Helwagen Chat: April 14 Archive

You never know what surprises will happen in the Bucknuts Club Chat Room. Take Thursday, when we broke the news that Jim Heacock had been tapped for the suddenly vacant defensive coordinator's job. Click here to see how we did it and enjoy the free archive of Thursday's Chat.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 14, 2005 3:05:06 PM)
You know what the first question is...Who would you like to see as the next DC?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:06:06 PM)
Great question ...

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:08:06 PM)
I floated 4 names -- Mel Tucker, Bo Pelini, Bob Davie and Jon Heacock (at YSU). I guess Jim Heacock would be a fifth. It might be easier to elevate Heacock and hire a new D-line coach. I heard Tucker was immediately offered and turned it down, though you know how those things are (can you believe it and/or could his mind change?).

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:09:44 PM)
Tucker has to be the clear first choice, but I just don't see him burning his bridges with the NFL team in his hometown, of all places. Pelini just got to LSU. So that leaves Davie (he was awful friendly with OSU personnel at a couple games), Heacock and Heacock. I guess they could also go off the board. There is no urgency to hire someone ... camp isn't until mid-June and practice doesn't start until 8/10 or so.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 14, 2005 3:09:58 PM)
If you could get either Smith from Colerain or Brown from Princeton,but not both, who would it be and why?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:10:59 PM)
Tough call ...

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:12:34 PM)
I like them both. Smith was dominant in the title game against McKinley. Brown's offers speak for themself. Brown may project as an OT, Smith may project as an OG. I think they are in a better position with Smith as a legacy. Brown will likely take a few visits before he decides and that can convolute the process a bit. Take the bird in the hand, I guess. But Brown is a potential great one, too.

buckgrad (Apr 14, 2005 3:12:43 PM)
Afternoon Steve, any news on Santonio and his injury? Are we going to see him play at all in the spring game?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:13:51 PM)
No, Coach Tressel will meet with the media today and maybe something will come up then. But practice is in total lockdown, no injury details of any kind coming out. I'd tend to guess you will not see him. No big biggie. We know he can play and it is most important, obviously, that he is all systems go on 9/10.

Seabus (Apr 14, 2005 3:14:03 PM)
Steve, if you don't want to comment on this, I understand, but is there something we can make out of the athletics department not letting the media into the jersey scrimmage?? It seems like a punishment to me, I mean you don't want fans there fine, but the media ... that's ridiculous.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:16:04 PM)
Well, I have tried to not be too offended by this move. I have always prided myself on my coverage of such events and tried to be as objective and comprehensive as possible. I just believe the coaching staff does not want people there reporting on the QB derby. They want to control the info that goes out to the public. Same applies to the battles at kicker and punter for the kick scrimmage. So we'll take the scraps they throw us and do what we can with it. ...

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:18:14 PM)
It has been a progression ... the wrong way ... over the last 5 years. In 2001, everything was wide open as a "getting to know you" thing. Great first move by the Tressel staff to build bridges. But over time, the doors have closed. We have had less access than ever this spring and it will come down to the first practice, a snippet this Friday, maybe one next week (so the cameras get footage to promote the spring game) and then the spring game. They closed the kick scrimmage last fall when they had no clue how the punters would look. Now they've taken the last step and closed the jersey scrimmage for the first time. Oh well, I have no control over it, so I won't obsess.

cderekw (Apr 14, 2005 3:18:55 PM)
Steve, news out of spring ball has been hard to come by. Is it that big a secret we're going to try and get the ball to Ginn in as many different ways as possible?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:20:21 PM)
Yes, by all accounts, they are sticking with the spread and have not gone back to the I. There will be some I, obviously, and I've heard Pittman, in particular, looks good. But they will be using Ginn, Gonzalez, Holmes, Dukes, Lyons and everybody else to their fullest extent.

BuckeyeDave (Apr 14, 2005 3:20:34 PM)
(I've only got a few minutes so I've gotta get my questions in quick!) Quinn Pitcock said that Kudla could play DE or LB. Do you think Ohio St may try a defensive scheme that would involve Kudla lining up at DE, then switching to LB, changing a 4-3 to a 3-4, mid-play?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:22:01 PM)
Oh, I don't know. Kudla does have that ability to play a number of positions. I like the idea that they can show the offense a number of different looks.

bobby (Apr 14, 2005 3:22:20 PM)
hi steve, i guess you did miss the meeting. my question from a week ago remains the same. how does the dc change affect our nc aspirations and recruiting

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:24:41 PM)
The prevailing thought is whoever they hire could not possibly screw this up. But there will be some bumps in the road. Obviously, Tucker coming back would be as if he never left. I think Ohio State is still going to be considered as an NC aspirant. ...

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:25:59 PM)
But I think, looking big picture, they just need to worry about winning each game. Most of the polls have Iowa and/or Michigan ahead of OSU and Texas in a very comparable position. Assuming a 3-0 record in those 3 games is easier said than done, obviously. And that does not take into account some tough road games like Minnesota and Penn State or the annual 16-13 snorefest with SDSU (ha ha).

buckmark (Apr 14, 2005 3:26:09 PM)
What is your take on the "closedness" of practices, news, etc? It would seem that regular press conferences would be a nice alternative if everything is going to stay on lockdown.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:27:01 PM)
Yeah, I guess. Fall camp is largely closed, but you at least get briefings 2-3 times a week. This year, those have been few and far between. There will be some interview opps in the next several days, so we'll know more then.

buckgrad (Apr 14, 2005 3:27:14 PM)
Is Dukes practicing with team and good to go for the 05 season? If so what # will he be? Thanks

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:28:07 PM)
Dukes is practicing and quite well, I understand. He should be good for 2005, likely needs some credit hours this summer (unless NCAA provides a waiver for kids who have to miss a quarter for extenuating circumstancs). He is No. 5.

buckmark (Apr 14, 2005 3:28:15 PM)
Do you think Jackson-Wilson leaving was a mutual thing that is probably good for the team's future? Seems that another scholarship for the next two classes is probably what Matta could use.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:30:10 PM)
No, I disagree. Their grad rate rankings and APR suck. Losing guys like Billings and JJW only exacerbate the problem. Another scholarship? After Cook's verbal, they still have 5 to use on current juniors. Why do they need a sixth? There is nobody out there this spring from the JUCO ranks or overlooked prep seniors to fill one. At some point, somebody has to stay and go through 4 years and graduate. ...

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:32:38 PM)
I don't mean to get off on a rant here, but at some point there needs to be an incentive to retain kids and graduate them. I am not an expert on this half-ass APR, but it seems to me it puts a premium on graduating kids and academic progress, etc. Coaches aren't going to get this message until they start having scholarships yanked. (And, please, I'm not indicting Matta, after all he did not recruit Billings or JJW. This is an epidemic all across college basketball. They are trying to address it with APR, but nobody seems to be taking notice.)

rbuck (Apr 14, 2005 3:32:58 PM)
Sorry, Late, Who's the favorite for DC?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:33:42 PM)
My five to watch are Mel Tucker (doubt he comes back), Bo Pelini (should want to come here, but he's in the bigs at LSU), Bob Davie, Jon Heacock (would he walk away from an HC job at YSU?) and Jim Heacock.

Seabus (Apr 14, 2005 3:33:46 PM)
Steve, I wanted to get your opinion about the DT spot. Obviously you have Pitcock and Green locked in as starters but with Patterson getting moved outside do you think that means they are confident in Cotton and Nader?? I have liked what I have seen from Cotton the few times he's been on the field.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:34:33 PM)
Joel Penton is in there, too. Patterson would also rep inside at times, too, probably. Jim Heacock is just looking for the best 4. ...

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:35:30 PM)
Funny story about Abdallah: They were talking about the election last Nov. and Troy Smith said he'd probably vote for John Kerry. Then somebody asked what he thought of (Ralph) Nader and he replied, "Yeah, I like my man Abdallah, he's working hard."

buckgrad (Apr 14, 2005 3:35:46 PM)
Possibly win a national championship and coach a top 5 defensive unit, put a hand full more of players into the draft in 2006. Sounds like a bad move to me? Jobs come open every year, why jump to Marshall? I would have waited one more with unit he has this year, would you have?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:37:13 PM)
No, it's his alma mater and it's part of him. That's a great job. If he's able to go in there and dominate in C-USA for 4-5 years (just keep the machinery going and, keep in mind, Louisville and Cincinnati are gone) then he can be in the bigs (maybe as the successor to JT one day ... hmmm).

rbuck (Apr 14, 2005 3:37:18 PM)
Do you think JT has any interest in Bo Pelini?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:38:46 PM)
I dunno. Pelini is a Y-town kid and a former Buckeye. He may have overlapped a year or 2 with Peterson, probably not with Fickell. His track record is good. But it's the same as Tucker: Do you take an important job like this, then just dump it at this late stage? Peterson did that a year ago, but he was just an assistant at Arizona and not a coordinator.

buckmark (Apr 14, 2005 3:39:03 PM)
One of the threads in the open forum has Pagac, Sr. as a possibility for the DC job. You didn't mention him earlier, so I assume you have not heard anything about that possibility?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:40:26 PM)
Tons of questions about the DC opening. I have already tried to answer what I know and/or what I believe the group of candidates and their motives may be. I'm not going to go back over that again and again. I'll answer this ?? on Pagac, then otherwise check the transcript pretty much (unless somebody has a new angle ... ha ha).

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:43:25 PM)
Regarding Pagac, he is with the Kansas City Chiefs now as an assistant for Dick Vermeil. I imagine he is happy where he is and making good money in the NFL. This would be his fifth year as an NFL assistant. Coupled with his playing days, that may have some retirement implications for him (kind of like what we were told with Spencer going to the Bears). I know Fred loves Ohio State more than just about anything and he was a great DC here from 1995-98. After he did not get the job, I don't think he or Tressel seriously considered him staying. I don't think there is any animosity there, either. I just think Fred has moved on to other things. Maybe he picks up the phone and asks for an interview, I dunno.

Seabus (Apr 14, 2005 3:43:37 PM)
Steve, being that you have been around this for awhile, I feel like you have great perspective and less of a tendency to get swept up in spring hype. This team seems to have a determination I have not seen in awhile. First, do you think that's true and second does that translate into the season?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:45:44 PM)
I agree. It has to come from your seniors and guys like Hawk and Carpenter and Salley all have that look and feel as guys who expect those around them to rise to their level. They believe they have a chance to be great. They are working hard at it. Obviously, it will come down to doing some extraordinary things, like winning at Michigan. That takes a special group to pull that off. But I agree, I like what I've seen so far.

buckmark (Apr 14, 2005 3:46:01 PM)
I was thinking about the current sophomore class also with Lauderdale, Mayo, Walker and others as possibilities.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:48:29 PM)
Yes, there is basketball talent galore. I have not looked that far into the future to figure the scholarships. Harris was a soph this year, so maybe they only have that one for '07. I don't expect them to take 6 guys in the junior class anyway. Five would be an absolute max. Out of 07, I think you can discout Mayo and Walker. Lauderdale, Nate Miles and Keenan Ellis would remain key possibilities. And that group in 08 with Mullens, Gates, Goins and one more guard could be nice as well.

buckmark (Apr 14, 2005 3:48:38 PM)
I was under the impression that the APR may be tinkered with to take into account kids who leave early (for the pros) or transfer to other programs but stay on track academically.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:49:16 PM)
Let's hope (ha ha). That would bail out OSU's 2 signature programs. Those 14 guys who got drafted, if I had to guess only 2-3 of them would be counted as grads in the NCAA's eyes.

Primetime (Apr 14, 2005 3:49:25 PM)
Who will be the next in-state student athlete to be offered?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:50:30 PM)
Hmmm ... maybe Lee Tilley from Springfield South. He's starting to get some buzz. Lots of great possibilities. Duane loves this junior class in Ohio.

buckmark (Apr 14, 2005 3:50:34 PM)
By the way...props to you and Kyle for all the great basketball info. Way to step up and meet the need for info!!

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:50:55 PM)
Thanks, we see the potential to do some real damage there.

Primetime (Apr 14, 2005 3:51:01 PM)
It has been "rumored" that so far Haw is the best looking canidate at RB. Are you hearing the same?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:51:08 PM)
No, I heard Pittman. Who knows?

buckgrad (Apr 14, 2005 3:51:19 PM)
Did I read that article yesterday correctly when it was said that Gibson thought that Brandon Smith may be moved to DE? We need LBs more than DEs next year it seems to me. Whats your thoughts on the move?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:52:31 PM)
They may need more LBs, which I'd agree with. But if Smith outgrows the position, then he may help them more at DE where his assignments are simplified: See QB, kill QB. I heard good things about Smith in the middle, but I think that is clearly Hoobler's job to lose beginning in 06 (unless they back up D'Andrea some how).

AnotherBuck (Apr 14, 2005 3:52:35 PM)
So you do not think Gary Blackney is a candidate?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:53:10 PM)
No, add him in, too. I guess I have a Super Six. Thanks for calling that to my attention. He was the first one I heard when the Marshall job came open.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:56:45 PM)
Breaking news !!!!!

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:57:03 PM)
Just heard from somebody at practice who said at 1:50 today the team was told that ...

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:57:40 PM)
... Jim Heacock would be the DC for the foreseeable future. No clarification whatsover whether that is for the fall, too, or just to finish the spring. Fickell will be No. 2 in command.

cali buck (Apr 14, 2005 3:57:57 PM)
Steve, give me your guess as to the next 4 or 5 commitments or at least the guys that you think will decide by the end of this summer before the high school season begins?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 3:59:37 PM)
Next 4-5 verbals? My head is kind of spinning right now. Maybe Connor Smith, Justin Boren (unlikely) or Kurt Coleman. The rest seem to be taking their time.

osusnake22 (Apr 14, 2005 3:59:43 PM)
what are our chances of landing Thaddeus Gibson?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:03:08 PM)
Duane's update indicated that Michigan, OSU, Purdue, BC, North Carolina are all involved and offered or would offer. I think this is a spot where they definitely miss Mel Tucker.

buckgrad (Apr 14, 2005 4:03:22 PM)
Who do you think is geared for a surprise (other than a Hawk, Holmes or Ginn Type of player) All Big Ten kind of season?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:04:06 PM)
Youboty, Pitcock, Carpenter and maybe Salley, Sims and Troy Smith (if he plays every game like he played his last one).

buckgrad (Apr 14, 2005 4:04:24 PM)
Any word on the 2 Glenville kids? Are they going to be OK academically?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:06:04 PM)
one second ...

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:09:06 PM)
I think they should be fine. Lenix had good test score and GPA; I've never heard a score for O'Neal.

Primetime (Apr 14, 2005 4:10:41 PM)
If you had to pick 1 OOS state player to eventually commit to the Bucks who would it be and why? (please excuse Lyons from consideration)....

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:12:08 PM)
I honestly have no idea about that. They have offers to 10-15 OOS kids like Tebow, Ausberry, Walton, Hornsby, Hebron, Aldridge and I just don't get a good sense from any of them that Ohio State is their top school, just another one on the list. That's the way it is at this stage because the kids haven't been here yet. I can make no prediction in that regard. Maybe Aldridge, since they need an RB and he's closest from Indiana.

buckmark (Apr 14, 2005 4:12:15 PM)
do you think the baseball team will right the ship in time to be a factor for the big 10 title?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:13:05 PM)
That would be tough. They are 3-5 after 2 weekends and there are probably only 6 more weekends. They need some 4-0's. At this point, they need to make sure they finish in the top two to get favorable Big Ten tourney seeding and go from there.

AnotherBuck (Apr 14, 2005 4:13:26 PM)
Steve, do you like our chances with Aaron Brown?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:14:49 PM)
OSU is one of many with Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Purdue, Notre Dame, Minnesota and Penn State. Probably a 20-30 percent chance, maybe better.

buckmark (Apr 14, 2005 4:14:56 PM)
There has been some info out of practice that Troy is getting the majority of first team snaps. Is that what your sources indicate?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:15:51 PM)
No one has told me that.

Seabus (Apr 14, 2005 4:17:07 PM)
Regarding Lenix, I saw on the message boards that he ran a 10.64 100 last weekend. Wow!! It made me think that the coaches might just have to get creative with how they use him. Do you think our coaches would do that or will they just put him at saftey if he can't keep enough weight on at linebacker?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:17:46 PM)
Lenix could also be used on offense at RB due to need, too. I guess the idea would be to not discount anything. Speed kills.

buckmark (Apr 14, 2005 4:17:50 PM)
Whendoes Gene Smith start and what do you see as his first order of business?

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:18:34 PM)
He starts Friday and his first order of business will be to meet everybody and try and find all of the buildings his predecessor built (ha ha). We will have a brief audience with him tomorrow.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:18:42 PM)
Anything else?

cali buck (Apr 14, 2005 4:21:00 PM)
How's A Dukes doing? Met someone out here who said he thought he was better than Santonio in high school.

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:21:20 PM)
Everything I hear is he is doing very well. Would be in the rotation at wide receiver, no doubt.

buckmark (Apr 14, 2005 4:21:33 PM)

SteveHelwagen (Apr 14, 2005 4:21:57 PM)
Thanks everybody for participating. Stay tuned for what Gary Housteau may be able to do on Friday.

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