A Bucket of Bullets with Bill Conley

Bill Conley, the OSU tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator extraordinaire was seduced by Mr. Bucknuts into spending twenty minutes talking about the upcoming camps, recruiting and a few of Mr. Bucknuts' strange fantasies. I will report here on just the first two topics…

There is probably no "tougher" interview than Coach Conley because of the vast restrictions on what – by NCAA strictures – he is allowed to discuss or the issues on which he can opine. Often, there is a ten second delay as he ponders those implications. Like grilling an attorney on the stand while the cameras are rolling. After Coach Conley determined that I had no designs on becoming the Howard Stern of Ohio State football, we covered a few basics:

1)      He has 24 teams signed up next week for the 7-on-7 camp.

2)      The first all-comers camp will begin on June 18 and that session will have 1300 campers (although a few might re-appear at the "senior camp" on June 28).

3)       The second all-comers camp will be on June 22 and he has 1200 kids registered.

4)      Finally, there will be a kicking camp on the 28th, for which 135 high school kids have already registered. The kicking camp includes place-kickers, punters and long snappers.

At the same time that the kicking camp is underway, there is an elite seniors camp that the coach prefers to call a "senior advance" camp. Last year, the Buckeyes offered and received commitments from 4-5 kids at or after this camp. In fact, three of the offensive linemen (Mangold, Sims and Downing) were offered together and all accepted. Conley mentioned that those three were always high on the radar screen and that camp just confirmed the decisions for the staff.

He dis-abused me of the notion that the "senior advance" camp was an invitation-only affair. To the contrary, OSU is not allowed to invite kids to the camp; they simply send out the information. So, technically, the camp is open to any senior. This year, Conley is expecting 50 kids at the senior camp of which 15-20 should be coming from out-of-state. The only rise I could get out of him was the mention of Wes Jefferson, a super linebacker from Maryland who said he will be in attendance.

Coach Conley remarked that overall attendance was up more than 20% from last year and that was a direct correlation to the unusually good relationships Coach Tressel enjoys with Ohio high school coaches. You have to read between the lines at this point because he didn't want to go into any other coach comparison…

Conley implied that the camps were significant this year with the reduced scholarships the school could offer and that there could be "some action" following the senior camp.

On the way out the door (Conley to a full coaches meeting, me back to the highway…), we touched on the tight end situation. He lit up when I mentioned seeing D'Andrea playing TE in high school and he said, "He can play anywhere on the field!". He also was positive on Stan White as a TE and conceded that OSU needed to see how these guys all shook out in August before they would make a recruiting decision as to how many tight ends they would bring in. He agreed with me (doesn't everyone?) that Ohio was unusually blessed with having two great tight ends in the next class: Irizarry and Frost.

And before I generated any other frost with my questions, I receded into the hallways of the WHAC. Coach Conley agreed to do a longer feature with Dave Biddle at the camps.

You will hear more from Bucknuts and Coach Bill Conley then!

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