Helwagen Chat: Oct. 13 Archive

Here are excerpts from Steve Helwagen's Chat from Thursday. Gary Housteau will Chat at 11 a.m. Friday.

tlzimmerman (Oct 13, 2005 11:07:34 AM)
While I will start with a simple question. Mich State has shown to be rather inept on defense this year. How many pts do the bucks put up at home sat?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:12:36 AM)
MSU is 7th in scoring defense at 23.4 points per game. I think you can discount the 3 games where they gave up 14 points (Kent, Hawaii and Illinois). They gave up 41 to ND and 34 to Michigan, both OT games where the opponent got an FG in the OT. ...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:19:28 AM)
I memorized 2 of the questions before I got booted.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:19:35 AM)
One dealt with mind-set of the team.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:20:51 AM)
Even on Tuesday, you could sense the disappointment was there. Most of the guys we talked with were seniors and they realize they missed their window here. But they sound like they still want at least a piece of the Big Ten. They are dealing with it. Proof will come on Sat. because MSU is coming straight for their throat. That is one tough outfit.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:21:11 AM)
Other question dealt with needing a big, physical runner to win the Big Ten ...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:22:16 AM)
I'd say that point has some merit. OSU won with Clarett in 2002, but has really struggled with this offensive approach since then. Jury is still out on whether Pittman will be that guy or not. He did great against Iowa, then they forgot him in the second half last week -- or at least didn't put him in position to succeed.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:22:24 AM)
Depth at RB is a complete joke now.

Letswinout (Oct 13, 2005 11:22:37 AM)
Do you think Chris Wells will be the man

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:23:35 AM)
Well, he has a chance to be. He's 230 pounds and runs extremely well. He'll be under the wing of his longtime mentor Butch Reynolds. You hope he can get in there next year and have a splash like Ringer and Sutton have for their teams. If he has a Clarett splash (on field), look out.

labsbeabmm (Oct 13, 2005 11:24:39 AM)
I'm tired of hearing that JT plays defense and special teams. When you recruit the kind of athletes we get at OSU, there is no reasonable excuse to be last in offense in the Big Ten

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:25:58 AM)
Agreed. This has been too long a problem at Ohio State. The buck stops with Tressel. He devises the offensive game plan and calls the plays. These are entirely his recruits. If depth is lacking or talent is defiicient, it is entirely on him and his staff. The mind numbing thing is he doesn't take full responsibility on Tuesday and says he really doesn't harbor thoughts of making any changes. ...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:27:19 AM)
The question on Tuesday was whether he would consider turning play calling over to somebody else. If they lose another game where the offense can't get anything done, the question will be "when are you planning to turn those duties over?" And if he doesn't do it and they keep losing like this, I can assure you the next question would be "How did you like your time at Ohio State?"

Guest (Oct 13, 2005 11:28:35 AM)
Steve, what is the chance that Tood Boeckman sees any playing time at all this season? I think he could be the man to utilize our talented WR's with the arm he has.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:29:27 AM)
No chance, really. It would go back to Zwick, who really did nothing to lose the job. They just thought Smith was better, and I think he can rebound from that game.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:29:55 AM)
Another thought, OSU is 1-5 in its last 6 Big Ten road games. It is foolish to just assume wins at Minnesota and Michigan down the line.

DantheMan (Oct 13, 2005 11:30:01 AM)
This is a deep philosophical question, perhaps better posed to a professional counsellor, Steve, but after seeing such offensive talent being "coached down" to mediocrity during the entire Tressel era, why should I continue to be a fanatic about this team, i.e., go to the games, look forward to possible MNC's, and paying 100/yr to follow these guys in their recruiting more avidly than they do themselves (vis Aaron Brown)?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:32:37 AM)
Great questions, all. It doesn't not seem to be a real cracker jack operation over there right now. You lose your defense next year and have to go to Texas, you lose your QB in 07 and have to go to Washington, then to USC in 08. I admit, it looks kinda bleak for the next few years. Nothing seems set up for them to automatically be a top-5 team each year. On our end, we are going to continue to make covering this stuff as interesting as we can. Our premium board -- which showed this week that even it is not meltdown proof -- is the best place to discuss OSU sports on the planet. That's why I'd stick around.

buckgrad (Oct 13, 2005 11:33:01 AM)
Steve, sorry I am late. Just wanted to say that I am really down on Tressel. Yes he did win a NC, but this was the year, all of his guys and his 1st great recruiting class are now seniors. I may be a little too hard on him, but he has got to hire a young energetic o-coordinator and give him the reigns. Think this will happen or is he too stubborn? Thanks

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:35:12 AM)
As of today, I don't see it happening. I imagine they will finish 8-3 or so and it will be just good enough of a finish that they'll convince themselves that status quo is the way to go. But there just seems to be a stagnation of ideas -- 4-1 run/pass ratio on first down, running effectively early and going away from Pittman in the second half, great underneath passing game early to White, Hamby and Pittman, then none of that when the game was on the line. You point to so many factors. The fact is one-third of the plays last week were for no gain or a loss. They had second-and-7 or longer something like 13 or 14 times. You can't win a Big Ten title like that. ...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:36:01 AM)
Time of possession, Tressel's big stat, means nothing. Points on the scoreboard are where it's at. You can't ask your defense to throw a shutout each week.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:36:28 AM)
And if it was just one game, we'd say, "No problem, they'll win next week." But this is 6 times in the last 17 games they've had 255 yards or less.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:36:40 AM)
Two weeks to prepare, too.

Letswinout (Oct 13, 2005 11:36:51 AM)
Dont know it this got posted but when you look at Sutton and then 112 agianst PSU and they scoured 29 ponts it very mind boggling

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:37:25 AM)
Yep, it appears they missed on Sutton. They wanted Ringer, but admissions wouldn't allow it to happen. It's a mess.

ImBack45 (Oct 13, 2005 11:37:38 AM)
Hi Steve, just wanted to sneak in a quick basketball question, on the way to work this morning (ann arbor, 1050 on the am dial) they were going over the big 10 and basically said the only national caliber team was mich. st with Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota in the next tier. Finally, one said and don't forget OSU. Where would you rate OSU with those teams? Thx.!

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:39:25 AM)
Ohio State is an NCAA caliber team. They were last year at 20 wins. They lose Marinchick, Stockman and BFC and gained Bell, Mayes and Lewis. More than an even trade. Now we have to see how this group meshes. Dials has said he thinks Lewis could be the leading scorer, and that is a good sign that he's willing to give up some of his points for more balance and a better overall picture. I think it's MSU, then the group of Illinois, Wisconsin, OSU and maybe Indiana and MIchigan in the next mix.

buckgrad (Oct 13, 2005 11:39:44 AM)
This has probably been asked, but Im going to ask it myself. This has got to hurt our recruiting this year, 2 nationally televised games, 2 losses, 2 miserable offensive showing. Any word out there, any mumblings from recruits?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:40:36 AM)
Oh, I don't know. I think recruits see the way OSU is featured and think "That will be me" other than the wins and losses. Now if they were a .500 team and missing a bowl game, that could really hurt you. Hey, the offense speaks for itself.

osufan26 (Oct 13, 2005 11:40:47 AM)
Hey steve...Is it just me or is Jim Bollman doing a poor job of recruiting o-lineman this year? This was supposed to be a banner year for the o-line in ohio, yet we have only one guy on board at this point...What is the status with the other guys out there like Tilley, Browning, Thomas, M. Jackson and J. Miller. We should be all over Lee Tilley right now...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:43:31 AM)
They thought there were some issues with Aaron Brown and essentially took a pass. I'm not sure they're in a luxury position to make such calls. The first lineman in the game last Sat. when Barton got hurt was a former walk-on. The guys they brought in a year ago have not developed to the point they list backups at multiple positions to avoid putting their names on a depth chart. No, they aren't where they need to be. The initial word was that Tilley was not to OSU's liking. Maybe something has changed. They just offered Browning, now that Brown is out of the picture. Getting Thomas to switch from Pitt seems like a reach to me. They are down to second and third options at an area where they clearly need some help.

Mike (Oct 13, 2005 11:43:37 AM)
Steve, I just have a bad, bad, feeling about this game. I don't see JT trying to win this game early by being aggressive and attacking on offense. If this team gets down, I think they are in trouble. I see MSU at least moving the ball and killing field position. Does JT give any hint to taking it to someone?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:45:51 AM)
MSU will move the ball between the 20's all day. If the Spartans have less than 350 yards, I'd be shocked. Key will be to play tough in the red zone and force them into 3's. Their defense is almost a sieve, though. Not quite but almost. No discernible pass rush, DBs that got beat over and over again by Michigan, which beat them without Breaston. Playing at home, I think OSU will be fine. Buckeyes are 9-2 after a regular season loss under Tressel, including 4-1 at home (lone loss was to Wisky last year after NW).

MBuck37 (Oct 13, 2005 11:46:03 AM)
I'm not sure if you received this or not, but even though ball control is a staple of Tressel why won't he open things up with the weapons we have that would enhance TS abilities greatly in my opinion. He is hampering this potentially explosive offense..Is it arrogance or stubborness..Thanks

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:46:46 AM)
I think they wanted to open it up last week, but PSU pressured Troy all night and the DBs locked up the receivers. They needed to go more underneath. As I said above, they did it 5 times and got like 4 first downs out of it.

Boeckman05 (Oct 13, 2005 11:46:59 AM)
Does Tressel get a little leeway because he won the NC in 2002, or will he be looking for another job if this season is a complete failure with the amount of talent we have (and are told by the commentators every week that we have)?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:48:18 AM)
Looking for another job is premature. President Holbrook likes what he does in the community. She will stand behind him, I believe. But the AD that hired him is gone and there is a new climate in the athletic department. I think they need to get back to winning the games they should win and can win.

Letswinout (Oct 13, 2005 11:48:26 AM)
Lab is right Who woudnt wnat a USC type offence I want a defence like we have and an offensce Like USC. Is that to much to ask ( I THink NOT) Not for OSU

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:48:53 AM)
Agreed. Tressel's motto is good to great. He's taken great talent on offense, though, and made it less than good.

buckgrad (Oct 13, 2005 11:49:07 AM)
Hate to continue the negativity streak, however, if I am Ray Small/Ausberry/ whatever big name offensive guy, I look at how Ted Ginn (possibly the best athlete OSU has had in 10 years) cant get the ball in this offense. Why would I choose to go there? Think this really hurts our chances with those guys this year?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:49:40 AM)
It can't help. You know Ray Small is watching Ted Ginn Jr's every move and is privy to his thoughts as well. That can't be good right now.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:50:40 AM)
Ted's body language last week said it all with the tantrum he threw when he was wide open down the sideline. He is saying all the right things publicly, but inside this is killing him. Maybe this is the week he explodes. He torched these guys for 3 touches last year, and after watching their Michigan game they are ripe for the torching.

canalfultonbuckeye (Oct 13, 2005 11:50:58 AM)
Steve, obviously we need an offensive cordinator, I would be overjoyed if it were Larry Kehres from Mount Union, or do you see another Marty Schottenheimer scenario in the future, with JT

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:51:53 AM)
I have no idea who is out there. The Schottenheimer reference kind of goes over my head. Did he quit/get fired from Browns because he wouldn't make the changes Modell wanted?

canalfultonbuckeye (Oct 13, 2005 12:09:09 PM)
Steve, Yes he was ushered out, because he wouldn't hire and offensive cordinator

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:09:30 PM)
Thanks for that clarification. I lived through it and just forgot it, I guess.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:09:56 PM)
That begot Bud Carson, who begot Bill Belichick and the loss of the franchise. Now I remember.

MBuck37 (Oct 13, 2005 11:52:04 AM)
I disagree on one point TS is better than JZ because of his versatility, he's being hampered by a vanilla offense..Would you agree?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:53:10 AM)
Well, we need to call a spade a spade. Tamba Hali was almost unblockable last week. The PSU front blew up a lot of what OSU wanted to do. But yes, vanilla describes this "attack" to a T.

Letswinout (Oct 13, 2005 11:53:14 AM)
How many do we Lose this year

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:53:29 AM)
Probably one more unless they find some answers quickly.

Boeckman05 (Oct 13, 2005 11:53:36 AM)
FYI : I bought the EA Sports NCAA 2006 Basketball game and the Ohio State starts ranked #15.... maybe they know something we don't?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:54:10 AM)
There you go. They have the potential to be a Sweet 16 team, in my opinion. This is a senior-laden team with Foster, Dials, Syl and Sullinger leading the way.

canalfultonbuckeye (Oct 13, 2005 11:54:21 AM)
Steve, I see Penn St. losing at Mich and at Mich ST. do you see OSU winning the big ten? and could this be bad, because once again our offense will be in a rut in the years to come?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:56:44 AM)
If OSU wins out, they'll be in the BCS as a Big Ten co-champ at 9-2 at the worst. Penn State is not going to win out. Robinson is getting better, but that offense can be controlled by a good defensive team. Playing at Michigan could, indeed, be their waterloo. UM's back is against the wall and they desperately need a win after last week's debacle. There may well be a 2 or 3-way tie for the title at 6-2 in Big Ten play. Prepare for anything, I guess. So far with Wisconsin beating Michigan, PSU beating OSU, Michigan beating MSU and Minnesota beating Michigan and MSU beating ND at ND, it has been completely unpredictable.

MBuck37 (Oct 13, 2005 11:56:55 AM)
If he doesn't bring in an OC ultimately will that lead to his demise as our Coach? Fans will not be happy with 8-3,9-2 seasons when we have NC caliber talent around here. It will start to cost us recruits also would you agree?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:57:36 AM)
He could be falling into the trap of his mentor, Earle Bruce. The surest way to hang on, though, is to get back into the hunt for the Big Ten title. That and a win over Michigan would make things much better for him. ...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:57:55 AM)
You almost laugh at such suggestions. They fired Coop because he couldn't win against Michigan or in bowl games ...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:58:14 AM)
Tressel is a combined 6-2 against Michigan and in bowls, and people are calling for his head. Go figure. ...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:58:35 AM)
But yes, he needs to keep the positive vibes flowing. So far. they have underperformed.

brutustheoes (Oct 13, 2005 11:58:41 AM)
Steve were do you think this program stands at right now?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 11:59:49 AM)
It is still one of the nation's top 10 programs. It has a reputation of being one of the top 5 places to play defense on a large stage in the country. Some of the luster from the NC has come off with the Clarett allegations, Smith stuff, etc. But OSU is one of those luminaries in the college football world. ...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:00:26 PM)
That is a status that cuts both ways, though. It is great to be up there, but, boy, do people come after you. Michigan is finding that out now. ND has known it for 10 years.

redondo (Oct 13, 2005 12:01:02 PM)
Hi Steve - I read the transcript of JT's press conference this past Tuesday. From reading the transcript, it seemed to me that the reporters seemed to tiptoe around Coach Tressel rather than just flat out ask him direct questions about the offense's poor production. Does Coach Tressel really have that thin a skin that he wouldn't be expecting some high hard ones after the PSU game, or am I misperceiving reality by only having the written word available to me? Thank you.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:03:38 PM)
Yep, it's hard to convey the mood unless you were there. He was asked how the staff handles duties with the offense. He was asked if he consider not calling the plays. He said that probably would not interest him. He did give some roundabout answers and tried to attack some of the questioners. He tried to deflect blame to no special teams plays and no turnovers from the defense. He knew it was going to be a rough one. Reporters also give him some benefit of the doubt. He has 5 national titles, he's a nice enough guy and he deserves some respect ...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:04:59 PM)
But for the money he makes, he also needs to be held accountable when things go terribly awry like Saturday. That offensive performance was abysmal. And it isn't like you can say it all came down to that last drive. The three drives before that they had 1 first down. Other than the TD drive before the half, the rest was basically an unmitigated disaster.

osufan26 (Oct 13, 2005 12:05:25 PM)
Steve...Do you think the offensive struggles may be more linked to the QB situation rather than JT's play calling...It seems to me that Smith has average accuracy at best and happy feet...Zwick is a great passer but lacks toughness in key situations....Is it possible with C. Wells and maybe a different QB this whole situation could turn around..

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:07:08 PM)
Troy did not play well by any means. But he just played great against Iowa (granted which had no defensive front compared to PSU). I want to see how he responds this week against MSU. Chris Wells will help. I view him almost like a Raymont Harris -- he'll pound out 5-7 yards a carry and punish the defense, softening them up so you can go over the top. Back then it was to Joey Galloway. Now it could be Ginn or Gonzalez or Dukes or somebody.

brutustheoes (Oct 13, 2005 12:07:21 PM)
Steve before this year I thought we on are way I thought we were going to establish a run that was going to make Coach T a legend at OSU?? Will it still happen?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:08:51 PM)
After a loss, your mind fills with all of these negative thoughts. But I've laid out why I think 2006-09 may be uphill climbs. I'm not convinced they've restocked the depth at some key positions (TE, OL, DL and RB, although Wells is coming). They need to catch lightning in a bottle somehow in 06 or 07 to make it happen. Maybe they will.

MBuck37 (Oct 13, 2005 12:10:19 PM)
I don't think it matters what the President of the University thinks, ultimately it's the strong Alumni that matters and they will not stand for ball control mediocrity when we have explosive athletic talent all over the place. Or is my assesment wrong?

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:11:21 PM)
No, the president runs the university. Gee stood in there and took it on the chin for Cooper for years and years. His patience was finally rewarded with that Rose Bowl. But after two so-so years, Coop was out. ...

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:12:46 PM)
I'm not sure Tressel has had one so-so year yet. You discount 2001 because he was new and everything was screwed up (and they beat Michigan). You discount last year because they beat Michigan. Let's see how this one turns out. If they end up 7-4 with an L at Michigan, then I think you can truly say "There is one so-so year."

osufan26 (Oct 13, 2005 12:14:40 PM)
Steve, what is the status of Fred Lenix and Thad Gibson.. I keep hearing rumors that neither of them will ever make it to osu...Also, is there an update on David Ausberry...I know he visited a few weeks ago..

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:16:15 PM)
The intelligence on Gibson was academic concerns, although he still lists OSU as a fave. We'll see if he gets a Dec. visit date. Lenix, I honestly don't know. I assume he is still at CCC and when those grades are posted in Dec., maybe he'll get clearance to enroll in Jan. That would be great for him to be in the winter program. We'll check on him. Ausberry's number is disconnected, so all news from there is mum right now. We'll see what we can find out.

redondo (Oct 13, 2005 12:16:29 PM)
Hi Steve - What you were saying/writing about Ted G. and body language is all too true. It's a downard spiral from here if the QB can't find the open receiver. I saw it all last year with the Lakers. Kobe wouldn't pass the ball and the other players just stood around and watched. They figured it was pointless to cut and try to get open since they weren't going to get the ball anyway. Troy really has to get much, much better at distributing the ball.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:17:02 PM)
Yes, I agree 150 percent on that. Him with 19 runs and the receivers with a combined 10 touches, that won't fly.

Letswinout (Oct 13, 2005 12:17:07 PM)
Remember JoPa has been coanching 40 yrs and only to titles in camparisons to JT

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:17:58 PM)
Yeah, but he also had 4-5 other unbeaten seasons, beating up on the week teams from the East. He became a legend early, then cemented it with titles in 82 and 86. Not doing too bad in 2005, either. ...

Letswinout (Oct 13, 2005 12:24:35 PM)
What i mean with JT is that we need to give him time to win

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:25:07 PM)
Agreed, I think it would be hasty to do anything this year. He is under a long-term contract they may not want to touch, either.

Letswinout (Oct 13, 2005 12:25:11 PM)
even Bowden won to in 20 years

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:25:27 PM)
Tressel is the coach for now, no doubt.

SteveHelwagen (Oct 13, 2005 12:24:24 PM)
Gone! Thanks for stopping by. Gary Housteau will Chat at 11 a.m. Friday.

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