The LeCharles Bentley v. Tyson Walter situation is a bit funny and sad at the same time. My initial reaction when I heard that Bentley was suing Walter was extreme disappointment in LeCharles. I say that because he always took the high road last year; he was the bigger man. When asked time and time again by the media about his relationship with Walter and how they could possibly co-exist on the same line, Bentley said all the right things. He always put the team first. And largely because of that, he became the Bucks' unquestioned leader and the best center in the nation.
After working with him for a few months, head coach Jim Tressel was blown away by Bentley. Not just because of his physical ability, but because of the positive influence he had on the team.
"I don't know if I've ever coached a guy quite like LeCharles," Tressel said last year. "He is a man out there physically, but also has outstanding mental toughness."
So why would Bentley decide to stoop to Walter's level and sue?
I mean, I can see him saying to himself, "I'm not going to let Tyson Walter get away with suing me. He deserved to get knocked out and 99 percent of my teammates agree with me. And no matter what happens, you never sue a teammate. You handle stuff like that in-house."
But to turn around and sue Walter for the exact amount that Walter sued him ($50K) is a bit childish.
If Bentley really believes that Walter is a racist who tried to bring down the program with false claims (sent a letter to OSU administrators during Michigan week that stated Bentley had already hired an agent), then why not sue him for more than $50,000?
Simple. Because this is all about revenge.
But Bentley doesn't need revenge. He's already won. The OSU fans seemed to like him more than Walter. So did his teammates. And so did the NFL scouts.
Which leads up to the next point: Bentley sure doesn't need the money he's suing for. As a second round pick by the New Orleans Saints, he's due to make about $1 million per year for the next four years.
Walter, on the other hand, can probably use every penny of the money he sued for. He was a fifth round pick by the Dallas Cowboys and unless they have a need for a slow tackle/guard, Walter is in danger of blocking for Stan Jackson up in Toronto.
Let's back up just a bit... Remember that bit about Walter telling OSU administrators during Michigan week that Bentley had hired an agent? Well, Walter (through his attorney) reported that the agent was former Buckeye offensive coordinator Mike Jacobs.
Ohio State spokeswoman Elizabeth Conlisk admits that OSU did receive such a letter from Walter's attorney and told the Columbus Dispatch that OSU investigated the claims and "found them to have no merit."
Bentley says that Walter later admitted to the team that his lawyer did send the letter and that the statements were false.
So, maybe Walter does deserve to get sued.
But once again, I'm disappointed that Bentley didn't take the high road - just like he did last year.
He would have been remembered as one of the best centers ever at OSU. Instead, he's going to be remembered for sharing these silly lawsuits with Walter.
LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY
With the early start to the season, freshmen will report July 29 and upperclassmen will join them Aug. 1. Head coach Jim Tressel talked about the last month preparations that the Bucks are going through.
"Our players are working really hard in the weight room and so forth and our coaches just finished with about 3,000 youth campers, so we're giving them a few weeks off and then it's time to go," Tressel said. "One of the new rules is that incoming freshmen can come in and work out with the rest of the team and it's kind of neat seeing our older guys spending time with them and showing them the ropes. They've been going out and throwing the ball around in the 7-on-7 drills. Michael Doss told me that he took some of the young DBs out and talked through some coverages. That's what making a team is all about: meshing the old with the new and it's a lot of fun to see those guys get together for the first time."
Tressel said the freshmen won't be coddled during their three days of "freshmen only" practices.
"We will throw a lot at them from an X's and O's standpoint ," he said. "So when the upperclassmen get back and we start over, they will at least have heard it once. And of course, we'll show them how we want the tempo of practice and those kind of things. But really, the most important thing is to help them get adjusted and help them feel comfortable being away from home. And just moving one step closer to having that comfort zone that will then allow them to show their physical abilities."
One thing that the ballyhooed freshman class will have to study (besides football plays and their schoolwork), is the background of every other member of the Buckeye football family. Tressel wants them to know as much about each other as possible.
"They've got to know the name and hometown and high school of every one of their teammates," Tressel said. "You've got to know each other if you want to build a relationship. They also have to know the words to the fight song and Carmen Ohio."
Some fans might think that it's useless information, but I love stuff like that from Tress.
HOOPS SCHEDULE LOADED
Anyone still questioning the strength of Ohio State's basketball schedule, or Jim O'Brien's recruiting skills? Didn't think so.
How's this for a tough out of conference schedule: Duke, Alabama, Pitt, Louisville and Seton Hall.
That's right, as I'm sure most of you have heard by now, the Basketball Bucks will square off against Duke this year in Greensboro, N.C. in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. If there ever is a good time to play Duke, it's this year. They lose Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer who were all early entry selections in the NBA Draft (J Will second overall and the overrated Dunleavy third). Up until three years ago, Coach K had never had a player leave his program early for the NBA. Never.
Anyway, even though the OSU-Duke matchup is the one Buckeye fans will be most excited about, Alabama and Pitt are the two toughest teams on the schedule. Alabama returns one of the best post players in the nation in Erwin Dudley and Pitt (who beat OSU in the Schott last year) returns just about everyone from their stellar team, including point guard Brandin Knight and beefy post player Ontario Lett.
As for OB's recruiting, he's never going to lead the Big Ten in McDonald's All-Americans, but he does do something better than any other coach in the league: Attract transfers. I mean, if we keep getting guys like Scoonie Penn, George Reese, Sean Connolly (who will hopefully improve this year), Shun Jenkins, Tony Stockman and JJ Sullinger, I think the Bucks will be just fine.
And I know there is reason to be frustrated with the lack of high school stars signing with OSU, but it's not like the cupboard is bare. Terence Dials was the most underrated recruit in the nation (made some top 100 lists, but not many) and proved it last year. And the good thing about guys like Dials is that they won't be gone in a year or two. Let's think back to two years ago when the Buckeyes landed Velimir Radinovic and Zach Williams. They could have signed someone like Michigan State's Zach Randolph who stayed for just one year, but where would that have left the Buckeyes last year? Or for the next two years? Everyone and their brother would have rather had Randolph two years ago. But as it turned out, Radinovic and Williams were the better recruits.
"BUCKNUTS 10" MAKING THE ROUNDS
Two more OSU players were conned into taking the "Bucknuts 10" (which like the Big Ten, really has 11). This is probably going to turn into something we do for the magazine, but here's a sampling of what wide receiver Chris Vance and cornerback Bobby Britton had to say...
1) Favorite Buckeye tradition?
Vance: Gold Pants (didn't take Vance very long in his career to get those!)
Britton: Skull Session
2) Largest figure in OSU football history?
Britton: Shawn Springs
3) Strangest thing an OSU fan asked you to autograph?
4) Favorite NFL team?
5) Favorite pro sports team not including football?
Vance: Orlando Magic
Britton: LA Lakers
6) If you could go on a date with with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Britton: Alicia Keys
7) If you could take a free two-week vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?
8) Favorite type of music? Favorite musician?
Britton: R&B/Brian McKnight
9) Favorite food?
10) Favorite hobby?
Vance: Video games/playing basketball
11) Favorite movie and/or television show?
Vance: Spiderman (what else?)/Comic View
Britton: The Bone Collector/Cosby Show
Check back every week for more Bucknotes. E-mail Dave Biddle at email@example.com