Helwagen Chat: March 31 Archive

Here are excerpts from Thursday's Chat with Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen. He conducts these Chat sessions each week for Bucknuts.com subscribers. Gary Housteau will provide insight from the first practice at his Chat, set for 11 a.m. Friday.

ODOGG45 (Mar 31, 2005 1:24:22 PM)
steve- are you hearing anything coming out of winter conditioning about players to watch out for this year?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:24:48 PM)
No, just the usual names like Chad Hoobler, Erik Haw, the young OL, guys you would expect that might be ready to make a move.

buckwild23 (Mar 31, 2005 1:26:34 PM)
Steve- Thanks for the chat... What's your take on the RB situation this year? Will Haw step up?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:28:16 PM)
Yes, I like Erik Haw a lot! I was going back over the Big 33 last year and I think he had a nice catch-and-run in that game. Then, he had a nice run or 2 in an early scrimmage. But something happened and he got relegated to RS status. I think it obviously helped Pittman that he came in early. The coaches want to throw these 2 into the fire and see who reacts. I think Haw will respond in this situation. He could end up being the man. He has the blend of speed and power that are just too hard to deny.

dirtysouthbuck (Mar 31, 2005 1:29:49 PM)
Steve, What's your take on DT Nader Abdallah? Word is he is currently 6'5 310 lbs. I saw him on campus and my goodness is he a physical montrosity.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:31:07 PM)
He is huge, no question. I think the coaches liked what they saw with Nader last fall. It will be interesting to see if Cotton, Maupin or Abdallah are able to crack the rotation this fall. Abdallah has 4 years left at OSU and I think within another year or 2 he could be a potential star, maybe a bigger version of Quinn Pitcock, if that's possible (ha ha).

buckwild23 (Mar 31, 2005 1:31:12 PM)
I hope motivation is also a factor in that mix with haw :)

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:32:07 PM)
If he and Pittman can't get motivated to try and win that job outright this spring, then they are beyond help. What more could a guy want? An open canvas to earn as many carries as you can handle. That has to be a great feeling for them.

dirtysouthbuck (Mar 31, 2005 1:33:12 PM)
That's great news, I heard somewhere on a website, that Coach Heacock had mentioned Abdallah as a possibility on strongside defensive end. Wouldn't that be unique! A 310 pounder at end

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:34:22 PM)
That would be. They seem set inside with Green and Pitcock so there may be some more open reps at end. They will try everybody there to find a combo that works. My guess is, though, that Richardson and Patterson will join Kudla, Gholston and Barrow outside and that will be good enough.

ODOGG45 (Mar 31, 2005 1:34:36 PM)
how is Freeman progressing?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:35:45 PM)
Everything looks good. With the injuries they have with D'Andrea and Schlegel, guys will be moving around. Plus, they do not want to get Hawk or Carpenter dinged up, so look for Freeman, Lukens, Hoobler, Terry and Brandon Smith to get a ton of reps this spring. I am excited to see how No. 17 fits in there. His time is definitely coming.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:38:19 PM)
Looks like good weather today for the first practice, so that is good.

ODOGG45 (Mar 31, 2005 1:39:01 PM)
Steve- what is the latest on the new weight room at TOSU?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:40:20 PM)
That project is obviously passing on to the new athletic director, Gene Smith. Andy Geiger told me 2 years ago, then 1 year ago they would not start on it until all money was in place. They were trying to raise $10 million for that project to fully renovate the working areas of the building and do some state-of-the-art stuff. They obviously aren't there yet, but I see it coming in the next year or so.

buckipilot (Mar 31, 2005 1:40:43 PM)
Steve I am originally from Steubenville Ohio, but moved to WV when I was about 6.I am now 35. He talkes about the tradition and how great they are. I never seen them going far in the playoffs and only remember Buster Tillman to ever come from there. Why don't we see more from that area?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:43:06 PM)
Good question. My grandparents and aunts and uncles live in Eastern Ohio and in the Ohio Valley, so I have some working knowledge of the area. There is great competition there and, occasionally, some great athletes come from the area. Steubenville is a Division II school, I believe and they do well at their level year in and year out. That's just one of about 700 schools in Ohio, though. The kids from there are competing with kids all over the state usually for about 10 spots at Ohio State. They only take the best of the best. Down the river in Bellaire, Nate Davis is making a push for a scholarship. We'll see what happens when he camps this summer. But the people in the Valley take their sports seriously, no doubt.

osubckys (Mar 31, 2005 1:43:18 PM)
With EH and DJ in the backfield this fall, will the Bucks have the ability, behind one of the best o-lines in cfb this year, to run out of the I successfully thus managing the clock better and being able to pick up short yardage plays when necessary? Our inability to pick up short ydg has hampered many a drive in recent years. While we are loaded with speed, I still believe we have to be successful with the old bread and butter offense to manage games. With those backs and this line, will this be the rebirth of the running game?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:44:55 PM)
You have to hope. Ohio State needs to get back to being able to run the football when it wants to run the football. My belief is the big play ability of Ted Ginn Jr., Santonio Holmes and Anthony Gonzalez will open things up for the running game. So, yes, I would say OSU will be able to run better than it has the last 2 years. Would be real hard to do any worse. What would that make them, like 118th out of 117 teams in D-I? (ha ha)

sm00r (Mar 31, 2005 1:45:03 PM)
It was nice to see Maupin listed as back on the spring roster. What can we realistically expect from him for the 2005 season?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:46:05 PM)
Let's just hope he stays with the team at this point and not heap expectations on the kid. He obviously has some issues off the field. He needs to show he can handle his responsibilities before he'll be counted on as a play maker. He needs to stay with it and fight through adversity. I'm pulling for him.

buckwild23 (Mar 31, 2005 1:46:21 PM)
Steve- Do you expect Ohio State to fill in the open corner position and not miss a beat? Does the loss of Tucker hurt? Who do you think wil eventually earn the start?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:47:31 PM)
The players say Tyler Everett wants the spot. He doesn't want to have to split time with Whitner and come in as the nickel anymore. I like Everett as a player. I thought Whitner was the better of the 2 because of his supreme tackling abilities. So this gives Everett a chance, although he will be limited this spring due to injury. He will be studying ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:49:16 PM)
Yes, it hurts to lose Tucker because he locked down Cleveland. Think of all the great athletes he has helped OSU land, including D'Andrea and the Glenville guys, the Brush guys and Gonzalez. He was also strong with the DBs (see their progression from Games 4-6 to Games 8-12). But Haynes comes highly recommended as a human being and a coach, so that is good. I see Everett starting, at least to open the year. Then maybe O'Neal or Ginn as the year wears on.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:49:34 PM)
This move also opens a spot for Brandon Mitchell to play nickel. He is a heavy hitter now.

ODOGG45 (Mar 31, 2005 1:49:40 PM)
Steve- who do you think will be starting at CB with Youboty?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:49:50 PM)
Yep, Everett, as I said here.

taxman (Mar 31, 2005 1:49:53 PM)
Hi Steve, the running back position is thin going into the Spring pratice. Do you see either one of the two backs stepping up and winning the position, or will the Buckeyes have to wait until the Fall to see what Wells can do.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:50:54 PM)
My money, ever so slightly, is on Haw. He just has that blend of power and speed. Maybe Pittman has improved his power during the off-season. He kind of hit the wall after he had that 100-yard game. I like them both, really. But I think Haw brings that added dimension. He should not go down with the first hit.

buckipilot (Mar 31, 2005 1:51:16 PM)
Thanks for the answer about Steubenville. To give you my time frame I left ohio from St Clairisville in 1978 that was the years I got to watch Tim Spencer play high school baal for St C. He was a stud

buckipilot (Mar 31, 2005 1:51:24 PM)
I hope we get the NCAA investigations over with and gone. I can't help but be so excited about the football and basketball programs. I feel Tress has cleaned up our THUG reputation and Thad seems to be the great coach we have been missing since Gary Williams. I am so excited for this football season and next basketball

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:53:01 PM)
I agree, there is more clamor for OSU basketball now than there has been maybe back to 2000, coming off the Final Four year when they were preseason top 10. Agreed on Matta. O'Brien wasn't bad, really. Those last 2 years weren't all that great and he did need to amp up the recruiting. Matta just has this go for the jugular mentality that captivates peoples' hearts and minds, kind of like a Williams.

Buckeye4u (Mar 31, 2005 1:53:06 PM)
Sorry arriving late I thought it was 3 pm EST. Anyway, is anyone from Bucknuts.com covering that MoC's drills? Or is it closed to media?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:53:56 PM)
I apologize for posting the wrong time on the home page. That was a mistake. We change the time to fit practice, interview schedules each week. The Clarett thing is closed, but we expect a report at some point after it's done.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:54:03 PM)
Good luck, Reecie (ha ha).

ODOGG45 (Mar 31, 2005 1:54:10 PM)
Steve- sounds like the Buckeye baseball team is gonna be pretty strong, what do you think of this team ?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:56:45 PM)
I think they've won 9 or 10 in a row. Bob Todd does a good job with the team. Omaha is still his main goal in life (beyond the Big Ten). I just hope they eventually make it there. They open the Big Ten at Illinois this weekend.

Buckeye4u (Mar 31, 2005 1:56:53 PM)
Which position is OSU's weakest link right now? What things that you think that should be focused on during spring game?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:58:25 PM)
Kicker, in particular, is not a good scene. Huston has never displayed consistency or reliability. Punter is also an area of concern, but I think Trapasso has the raw skill to boom the ball. Beyond that, probably corner. They want Everett or Whitner to be the answer, but Everett won't be practicing much this spring. And tailback, when you're that thin, an injury or a misstep (on or off the field) could be devastating.

taxman (Mar 31, 2005 1:58:36 PM)
Steve, on the defense side of the ball, at the ends position, is Kulda a starting end? He showed at times an abilitity to make the big play, then seemed to disapear. The coaches keep talking about someone coming of f the edge,.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 1:59:26 PM)
Good point, he doesn't strike you as a speed rusher, more of a plugger who works hard and will make plays over time. I think he's reasonably solid, though, and plays good assignment defense. That is very important as well.

buckwild23 (Mar 31, 2005 1:59:30 PM)
Steve-Great stuff as always. I live in south florida and we love our Buckeyes and the great info you offer those who root for the same team, but dont live in Ohio. My question in that regard would be..Who will recruit the South Florida areas Broward and Dade and also the Tampa are? Will P. Haynes recruit here with Hazell? Young energetic recruiters would be a nice addition down here with recruits.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:00:51 PM)
I don't think they have established that. I know Snyder tried to pick up for Conley in south Fla. this past year and didn't get all that much accomplished. No knock on him, but after what happened with Dajuan Morgan it would be hard to pick up some of those pieces. We'll try and check on that because you know the coaches will be in their assigned areas during the May evaluation period.

buckipilot (Mar 31, 2005 2:00:57 PM)
agreed, no disrespect was meant for O'Brien, but I get the feeling Thad will get the instate kids he wants.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:01:38 PM)
No, I understand, there was certainly a disconnect there with O'Brien, his staff and the Ohio prep coaches. They just didn't get the job done and, consequently, people like Jawad Williams are playing in the Final Four for UNC and other people.

Buckeye4u (Mar 31, 2005 2:01:43 PM)
What are the feelers on Marshall and Snyder?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:03:18 PM)
Snyder was on Spielman's show today and said, as you'd expect, he does have a passion for Marshall and thinks he could do a good job there. (In a funny moment, he tried to act like the phone line was breaking up when Chris first asked him about his candidacy for that job.) Tressel said they may know something next week. The great thing is this is all out in the hope and Tressel has had weeks now to think of what may happen next if he does leave. Tressel has complete confidence that Fickell and Heacock could guide OSU through spring ball if need be.

buckwild23 (Mar 31, 2005 2:04:58 PM)
Steve-Any feel on who you think will replace M. Snyder?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:06:05 PM)
I think they'd go off the staff for that answer. The first name I heard was Gary Blackney at Maryland. You also heard the Bo Pelini rumors. He has jumped around so much and is now on Les Miles' staff at LSU. But this is his alma mater, too.

Buckeye4u (Mar 31, 2005 2:06:09 PM)
Which players are you rooting for break-out season?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:06:23 PM)
There is, as always, no cheering in the press box (ha ha), but ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:08:27 PM)
If I had to pick some guys who need to come through big for them this fall, I'd say Richardson and Patterson at DE (Richardson has the frame, Patterson had a great first couple games in 03 and hasn't really been heard from since), whoever plays that corner (Everett, I guess), Haw at TB (I just see a lot of good things with a tailback who is 6-1, 210 and then maybe Devon Lyons at WR. He had his year wasted like Mike Jenkins did in 2000.

sm00r (Mar 31, 2005 2:08:34 PM)
Assuming the game between Tyler Lee and Colerain comes into place, do you have any insight on some of the matchups to watch during that game outside of the obvious one of Conner Smith? Outisde of being a great game for high school football do you have any insights on the game?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:11:23 PM)
Nope, no clue about Lee High School. I've heard a lot of crazy rumors like they'll play it at 9:30 to avoid the Friday night live TV ban and maybe ESPN2 or somebody will show it. It's nice for those kids from Texas, but why play it in Columbus? I guess the Colerain people will all drive up here for it, but is that necessary for a regular season game? And the Texas kids, will they get some tickets for the OSU-Texas game the next day? I dunno, sounds like a lot of people are taking advantage of the kids on these teams. Maybe some of these questions will be answered when and if it gets finalized.

taxman (Mar 31, 2005 2:11:46 PM)
Steve, who would be the most difficult games for the Buckeyes this year.?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:13:48 PM)
I'll rank them in order, if you like, and feel free to disagree ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:15:40 PM)
at Michigan, Iowa, Texas (Iowa just means more in the scheme of things; they can lose to Texas and still win the Big Ten; but if they lose to Iowa, they are probably out of the running for a BCS bid), at Minn., at PSU (those 2 will be about the same), MSU, Miami, NW, SDSU, Illinois, at Indiana. That's how I see it.

buckmark (Mar 31, 2005 2:15:55 PM)
steve, what is your anticipation for news from practices. how much access will the press have, etc.?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:17:29 PM)
We go to take pictures and share what we see with who is running with what group and who seems to be doing a good job, etc. This will be my 16th spring, I believe, so I have an idea of what they're trying to do. Today, will be shorts only, so we don't get too jazzed up about that. Guys look like stars today, then never make a play when the pads go on ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:18:55 PM)
In terms of access, today's practice is open for media, as are the scrimmages (jersey on 17th and kick on 21st) before the spring game. Other days may be opened as they go along, but those are the only ones announced now. Sounds like everything is closed to public, save invited guests, family, coaches and recruits.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:19:28 PM)
buckeyeredsfan21 asks which freshman I expect to contribute the most ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:20:07 PM)
Probably Jamario O'Neal and Maurice Wells. They need immediate help at corner. They will throw O'Neal in the frying pan right away to see what he can do. Wells will also be needed as, at least, the third TB.

drwis (Mar 31, 2005 2:20:13 PM)
when will they split the players up into starters, second team, etc.? what tailback do you see with the first team?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:22:54 PM)
Well, they sent out a pre-spring depth chart, but that is just a starting point. They will do a post-spring chart right before the spring game. They will then evaluate it again before fall camp, change it quite a bit then and then start the first game with what will probably be something entirely different than what we see now. ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:23:23 PM)
As for TB, Pittman is one now and Haw two. They will split reps with the first team and whoever does the best will take the job. I give Haw the slightest of edges.

buckwild23 (Mar 31, 2005 2:23:28 PM)
Practice is closed to the public? Interesting, The UM(miami) practices are usually open to the public.. Any reason for it Steve?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:24:46 PM)
Yes, it was open when Tressel arrived in 2001. For some of the days, they had over 1,000 people at the WHAC and it was distracting with people clapping and cheering and just getting in the way. Plus, OSU needs personnel to host that many people or more at the stadium for scrimmages. That costs money and raises potential risks, so they just cut off access to their invited guests. Makes it maybe a better working environment ....

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:25:22 PM)
Tressel said he had it open the first year so the players would understand how much football means at OSU. They must have gotten the message quickly because it has not been open much since.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:25:55 PM)
Anything else before I scoot to the WHAC?

taxman (Mar 31, 2005 2:27:11 PM)
Thanks, Steve

buckwild23 (Mar 31, 2005 2:27:19 PM)
This years spring practice surprise player, Just one steve? :)

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:27:28 PM)
Bam Childress, Mr. April (ha ha) ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:28:01 PM)
No, my surprise player for this spring will be Erik Haw. I just think he gets it done. I could be wrong. But coming out of spring, if he plays like he is capable, people could be talking about him.

drwis (Mar 31, 2005 2:28:06 PM)
thanks for the info steve

buckwild23 (Mar 31, 2005 2:28:08 PM)
Thanks Steve and keep up the Great work.

sm00r (Mar 31, 2005 2:28:10 PM)
As always, thanks for your time Steve.

buckeyeredsfan21 (Mar 31, 2005 2:28:12 PM)
any rumblings of anyone transferring?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:28:18 PM)
No, all quiet for now.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 31, 2005 2:28:23 PM)
Thanks everybody!

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