Helwagen Chat: Jan. 5 Archive

Here are excerpts of Thursday's Chat with Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen. Former OSU assistant Bill Conley will Chat at 1 p.m. Monday.

PigMan (Jan 5, 2006 1:09:58 PM)
Let's get the obvious out of the way...what's the word on Youboty and Whittner?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:10:58 PM)
I think after a lot of hand wringing, I think they both return. I sense that Whitner wants to go, but I'm not sure he is the first round pick he thinks he is (according to the PD article). He did have a great year, though ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:11:15 PM)
Youboty could be late first or early second. He cinches first with a nice senior year, IMHO.

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 1:11:23 PM)
Hi Steve - Was reviewing the Roster and who we have returning. Do we still have an Underwood on the roster ?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:11:52 PM)
Yes, as far as I know, the oft-injured Brandon Underwood is still there. Hopefully, he'll be full-go in the spring.

lkass (Jan 5, 2006 1:11:55 PM)
Hello, I'm brand new to the site. I am impressed with everything here. Can you tell us, does recruiting look as bleak as many posters suggest?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:12:13 PM)
Well, I was sitting there at the Fiesta Bowl scratching my head ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:13:09 PM)
Tressel and Co. have stumbled on quite a formula -- mix some high end players (Ginn, Boone, Wells, Connor Smith) with some general role players who can be developed (Hawk, Holmes, etc.), make sure all are good students, mix well and you're in the BCS 3 out of 4 years. ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:13:44 PM)
This staff has shown it will coach middle-of-the-road talent up and they do enough to lure a few difference makers each year. Maybe this is how you do it.

buckgrad (Jan 5, 2006 1:13:51 PM)
Steve, Go BUCKS! How was the crowd there, on tv it seemed 50/50 maybe 60/40 OSU.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:14:16 PM)
It was 60-40 pro OSU. Huge ovations when good things happened. But the ND people did represent. Great atmosphere.

boulderbuck1 (Jan 5, 2006 1:14:20 PM)
Tell us some good news about recruiting

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:14:59 PM)
They beat Notre Dame like a drum, so everybody who they're still in on has Ohio State on the brain. Will that be enough to win an A.J. Wallace, who seems to be favoring PSU? I don't know.

AnotherBuck (Jan 5, 2006 1:15:03 PM)
Steve, do you think we get Colin McCarthy?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:15:19 PM)
Yeah, I think they're in great shape there, especially with Miami's implosion.

buckicrazy (Jan 5, 2006 1:15:28 PM)
I've liked what I've read about Rose at the Army all-star game. He has some pictures with Wells and Smith and looks like good friends. Any chance he doesn't become a Buckeye?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:15:48 PM)
No, I think he's OSU all the way. They need a difference maker on the DL in this class.

PigMan (Jan 5, 2006 1:15:54 PM)
What about this Saturday's AA Bowl. Who takes out an OSU hat?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:15:59 PM)
Probably just Rose.

worthbuck12 (Jan 5, 2006 1:16:52 PM)
what time does that Army AA Bowl start on saturday?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:16:59 PM)
Looks like 1 p.m. Eastern on NBC.

Drew (Jan 5, 2006 1:17:12 PM)
Hi Steve - I'm actually a fellow blogger with Heath Schneider on Buckeyextra. I thought that was an incredible gesture that happened to get him out to the Fiesta Bowl this year! I have kind of a tough question here - but I was wondering how much you think our defense will suffer without our great trio of linebackers. Obviously its a huge loss , but we have a load of talent coming up, including D'andrea and Kerr.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:17:38 PM)
That was a great gesture for Heater and it was good to meet him (and everybody else) at McDuffy's. ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:20:34 PM)
Agreed on the LBs. They have a solution to this problem in numbers. They may rotate guys early in the year to get a proper read. My first 3 would probably be Hoobler, Freeman and either Laurinaitis or D'Andrea. But then you also have Spitler, Terry, Kerr, Lukens, Homan and Moeller in the running. The Cincinnati Scout site reported that Lenix is taking classes there, so that ship has sailed. I imagine Fickell will find some answers.

marksgforce (Jan 5, 2006 1:20:41 PM)
Recruiting: final ranking? Glenville 3 all ok? Gibson? McCarthy? Ausberry? Little Lyons? Who's next?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:21:37 PM)
Final ranking probably around 10th or 15th range. Yep, still clear on Glenville. Gibson jury still out until more academic info is in. I think they're good on McCarthy. Ausberry to USC, no idea on Lyons, Rose is next on Sat.

lkass (Jan 5, 2006 1:21:44 PM)
will that formula take them to a championship?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:22:24 PM)
Good question. It will keep you in the running for one. You can't win one unless you're in the running.

buckicrazy (Jan 5, 2006 1:22:31 PM)
Did the win over ND give us any edge with the DE Martin?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:23:03 PM)
Good question. We probably should give him a call. The word was that ND was ahead before this. They certainly can use some impact DL as well.

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 1:23:11 PM)
Steve - with that blocked FG and near sack of Smith on third and long, please tell me Hamby does not have a Huston/DeAndrea hidden clause !!!

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:23:16 PM)
No, he's done.

MacAuley (Jan 5, 2006 1:23:27 PM)
No, I'm not Irish. I'm Scottish! The best thing about the Texas win last night is that now we don't have to listen to those idiots from U$C, ESPN and ABC Sports falsely claim that U$C "three-peated"!

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:23:35 PM)
Yep, Texas took care of that.

marksgforce (Jan 5, 2006 1:23:45 PM)
Good debate on the board as to where this past 4 year fits in the Buckeye lore, with comparisons to the 98 seniors, the Archie seniors, the Kern seniors, and others. Where do you place this 4 year run?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:25:26 PM)
43 wins in 4 years says it all. Ties the record for a 4-year period here (with the 98 seniors). Two Big Ten titles, four bowl wins (3 BCS), 3-1 vs. Michigan and a national title. Archie's group won 4 straight Big Tens and was 3-0-1 vs. UM, didn't win a national title. Depends on your criteria but this was about as successful as OSU has been in a 4-year stretch.

Guest (Jan 5, 2006 1:25:30 PM)
Is chris wells indeed the talk of texas

boulderbuck1 (Jan 5, 2006 1:25:33 PM)
what about K. Robinson?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:25:39 PM)

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:26:08 PM)
I think the Miami implosion puts him in play. Big thing now is to knock his socks off with a great visit and make it even tougher on him.

Drew (Jan 5, 2006 1:26:19 PM)
Thanks for the comment on recruiting , Steve - I think you hit the nail on the head! I've been saying that Tressel is "secretly" one of the best recruiters in the country. Is there any "middle of the road" talent that you feel will suprise us next year?? Austin Spitler?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:27:36 PM)
That could be a name. Gonzalez is an example as well. Maybe Alex Barrow at DE, Joel Penton at DT, Shaun Lane or Andre Amos at CB, Anderson Russell or Donald Washington at safety.

buckicrazy (Jan 5, 2006 1:27:49 PM)
C. Wells says he doesn't enjoy the spread offense like he does the I. Is this something that just takes time to get used to?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:28:51 PM)
When the I is all you've known, something foreign can be scary. OSU can still run out of the I. I look at ND's Darius Walker. He is great out of the spread because he has great vision and can pick and choose the hole or bounce outside. They will use Wells the best way they can.

Mike (Jan 5, 2006 1:29:25 PM)
Steve, Are Small and Browning down there to watch or did they stay hom? If they are there, do they announce right after Rose?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:29:56 PM)
No, my impression is if they aren't playing they aren't there. They each have one more visit to take. They may decide by mid-January.

marksgforce (Jan 5, 2006 1:30:07 PM)
What do you think the final numbers will be on Tressel's new contract? He really doesn't go for the incentives other than a modest bonus on grad rates, so I'd assume the new one will be similar. How many years? How much raise in the first year -- will he let them put him over the $2 million mark?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:31:08 PM)
Good questions. I think he is in the $1.5 million range now. You see Mason get $1.6 million, so Tressel has to be worth at least $1.8 million or higher. My feeling is they will simply do the 3-year rollover that is prescribed and not fuss with tearing up the contract and starting over.

buckgrad (Jan 5, 2006 1:31:44 PM)
Whats the word on M.Johnson and T.Gibson, whats your gut feeling on them? Thanks

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:32:28 PM)
Mark Johnson is supposed to visit this weekend. We'll see if that comes off. Gibson is due in next weekend. Would be great if OSU landed one of them. Gibson, being from Cleveland, seems more likely to me if everything checks out.

lkass (Jan 5, 2006 1:32:36 PM)
And the defensive backfield? If they lose Whitner and Youboty, is there enough to handle a Texas or PSU?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:33:51 PM)
Good point, if they blow out the secondary, you are looking at Jenkins and Amos at corner with Welch, Underwood, Lane and maybe Coleman in the mix. At safety, you'd have Mitchell and O'Neal with Patterson, Russell, Washington and maybe Schwartz in the mix.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:34:11 PM)
They would be starting over, although Mitchell and Jenkins have some experience.

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 1:34:20 PM)
Devon Lyons - Does he settle on Safety ? We look to have big receivers to step up including Robiskie, Chichester, Hartline & Hall (Hopefully Wes Lyons).. A 6'6" safety ? What are your feelings ?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:34:54 PM)
Lyons at safety? It is intriguing if he can play there. He is a great athlete and you just hope he can settle in and get some time somewhere.

boulderbuck1 (Jan 5, 2006 1:34:58 PM)
Do the 'Ville kids have grade issues?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:35:11 PM)
Browning has a 4.2. Small and Rose may be close, though.

buckicrazy (Jan 5, 2006 1:35:18 PM)
Who do you think will have a "coming out" party on the D next year?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:35:38 PM)
Marcus Freeman, Lawrence Wilson, Malcolm Jenkins. Those would be my big 3.

marksgforce (Jan 5, 2006 1:36:04 PM)
Who are the top 2 in the 97 QB derby? Who has the edge? I think Schoenhoft v. Henton with Boekman preparing for a coaching career.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:37:14 PM)
Don't discount Boeckman yet. This could be a case where they go with one of the older guys in 07 and Henton takes over later that year or in 08 or 09. I imagine Henton redshirts in 06.

yooperbuck (Jan 5, 2006 1:37:29 PM)
Hi Steve. It sure looked like we finished ND off the same exact way we did UM with the pass of the year,the catch of the year, and then the block of the year and the run of the year. Smith, GONZO,WHITE&Pittman. TWICE! Your take?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:39:48 PM)
Yep, you've got it nailed. They went to their most dependable guys to put that game away. Great to know those guys and Smith will be back next year, as well as Teddy Ballgame. I think Ndukwe and Wooden are still chasing after him.

marksgforce (Jan 5, 2006 1:40:02 PM)
I was shocked at Michigan's lack of speed on defense. My two assumptions on them v. us is: (a) they give their "extra schollies" on offense and we give ours on defense as a rule; and (b) the number of "athletic safeties" that JT goes after is insurance to make sure there are always extra speed players on the team.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:40:40 PM)
Yep, good point. There is no substitute for speed. OSU has great overall team speed. They need some young guys to step up, though, to avoid a 2004-type or 1999-type falloff.

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 1:40:46 PM)
PA recruiting seems lacking since Mitchum,Lyons,Skinner and Nicol...reason ? Very few prospects are mentioned.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:41:31 PM)
Andy Miller, I think they have a good shot at him. Maybe Wes Lyons will look at him. Have to say Pitt (under Harris and now Wannstedt) will be formidable and PSU has suddenly wakened from its deep deep slumber, too.

Drew (Jan 5, 2006 1:41:44 PM)
I hate to keep bringing up the situation with C Wells , but with Pittman's great year does this sway Wells' thinking? I can't see Wells getting a lot of pt - Pittman is great for this offense and M Wells was really looking like a good fit too in limited pt.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:41:57 PM)
No, I think he and his mom are Ohio State all the way.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:43:04 PM)
Plus, he and Pittman are tight. If Chris Wells earns playing time, he'll get it. Believe me, Tressel would love nothing more than to unleash 2 100-yard backs next year. They have the OL to get that done and then the onus won't be on Smith to throw for 342. He can hit for 250 and they've met all their goals (and probably won 42-17).

buckicrazy (Jan 5, 2006 1:43:15 PM)
I saw Gibson's video and he looks good rushing the QB. Is he a LB/DE player that can be used like Carpenter was at the end of the season?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:44:09 PM)
Exactly, range is his big thing. Great wingspan, great speed, huge hitter. He can do so many things. Reminds me a little bit of Na'il Diggs. Early in his career, they used him as a pass rusher. Then he became a complete player as the years went on. Now he's quite a pro for the (sad) Pack.

Drew (Jan 5, 2006 1:44:17 PM)
Speaking of Lyons - I thought we'd see him next year getting in the WR mix along with Dukes. How have both of these players done this year in practice time?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:44:44 PM)
They say Lyons is at safety. Dukes could be a surprise to take over for his homey, Holmes, next year.

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 1:44:53 PM)
Patterson to stay outside ? No real exp there other than Richardson.. (Worthington/Williams/Wilson/Gholston and Barrow) Nice talent but green

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:45:52 PM)
If one or more of those guys (Wilson and let's say Gholston or Barrow because of the injury to Worthington) develops, they would slide Patterson instead. They are much more thin at DT, I feel, with only Penton, Cotton, Abdallah and Denlinger there along with Pitcock.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:47:21 PM)
OK ...

buckikj (Jan 5, 2006 1:47:27 PM)
I might of missed this earlier...what is your best guess on Whitner and Youboty leaving?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:47:38 PM)
I think they both think about it hard but come back.

Drew (Jan 5, 2006 1:47:49 PM)
The last I heard about Boeckman - Tressel likes him a lot and he was doing well in practices -- remember the Miami game TD pass to Ginn. Is Boeckman still in the good graces of Coach Tressel? And how was SChoenhoft on the scout team this year?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:48:19 PM)
As far as I know, Tressel loves Boeckman. I heard they let Schoenhoft run the scout team most of the year and he did a great job.

boulderbuck1 (Jan 5, 2006 1:48:25 PM)
they are replaying the game right now on espn

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:48:31 PM)
I'll have to turn that on.

rbuck (Jan 5, 2006 1:49:43 PM)
Steve, regardless of what happens with our DB's, I feel if Young stays we lose, if he goes, we win. AND after that performance I do not see him staying. Your thoughts?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:51:21 PM)
My sentiment as well. Young will be hard for anybody to beat in Austin. I, too, believe he'll be gone.

buckicrazy (Jan 5, 2006 1:52:59 PM)
Since OSU had those big plays on offense against ND do you see them going for it more next year or was this a bowl thing?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:53:40 PM)
Probably more of a bowl thing. They lose Holmes and that hurts the big play capability. They need Dukes and Gonzalez to take that next step.

marksgforce (Jan 5, 2006 1:53:52 PM)
Since we just ended a bloody week of firings among NFL head coaches, who do you see on the hot seat among major college programs in the present or within the next year? Smith? Fullmer? Carr? Franchione?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:55:45 PM)
I think Smith needs to have a good year at MSU. It helps that he has Stanton back. Fulmer is probably OK at Tennessee, regardless. I think Michigan stands behind Carr, although this would fit the profile of how Cooper was fired. 2-3 great years, followed by 2 off the charts bad years. I think A&M stays the course with Franchione. Texas is getting all of the best instate talent there now. He's a good coach and they just need to ride it out. They played Texas tough this year.

Drew (Jan 5, 2006 1:55:58 PM)
Great point on Pittman and Wells, Steve. I love the way Tressel switches back and forth from the spread to more conventional offensive schemes - keeps the defense on its heels. Do you think, if C Wells plays well, that we will see Pittman and Mo Wells in the spread , but a lot more conventional I formation with C Wells - therefore a lot more running next year and the ball spread among these 3 backs?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:56:11 PM)
That makes sense to me.

boulderbuck1 (Jan 5, 2006 1:56:20 PM)
Don't know if this has been asked or not, but how lucky are we to have a coach in J T who loves to punt and kick field goals? If anything, these BCS games showed how important special teams really are.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:57:03 PM)
Yep, the PSU game hinged on special teams. OSU needs a new kicker to emerge, whether it's Pettrey, Pretorius or maybe even the returning Skeete (if, indeed, he comes back).

marksgforce (Jan 5, 2006 1:57:12 PM)
When Carr gets nudged out the door, do you think Michigan is going to have break tradition and find an "outside man" to coach the program? Do you see anyone on staff or a UM grad like Les Miles out there that can take over?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:57:55 PM)
Miles will be tempted. He really needs to put in 3 years at LSU, though, before he makes another jump. It's only been one. Maybe they just put him on the back burner until he's ready to jump and Carr's ready to go.

rbuck (Jan 5, 2006 1:58:01 PM)
Just for kicks, How do we play against USC? I think if we play Texas 10 times we might win 2 or 3?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:59:11 PM)
Series with Texas would be 6-4 in favor of UT, probably (especially if Carpenter can't spy Young a little bit). Series with USC would be 5-5, I think. Series with PSU would be 7-3 OSU on a neutral field.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 1:59:25 PM)
Series with ND would be 9-1 on a neutral field, if anybody cares.

buckikj (Jan 5, 2006 1:59:46 PM)
Pretty great year when you consider the two losses came from teams that combined for only one loss. Not everyone was quite so high on the team after those two early losses. Tressel has really brought a high level of consistancy to the program. Your thoughts on sustaining this level of excellence.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:01:48 PM)
Great observation on the consistency. They have raised expectations to such a high level. They play with a great poise (see Michigan, see ND after first drive and end of game). OSU's opponents this year were a combined 84-57. Take out their 2-10 record against OSU and they were an amazing 82-47 against other teams. That includes Texas at 13-0, PSU at 11-1 and ND at 9-3.

buckicrazy (Jan 5, 2006 2:01:59 PM)
It's sad to see a Buckeye football season come to an end but at least this year we have Matta's Buckeye's.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:03:01 PM)
Yes, let's see how far this run lasts. They obliterate PSU in the Large Eleven opener, then go to Indiana where they are like 4-and-forever at Assembly Hall. Should be a great game on Sat. I question how OSU handles White and Killingsworth inside.

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 2:03:10 PM)
With the lack of overall OL prospects, who backs up Center after Datish leaves ? I heard Browning may be able to play Center..Is it a grade thing with the big Center from Columbus Brookhaven ? He has never been mentioned.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:04:00 PM)
Not sure why OSU never has been involved on Mark Jackson. I believe grades could be the issue. Cordle would be the center of the future. I think Mitchum could back up there, maybe Person as well, if need be.

rbuck (Jan 5, 2006 2:04:05 PM)
Do you see Rich Rodriguez moving on? He's doing a bang up job.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:04:57 PM)
Yes, I think WVU needs to take care of him. They are back on the map. Everybody pissed and moaned about the Big East having a free pass. But they were deserving. They beat the SEC champs. The ACC sent a team ranked 22nd. Maybe they should watch their behind.

yooperbuck (Jan 5, 2006 2:05:13 PM)
Does Eric Haw breakout here somewhere or will it take an injury to one of the backs for him to move up? The small amount he has been on the field,for some reason I liked him more than M. Wells.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:05:29 PM)
I agree, he needs to fly right, work hard and let his actions speak for themselves.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:05:44 PM)
He is definitely in the mix and can push Pittman if he gets his head on right.

Drew (Jan 5, 2006 2:06:02 PM)
I think OSU was the best team in college football at the end of the year and would have handled Texas or USC EXCEPT for all the mistakes. The mistakes cost us a place in the NC and woul have probably cost us if we did play Texas or USC for the title. This is very unusual for Tressel Teams. Some of it may be due to the new type of talent and explosiveness on offense, but this has got to be something that Tressel harps on (even more than usual) all off season - Do you agree?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:06:57 PM)
Yes, they were able to overcome deficits in turnovers all year. That will be a bone of contention -- cutting down the turnovers and getting some on defense.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:07:44 PM)
Anything else today?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:08:15 PM)
I have a list of some guys who may be visiting ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:08:22 PM)
Does anybody want to know?

Drew (Jan 5, 2006 2:08:41 PM)

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:09:01 PM)
OK, Walter Dublin (and Dave has a story on him on the front page) ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:09:10 PM)
Mark Johnson, the LB from Cali ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:09:18 PM)
A.J. Jones, LB from Fla. ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:09:30 PM)
Kylan Robinson, RB from Fla. ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:09:40 PM)
Johnnie Troutman, DL from NJ or NY ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:09:47 PM)
Aram Olson, FB from SC

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:09:54 PM)
and, drum roll please ...

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:10:23 PM)
I understand there is a chance that WR Greg Matthews from Fla. (the player who verbaled to Michigan) may also visit.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:10:46 PM)
They have blown out the DBs (Henderson, Udell and anybody else) for right now.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:11:00 PM)
Looks like those seven for now.

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 2:11:11 PM)
Don't blame him..why would he want to play for LLLLLoyd (Karl Maulden) Carr ?

Drew (Jan 5, 2006 2:11:52 PM)
Steve, one more question , does anyone besides PSU and OSU play defense anymore??

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:12:37 PM)
Everybody can play offense. But the great teams play defense, it seems. That was USC's downfall, certainly, last night. Even Sneaky Pete had to admit they could not get Texas stopped.

rbuck (Jan 5, 2006 2:13:04 PM)
How good will the defense be next year?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:14:03 PM)
Not as good as this year. Those LBs erased so many issues with the front and the secondary. They will work hard in the spring to try and make sure the dropoff is not as big as it could be.

rbuck (Jan 5, 2006 2:14:12 PM)
What are the chances of AJ slipping down to the Browns at #12?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:14:29 PM)
Unlikely. I think most think he'll be in the first 8 picks somewhere.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:14:36 PM)
The Browns won too many games.

yooperbuck (Jan 5, 2006 2:14:39 PM)
Steve, who replaces Santonio?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:14:57 PM)
Gonzalez and Dukes, I guess. Will be interesting to see who emerges in the spring.

rbuck (Jan 5, 2006 2:15:02 PM)
I read yesterday that Donte is announcing his decision today. Is this correct? Youboty when?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:15:19 PM)
I have not heard anything about an announcement for either player.

MacAuley (Jan 5, 2006 2:15:32 PM)
A lot of folks are REALLY worried about losing three starting LBs and I agree that they will be tough to replace, but I also think that folks tend to devalue the role that Coach Heacock played in making this defense as good as it was. Your thoughts?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:16:03 PM)
Heacock did a phenomenal job. He took over the last week of spring practice and the result was the best defense in the Big Ten and one of the best in the nation.

Drew (Jan 5, 2006 2:16:14 PM)
Texas at times played well on D , but I would say its a far cry from the Bucks D. I never saw such bad defenses like I did this year in college football. Maybe I'm too use to watching the Buckeyes and AJ Hawk, but what's happening in college football - why such an imbalance of offense to defense? What are your thoughts?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:17:40 PM)
Maybe teams are putting their best athletes on offense. I can't explain it. Plus, offensive gurus are coming up with new and better ways to attack. I watched USC last night and it was like they were overpursuing to get to Young. All he had to do was step up, which he finally did.

marksgforce (Jan 5, 2006 2:18:10 PM)
I think JT's calm demeanor hides a raging competitiveness. I've wondered if there's a hidden ambition too? Any chance he goes pro?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:18:27 PM)
No, haven't seen or heard any desire for him to do that. But your observation is correct.

rbuck (Jan 5, 2006 2:18:31 PM)
Anything new on Sanctions for the basketball team? Announcement?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:18:53 PM)
No, the hearing isn't until early Feb. Doubt we'll know before this year's tournament field is announced.

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 2:19:10 PM)
Kudla - Late #1 or #2 ? Do we convert a LB as a rushing end ala Carpenter (DeAndrea ?) - I think we should just let our LB's stick at LB with graduation at all....

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:21:22 PM)
Kudla probably middle round pick, kind of a tweener. Agreed on the LBs. They have plenty of good young ends.

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 2:21:36 PM)
Do you think offers for '07 begin soon. Wells and Homan signed very early last year. Would still like to give a Torrence, Martin or Gamble official offers to make our intentions known. It still kills me them dragging the heels on some OL this year (Thomas-Tilley)

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:22:20 PM)
Yes, you'll see some early offers on or about signing day. They want to wrap this class up first. But other schools are forcing their hand a little bit, too. They did not want Tilley. They did want Thomas, but it was too little too late.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:22:28 PM)
Anything else today?

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 2:23:28 PM)
Did Maupin officially sign at Cincy too ?

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:23:33 PM)
That I don't know.

yooperbuck (Jan 5, 2006 2:23:39 PM)
I think the spread is causing defenses without speed,the problem. we have speed everywhere on offense, defense and special teams.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:24:01 PM)
Great observation. Teams with speed can overcome the mismatches and the ball distribution tactics.

SteveHelwagen (Jan 5, 2006 2:24:16 PM)
Hey, guys, I gotta run. Bill Conley will be in at 1 p.m. Monday.

Hicks74 (Jan 5, 2006 2:25:37 PM)
Thanks Steve !

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