Every organization has a guiding presence that defines the principles and mores of the group. As an example, we use Yogi Berra as our inspirational tipping point, our guru against whom we can measure journalistic excellence and logic. I looked for Yogi to guide me in this off-season of The Year of the Buckeye and I found comfort in his observation that, "We're lost, but we're making good time".
The off-season feels that way. It's as if you are ready to play but the other team failed to show up. It's like the first Dayton Warbirds Arena Football League program (with Steve Bellisari at quarterback) whose home opener was cancelled this week for lack of protective padding.
We focus on recruiting (always the first priority here at Bucknuts). We talk about coaching changes, facilities, rubber chicken lunches and fundraisers, workout stories, academic casualties and the dates for spring practices to begin. We wax nostalgic for the halcyon days gone by.
But, basically, we wait for football to start! Does it start March 30, when spring practice begins? Or in the summer when the players return to work out? Or in August when formal practices resume? Or do we really have to wait until September 3 for the official beginning, the Miami game?
I still maintain that there is no off-season if you are a Buckeye fan. Gosh, it's hard to squeeze everything Buckeye into 365 days as it is. That's why Bucknuts exists. And why I am here today to get some of the normal odds-and-ends out of my system and into your computer…
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Our kicker is so old…Just how old is he? When Josh Huston was a freshman at Ohio State, Mike Nugent was still in Centerville High School. That's right – Nugent came in a year later and had the best four-year career in the history of Ohio State kicking and…Josh Huston is still there! How old is he? Huston graduated with Ben Roethlisberger at Findlay High School. That's right – Big Ben played four sensational years at Miami and was the Rookie of the Year in the NFL and…Josh Huston is still at Ohio State! When Josh Huston was just getting to Ohio State (2000), potential heir apparent Aaron Pettrey wasn't even in high school. Now, Pettrey has waited 18 months to enroll at OSU as Josh has his scholarship. Pettrey got tired of waiting and is coming in as a walk-on this fall.
But no matter how old Josh Huston is, the other guy battling for the PK job still seems like an older brother. That would be the mysterious Ryan Pretorius who has been listed as 27 or 28 years old. OSU might have assistant coaches younger than that. But finding great kickers never gets old for the Buckeyes…
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Repeating ourselves…I once was accused of plagiarism when I used a clever line that I had – unfortunately – used just two weeks prior. An interesting ethical conundrum, there…So it is with that same respect for journalistic ethics (if that's not an oxymoron) that I enthusiastically plagiarize a list that our own Steve Helwagen made in his sensational "Buckeye Grove" column a few weeks back. Steve was pondering the Top Ten items that should be on the list for our new Athletic Director, Gene Smith, once he starts his job in April. Here is a slightly modified version of what we will look forward to Gene fixing and/or advancing:
1) Resolve and conclude the NCAA investigations. Let's move on…
2) Fix the seating situation for basketball. Let's be able to see…
3) Renovate the WHAC. The "weight" is over…
4) Increase OSU's APR rankings. Before they become the next lightning rod…
5) Make consistent the OSU football admissions policies. So that the recruits understand them…
6) Maintain the fiscal momentum created by Geiger. The "edifice complex" is over…
7) Win the Director's Cup. Hey – OSU should be the best all-around sports school in the nation…
8) Maintain the budgetary disciplines of the past. Keep the coffers full…
9) Work on the "under-performing" sports. Wrestling, what happened?
10) Instigate a sensible tailgating policy. Stop the hypocrisy…
That takes care of the money. That makes OSU a clean and successful all-around sports university. And that gets rid of the absurd game day hypocrisy. Not a bad start! Now, let's get to work…
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Remember when…Remember when we looked at OSU's receiving corps – just two years ago, fans – and saw Jenkins and Carter and Childress; and we were licking our chops? Well, would anyone trade OSU's current group of Ginn and Holmes and Gonzo and Lyons and Hall? Some really tasty chops, there! And remember when we chortled to ourselves as Chris Gamble dropped back to field a punt (well, some of us were simply holding our breath…)? Those chortlers are giddy like schoolgirls when they see Ginn and Holmes drop back. Know what I mean?
2005: The Year of the Buckeye!
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The year of the Fox…Or "Dustin Time". We scheme all the time to get faithful Bucknut viewers what they want. We are OSU fanatics, as well, and we try to put ourselves in your place to source quality material. But every once in a while, the material finds us…Such was the case when I visited our Columbus office a few weeks back and noticed a new part-time intern: Nicole Fox. Yes, Dustin's wife. After getting Nicole to tell me a bunch of ribald stories about players (just kidding – she was far too classy for that), she volunteered that Dustin would be happy to come in and do an internet chat and put down some segments for our radio program. So Dustin stopped by last Monday and chatted up Bucknuts' fans. Two of the more memorable squibs in a very sincere Q&A included:
Q: Who are the best up and coming receivers for the Bucks?
A: They are pretty set with Ginn, Holmes and Gonzalez. If they get Dukes back, I think he has a chance to actually be better than Santonio. He's really good.
Q: Do any of the players frequent the site here?
A: Everyone looks at the Web sites. All the posters shouldn't hate on the players. They're just kids.
Hmmm. They're just kids. And Dustin is one of the great kids! It's amazing how much good stuff you get when you go right to the source. And stuff to remember when you post next time…
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A booster shot…And some probably should be. For years, the university has distributed a rules brochure from the NCAA – and always to season ticket holders. Ohio State has done their part to try to bring boosters within compliance. Individual rogues are hard to control…
To that end, Bucknuts is pleased to re-re-re-present this information to help you boosters and to help the school stay out of trouble for a while. You are an athletic booster if you:
1) Have ever been a member of a booster organization that supports Ohio State athletics.
2) Have made any financial contributions to any area of Ohio State.
3) Have made any annual or lifetime membership commitment to a booster organization.
4) Have ever been involved with the recruitment of a prospect.
5) Have provided benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their relatives or friends.
6) Have otherwise been involved in promoting Ohio State's athletic program.
7) Provide or have helped to arrange employment for student-athletes.
8) Are you the parent or legal guardian of an enrolled student-athlete?
9) Have ever been a season ticket holder.
Before you ask, Bucknuts' staff is considered "media". The rest of you need to decide if you fit the definition of "booster" or not. And, if so, try to act responsibly, eh?
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The "just" in time…Just nine days until spring training. Just 33 days until the spring game. Just 135 days until we lay a whippin' on those RedHawks. Texas? Right around the corner. Just close your eyes and believe. It's Buckeye time!
If you have the time, feel free to get rid of your random thoughts to Mr. Bucknuts at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com