Helwagen Chat: March 24 Archive

Here are excerpts from Thursday's Chat session with Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen.

GRIMES (Mar 23, 2006 10:02:45 AM)
Do we see a defense with inconsistancy like a couple years ago with all these grad losses

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:02:56 AM)
Yeah, I think that's a possibility, as sad as it sounds.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:03:36 AM)
They have to add 9 new starters and that's a lot of guys to get on the same page in quick order ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:04:17 AM)
Obviously, if they are able to go out early in the year and acquit themselves well against Texas and Iowa and PSU, they may be in position for an 11-1 or 12-0 type year. That's the key -- coming together quickly.

GRIMES (Mar 23, 2006 10:05:25 AM)
Perhaps against TX we crowd the line of scrimmage and dare the frosh QB to do the Henne heave

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:05:40 AM)
Yes, good point ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:06:38 AM)
Whoever their quarterback will be it will be his 2nd career start. So Ohio State needs to exert as much pressure as possible. By the end of that game, that QB will either be exposed as a rookie or exalted as a larger than life hero. Troy, by contrast, would be making his 17th start (he's 13-2 now as a starter).

GRIMES (Mar 23, 2006 10:09:05 AM)
Does Northern IL have their very good RB back from last year ? It could provide a good warmup for TX. They have had a very good very well coached running attack for several years

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:09:12 AM)
Yes they do ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:10:48 AM)
Garrett Wolfe, 5-7, 174. He rushed for 1,588 yards last year. NIU lost the MAC title game to Akron. I wish I had taped that game now (ha ha). Usually I'm more on the ball than that. They were 7-5 last year. They have pulled off some major upsets in the past like Alabama and others. Ought to be a good game.

Guest (Mar 23, 2006 10:13:10 AM)
How much of a factor do you think Chris Wells presence has on Brandon Saine's collegiate decision. I would love to see Wells and Saine (Thunder and Lightning) type of combination!

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:13:32 AM)
buckeyeram asks whether Chris Wells' presence would affect Brandon Saine ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:14:15 AM)
That is possible. Saine will probably keep his options open through at least spring ball to see what kind of an impact Wells may have with the Buckeyes. This could be like Clarett all over again with a long shadow cast by the primary back ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:14:35 AM)
But if they get 3 great seasons with Wells out of it (unlike the 1 they got with Reecie) it would be worth it.

MURPHDAWG (Mar 23, 2006 10:14:38 AM)
When is OSU's camp?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:15:04 AM)
OSU's summer camp is usually June 15-25 or thereabouts. Not sure about the exact dates this year. It is probably on their site.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:16:31 AM)
Looks like the kicking camp is June 14-15, allposition first session June 16-18, second session June 20-22 and advanced one day camps are listed as June 3 and June 23.

MURPHDAWG (Mar 23, 2006 10:16:39 AM)
has OSU told you guys of any practices open to the media before the spring game?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:17:09 AM)
No, have not received a schedule yet. I imagine they're working on everything this week after wrapping up basketball last weekend. We may know something by early next week.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:17:25 AM)
I doubt there will be much access, though. It seems to dwindle every year.

buckeyeram4 (Mar 23, 2006 10:17:31 AM)
Looking at pure talent alone, how does this year's defense stack up to past OSU defenses?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:18:38 AM)
The talent and potential levels are strong. They just need to do it. We felt the same way in 2004 after the mass exodus in that draft. These guys need to take ownership and get it done. They have to take that next step. We saw Jenkins pick up the ball and run with it last year. Now the other 8 new signees have to do likewise.

jparsell82 (Mar 23, 2006 10:18:47 AM)
Will D'Andrea be 100% by the spring game? I'm excited to get a chance to see Grant and Homan also.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:19:58 AM)
That's hard to say. He is hoping to be full-go all spring. It would be great to see him go hard all spring and show he is back. More likely, he will take proper precautions and protect his knee and make sure he's full-go for the fall. This kid needs no more setbacks ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:21:11 AM)
Agreed on Grant and Homan. It will be fun to see those 2 out there this spring and see where they fall. Grant has a legit shot to start this year if he comes in with the right attitude and lights them up. Homan, more likely, is a special teamer his first year and goes from there. But we shall see.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:22:56 AM)
We have one game in the books at the state boys tournament ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:23:34 AM)
South Webster with Nick Aldridge (Western Carolina, former Huggins UC recruit) beat Lockland 61-58. Next is the other D-IV semi between Windham and Cols. Grove ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:24:08 AM)
Business picks up at 5:15 when Archbold tackles NCH and at 8:30 when VASJ and David Lighty meet Wheelersburg. ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:25:20 AM)
Tomorrow we have Clark Kellogg's son Alex and DeSales against Wooster Triway at 10:45 and Dunbar/Cook against SVSM at 2. SVSM has Dayton signee Marcus Johnson. D-I semis are tomorrow night (McKinley/Tol. St. John's and Trotwood-Madison/Lancaster).

MURPHDAWG (Mar 23, 2006 10:25:22 AM)
any chance of Matta getting a contract extension this offseason?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:26:18 AM)
I think he gets an automatic one-year renewal for winning the Big Ten, so they start there with the formality of that. Then, probably look at a renegotiation of the contract and sweeten the pot a bit. At $1 million a year(roughly), he seems to be a bargain. ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:27:30 AM)
Here's some math: If they sellout 16 games at VCA next year at 19,100 at an average price of $16 a ticket, that is a gross of $4.9 million. That's some major money they can use with debt service, scholarship costs, etc.

GRIMES (Mar 23, 2006 10:27:42 AM)
How many games does the BB team lose next year? I see beating up on low talent teams but several losses against mature tough teams that are well coached . Hopefully, thay get a ways into the Tournament. Amazing how far a really good big guy can take you(Georgetown)

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:29:32 AM)
i think it's too soon to say until we see the schedule, see who goes pro at other schools and so on. They don't want to do an MSU and schedule half the top 10 to nonconf games, but they do want to sprinkle in some challenges. My guess off the top of my head is something like 22-5 (one game shy of this year) and probably 11-5 or 12-4 Big Ten. ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:31:08 AM)
Agreed on the big guy. They hammered Ohio State on the boards and that was probably the difference in the game, no second chance points and too many extra chances for the Hoyas. Oden, obviously, gives OSU a leg up ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:31:41 AM)
A guy asked Matta a question about how athletic Hibbert is. The coach reportedly said, "If you think he's athletic, you should see the guy I have coming in next year."

rbuck (Mar 23, 2006 10:31:44 AM)
When will Matta eliminate his name from IU consideration?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:31:59 AM)
Matta last Thursday: "I have never had any interest in the Indiana job, nor do I have any interest in it today." ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:32:06 AM)
What else does he need to do or say?

rbuck (Mar 23, 2006 10:32:19 AM)
What a buzzsaw we ran into in G-Town, if we play 10 times I only see us winning 1, maybe 2. About as bad a matchup as we could see in the whole tourney. What do you think?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:33:47 AM)
Agreed, the notes I wrote down as that game unfolded were not too flattering. I said, "Georgetown looks like the 2 seed, playing with more poise and confidence than OSU, getting outrebounded, OSU taking bad shots, taking quick shots." ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:35:19 AM)
Having said that, I think the Hoyas just had their A-game that day. They had some bad double-digit losses on their card (albeit to good Big East teams) but they were hitting some tough contested shots, several times as the shot clock was running out. Give them their due. They won that game and, really, dominated it. OSU's 4-man rotation (that's what I called it by the end, because Syl, Harris, Foster and Twig had either clocked out or were hurt) could not hold up.

MacAuley (Mar 23, 2006 10:35:37 AM)
Didn't Coach Matta say he was not interested in the Ohio st position, just before he left Xavier for the Buckeyes?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:37:27 AM)
Yep, and that's why he will be hounded by these questions until the end of time. He was quoted in The Enquirer a week before he took the job that he wasn't interested (or something to that effect). The Enquirer reporter even hounded him on it at OSU's press conference, kind of an uneasy setting. So you have to take everything you see, hear and read with a grain of salt. Either he was lying or something dramatically changed in the week that followed that statement. The best policy is probably to just say nothing. ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:38:22 AM)
Matta tried that here with the IU questions and kind of stonewalled them for weeks, but people weren't buying it. "Why doesn't he come out and say he doesn't want it," the talk shows said. Then, last week, he says he has no interest and it still won't die.

ethelmerman (Mar 23, 2006 10:38:45 AM)
Steve, switching over to football. I don't know if this has been asked, but what's your take on the LBs? I'm guessing Freeman will start. If D'Andrea is healthy, he will start. And the third spot seems wide open. My guess is Grant will start, with Terry and Kerr getting significant time. Grant's stats last year were impressive, even if it wasn't D-1. It's not like he was on a high school team. Plus, he's had two years to develop strength, size and speed. It seems it's just a matter of picking up the system.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:40:41 AM)
It is a wide open competition, no doubt. Freeman seems to be the best of the bunch. D'Andrea has to get healthy and stay healthy. You don't mention Hoobler or Laurinaitis, they are in here somewhere. Need to see how Grant does picking up the system and how he fits in. Fickell and Heacock will have their hands full molding this defense, that is for sure. The talent is there, now they need to mold it into a winner.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:41:14 AM)
My starters today would probably be Freeman and Laurinaitis outside and Hoobler or D'Andrea inside. Maybe Coach Fickell has other ideas. We'll see.

buckeyeram4 (Mar 23, 2006 10:43:57 AM)
Who would guess starts in the D backfield? This is my greatest concern about this team. My guess is Oneal and Mitchell at Safeties.....Jenkins and ? at the other corner

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:44:38 AM)
You are correct in that statement. In an era when opponents spread the field and throw the ball 35 times a game, OSU needs a strong meaningful pass rush and great coverage downfield. ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:45:35 AM)
My guesses would be Mitchell and O'Neal at safety, Jenkins and Amos at corner. Nickel could be Coleman or Nick Patterson.

MacAuley (Mar 23, 2006 10:45:46 AM)
Chris Wells and Russ Hohman were considered "Cornerstones" to last years class. Who will the "Cornerstones" to this year's class be?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:47:07 AM)
Well, if he commits, Ben Martin would be. But with Nate Oliver the only one in now, he'd be the cornerstone. Probably a Eugene Clifford or Devon Torrence if they verbal as well. Duane is really high on Clay Belton now as well. Big kid, could be a keeper at QB down the line. I know many want to see 2 impact linemen on each side of the ball, too.

ethelmerman (Mar 23, 2006 10:49:18 AM)
I figured Hoobler would be in the mix. I just didn't think he had more experience or more talent than D'Andrea. That's not a knock. I just really like D'Andrea... if he's healthy. I just wasn't impressed by Laurinaitis. I didn't really follow him when he was in there, but I got the impression ND's first TD, where they seemed to just just walk in the endzone (correct me if I'm wrong) was to his side. Admittedly, I don't think Hawk got off his block to help, but still. And I'm not saying Laurinitis won't help down the road, he's just young.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:53:26 AM)
I think Fickell may have been down on Hoobler this past year. He had a great spring, but may have lost some focus when it was clear he was not going to play in the fall. We think D'Andrea is really good, but what have we seen of him to know. You can't count on him being there or being as good as he was before the knee. The first ND touchdown was a 20-yard run by Walker. That reminds me of the Derrick Williams PSU TD where he just gets going and there is no way to get him stopped. I can't recall who missed an assignment or if it was just a bad scheme call/great ND play call. Coaches are high on Laurinaitis, I know that.

Guest (Mar 23, 2006 10:53:40 AM)
Crytal Ball time. How many carries for Pitt, C. Wells, Haw. Next year?

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:53:58 AM)
rbuck wants to know how many carries for Pittman, Wells and Haw this year ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:55:35 AM)
In 12 games last year, Pittman had 243 carries and Smith had 136. If we say there will be 400 carries to divide, my guess is Pittman gets 225, Smith and Wells 75 each and Haw whatever is left over.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:55:39 AM)
Just a guess.

ethelmerman (Mar 23, 2006 10:55:48 AM)
Do we seem a little thin at DT after '07? It seems we have Abdallah and Cotton, who seem to still be developing, but have yet to show us one will be the next Pitcock. And then two young guys (forget their names right now) with lots of promise, but no experience.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:56:12 AM)
Agreed 100 percent ...

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:57:35 AM)
If they move Patterson inside this year, you have Patterson, Pitcock and Penton (all seniors), Cotton (junior), Abdallah (soph) and Denlinger and Larrimore (both frosh). Cotton and Abdallah have yet to move the needle, so you wonder what impact they may make. This position has to be a critical area. Duane thinks Rose could grow into a DT down the line as well.

ethelmerman (Mar 23, 2006 10:57:38 AM)
Any JUCO DTs out there? lol

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:57:57 AM)
I honestly have no idea, but they could be after a quick fix, no doubt, after the 3 P's leave.

ethelmerman (Mar 23, 2006 10:58:50 AM)
That's true, we do seem loaded at DE.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:59:17 AM)
The future looks much better at end with Wilson, Worthington, Barrow, Gholston and Rose and Dublin as well than at DT.

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 10:59:35 AM)
Any last blasts today???

MacAuley (Mar 23, 2006 11:00:21 AM)
O - H !!!

SteveHelwagen (Mar 23, 2006 11:00:48 AM)
I-O !!!

ethelmerman (Mar 23, 2006 11:01:44 AM)
See ya. Thanks.

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