Conley Chat: Nov. 15 Archive

Here are excerpts from Bill Conley's Chat session from Tuesday on Coach Conley will be back at 1 p.m. Monday to recap The Game. And, please join us at 1 p.m. Wednesday as Sam Webb of stops by to preview the OSU-Michigan game.

buckgrad (Nov 15, 2005 11:09:37 AM)
Welcome Bill, Im pumped for this game and I dont even play. How do the coaches maintain the players emotions? Thanks

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:10:24 AM)
You don't have to. This is the greatest week of the year for a coach at Ohio State or Michigan. The players completely concentrate. They spend extra time in the film room. They get in early in the evening and they focus on the task at hand ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:10:32 AM)
Winning The Game. No pep talks are needed.

Heater--Back From Afghanist (Nov 15, 2005 11:10:44 AM)
Coach Conley—First chat for me since getting back from Afghanistan. I have been able to read transcripts, but not participate. So, what are your “keys to the game”?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:11:34 AM)
Welcome home ... keys: First, don't turn the ball over in your own territory. Second, stop the passing game of Michigan because their receiving corps will be the best the Buckeyes have seen all year. ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:11:44 AM)
Third, continue to win the kicking game.

ToledoBucknutty (Nov 15, 2005 11:11:57 AM)
Hey Bill and many thanks as always! What are your biggest concerns on both sides of the ball this weekend??

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:13:01 AM)
If you look at the production so far of both teams, Ohio State is really superior in all three categories -- offense, defense and special teams. The only area where we are behind Michigan is in turnovers. We must create turnovers and not turn the ball over ourselves. In other words: Do not beat ourselves. We are the better team.

Heater--Back From Afghanist (Nov 15, 2005 11:13:15 AM)
Do you think _ichigan “retaliates” for last year’s security check prior to The Game?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:13:31 AM)
Things like that don't become an issue unless a certain team loses (ha ha).

TheMinnesotaBuckeye (Nov 15, 2005 11:13:41 AM)
Bill, as a TE coach what's your opinion of Marcel Frost's play so far -- strengths, weaknesses? What's Marcel's potential?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:14:33 AM)
Marcel Frost is a very talented athlete. He is strong, physical and has tremendous speed for a tight end. The two things he needs in order to become a great TE is more consistency catching the ball and mental maturity.

buckgrad (Nov 15, 2005 11:14:44 AM)
Bill, after last week did AJ lock up the Butkus? Also, you've seen some pretty good lbs come through OSU, where does he rank? Its been fun watching him. Thanks

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:16:03 AM)
Not only do I feel like he locked up the Butkus, in my opinion he should also be one of the 10 finalists for the Heisman Trophy. In terms of where he ranks among the greats -- like Spielman, Katzenmoyer, Gradishar, Cousineau, Marek, Pepper Johnson -- it's tough because this is a different time era. But it would be tough to rank him below anybody.

mulder (Nov 15, 2005 11:16:08 AM)
Well, Coach, what is your greatest memory of The Game and what does it mean to you?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:17:00 AM)
As a player, the greatest memory was the 20-9 victory over Michigan in Columbus in 1970. That was a year after we had been upset in Ann Arbor. That game locked us into the Rose Bowl and we were actually voted national champions by one of the services prior to the bowl game ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:17:45 AM)
As a coach, no doubt about it, the great victory in 1987, the week Earle Bruce was fired. The players came out of the locker room wearing their Earle headbands and played their hearts out with a great victory in Ann Arbor.

redondo (Nov 15, 2005 11:18:07 AM)
Hi Coach Conley - Since it's Michigan week, are there any good gamesmanship stories you have that you could share with us?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:19:25 AM)
One of the funny stories was both teams in Ann Arbor come through the same tunnel. You have to be careful so that both teams don't come out at the same time. A lot of pushing, shoving and shouting goes on. I'll never forget when Woody sent out the second team players first, knowing this encounter would happen. He was smart enough to know he didn't want his first teamers involved in a pregame fight.

AJHawk4Heisman (Nov 15, 2005 11:19:34 AM)
Hey Bill thanks for the time, Please compare all the coaching styles of the coaches you have been under for the Michigan game week . Thank you

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:20:28 AM)
Woody was the great motivator. He always found something to rally around for the Michigan game. Earle was completely intense the entire week and like Woody found ways of motivating the players ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:21:44 AM)
John and Jim are both more business-at-hand. Nothing really extra than the normal week's preparation. But John started getting more into the tradition as his career continued and really did understand the importance of The Game. Jim knew the tradition coming in and has done a good job of fostering it.

jcfiesta (Nov 15, 2005 11:21:53 AM)
What kind of a lame password is Conleychat? Couldn't you come up with a more creative password this week like bombsniffingdogs......

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:21:59 AM)
Ha ha real funny.

dingbuck (Nov 15, 2005 11:22:15 AM)
I want to the game in '03 at Mich and I did not feel much hope. They seemed better to me. Now, this year, I feel the opposite. I confidently feel like we will win. How perfect of a game on our part will it take in your estimation, and what is your gut feel?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:23:04 AM)
I think the key is going to be what happens from our own 20-yard line to midfield. It is crucial that we don't turn the ball over, get first downs and maintain good field position. If we do those 3 things, we should win the game hands down.

Heater--Back From Afghanist (Nov 15, 2005 11:23:19 AM)
Obviously Coach Tressel plays it “close to the (sweater) vest on offense. To what do you credit the recent explosions on offense? I tend to look a lot at starting field position as I don’t think this is a “length of the field” offense yet. Thoughts?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:24:22 AM)
I think it's a combination of great special teams returns, which have given the Buckeyes a short field. They have better decision making by Troy Smith. That has been apparent. The other thing, which let's not forget, with the exception of Minnesota the competition hasn't been very good the last few weeks ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:24:32 AM)
But we are an improving team and we are playing our best football.

redondo (Nov 15, 2005 11:24:48 AM)
Hi Coach Conley - Coach Tressel said in his post game interview with Jack Arute that the Buckeyes must pass better, how much better does Troy Smith have to play (pass) for the Buckeyes to win this Saturday? Thank you.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:26:00 AM)
Last week, there was no need to pass the football. His improvement was shown by his passing percentage. It has been very high. Remember what I've always said: It's not how many yards you throw for. It's not how many touchdowns you throw for. It's the decision making that is most important along with consistency that are most important for a quarterback ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:26:21 AM)
There have been a lot of great passers who have not won a league championship, let alone a national title.

mulder (Nov 15, 2005 11:26:33 AM)
This is the quietest recriuting season I can remember. Do you have any surprise names for us?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:28:00 AM)
Maybe the biggest surprise name is Brian Wright from Salem. He's a kicker. He's a guy not many people knew about early. But he has recently been offered scholarships by several MAC schools and Pitt and Cincinnati. Michigan is also now recruiting him. Ohio State had him up for the Illinois game, but I'm not sure how serious they are. ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:28:26 AM)
Right now, recruiting is a little behind. Hopefully, they'll catch up after the Michigan game.

dingbuck (Nov 15, 2005 11:28:39 AM)
Will we struggle at all, in your opinion, vs. their running game. Wasn't much of a problem last year? And how much does the previous year play into this year's games, especially in the minds of the players?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:29:54 AM)
Even though Hart is outstanding (but has been hurt) and Grady and Jackson have picked up the slack, the offensive line is not near as good as the Michigan lines of the past. And the Ohio State defense is outstanding. It would shock me if the Wolverines are able to run the ball against the Buckeyes.

rbuck (Nov 15, 2005 11:30:01 AM)
Bill, You hear Michigan talk like MSU is their BIG rival. Is this True?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:30:32 AM)
Don't believe the camouflage. Michigan may be Michigan State's biggest rival. But let there be no doubt about it. Ohio State is Michigan's biggest rival.

spanktheweasels (Nov 15, 2005 11:30:39 AM)
Hi Bill, do u think UM will try to spread us with 4 wides and attempt to run?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:32:19 AM)
I think Michigan will try to run the ball early to see if they can. I really believe they want to try and keep the game close by controlling the clock. If that doesn't work, which is what I think will be the case, then they will definitely try to spread out the Buckeyes in order to get the LBs covering down receivers. Watch for screens on first and second down by Michigan and draws on second-and-long. They have done that consistently over the years.

redondo (Nov 15, 2005 11:32:39 AM)
Hi Coach Conley - Is there anything to be learned by the coaching staff from watching a show like NFL Matchup with "Jaws" Jaworski, or is that a totally a lay-person's show? Thank you.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:33:23 AM)
I think it gives viewers an insight on some of the behind-the-scenes things that happen in the coaching profession. Ron is an intelligent, experienced QB who knows the game and he does a good job of explaining it.

Heater--Back From Afghanist (Nov 15, 2005 11:33:50 AM)
With as objective an eye as possible, can you handicap Hawk’s chances to win the Butkus, Lombardi, Lott and Walter Camp Awards? The Butkus seems to be a lock...what about the others?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:34:31 AM)
I think he has an excellent shot at 2 -- the Butkus and the Lott. Lombardi, you never know because there are so many positions that are potential winners from LBs to OL to DL. Long shot for the Camp.

ToledoBucknutty (Nov 15, 2005 11:34:51 AM)
Was it Jenkins who came in last year in the Big 33 game to shut down Manningham? I hope for a repeat performance if so! Also, how healthy is Ashton with the hip pointer? Can he shut down Breaston/Avant?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:36:14 AM)
No, that was Andre Amos from Middletown. Jenkins is from Piscataway, N.J. By watching Ashton last week, it looked like he was fine physically. The biggest thing you worry about is the height differential. But Ashton is a very competitive player. He'll be blanketing them.

jcfiesta (Nov 15, 2005 11:36:25 AM)
Bill, does JT have a dog? I hope he isn't a cat lover like Lloyd.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:36:32 AM)
JT has a dog, no cat (ha ha).

Guest (Nov 15, 2005 11:36:37 AM)
What's your assessment of Alex Boone's play so far? How high is his ceiling as a player?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:36:54 AM)
Minnesota Buckeye asks about Alex Boone cracking the lineup with Barton out ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:37:44 AM)
I think Alex Boone will be an All-American before he leaves. He has great feet and he is very intelligent.

buckgrad (Nov 15, 2005 11:38:07 AM)
Coach, do you get the feeling that this rivalry means more to the Buckeye state and its fan compared to Michigan?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:38:55 AM)
No. I think the only difference is there are some people in the state of Michigan that have loyalties to MSU over Michigan. But when it comes down to the Ohio State-Michigan game it is state vs. state, fan vs. fan. It's a great rivalry.

redondo (Nov 15, 2005 11:39:31 AM)
Hi Coach Conley - Following up on the keys to victory question, how far down the list would you say we have to get before we get to better play selection in the red zone offense? My frustration is fueled by runs up the middle on 1st and goal from the 9 that result in 2nd and goal from the 8. Thank you.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:40:33 AM)
You will see some different play calling in those situations in the red zone this week. One of the key things in this game is that coaches try to break tendencies they have established so far this season. But let there be no mistake about it: If the base stuff is working, the teams will stay with it.

Heater--Back From Afghanist (Nov 15, 2005 11:40:40 AM)
Just a heads up Coach: I’m typing this at 11:13 a.m. and as of right now, _ichigan still sucks

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:40:48 AM)
And it will at 11:14 (ha ha).

buckgrad (Nov 15, 2005 11:41:04 AM)
Bill, you gotta tell JT to kick every ball in the endzone, our kick coverage scares me and keep Hart under a 100 and we win. Have you evaluated the UM kicking game? Do they have the ability to boot it into the endzone for a touchback like we do, what a great weapon.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:42:02 AM)
Their return game statistically is very similar to OSU's with the chance of breaking a big one. The difference is they don't have a kicker like Josh Huston who consistently puts the ball out of the end zone. That's a big plus for the Buckeyes. That is a definite special teams advantage for Ohio State.

rbuck (Nov 15, 2005 11:42:14 AM)
Bill, after a big win on Saturday. Do you think we are a lock for BCS? If so, who is the odd team out?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:43:16 AM)
I think a victory will lock in an Ohio State-Notre Dame match-up in the Fiesta Bowl. In terms of the BCS, it would be an SEC team that gets left out or Virginia Tech. There are too many one- or 2-loss teams.

redondo (Nov 15, 2005 11:43:37 AM)
Hi Coach Conley - My sense is that Ted Ginn is not as sure handed as perhaps some of the other receivers. I've attributed it to the notion that Ted was a DB in HS and not all that used to catching the ball and here at the D-1 level to try to start learning that skill is an obstacle. So, the learning process is why we're seeing some of the less sure handedness. Am i wrong in this perception? What are your thoughts? Thank you.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:44:15 AM)
I think you make some valid points. He needs to be much more consistent with his route running. That will not only help him out but also help the QB knowing when he is going to make his break.

Heater--Back From Afghanist (Nov 15, 2005 11:44:25 AM)
Troy Smith -- Playing over his head? Living up to potential? Or still a lot of untapped potential and room to get better? Is his play suprising you right now?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:45:17 AM)
I think he is on target in his growth potential. He's getting more confident and making better decisions with better pocket presence. The biggest area, again, he has to make his improvement is in decision making and seeing the entire field.

buckgrad (Nov 15, 2005 11:45:37 AM)
Put the mortgage on it Bill Im 4-0 on OSU vs. UM games under Tressel, 27-17 Bucks. Is there a surprise player you think may blossom this year kind of what Gonzo did last year? Thanks

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:46:52 AM)
Because of Antonio Pittman being a little bit dinged up, he may need spelled at times. The guy that seems to be getting better is Maurice Wells. It wouldn't shocked me if he broke a big play against the Wolverines. Also, it wouldn't shock me if Nate Salley had an outstanding game this Saturday.

jcfiesta (Nov 15, 2005 11:47:36 AM)
Coach, I've been a big critic of JT's offense. Why did it take all year to emphasis TG in motion on the fake reverse? I think running him behind the RB faking the reverse on the dive/Iso play turns a zero yard gain into 3 yards and short gains into getting Pittman into space. This seems to hold the LB and S the extra second giving our OL a better block angle and RB and extra step. Why wasn't this in the game plan at PSU or TX?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:48:24 AM)
I think the spread offense is something you have to run a while before you're comfortable with it. It seems like in the second half of the season, everything is starting to jell. It's too bad it took this long or this game could be for a spot in the national championship game.

AJHawk4Heisman (Nov 15, 2005 11:48:46 AM)
Not sure if you speak with NFL scouts or any others on the "insides" What are the prosect of a guy like Mike Kudla who besides AJ is right up there for MVP of the Defense , and has he developed where you thought he would be or exceeded them from when you guys recruited him ? Love hearing you and Earl on 610 and on Sunday mornings keep up the good work.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:50:01 AM)
I think Mike Kudla is probably the most improved football player on the team. He has stayed healthy, which was a big concern of mine. He has shown an improvement in his speed and agility. He has made himself a player that wasn't on any NFL draft boards into a possible mid-round selection.

PigMan (Nov 15, 2005 11:50:19 AM)
Going back to last week, I know we didn't have to pass much, but when we did it seemed like half the time Troy ended up running. Since we can't really tell what's going on down field watching the game on TV, was Troy just not reading the defense well or were our receivers really being covered that well by the Northwestern secondary? Either option isn't very appealing.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:51:36 AM)
What I noticed was the NW secondary was really dropping off so far that it created the running lanes for Troy that against normal teams wouldn't be there. He did have 75 yards, I believe. Troy knew that with his superior athletic ability against the NW players he could put it away and get some positive yardage.

buckeyeD (Nov 15, 2005 11:52:01 AM)
Sorry if asked before... What LB's do we eventually end up with? Thad Gibson? Bowman? McCarthy? Johnson?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:53:26 AM)
McCarthy is the only one they have any shot at whatsoever. The other guys I really think are long shots at best.

mackv (Nov 15, 2005 11:53:56 AM)
Ive asked this on a few chats. Where are the other 11+ commits coming from? I dont see it.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:54:34 AM)
First of all, you're going to get 2 or 3 from Glenville. Probably another 3 from instate. The rest will have to come from out of state, but that's going to take a lot of hard work this late in the process.

Heater--Back From Afghanist (Nov 15, 2005 11:55:05 AM)
The _ichigan QB, Chad Henne, has somewhat of a sophomore jinx going on. How much of his successful frosh season was due to Edwards on the other end catching the jumpballs Henne threw? It seems there is no one to catch the jumpballs he throws this season. Is this guy really a high caliber QB? Thoughts?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:56:33 AM)
I don't believe Chad Henne has progressed as much as everybody expected, including the Michigan coaching staff. Avant is a very good receiver and can make big plays. Chad Henne is no running threat at all. His expertise is in throwing the ball. He has not been as consistent in throwing the ball as the UM coaching staff would have liked. Of course, Breaston has been banged up as well ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 11:57:09 AM)
Now he has been getting better each week as his offense has been more and more healthy. But this game this Sat. could be his coming out party or his undoing.

mackv (Nov 15, 2005 11:59:55 AM)
It doesnt seem as if UM and tOSU are in on alot of the same kids this year. Maybe because UM is in on 15 or so top 150 kids and tOSU is in on like 5. Your thaughts.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:01:06 PM)
The usual overlap between Ohio State and Michigan is in the immediate Midwest area. Michigan has normally recruited more out of state areas like Texas, Louisiana and Calif., whereas Ohio State the past years recruited a lot in Fla. and the East Coast. This year, I'm having a tough time trying to figure out exactly where they are focusing.

PigMan (Nov 15, 2005 12:01:18 PM)
BIll, realistically, is Floyd Carr in any trouble if he loses to OSU again?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:01:28 PM)
No, but his cousin Lloyd may be (ha ha) ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:02:03 PM)
Seriously, Jim Hermann the defensive coordinator is definitely on the hot seat. Being that Michigan has won the last few games has probably saved Lloyd for at least a year.

dingbuck (Nov 15, 2005 12:02:21 PM)
Retake on earlier question, Coach. Do you think the previous year plays into the mind of the players for this year? would Mich players being a bit less confident given last year, our returners, and their struggles? Obviously, they would not voice any of this but have you seen it in players in your experience?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:03:09 PM)
No, I don't think the previous year's performance has a lot to do with the upcoming game. Players are so focused on the job at hand. They really don't have the time or energy to focus on the past. Each OSU-UM game is a season in and of itself.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:03:33 PM)
We have a number of questions in the queue. As we finish up, we will look for ones that have not been asked. Thanks again today.

spanktheweasels (Nov 15, 2005 12:03:51 PM)
I remember UM torching us with misdirection passes to the TE off of counter action. They don't seem to do that as much. Minnesota used it a couple of times effectively against us. Is this a concern to you?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:04:29 PM)
Their tight ends are really fullbacks in disguise, not a real threat on the passing game. I am more concerned about Michigan getting the ball to their running backs on screen passes.

mackv (Nov 15, 2005 12:04:38 PM)
I think Carpenter may end up being a better pro. Taking nothing from AJ. Carp is just a freak. Speed size combo.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:05:24 PM)
I think both will be successful. Like Mike Vrabel, a lot depends on the type of pro system that you're in. But to me A.J. and Bobby are both first-round picks. They can play for practically anybody. They will both do well at the NFL combine.

marksgforce (Nov 15, 2005 12:05:39 PM)
I know you have to be somewhat diplomatic, but I'll ask anyway: How good of a head coach do you think LLLLoyd Carr really is? I'm OOS and my Michigan friends down here believe he costs them 2 games every year through pure coaching errors and playing uptight. Are they right? Does he do less with more?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:06:45 PM)
I think Lloyd Carr has done a very good job of recruiting at Michigan. I think they have lagged behind the last few years in terms of getting the most out of their players, especially on defense. The Michigan teams of more recent years are known for their QBs and their offensive production than their defense.

marksgforce (Nov 15, 2005 12:07:12 PM)
Who is your favorite recruit in the state of Ohio this year? Who has the best chance to make an instant impact? Who has the most upside?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:07:33 PM)
Chris Wells, obviously, big RB, especially in the red zone and short yardage situations.

homesickbuck (Nov 15, 2005 12:07:48 PM)
Hi Bill, you said earlier that we have the better team and I agree completely. That being said, how big a factor is home field advantage and why? If we're the better team, it shouldn't matter where we play, right?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:08:43 PM)
In the Ohio State-Michigan game, there is no homefield advantage. As a player and as a coach, you are so focused that exterior forces are not apparent. They are only if you fall 2 TDs behind.

marksgforce (Nov 15, 2005 12:08:55 PM)
I know they haven't won out this season, but USC is obviously on a roll for the ages. Any other run to compare with this one that you've seen in your years on the sidelines?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:09:37 PM)
I think Miami's 34-game run was close to it. The Ohio State run in the early 70s was close. For all you old timers, of course the Oklahoma run of the 1950s.

Heater--Back From Afghanist (Nov 15, 2005 12:09:46 PM)
A.J. Hawk just announced as a Lombardi Award FINALIST on ESPNews!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:09:55 PM)
Great news, no surprise, should win it.

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:10:07 PM)
One or 2 more and we'll be gone ...

ToledoBucknutty (Nov 15, 2005 12:10:44 PM)
Boy, watching that video on Homan (over 30 tackles!), it looks like he could be an absolute beast. He looks like he's got really good instincts. How good do you think this kid is?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:11:06 PM)
I think he is a good high school football player. I think he is tough and physical. I am concerned about his size and speed.

buckgrad (Nov 15, 2005 12:11:41 PM)
Bill what does your gut tell you about Youboty, Holmes and Whitner? Staying or going?

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:11:49 PM)
Wow ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:12:48 PM)
Holmes I think is definitely gone. Before the season, I would have doubted that Youboty or Whitner would go out. But with their improved play and if they have a great game against Michigan, it would not shock me if both jumped. They need to stay in my opinion and improve.

Heater--Back From Afghanist (Nov 15, 2005 12:12:54 PM)
Thanks, Coach. I had lots of built-up questions that I couldn't ask while in Afghanistan...stupid firewalls!!! Thanks again...oh, how about a score prediction!!!

buckgrad (Nov 15, 2005 12:12:57 PM)
Thanks Bill, your predicted score...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:13:42 PM)
I don't like to pick an exact score in the Ohio State-Michigan game, but I think the game could very well end up a 3-point victory with a late Josh Huston field goal. ...

BillConley (Nov 15, 2005 12:13:58 PM)
Sorry I have to go. I have to get my ankles taped -- big game this week.

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