NevadaBuck: Method To The Madness

In his latest column, NevadaBuck says Ohio State's recruiting strategy is starting to reap some heavy rewards. Plus, he looks inside the numbers at the offensive line position. And he looks at the Fiesta Bowl and discusses some of the major developments that have shaped OSU football over the last 12 months. Click here for more.

I will start off the column with an old saying from Grandma Nevadabuck, who used to counsel me, "Nevada, better half-slow then half-fast"(say that real quickly and you will catch her drift).

Jim Tressel and his staff have always lived by this adage when it comes to recruiting and the ultimate results you see on the field. The important thing to remember is it is not the guys that you don't get that kill you -- it is the guys that you DO get, but don't pan out for some reason because they tie up a scholarship for four or five years.

Next time you think OSU is "slow playing" themselves to death, just think of old Grannie Nevada.

I will save more recruiting thoughts for my chat on Monday (1 p.m., Eastern). But I do want to address one issue in this column and that being the state of the offensive line. I posted this on the board in response to many of you concerned about the "numbers" or the perceived lack thereof.

Remember, you only have 85 schollies to give and you still have Steve Rehring, Jon Skinner, Kyle Mitchum, Ben Person and Alex Boone with sophomore eligibility next year. And Connor Smith, Jake Ballard, Bryant Browning (probably), Andy Miller (probably) and Jimmy Cordle with freshman eligibility. That is 10 schollies right there.

When you add in the three upperclassman starters – seniors-to-be Doug Datish and T.J. Downing and junior-to-be Kirk Barton – that's a total of 13 OL on scholarship (most likely) for next year.

The depth is being rebuilt. It just doesn't happen in one year. The ideal number in my opinion is 16 (four per class) and we are well on our way towards that goal.

Some Random Thoughts

* First of all, for the many that have asked, my bowl odyssey was something else. I could write and entire column on attending nine bowls in 13 days but most of it you guys wouldn't care about as it did not directly pertain to our beloved Buckeyes.

I will say however, that watching Michigan lose is always a treat. (I can't root for those guys, even in the bowls.)

And beating Notre Dame and that arrogant Charlie Weis was even more satisfying than I had imagined. The low point of the bowl season for me had to be when the drunken Notre Dame fan approached my wife and I after the game and screamed, "There is hot, and there is HOT -- and she is HOT!!" After I thanked him for the nice compliment and wiped the spittle off her and I, I then had to fend off his advances for about four blocks.


* Meeting Laguna and son Brian before the Fiesta was another one of the pleasant surprises of the bowl trip. I think either one could suit up and play for us right away.

* What can I say about the game itself that hasn't already been covered? Yes, Gonzo's play was called correctly -- incomplete pass. Boy, Brady Quinn and his sister look a lot alike. And Ted Ginn is really really fast. That should cover it.

* How far have we come in 365 days??

Lets take another inventory of the good. In the past year, we have successfully begun the rehabilitation of tOSU's good name in the national spotlight. A year ago at this time, we were under the cloud of NCAA investigation and a seeming "witch hunt" from ESPN.

Now the stories that come out are almost universally positive about OSU. MC-13 has discredited himself completely (sad, just really sad), the NCAA cloud has cleared, and we are the preseason darlings for next year.

Troy Smith is the preseason favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Yes, Troy Smith. One year ago he was not even playing with the Buckeyes and was serving banishment in the NCAA's and Tressel's doghouses. Now he is the poster boy for rehabilitation and team play. Is there a bigger turnaround that anyone can remember???

We beat Michigan -- again. OSU is now 4-1 against in the last five years. We are in their heads right now, in many ways like they were in ours during the dark days in the 90's. I have friends that are Michigan fans that are close to converting.

We won another bowl game. Four in a row. Three of those in BCS bowls. Beating Notre Dame on national television for all to see. Wow!

We had a seamless transition of defensive coordinators. We may have upgraded. Jim Heacock did an outstanding job this year.

We found our offensive identity. We have struggled tremendously on offense during the Tressel era. Not any more. We finish the season by hanging 618 yards on Notre Dame (the most ever given up by the Irish). We head into next year with eight starters returning and momentum. Should be fun.

This has indeed been a good year.

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