Bucknotes - 5/22

Dave Biddle is back today with more Bucknotes... today, he talks about the roles of OSU offensive coaches, the shooting incident at UM, and more.

The offensive coaching situation at Ohio State is unlike most other schools. Instead of the usual five offensive coaches (OC, OL/TE, QB, RB, WR), Ohio State employs just four. Jim Bollman doubles as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, Joe Daniels doubles as the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach, Tim Spencer mentors the running backs and Bill Conley coaches the tight ends. Of that group, only Spencer has what you would really call a "typical" coaching gig.

The Bucks can get away with having one less offensive coach than usual because head coach Jim Tressel is heavily involved in the offense. In fact, Tressel is basically the offensive coordinator and the quarterbacks coach of the Buckeyes. Tress has said on many occasions that he is a quarterbacks coach at heart. Back when Daniels was hired, Tressel said it was ideal getting a guy with no ego like Daniels because there was going to be "two guys coaching the quarterbacks."

* In my opinion, the guy calling the plays is the offensive coordinator - and that's Tressel for the most part. Bollman obviously has heavy input, but his specialty is working with the O-Line. And Bollman is not your typical offensive coordinator that's going to be up in the box, thinking of creative ways to score. He is a guy that likes to stay on the field and, like Tressel, enjoys a grind-it-out running game.

So, is this good, bad, what? I don't know - but it sure is a unique way to do it. My concern, like most everyone else, is that the offensive staff will be too conservative in its play calling. Tressel ran a ball-control offense at Youngstown State and with several young players on the Buckeye offense this year, he might be more conservative than ever. (This is why I am one of the few who liked that last pass in the Outback Bowl. It proved that Tress has an ultra-aggressive side to him and if Mike Jenkins makes an easy tackle, it's just a long punt. And if the ball is not underthrown...). On the other hand, both Bollman and Daniels are former NFL assistant coaches - they know a thing or two about "new age" offenses - so maybe OSU's offense will be more wide-open than we think. Bollman spent three years in the league as a tight ends coach (one with Philly, two with Chicago) and Daniels coached wide receivers in the NFL for five years (three with Cleveland, two with Buffalo) and quarterbacks for two years (NY Jets). Daniels was also the University of Cincinnati's offensive coordinator in 2000 when the Bearcats ran primarily a spread offense.

What to make of this? The offense seems to be in pretty good hands. Tressel's ball control offense garnished four national titles at Youngstown and the other coaches are proven talents. But I would like to see another offensive coach up in the box (I believe only Daniels and Conley are up there during games). More specifically, I'd like to see Bollman up there. Even in high school, that's where you can usually find the OC.


I really like some of the "little things" that Tressel has done since taking the job. He takes all the Buckeye traditions very seriously and makes sure that his players do the same. And some of the most interesting things that Tressel has implemented are, in no particular order: the spring game draft, jersey scrimmages and practice drills like the "Hoot 'n Holler."

Defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio thinks stuff like that has brought the team closer together and made practices more competitive.

"Throughout spring drills, our guys were enthusiastic about what we were doing," Dantonio said. "I think coach Tressel's system in the spring in terms of the way we play for those jerseys really caught on. You know, we lost the scarlet jerseys in one of those scrimmages and there was a lot of intensity to get those back. Game-day intensity. Things you aren't expecting to get out of the spring from your guys... The guys like that Hoot 'n Holler drill. They get into it."

The Hoot 'n Holler is a one-on-one goal line drill. The players sound like a pack of rabid dogs rooting for their side of the ball to win.


But not in Ann Arbor. Two Michigan football players - Markus Curry and Carl Diggs - were shot at an off-campus house party last weekend. Curry, a sophomore defensive back, was shot in the back and Diggs, a junior linebacker, was hit in the leg. Most published reports made it seem like a random shooting with someone open-firing into a crowd. But UM wide receiver Ron Bellamy gave a more accurate view of what happened in a story that appeared in the The Detroit News.

"We were just dancing and having fun (at the party). These guys were looking at us, because we're the football players, and were asking us stuff like, 'Let's go outside, let's do this fight.' And we were like, 'Hey, we're cool, we're just trying to have a party,'" Bellamy said.

That would dispute original reports that said the UM players were not involved in a fight prior to the shooting and had no verbal altercations with the shooter.

After the fight (still not clear exactly who was involved), Ann Arbor police were called to the house and began to clear out the area. But 45 minutes later, four men, believed to be the original instigators of the fight, returned in a car and confronted the UM players who were still standing outside. Here's what Bellamy had to say about the rest of the events...

"Those guys approached us and were like, 'So what do you want to do now?' We are like, 'We're just trying to have fun.' And those guys said, 'You're scared punks.' And we were like, 'Whatever.' Then three guys surrounded Curry and all of a sudden there was a big fight. I went to pull them off of him and I heard gun shots and we ran."

The bullet that got Curry narrowly missed his spine and is logged in his upper-right back. Diggs was shot in his left calf, but is already walking. Hopefully these two young men have a full recovery from this senseless act of violence.

There is some good news: The 18-year old shooter was arrested by Ann Arbor police three days after the incident. He is being charged with two counts of attempted murder.


According to a poster on a Bucknuts message board, coach Tressel mentioned Bucknuts.com during a recent OSU Alumni Association function in Broward County, Fla. Apparently, someone asked Tressel to comment on local product Chris Gamble. Tressel said, "I can only tell you this because I don't think there is anyone from Bucknuts.com here. I go on-line if I want to find out information on my team." Coach Tressel, God love you, there are Bucknuts everywhere. Thanks for the update Oswald! Even if he was being sarcastic, it was pretty cool to hear that the big man mentioned us.

(FYI: Tress went on to say that Gamble is the best receiver on the team and just needs to have more confidence in himself.)

BENGALS DID SOMETHING RIGHT (Besides draft Corey Dillon)

Since its inception two years ago, Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium has been ranked by numerous sports publications as the NFL's best stadium. Recently, the accolades got even more impressive as "PBS" was honored by two of the top architectural magazines in the world. Architectural Record and Architecture each ranked "PBS" as one of the top four sports stadiums in the world (I maintain that Ohio Stadium should be ranked up there as well). Of course, Buckeye fans can get a closer view of Paul Brown Stadium on Sept. 21 when OSU tackles UC... By the way, look for something on the club site in the coming weeks on former Buckeye running back/defensive back Dick LeBeau, the head coach of the Bengals. LeBeau is believed to be the only Ohio State grad to ever become a head coach in the NFL (still waiting to hear back from OSU sports information on that one, but I'm 99 percent sure). LeBeau won a national championship playing under Woody Hayes in the late 1950's before going on to an All-Pro career with the Detroit Lions.

Check back next week for more of Dave Biddle's Bucknotes!

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