Mr. Bucknuts Bucket Of Bullets

With every Mr. Bucknuts column brings more and more e-mails. They come from far and wide, and some of them aren't particularly friendly... but Mr. Bucknuts checks them all out anyway. This week, he dips back into his mailbag to discuss recent topics and also touches upon recruit Aaron Johnson and much more.

Bucket of Bullets

Mea culprit…Sure, I throw out ideas. And then usually learn the real facts or truth from those of you that subsequently climb all over me for my ideas. I am a small man but certainly big enough to admit when my glib thoughts need, uh, amplification. To that end, here are a couple of recent amplifiers:

From the squib about Jason Gwaltney and Scooter:

First, Scooter Berry is eligible and will be

> practicing when practices start. Second, you have it

> backward. Gwaltney was recruited first and he has

> known the WVU recruiting coordinator from years

> before when WVU was recruiting other up there.

> Scooter Berry was offered at the same time as Jason.

> Also for what it's worth, Jason Gwaltney is in

> Morgantown and has been most of the summer. He's

> working to get back into WVU but must earn it in

> both the classroom and what he is asked to do in

> practices and such.

> Also, FWIW, Jason and Scooter's parents want them

> both at WVU and wanted them there all along. Ohio

> State and USC really didn't have as much a chance as

> you would believe. Jason was underage to sign

> without his parents and they would not sign for him

> to go to either OSU or USC.

> I would like to see WVU and OSU play in the Fiesta

> in '07>


Chuck Placer

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When fools match wits…Or fools rush in where Weis men fear to tread…Top of Form

Your comment on the Weis guy caught my attention.

I don't know if you ever saw this story since I don't believe it ever made the rounds on any of the Scout boards, but the Weis guy isn't too reliable of a credit risk on top of his narcissistic personality.  Attached is a story for you.

Ralph A. Nunez, JD, MTax, CPA

January 04, 2005

"Pats coach sacked me for $160G: Contractor claims Weis stiffed him on house":

A Massachusetts contractor claims new Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis is poised to leave not only the New England Patriots this month but also his creditors owed more than $200,000.

Builder Steven Benoit sued the coach and his wife, Maura Weis, last week in federal court in Boston claiming the couple committed ``unfair and deceptive acts'' before flat out refusing to pay him the rest of his money for building their Cumberland, R.I., home.

Meanwhile, Weis has sued the doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital who performed the weight loss surgery that nearly cost him his life. Weis was in a coma for two weeks and was given last rites by a priest before recovering from the 2002 gastric bypass surgery.

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PU to PSU and Linebacker U…Tim Hyland writes me to suggest I am wrong about Ohio State having better linebackers than his faves at PSU (we're talking the modern era here, Tim):

OSU certainly has had some good linebackers of late, and A.J. Hawk was great, but Penn State will always be Linebacker U. This year especially. From Phil Steele's mag ...

Linebackers - 2006's Top LB Units
1. Penn State - This school is known as "Linebacker U" and has one of its best sets of LB's yet! Paul Posluszny won the Butkus and Bednarik Awards and turned down the NFL! Dan Connor (PS #3) missed the 1st 3 games in '05 but had 76 tackles in the last 9 games. They have an amazing 2nd string unit that would be listed in my Top 25 on their own merit.

How to argue with that kind of, well…logic?

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The worm turns (or some sour grapes of wrath…)….A couple years ago, I interviewed a kid on the radio (let's call him "Kenyon Buford"). He was excited that he had committed that very day to Ohio State. By the time I got home (at my usual time, 3:30 in the afternoon…), I had been boiled in oil by our competition (let's calls them "our rivals"), which stated boldly that "We have it straight from the coaches that "Buford" was never offered". I thought that comment was odd because 1) I had just talked with the kid and 2) the coaches can't comment on recruits. But what do I know? So, to address that question, I called "Buford's" father. Then I called his coach. They both told me that he had been offered and had committed. So I said what any sane person (call me "Bucknuts") would say. And that is, I will have to agree with the coach, the player and the father of the player and not some miffed writer who allegedly talks to coaches off the record. But those other guys flayed me anyway, even calling me "unprofessional" (the truth hurts, in that regard…).

And when did this particular worm turn? A few days back when one of our competition's writers (let's call him "Adam") in a breathless breakthrough story, alerted the recruiting world to the fact that Aaron Johnson had committed to OSU. A scoop! Did he remember to check with the OSU coaches this time? Nahh. He got it straight, from the kid. And the kid's father. And, well, you get the picture…

Luckily, I am a forgive-and-forget kind of guy or I could have laid it on really thick in this article (call me "Guido"). If Aaron becomes a Buckeye, then I will forgive and forget. But until then…

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From the "Man plans and God laughs" school of thought… We have been presented again this year with the specter that OSU's football inventory (18-22 year old kids, for the most part…) can be perishable, dynamic and in a constant state of flux. Remember a month ago when they couldn't figure out how to get all those talented running backs on the field in 2006? Well, Erik Haw is now on his way to Jackson State and that fat position is suddenly thinned. Funny how the "smoothing process" seems to work.

What – you ask – might happen if a Maurice Wells or an Antonio Pittman gets hurt? Remember two years ago when Iowa played their 6th string tailback (and still beat us)? It happens. If someone gets dinged this year, the Buckeyes basically have only two backs and are looking at moving a Ted Ginn or a Stan White into the TB position as additional security. We still have the veritable "pair and a spare" but those cosmic dice can roll some strange numbers…

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I couldn't say it better myself…In fact, I am still searching for words that rhyme with "silver" or "purple". One long-time reader wrote me the following:

The offense looks incredible. No, make that stupendous. Wait, maybe it's fabulous. Forget it. I'm not gonna try to label it. I'm just gonna watch quarterback Troy Smith, Ginn, Antonio Pittman, Chris Wells and a knock-out line and let my mind drift to 1995. You remember that year, when Bobby Hoying, Terry Glenn, Eddie George, Rickey Dudley and Orlando Pace helped the Buckeye offense set the nation on its ear.

So what do you all think, the best offense since ‘95?

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Indian summer in Illinois…You know if I am picking on Charlie Weis (see above), there must be a snippet in here about Indian nicknames. Here's what I picked up from the AP in late June:

Chief Illiniwek probably isn't done dancing at games


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Chief Illiniwek likely has not danced his last dance at University of Illinois home football games and could perform at basketball games this winter because the school's board of trustees has not settled on a solution to the long simmering debate, athletics director Ron Guenther said yesterday.

The school's teams might go through the academic year unable to play host to postseason NCAA events because the trustees are taking their time to reach a decision on the Chief's future, a decision that might not come before May 2007, Guenther said.

"I think that they have their own timetable and are looking to do the right thing," he said. "The only thing I have told the president and the chancellor is that I trust the Board of Trustees and respect the issues."

Guenther said he has no inkling of the trustees' decision-making process.

"It's out of my control," he said.

Illinois is barred from playing host to postseason NCAA events because the organization has deemed Illiniwek and his dance a "hostile and abusive" use of American Indian imagery. The NCAA placed Illinois on its list of noncompliant schools in August and has upheld its decision through two university appeals.

The Board of Trustees, in June 2004, adopted a resolution setting forth a process to seek what it terms a "consensus conclusion" regarding Chief Illiniwek's future. It set no timetable for reaching that conclusion and throughout the debate over the NCAA policy has maintained that the process is continuing.

"The only thing I can say about the status is no decisions have been made and the status quo remains as far as the Chief Illiniwek tradition," university spokesman Tom Hardy said yesterday. "The process continues, and there is no timetable."

Defiance of the NCAA's policy on American Indian imagery, for now, affects sports such as volleyball, tennis, soccer and wrestling. It doesn't have as much effect on the big sports of football and basketball because postseason games in those sports are mostly played at neutral sites.

But Guenther told the Herald & Review of Decatur, Ill., that he expects the NCAA to increase its penalties for schools that don't comply.

"The next step will be for them to say, ‘Hey, your basketball team cannot qualify. Your basketball team cannot play in the NCAA Tournament,' " he said. "I already know they have suggested that's what they'd like the (Bowl Championship Series in football) to do. Fortunately, the BCS is not ruled by the NCAA.

"But they could do it in basketball. I don't think it will stop with penalizing the Olympic sports by not letting them host."

NCAA representative Bob Williams responded, "There has been no discussion whatsoever on increasing the sanctions. The policy is clear and the policy hasn't changed." 

In related news, rodents in Michigan passed a petition to get the NCAA to ban Michigan from using its current mascot, as it was embarrassing hordes of otherwise upstanding wolverines that like to summer in that state…

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A throw-back to the Elite Eleven…Each year, Greg Biggins and his guys pick 11 promising QB's from around the nation and bring them together for drills and a frothy public relations concoction. Many of the former OSU aspirants and (and some current chuckers) have been selected. I found this comment recently from Greg on a message board, and thought you would find it, interesting:

Greg Biggins

We have a rule in regards to the Elite 11 QB camp that we won't ever lock in a QB to the final camp without seeing that player in person. We actually refer to that rule as the Justin Zwick rule in-house and here's why. Zwick, who plays at Ohio State, was regarded by just about everyone as the top QB prospect in the nation and had 50 plus offers back in the spring of 2002.

This class also featured guys like Ben Olson, Vincent Young and Trent Edwards but Zwick had more offers than all of them. Zwick couldn't make it to a NIKE camp that year but his film was pretty good and politically, we felt we needed to have him there since he was so ballyhooed. Well, to make a long story longer, Zwick came out and was easily the worst QB we've had at any of the Elite 11 camps. The guy just couldn't play and I told some Ohio St fans/friends I know that if this guy ever played for you, you would be in trouble.

That same year, there was another QB that no one had heard much about, kids name was Troy Smith. At the NIKE camp at Michigan, Drew Stanton was the one everyone talked about before the camp but Smith out-threw him by a wide margin. Even though Smith was 6-0 and in no ones list of top 50 QBs nationally, we locked him in for the camp. Smith had a huge Elite 11 camp and would be offered later on by Ohio State. Everyone said there was no way Smith would go there because of Zwick but Smith had already seen Zwick, competed against him five days straight and knew he would beat him out which he eventually did and had Smith played in the entire Texas game last year, Ohio State likely would have played for the National Championship and not the Horns. 

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Look who's catching on – the wide receiver review…Back to my continuing saga to look at each of the positions and assess the recruiting possibilities. We have looked at running back, fullback, and quarterback, so to fulfill this passing fancy, let's look at…wide receivers:

Do you ever have enough? No. Can you have too many great ones? Same answer. This year, OSU might have the best in the country (Ginn), the biggest (Hall) and the surest (Gonzo). But only one of those three (Gonzalez) is coming back. And one of the current underclassmen (Jordan) might not be with us as well. So are they under-staffed? Not really. Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline might be stars-in-the-making. That is, if they can step out ahead of Albert Dukes and Devon Lyons.

Overall, who do they have? Roy Hall will be in his final year and Ted Ginn will be also, for all intents and purposes. Backing them up is projected starter Anthony Gonzalez (who will be a junior), Brian Robiskie (sophomore), Brian Hartline (freshman), Devon Lyons (junior), and Albert Dukes (sophomore). That omits the walk-ons and Devin Jordan, who doesn't appear to be coming back.

That also omits Ray Small (who did finally get admitted, we hear…), who will be a big part of the program in years to come. Finally, we have to recognize that Dane Sanzenbacher from Toledo has committed for '07 and that there's a buzz that '07 commit, Brandon Saine, might see time at wide-out.

Thus, after next year, they will have six receivers back and two more coming. After that season (2007), they lose two more – Gonzalez and Lyons. So, it wouldn't surprise conservative old Mr. Bucknuts that they look to sign one more this season. Who could it be? It should come from a group that includes Leonard Hankerson (6'3" 195 from Ft. Lauderdale), Israel Troupe (6'1" 200 from Georgia and ready for the All-Name team), Kyle Hubbard (6'4" 225 from Lakewood St. Ed) and Toney Clemons (6'3" 185 from PA). Aaron Johnson? I won't go there because he won't go there! (See above expose…).

We are used to an embarrassment of riches at this position and I don't see that position changing anytime soon…

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A rules change to shorten the games…Les Miles and the other SEC football coaches were part of a recent meeting with conference athletic directors, during which they discussed plans for a time-saving procedure being instituted this season.

Starting this fall, officials will start the clock on a change of possession instead of on the ball snap.

"Depending on the game they estimate it could save five to seven minutes,'' Miles said. "Games would likely be shortened by about 13 plays on average.''

A small step for the games, but a giant leap for all us beleaguered fans…

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Time and change will surely show…Proof that life is getting better in Iraq…


For your own comments, visual or otherwise, feel free to direct them to Mr. Bucknuts himself at

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