinking title. But I think they have a good chance to at least play for the Final Four, particularly if they go into the tournament as a 2 or 3 seed, as it looks today. It will be fun to watch them tear through the Big Ten and administer beatings (hopefully) to some teams that have tormented them in years past (Purdue, PSU, etc.). A year ago, they beat Minnesota 3 times and the Gophers made it to the Final Four.

murfinatl (Dec 17, 2004 2:52:51 PM)
Some of the recruits have surprises (pleasant ones), like Lauranitais and Russell. By that, I mean they were not widely talked about until the announcement. Any more of those type recruits out there, do you think?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:54:34 PM)
Maybe Eric Sledge, perhaps. He's a versatile guy who could play DB or WR. I don't really know of any other great surprises. maybe Conredge Collins, but I think he's either FSU or Florida.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 2:54:42 PM)
Who do you think will be the Buckeyes leading rusher in the Alamo Bowl?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:55:36 PM)
Troy Smith, I guess. Would be nice to see Joe or Ross have a breakout 100-yard game in their last hurrah, though. That would almost assure an OSU win to get 100 on the ground from somebody the "traditional" way.

DCBuck (Dec 17, 2004 2:55:45 PM)
Also, do you think Indiana has a chance to get even a little bit better with Miami’s Terry Hoeppner as coach now? Was it a good move?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:56:11 PM)
That blew me away today. Wow, what a great hire from an athletic department that has really hit the skids over the last 10 years. ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 2:59:58 PM)
Hoeppner took what Randy Walker left him and rode Roethlisberger to some great heights at Miami. These last 2 years they've won as many games as just about anybody this side of USC and Oklahoma. He deserved to step up. Some might call this a backwards move. I'm sure the money is much more at Indiana. OU just hired Solich in at $250K. He was playing for the BCS title just three years ago ... and now he's at freaking Ohio U. Wow. Have to think Hoeppner went from the $300K range to $750K or better at IU. If he got a 5-year deal, it's worth it, obviously, to set himself up for life. ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:00:58 PM)
Indiana will do better with him. They will return to bowl games within 3 years under Hoeppner. That is my feeling. I'm not sure anybody will help them win a Big Ten title any time soon, but IU will be markedly better under him. They hired a great football coach. I can't believe it. I'm stunned.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 3:01:40 PM)
What do you think the Bucks need to do to be a better road team next year? It does seem like JT and the team always talk about how hard it is to win on the road. I wonder if they haven't convinced themselves it's harder than it is. Hopefully more exprience will help them.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:02:13 PM)
Well, for starters, I like their road schedule next year (ha ha): Indiana, Minnesota, Penn State and that last one ... what was that team again? ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:05:09 PM)
That isn't exactly the same as playing Iowa, Wisconsin or Purdue at their place. So right there they should automatically do better. The NW game proved they can't take anybody for granted. I thought that was the case more than the road game factor, although I'm sure that factored into it. Ryan Field is NOT a tough place for a visiting team by any means. Camp Randall at night it ain't. They outclass those first 3 road opponents next year. But I get your point, it's like Coach Tressel goes into overdrive on the coach speak about how tough a challenge is and it borders on fear at times of the predicament and pressure of "taking this great Ohio State program on the road and getting everybody's best shot." That's BS. When you're Ohio State, you go on the road and win those games because you're the better team. You have better players. At least that's how it's supposed to be ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:07:12 PM)
That last game at Michigan is anybody's game. Tressel has proven he can win there, but only a handful of these players will be 5th year guys from the 2001 game and probably none of them were on that trip due to the limited travel squad. The stakes of that game (likely) will make it another all-time classic. It will be just who makes plays and doesn't turn it over. OSU has won 3 of the last 4 and 4 of the last 7 against UM.

crazynuts (Dec 17, 2004 3:07:35 PM)
Steve, I am sure this has been talked about, but what happened with Ringer? Did it boil down to a grades situation?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:08:42 PM)
I, myself, have only had limited contact with Ringer and Coach Place. It would be presumptuous of me to say there was one overriding reason. My feeling from sitting back and hearing all of the different informed opinions and reading what has been said is this: Ohio State liked Ringer and wanted him to grayshirt. There may be several reasons. ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:11:34 PM)
For starters, it delays his five-year clock and there is no onus for him to rehab the injury and contribute or practice next fall. He comes back in 2006 when he is completely healthy. Also, there is the admissions hurdle. I am not privy to Javon's transcript. But the assertion I make is it is easier to gain admissions in "off-quarters" (i.e. the winter and spring) as spots open due to one-quarter dropouts. That's how this situation looked to me all along. The football staff, for whatever reason, believed they would have a battle to get Javon admitted for next fall. They wanted to delay his enrollment until the winter, when they basically open the doors to "re-fill" the university because of fall graduates and one-quarter dropouts. Again, I have not looked at his transcript to know if he has the credits he needs or not to get into OSU. He reportedly has a 21 on the ACT, which is great and should carry some weight.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:15:02 PM)
I think, in the final analysis, there were several strikes against him -- the injury and the transcript. Nobody from Ohio State will comment, obviously, on why they weren't able to get him in this class, so I doubt we ever get their side. Coach Place has his take on it and is informed, certainly, of what Ringer has done. I take any communications from athletes and their parents with a grain of salt. This is their only time through this very confusing process. Some parents have good counselors who walk them through it and explain all the ins and outs; others think they know all the rules but in fact do not. I have no idea what the Ringers' awareness of NCAA rules or OSU admissions guidelines is, so I won't comment and say "They don't know what they're talking about." It is a confusing mess, but that's what goes with the territory in recruiting coverage. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle and we rarely get full disclosure.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:15:37 PM)
And I will add ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:17:12 PM)
that there seems to be confusion on the OSU end about what and who will be acceptable in the eyes of admissions at the university. It seems to be a moving target these days. I'm told the coaches are not given hard and fast concrete standards to apply to these kids, so they have to play a guessing game in deciding whether they can get kids through. I know President Holbrook and Andy Geiger do not want to relive Miles Williams or Dajuan Morgan so the staff is treading very lightly nowadays.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:18:12 PM)
The obvious next question is why does Freddie Lenix appear to be in with a lesser test score. I can't answer that. Maybe his coursework is different. Another factor is his GPA and class rank may be better in the Glenville environment than Ringer's compare in the C-J environment.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:18:59 PM)
Man, that was a real rant, huh? But I think we all have to resolve to the fact there were reasons, good ones, why you're being fed the players you are (and are not) being fed.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 3:19:13 PM)
Do you think JT's personality is conducive to this debate about him not being a closer in recruiting? What I mean is, to me he would appeal to a more conservative, less of an I I I type of player. These guys to me tend to know what they are looking for and commit early. Some of the players who tend to commit late seem to want to milk the process for the attention, and seem to be a little more interested in who is going to suck up to them a little more. What do you think about that line of thinking?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:22:10 PM)
Yes, I think that's a good point. Tressel seems to be a simple, honest guy who portrays himself a certain way. He appeals to kids who have their life priorities in the proper context. Some of these kids who have their heads in the clouds may not hit it off with him or members of his staff (a lot of them mirror his outlook, it seems). I think there may be something to that. Coach Tressel is a great talker and I'm sure he is great in the living room with the parents, aunts,uncles and grandparents. But the "me me" kind of kid you're talking about could be a different animal. Of course, that is Tressel's challenge to get some of those kind of kids who will also make a big difference on OSU's bottom line.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 3:22:24 PM)
I keep trying to hear some news about Nader Abdullah. I'm dying to see this guy turn into a stud DL at O-State. I laughes when I heard he let the air out of Conatser's bike tires. Do you know much about him?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:23:23 PM)
No, we don't get to watch practice. I won't make anything up. He's a big kid, no question. I know the offensive staff was impressed with the look he gave them at DT. Whether that means he works his way into the rotation there with Pitcock, Green, Penton, Patterson, Maupin and Cotton, that's a tough question.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 3:23:31 PM)
Looking at next year's first four games on the schedule was a little daunting. Miami (Oh), Texas, San Diego State and Iowa. Losing Hoeppner has to make one of those games a little easier don't you think?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:26:28 PM)
I agree, that Miami game was no gimme, even though OSU and its fans have delusions of grandeur (or are those visions of grandeur ... ha ha). Miami will go out and get the next guy who fits that mold. I'd say maybe John Peterson, with his experience there and ties to the Middletown area, would be a perfect fit. Hard to say, but there will be a lot of great up-and-coming coaches angling for that job now. That SDSU game bothers me. Do we have to sit through another awful game like the last two with the Aztecs? OSU won both times, but it was probably one of their worst performances of each year, 2001 and 2003. Iowa has Drew Tate, who was the Big Ten's best QB in 2004. So that one will not be easy, either. Texas loses Benson, but has Young back at QB. Will be a great environment as the nation's 2 largest schools go head to head. On paper, no easy ones there.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:26:52 PM)
Maybe Mark Snyder and Mel Tucker will be candidates at Miami ... Hmmm...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:27:06 PM)
Tucker worked there as well, I believe.

Guest (Dec 17, 2004 3:27:18 PM)
am amazed that back after back is going elsewhere when it seems so wide open at OSU

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:27:36 PM)
labsbeabmm is amazed at OSU's inability to recruit great RBs. ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:29:08 PM)
It is a puzzler, certainly. We used to blame the specter of Clarett (i.e. nobody wanted to be in his shadow). That certainly ain't a problem any more. I can't explain it. Tressel wants dearly to run the ball out of the I formation, but for the life of him can't get that done. Not sure if recruits have picked up on it or what. OSU's RB recruiting has been suspect at best for years and years (other than Clarett).

trolley (Dec 17, 2004 3:29:15 PM)
Have you heard any rumblings lately on the ESPN/Clarett front? I know there were rumors that another bomb was going to hit but it seems to be quiet -- maybe a little too quiet!

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:30:42 PM)
I get asked this every day. If they had something, I'm sure they would have used it. Coach Tressel has so much class. He could have short-circuited ESPN on that Purdue game, but he didn't do it. He took it like a man and went and did the interviews with them and everything. Will be interesting to see if he sits for any of those taped features or interviews they like to inject in the games. Those are usually taped 2 days before or the day before.

crazynuts (Dec 17, 2004 3:31:05 PM)
Steve, as a Miami alum and someone who knows Coach Hoeppner personally I know he and his family are excited to move back to Indiana. However, that being said, I think Indiana is where college coaches go to die. As a deeply religous guy he has been able to recruit well in the bible belt, so maybe that will work for him in Bloomington. I wish him luck, maybe he can turn it around.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:33:52 PM)
Indiana has to schedule like Glen Mason did at Minnesota to get back on its feet. They have no business playing Oregon (even though they won there) or Washington. They need to play Ball State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Sun Belt teams, WAC teams, MAC teams and, of course, Kentucky. They need 3 guaranteed wins, that way if they can go 3-5 in conference (like Minn. did this year), they get the automatic bowl bid and go from there. That's the key.

BuckeyeDave (Dec 17, 2004 3:34:16 PM)
Who will start at TB for the Alamo Bowl? Pittman? How much PT does Ross get?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:35:42 PM)
I have no clue. I bet Coach Tressel doesn't even know the answer to that one. Ross was totally phased out after he came back from his "vacation." (Or as Tim May put it, he "slid down the pole" at tailback ... ha ha.) Maybe he gets the nod for sentimental reasons. For what he did against Michigan, I'd go single back with Branden Joe. All 3 will probably share the rushing duties.

osudrummer (Dec 17, 2004 3:38:21 PM)
hey steve, whats the latest on how our recruiting class ranks in comparison to say... michigan?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:39:49 PM)
OSU is probably around fifth and Michigan somewhere below that in the top 10 right now. OSU has 3 top 100 guys (Boone, O'Neal and Worthington). Michigan has 2 (TB Kevin Grady and Ohio WR Mario Manningham ... oh how he would look in ... don't go there!). A lot will still be determined on how they close, obviously. Both are positioned for comparable top-10 classes, maybe top-five if all falls right.

scribeohio (Dec 17, 2004 3:40:03 PM)
Steve, b4 Xmas is on us, just wanted to thank you and the entire staff for tireless and informative reporting not only recently but all year! BN is the best overall site.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:42:10 PM)
Scribe, I appreciate the thank you. We pride ourselves on trying to be the best college team fan web site in the country. We have a ways to go to reach that level. But as I alluded to earlier, we have a staff addition to announce in the coming days that will make a huge impact on our coverage of OSU athletics and recruiting. The commitment actually comes from Mr. B. He believes in our mission and what we're trying to do here. And we thank all of you for supporting us this year. My message to everybody out there is if you like what you see and you want it to get better, help us grow. ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:44:34 PM)
Spread the word to your friends about what we're doing now. As we add subscribers, we can add staff and more features to this site. Our record kind of speaks for itself. This is our second Chat this week. Since Sunday, we've probably had 30 or more articles on the site. And they've been interesting, thought provoking features as well ... not 3 and 4 paragraph blips. Our focus is on this site. There may be times when we may seem slow on a story or an update. But sometimes there are good reasons for that. I think our passion for what we're doing here comes through in everything we do. Thanks for noticing.

osudrummer (Dec 17, 2004 3:45:05 PM)
if we hold on to both AJ Hawk and Santonio Holmes what are we looking like as far as pre-season rankings next year?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:46:08 PM)
That is one of my next challenges, assembling data for 2005. OSU and Michigan would clearly be the top 2 picks in the Big Ten. Whether that's worthy of top 10, I don't know, but would assume so. It helps your ranking to have some star power like Hawk, Holmes, Ginn and Smith to flash at pollsters.

osudrummer (Dec 17, 2004 3:46:16 PM)
if we offered ringer, would we have gotten harrison as well? or was he turned off by how we treated javon. stupid michigan...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:47:24 PM)
OSU to my knowledge never offered Brandon Harrison. I could be wrong, perhaps, on whether that was the case after he decommitted from ND, but I don't think they liked the height issue. There seems to be sentiment that in today's day and age of the spread and 30-40 pass attempts a game, you need taller corners like Gamble and Youboty.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 3:47:32 PM)
Anything new on E.J. Underwood?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:48:23 PM)
No, I have nothing to report there. There have been a ton of rumors that he's in some type of peril here. But I have nothing to substantiate it. He would be a key guy as the "other" corner next year, allowing Ginn to stay on offense or at least focus on that and returns.

swope (Dec 17, 2004 3:48:34 PM)
we took clarett over deshawn wynn, if i remember correctly. how has wynn performed at florida? it seems he would have been the better choice in retrospect...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:49:30 PM)
I don't have Wynn's stats. You say he would have been the better choice. That NC sure was a pretty neat deal though. Was it worth all of this trouble? I think Wynn had some decent years at Fla. But, obviously, they haven't done anything that special with him.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 3:49:39 PM)
Do you think M. Jackson and E.Shazor were deserving of all the accolades they received? Seems to me there is more hype than substance to either one of them. I'd take Fox over Jackson anyday.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:51:14 PM)
I don't know. I like Shazor a lot. He's a real good player, although he may have been the one who got tripped turned upside down on Gonzo's long TD. Jackson played well early in his career and built a rep as a great DB. His versatility to play all 4 positions reasonably well impresses me. He's a good player. Not sure if he's great. But he's part of that great hype machine in AA.

osudrummer (Dec 17, 2004 3:51:46 PM)
how does felder compare compare to our other lb prospects... namely lenix and rico

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:53:02 PM)
Felder is a nice player. He is rated slightly lower than McCoy and Hodge and probably ahead of Lenix. He is scheduled to visit Jan. 7, I believe. It's rare to sign a kid from Washington. I don't have him on my list of probable signees, but he has sent signals out that he really likes OSU and my list could change after his visit.

osudrummer (Dec 17, 2004 3:53:08 PM)
i havent heard much in quite awhile about Adam Meyers-White... what kind of season did he have and why did he drop from the face of the [recruiting] earth?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:56:10 PM)
AMW got hurt in the season opener and missed several games. OSU pulled its offer when he said he wanted to take some visits. In hindsight, there was no great DB recruit they wanted better than him (maybe Shawn Oatis, but he went elsewhere). I just think the staff got a vibe they didn't like from AMW's camp. The injury gave them their out and they took it. I think Hamilton ran the table and was 0-10, though they play some great competition in and out of their league. He has made visits to Nebraska, Purdue and Tenn (top 3) as well as UC and USC. Says he'll announce at the All-American Game.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 3:56:37 PM)
Were the Buckeyes ever in the hunt for Adrian Peterson?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:57:01 PM)
Coach Conley said they made an initial play for him, but I don't think it was serious. he certainly never visited here.

swope (Dec 17, 2004 3:57:08 PM)
tressel is a qb coach, and yet his his priorities are to minimize mistakes and emphasize the run. just how rare is that philosophy in qb coaches?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:58:26 PM)
Tressel coaches the QBs in concert with Joe Daniels, who is the QBs coach. That is in direct conflict with a guy like Steve Superior who coaches the QBs and features them, I guess. I have a feeling Troy Smith will be featured much more the next 2 years if he continues to play like he did against the U.

swope (Dec 17, 2004 3:59:10 PM)
steve, do you have a special knack for judging talent at a particular position over another? do duane and the others have particular areas of expertise? if so, can you give examples?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 3:59:33 PM)
I'm not sure I have a special knack for anything more than typing (ha ha) ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:01:35 PM)
I try and watch as much tape as I can, as I'm sure Duane does. Duane watches miles of tape. That's what makes him more accurate than I could hope to ever be on player evaluation. Likewise, Gary watches these guys in person much more than I do, so I trust his word when he says, say, a Tyrell Sutton can play at the Big Ten level. They are the evaluators in our group, much moreso than me.

swope (Dec 17, 2004 4:01:40 PM)
who will emerge with a breakout season next year?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:02:03 PM)
Youboty will become a household name. Maybe Haw and Gonzalez on offense as well. You hope for Jay Richardson at end as well.

swope (Dec 17, 2004 4:02:10 PM)
what's the best bet for fans to hear tressel speak in person?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:03:24 PM)
He does some alumni functions. He speaks at the Cleveland OSU Club banquet every year on the Tuesday after the Michigan game. You might call the football office and ask if he has any upcoming events in your area, then buy the tickets and go.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 4:03:39 PM)
How many players can OSU take to the Bowl game? Is it restricted just like any other Big Ten away game?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:04:08 PM)
No, everybody goes on the bowl trip, even the guys redshirting. It is seen as a reward for all the hard work and an incentive for future trips, etc.

BuckeyeDave (Dec 17, 2004 4:04:16 PM)
Maybe Caoch Conley as a candidate for Miami - OH?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:04:24 PM)
Possibly. Possibly.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 4:04:35 PM)
Do you expect Devon Jordan to get healthy and back in the mix? I've heard tons of goods things about him from my homies in Stark County.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:06:01 PM)
That would be great. At lunch today, we debated how hard it might be for anybody to crack that rotation next year. Holmes, Ginn and Gonzo seem to be 1,2,3 with Hall also there. Coach Tressel talks non-stop about Albert Dukes, kind of like he talked about Holmes, when he redshirted, so watch out there. Then there is also Lyons. That should be a strong point of the team. I hope Jordan can get in and make a contribution.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 4:06:07 PM)
Off the recruits currently commited to OSU, which three are you most looking forward to watching?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:06:50 PM)
Worthington, first and foremost. One, because he's supposedly taking other visits and I want to see the signed LOI (ha ha). Two, because DE is a position of incredible need. Three, because he could be a difference maker ...

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:07:14 PM)
Beyond him, the obvious ones Boone and O'Neal.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 4:07:48 PM)
There is no way JT will ever go into next season with just three running backs. If we only get M. Wells, what strategy do you think they will take?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:08:53 PM)
I'd think some guys like Russell and/or Lenix may open at RB with the idea of moving to DB when they get the depth back, a la Guilford. They have some walk-ons who can help them get through practice too. But it is a huge concern, no doubt.

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:09:10 PM)
Anything else, at the two hour, 5 minute mark?

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 4:09:18 PM)
This chat has really got me fired up. I think I'll go home tonight a watch the OSU vs. Michigan tape. I'll give you the Wolves and 14 points. It's too long between the end of the season and the bowl games don't you think?

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:10:25 PM)
It is. We get one more 3-1/2 hour game in 2 weeks then we have to go cold turkey until next Sept. What will we talk about? (Oh yeah ... Will Smith be the starting QB? Will Zwick transfer? Will D'Andrea move to DE? Will they open up the offense? Ha ha.)

scribeohio (Dec 17, 2004 4:10:39 PM)
Thanks, Steve. Have a great weekend.

edbuck51 (Dec 17, 2004 4:10:42 PM)
Thanks man! Go BUCKS!!!!

rbuck (Dec 17, 2004 4:10:48 PM)
Steve, I just want to say thanks for staying around so long, and have a Great Holiday Season. You've done a terrific job!

swope (Dec 17, 2004 4:10:51 PM)
thank you steve! great job and happy holidays!

BuckeyeDave (Dec 17, 2004 4:10:58 PM)
Thanks Steve!

SteveHelwagen (Dec 17, 2004 4:11:21 PM)
Thanks everybody. Not sure about next Friday, being Christmas Eve. Maybe I'll chat on Wed. instead.

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