Bill, something tells me that Alex Boone will end up starting at the left tackle position. I keep hearing impressive things from practice. If that happens and Sims gets moved to his natural guard position than we are gonna have a enormous, athletic, and physical line. Your thoughts?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:07:14 PM)
I don't believe Alex Boone will start in the early part of the season. Offensive line is probably the toughest position for a freshman to break in because of its complexity. The various blocking calls, the ability to ID defenses and the physical nature of the position makes it very difficult for a freshman. Only Orlando Pace and Korey Stringer have been able to do that in the last decade. And that was because of the depth chart when they got there.
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:07:34 PM)
Alex Boone does have a chance, though, to get a lot of playing time early and possibly start by midseason.
highlander133 (Aug 15, 2005 3:07:42 PM)
Coach, you were as high on Mo Wells as anybody this past year; what do you see his role being this year?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:08:30 PM)
Because of the situation at RB right now, with really only 3 tailbacks -- Pittman, Haw and Mo Wells -- and because of some of the off-the-field situations, it would not surprise me if Wells were in the two-deep come gametime against Miami.
JimC (Aug 15, 2005 3:08:42 PM)
Hi Coach, What is the biggest need for the upcoming recruiting class? How do we fill it?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:09:14 PM)
One of the big needs going in was a big RB. Big in relation to big time and big in terms of size. It looks like the Chris Wells commitment has taken care of that ...
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:10:05 PM)
The biggest need for this upcoming year at this point would be someone to replace A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter in the LB area and the obvious big-time need is going to be a place kicker. Hopefully Pettrey will fill that need.
buckgrad (Aug 15, 2005 3:10:23 PM)
Good afternoon Bill, any situation that you recall while you were at OSU where a recruit told the coaches that he is going to OSU but wants to enjoy the remaining visits so he asks to keep it quiet? Think Small falls into something like that right now? Thanks.
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:11:21 PM)
That very well could be the case. Obviously, coaches don't like to allow that to happen. But sometimes the recruit insists on it. If the kid is an instate player, usually you can live with it. If it's an out-of-state player, it worries the hell out of you.
RockyMntBuck (Aug 15, 2005 3:11:38 PM)
I have really enjoyed the first two articles you have written this year and look forward to reading your preview of the 2005 season in your next column. How about a sneak peak, can you give us a list of which three games you think will be the toughest challenges for OSU this year (not including the Rose Bowl).
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:11:49 PM)
Texas, Texas and Texas ...
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:12:54 PM)
No, seriously, Texas, Iowa and Michigan are the big three, obviously. Fortunately, they have Texas and Iowa at home. Michigan away will be a battle as always. Penn State away will also be scary. When Joe Paterno has a team on his field, you can throw the records out. That will be a tough one.
buckgrad (Aug 15, 2005 3:13:07 PM)
Coach, do big time programs sometimes extend offers to people they normally wouldnt in order to land his big time recruit teammate? Thanks
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:13:45 PM)
Very rarely, unless the kid is an instate probable get anyway. Schools don't want to get burnt with the lesser of the two staying with the commitment and the better of the two going somewhere else late.
AC (Aug 15, 2005 3:14:03 PM)
Coach Conley, how would you rate the speed of Ted Ginn versus say a By'note, Rambo, Galloway, etc or any of the players you have seen or coached in a Buckeye uni? Have you ever heard of a "whisper" time for him in the 40?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:15:28 PM)
Of the three you asked about, probably Galloway. The difference is Ted Ginn's playing speed (not straightaway 40 time) is a lot like Terry Glenn and Chris Gamble. I think those 3 had the greatest playing speed I had ever seen. By the time Teddy Ginn goes to an NFL combine, he'll be in the 4.3-second range.
highlander133 (Aug 15, 2005 3:15:34 PM)
Do you think Everett is the answer at boundary corner?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:16:08 PM)
I think he has to be early because of the experience factor. Plus, he's a good tackler and a physical player. Plus, he'll have Nate Salley at free safety to help out.
euphorbia (Aug 15, 2005 3:16:18 PM)
Hey Coach! Good to see you back on Bucknuts! Your articles are always so well written, I'm curious, do you have a background in journalism? Keep up the good work Coach!
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:16:55 PM)
The only background I have is many years of teaching at the high school level. I write the articles myself and just seems to come pretty easy when you're talking about football.
scribeohio (Aug 15, 2005 3:17:07 PM)
Coach, thank you for the two earlier columns that were great. My ? is that last year IIRC, you thought Justin needed to show toughness and looking over last year and to date what are your thoughts? Thanks, coach
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:17:44 PM)
I saw a major improvement with him in the Alamo Bowl. Hopefully that's a springboard for this season. He's got to do it every week. That's the question that is still out there.
wwt (Aug 15, 2005 3:18:05 PM)
Coach, I seem to read much more about Ohio talent that we are tracking - what OOS guys are we high on and are high on OSU?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:19:48 PM)
The QB out of Georgia Antonio Henton has committed. You have the TE at Mission Viejo, Konrad Reuland.
buckatborder (Aug 15, 2005 3:20:03 PM)
How would you rate the LB's that we are still looking at? Moeller, McCarthy, and Bowman?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:21:03 PM)
I think they are good LBs, not like the guys we're losing, however. I think Moeller plays hard every play, he gives great effort. The big question is if he has the speed and size to play at Ohio State.
redondo (Aug 15, 2005 3:21:23 PM)
Hi Coach COnley - Welcome back!!! I really enjoy your comments and insights. last year there was concern about the number of recruits in-play compared to the number of available scholarships. Do you think we are in on enough blue chip prospects this year so far? Thank you.
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:22:00 PM)
So far, I think, the number is much higher, which it needs to be. Because of the early verbals so far with some key instate players, it will allow the staff to spend more time on the hard-to-sell out-of-state kids.
bucks4fun (Aug 15, 2005 3:22:05 PM)
Are we going to get championship caliber play from our DL this year?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:22:48 PM)
Good question, could be the key to the overall success of the team. There is enough experience, but they have to play hard every play. There needs to be a good solid 2-deep because of the physical nature of the position.
buckatborder (Aug 15, 2005 3:22:54 PM)
So, do you think we will lose the game with Texas then?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:23:18 PM)
I think we'll beat Texas by two touchdowns.
JimC (Aug 15, 2005 3:23:26 PM)
What will the impact be of all of the coaching turnover on defense? Will this cost us a couple of losses?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:24:32 PM)
I do not believe it will be a major effect for the simple fact that the new DC Jim Heacock has been in the program for a long time. He has been largely responsible for the type of defense we have been running for the last few years. Also, Luke Fickell is returning. He is developing into an outstanding coach.
buckgrad (Aug 15, 2005 3:24:40 PM)
Did Cooper have a major in state pipeline like Tressel now has with Glennville?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:26:00 PM)
I'm not so sure there was one program that was as dominant as Glenville. Maybe the closest was Brookhaven, when we had the Gwinn brothers, Terry Glenn and guys like that. Under Earle Bruce, the two big instate pipelines were CAPE (Clark and Snow) and Middletown (Carter, Peterson, Smith, Bell, Howard).
bucknutsinannarbor (Aug 15, 2005 3:26:25 PM)
Coach we didn't do it as much last year because we went out of the shot-gun or ginn for that matter a lot more. But a lot of times under Tressel we would run play action on 3rd and long was that a function of our line being so bad. That always got me upset because over 3rd and 7 yards are we really ever going to run?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:27:48 PM)
The play action you're talking about is called 80 action, which is a flash fake to the tailback. This same pass action was part of the offense under Earle Bruce and John Cooper. It's really not a hard running fake. It's simply designed to keep the TE in for some added pass protection. The spread formation allows the quarterback to be a runner on the draw action, which obviously we've seen with Krenzel and Troy Smith. Expect a lot of that this year.
redondo (Aug 15, 2005 3:28:06 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - Ohio State's OOS recruiting seems like it's fallen off. If you agree, what do you think Ohio State should do differently to have a better presence and better recruiting results OOS? Thank you.
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:29:18 PM)
Recruiting is all time commitment. That means watching a lot of film, making a lot of telephone calls and, when possible and allowed, being in the schools. The year we won the national championship, we had some great OOS players like Will Smith, Darrion Scott, Rob Reynolds, Craig Krenzel, Chris Gamble, Michael Jenkins, etc. You need all the great instate players and some great OOS players.
darren_conrad (Aug 15, 2005 3:29:25 PM)
Bill,your thoughts on Miami. And Texas
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:30:00 PM)
We discussed Texas. Miami will play their hearts out under new HC Shane Montgomery, but the game will be over by halftime.
highlander133 (Aug 15, 2005 3:30:06 PM)
Who do you see stepping up as the pass-rusher on the d-line?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:30:42 PM)
The guy who has the best ability is Jay Richardson because of his speed, quickness and long arms. The guy that plays with tremendous effort every play is Quinn Pitcock. Those two have a chance to have a great year.
redondo (Aug 15, 2005 3:31:04 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - Do you think Todd B. should get snaps in game one in the first half much like Coach T. worked in snaps for Troy Smith last year in the first few games?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:32:02 PM)
I think that would tremendous idea. I'd expect to see him against Miami at some point. It could end up being a two-man race for the backup position by midseason.
buckicrazy (Aug 15, 2005 3:32:44 PM)
How do you think tOSU defense will be next year after losing several Sr and possible two or three Jr.? Do we have the depth to reload instead of rebuilding?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:33:27 PM)
The key will be how much playing time those guys behind the starters get to play this year. Hopefully, there can be enough games decided by the end of the third quarter that the young guys will get desperately needed playing time.
bucknutsinannarbor (Aug 15, 2005 3:33:33 PM)
Coach, do you see a 1000 yard rusher on this team right now? Or do we have to wait for Chris Wells?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:34:17 PM)
It's going to be difficult to believe there will be a 1,000-yard rusher in a spread offense and with no experience at the RB spot. Don't be surprised if the leading rusher ends up being Troy Smith.
buckgrad (Aug 15, 2005 3:34:30 PM)
I read an article a while ago that had Tim Spencer saying that the best rb he had ever coached was Mike Wiley would you say that? Unbelievable since Tim was there when Eddie was a pretty good rb? Thanks
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:35:28 PM)
Probably what Tim was referring to was that Mike was extremely versatile as a RB. He could break a big play. He caught the ball well out of the backfield and, for a smaller guy, he was a very good pass protector. On straight running ability, I'd still have to give the edge to Eddie George.
Guest (Aug 15, 2005 3:35:35 PM)
what is M Wells biggest strength, and have you heard anything from practice on how he's doing? Thanks!
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:35:48 PM)
sjblank asks about Maurice Wells ...
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:36:09 PM)
His biggest asset is his quickness. He could also be a very good special teams player.
RockyMntBuck (Aug 15, 2005 3:36:23 PM)
Can you share any stories from the recruiting trail where you had to deal with difficult situations on the in-home. Anything from tough questions to dad wearing another teams t-shirt ?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:37:29 PM)
Sedrick Irvin, who ended up at Michigan State, was an uncomfortable situation. One of his aunts -- at least she said she was an aunt -- wanted to know what we were giving Sedrick if he came to Ohio State. Our response was a free education. That's not what she wanted to hear.
redondo (Aug 15, 2005 3:37:58 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - My lay-person's opinion is that areas that were not necessarily strengths for the Buckeyes when COach Tressel came on the scene (e.g., QB & O-line) are in much better shape now. However, it looks like the D-line might be a concern soon. How worried would you be about this area and does it look like immeditate help in this year's class is out there and interested in the Buckeyes?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:39:08 PM)
The Worthington, Denlinger, Wilson and Williams class should help out. There were a lot of DL recruited. Hopefully 1 or 2 will break into the 2-deep. John Cooper had some pretty good OL like Pace and Stringer.
AC (Aug 15, 2005 3:39:31 PM)
Coach, when the 2002 class of LB's was being recruited, how did you personally rate them? Did you think that A.J. (with over 500 tackles in HS) would end up being the best of the bunch? How would you rate him all-time in a Buckeye uniform?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:40:21 PM)
At that point, probably the premier guy was Mike D'Andrea. He was healthy at that time and, on film, was tremendous. A.J., Bobby and Stan White, we thought were very good LBs and would develop into potential All-Big Ten players ....
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:41:06 PM)
A.J. Hawk will go down, in my opinion, as one of the top 5 LBs in Ohio State history. He is the best LB in college football going into this season and, in my opinion, was the best last year and should have won the Butkus Award.
AjayHawk47 (Aug 15, 2005 3:41:27 PM)
Coach thanks for your time, Can you tell me which of the defensive lineman will make a name for themselves in the NFL?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:42:50 PM)
They all must have a great year to be considered to play at the next level. Jay Richardson is the most athletic. That will help his cause. I think Pitcock, Green and Kudla are physically strong and give great effort. Unfortunately, many times the NFL is too concerned with overall speed.
bucknutsinannarbor (Aug 15, 2005 3:43:21 PM)
How would you use Roy Hall it just seems that with his size and speed you should be able to create match up problems?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:44:43 PM)
Roy Hall, at 235 pounds, has the ability to be a good TE in a spread offense. Where his blocking will be basically one on one or they can flex him out to release on pass routes. He's not a Ben Hartsock-Darnell Sanders type TE. But along with Gonzalez and Ginn and Holmes, those are the 4 best WRs on one team in the country.
redondo (Aug 15, 2005 3:45:17 PM)
Hi Coach Conley - If there is one, who would be the "must have" recruit for this class that is still out there? Thank you.
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:46:01 PM)
Tim Tebow, the QB from Fla., would be the best they could get, but realistically OSU is probably not on his radar. The top player left in Ohio may be the OL from Princeton, Aaron Brown.
dozer51 (Aug 15, 2005 3:46:24 PM)
I'm late, if not already asked, Coach, what is your take on the Walker Ashley subject? Would Coach Tressel accept him even if he committed elsewhere in February ?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:46:43 PM)
I think it would be tough academically for him to end up in a Buckeye uniform.
buckatborder (Aug 15, 2005 3:46:51 PM)
What underclassman on the team that has yet to see much action do you think shows the potential to be a all american caliber?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:48:46 PM)
The one guy that could be one to watch is Marcus Freeman maybe at LB. I really think there is some excitement with these new freshmen like O'Neal and Boone.
rbuck (Aug 15, 2005 3:49:53 PM)
What position do you see TGII playing at the next level?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:50:52 PM)
Wide receiver, where he's at now, because of his ability to make the big play after he catches the football. Once he becomes more experienced in running routes, that will help out. But his key is what happens when he has the ball in his hands. That's why he is also such a good return man.
supabuck (Aug 15, 2005 3:51:09 PM)
Coach, it is my opinion that if we only win one game this year it will definitley be Iowa due to last years mauling. What are your thoughts on that game this year?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:51:49 PM)
I like our chances a lot against Iowa for 2 reasons. Number one, we play them in Columbus, and number two, they lost a lot of defensive players. The offense should be one of the strong points of our team.
buckgrad (Aug 15, 2005 3:51:58 PM)
Coach Conley, is this the deepest you've seen Ohio in terms of recruiting? If not what year sticks out in your mind? Thanks
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:54:24 PM)
There was a time span in the mid-90s where you had a lot of great players come out like Pace, Stringer, Wilkinson, Glenn. But the year that stands out maybe in my mind was my first year on the staff with Coach Bruce. That was 1984. That year, we had players like Cris Carter, Chris Spielman, Tom Tupa, William White, Terry White, Kevin Rogan, many of which played in the pros for a while, along with some great players that were already there like Pepper Johnson, Mike Tomczak, Jim Lachey and Keith Byars -- those were, indeed, some special teams.
darren_conrad (Aug 15, 2005 3:54:47 PM)
In terms of leadership, who on offense will step up and take that role?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:55:37 PM)
I think Nick Mangold may be the spark on offense. He's a tough guy who the other kids respect. On defense, I would say A.J. Hawk and Nate Salley are the 2 guys that provide that inspiration.
dozer51 (Aug 15, 2005 3:55:42 PM)
Coach do you see anyone leaving early other than Holmes?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:56:24 PM)
Possibly Ashton Youboty, except I know getting a college degree is extremely important to both he and his family.
supabuck (Aug 15, 2005 3:56:45 PM)
There is so much talk of Schnittker and White playing full back this year, do you see the staff maybe giving back the redshirt that Dionte Johnson lost last year?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:57:54 PM)
The only problem with Schnittker is he has a tendency to be hurt. Stan White is a good, versatile player. You can use him as a motion fullback/tight end. He is an outstanding special teams player. Dionte Johnson is what you think of when you talk about an Ohio State fullback, but I'm not sure how much that fits into the offensive picture this year.
highlander133 (Aug 15, 2005 3:58:29 PM)
We saw a real shift in the aggressiveness of the o-line the last couple games last year. How do you keep that level of intensity in your squad, and who do you think best brings that now? Downing, perhaps?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 3:59:40 PM)
I think the guy that best exemplifies the spirit of the OL on this year's team is Nick Mangold because of his physical toughness. The greatest characteristic of the Ohio State line this year is experience. That's one thing that gives a player great confidence. Hopefully, they will start off where they left off from the Alamo Bowl, where they were physically dominant.
WestonBuckeye (Aug 15, 2005 3:59:47 PM)
Which freshman do you think will step up and have a Ginn type of year?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:00:17 PM)
Jamario O'Neal has a chance. Alex Boone should see some playing time. There's not many Teddy Ginn's around. You can't expect that every year.
bucknutsinannarbor (Aug 15, 2005 4:00:30 PM)
What is the hardest position to recruit and get right? Probably them all, but CB and DE require such great talent. QB is the one everyone cares what are your thoughts?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:02:08 PM)
There are two spots. I think the two toughest positions to predict are probably QB and kicker. It's the simple fact that the success of both of those positions is how you respond in a game situation. That's why you see in the NFL QBs and kickers coming out of programs of all sizes and all places. How do they handle the pressure of the game. They can look great in pregame or in practice, but in a game when people are rushing and one play is crucial, how do you respond is the key.
Nutz4Bucks (Aug 15, 2005 4:02:22 PM)
Good afternoon Coach, I just wanted to say that I certainly enjoy (and value) the insight you provide to this web site. Have you ever considered a return to coaching someday?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:02:56 PM)
I almost made the decision to go to Minnesota last year with my friend Glen Mason. Once you're a coach, you always have that inclination. There's a possibility.
hamiltuckbuck (Aug 15, 2005 4:03:04 PM)
Hi coach. Why aren't the best linebackers in the nation tripping over each other to get to Columbus?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:04:40 PM)
First of all, there are a pretty decent group of LBs behind the ones we have, though they are unproven. Marcus Freeman was highly touted. Chad Hoobler played well last year. Sometimes a defensive back can get big enough to be an LB like Cie Grant. You do make a valid point, however. OSU has a great tradition of LBs and OSU should always attract the best LBs in the country.
buckgrad (Aug 15, 2005 4:04:56 PM)
Bill, random question, were Rambo and Germany big time gets for your staff? If so why do you think they struggled in college and struggled to make it in the NFL? Thanks.
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:06:00 PM)
They were very big time. They had speed, talent, agility. Unfortunately, they didn't grow each year. They played their best ball probably as sophomores. That's too bad because you have to mentally be into the game and not so concerned about your future after college.
Nutz4Bucks (Aug 15, 2005 4:06:47 PM)
Coach, do you agree with the notion of playing a special player like Ginn Jr. in a number of positions due to his talent? Or do you think that he should concentrate on one specific position to become the best at it, rather than try to learn a little of multiple positions? Not to mention the increased touches could bring an increase in the chance one of our truly special players can be hurt – you know he will be a target for many teams. I think the best players should play personally, but wondered about your opinion.
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:08:05 PM)
Mentally and physically, it's best to concentrate on one position, especially for a big play maker like him to get the ball as much as possible is crucial. WR and return man are the things, I'm certain, that the OSU staff wants Ginn to concentrate on and rightfully so. The defensive game is much too complex for a person to also be able to handle that physically and mentally on a full-time basis.
marksgforce (Aug 15, 2005 4:08:14 PM)
Has there ever been a better D at OSU? Has there ever been more overall depth at talent in the limited-scholarship era?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:08:45 PM)
I think the jury is out yet. Even though the defensive front has experience, they need to prove this year that they can play like a great defensive front.
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:08:52 PM)
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:09:39 PM)
Time for one or two more, then we'll get going (thanks for all the great questions ... a recap of the Chat will be posted later, they tell me).
Palmer (Aug 15, 2005 4:09:59 PM)
Coach, I really like Hartline, the kid can flat out fly. Do you think he will redshirt or will he atleast see some time on special teams? Also is he gonna run track for us?
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:10:16 PM)
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:11:40 PM)
I think Brian Hartline will be a very good WR. He's got great speed and a lot of confidence. He is a real heady football player. In a normal year, you would expect to see him play even as a freshman. But I really believe the coaching staff will be hesitant to use up a year of eligibility when you have such a talented group of WRs -- barring injury.
buckgrad (Aug 15, 2005 4:18:04 PM)
Coach Conley, were you involved in recruiting Charles Woodson, if so can you take us back and explain how the hell we lost him to UM? Imagine him and Winfield in the same defensive backfield!
BillConley (Aug 15, 2005 4:19:40 PM)
Charles had an assistant coach at his high school who was a former player at Michigan. He would not even let him come down for a game at Ohio State.