The boys are back in town! (Quick Ed, cue the Thin Lizzy music…). The boys are back in town, as the players begin reporting and the Bucknuts boys will begin reporting on those players. We know that the football team is locked and loaded this year, but – hey – so is the Bucknuts team!
We have the best and deepest website talent ever in covering our Buckeyes this season. Steve Helwagen., once again, heads up an All-Star cast; a cast that includes Associate Managing Editor Dave Biddle, recruiting superstar Duane Long, and staff reporters Gary Housteau, Kyle Lamb, Bill Greene, Nevada Buck and Charles Babb. Plus, we have Jerry Rudzinski down on the sidelines and in the workout rooms. We have webmasters Kirk Larrabee and Matt Natali digging for facts and prowling the high schools for more facts. We have JJ Huddle being JJ Huddle (that's a full-time job I might add…). And we have all of our other national experts to contribute their, well…national expertise.
Yes, we will cover the bursting-to-prominence of the Buckeye basketballers as well as the high hopes for the pigskin crowd. Our staff is excited about both Buckeye teams. This is our best team ever here at Bucknuts and I am particularly proud of their efforts to entertain and inform you.
The planets are all aligned, folks .It is, indeed, a great time to be a Buckeye!
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My bad luck is your good luck…Last week, the unthinkable occurred. No, Charlie Weis didn't discover "humility". Actually, it was my hard drive – an ally of many years. It crashed, burned and froze. In addition to all the priceless relics I had stored there (like so many jokes of questionable taste…), I had snippets of the next few Buckets as well. So, the world is saved from that particular blemish. But I soldier on – if even in a briefer form than usual. Enjoy the respite and excuse the relative brevity…
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And you thought Dareus Hiley was Glenville's Superman?...While Dareus found kryptonite in his Ohio State textbooks, we still all think of Glenville as a super program. Faster than a speeding bullet? That would be Ted Ginn Jr. More powerful than a locomotive? Sounds like Robert Rose. Able to leap tall buildings? Well, you get the picture…
The Buckeyes are blessed with other super men from Glenville including Jamario O'Neil and Bryant Browning and Ray Small and Curtis Terry. And while Ted Ginn Sr. might not resemble Jor-El from issues past, Ted is the father of a football (and track) program that stands unique in the state of Ohio. But if you really want to know the connection between Glenville and Superman, there is an even more direct link.
Superman, the super hero was actually created in 1938 by artist Joe Schuster and writer Jerry Siegel, both of whom went to Glenville High School. That's right. The same Glenville high school, even if a very different era. Joe and Jerry based the original strapping hero (and Clark Kent) on a mythological Jewish folk hero. Times have certainly changed but we thought you would all want to know more about the unusual pedigree for this super school…
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Tight ends and other cheap comments…In my continuing saga to look position-by-position for a relevant recruiting perspective, inevitably we were going to get to the tight end position, a position once thought to be a subterfuge to seduce large mobile young men into committing to the Buckeyes to subsequently switch them to offensive tackles.
That has happened but I don't see it as the mode of the future. Right now, the Buckeyes have two startlingly talented tight ends: Marcel Frost (who will be a junior this season) and Rory Nicol (sophomore). They have a somewhat less exciting, but necessary, depth guy in Brandon Smith (soph), who did switch over – but from the other side.
Equally exciting are two "large mobile young men" about whom we have heard that old persistent rumor. One of the incoming frosh is Jake Ballard (6'7" 265) and is more likely to switch to defensive end than offensive tackle. The other young behemoth is Andy Miller (6'6" 255) and he is one to watch for his ultimate placement. They also have an exciting walk-on in Will Crall (name makes him sound slow, that's all…) from nearby Bexley.
With so many young ‘uns, there isn't an imminent need to recruit more this year, although it wouldn't hurt to get a great one into the pipeline. Rob Gronkowski (NY) might fit that picture or they could go "tweener" and look at Kyle Hubbard from Lakewood.
I predict that OSU will either get a late name you haven't yet heard or will stand pat. A lot might be determined once Jake and Andy get a chance to practice and the staff gets a chance to see if that's the position they will ultimately man.
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Enemies of my enemies are my friends… One definition of "smart people" is: those people that agree with you. We think that College Football News is smart people. Yes, they tend to agree with us. And while every pre-season publication seems to have their Top Twenty list, we like CFN because, well… they agree with some of our ideas there, too!
And so it is with some glee (being the gleeful type of guy that I am…) that I noted the pre-season CFN projection of my friends from Notre Dame. Yes, they ranked them 18th in the nation. Here is their actual snippet along with the requisite justifications:
18. Notre Dame
Notre Dame Preview
Predicted Finish: 8-4 2005 Predicted Finish: 5-6 2005 Record: 9-3
Yes, this is the lowest you'll see the Irish ranked anywhere (remember that these rankings are based on how good the teams are from top to bottom) and yes, the potential is there for a BCS Championship appearance if Charlie and the boys get out of September unbeaten. However, this is a tremendously flawed team with average corners, a limited pass rush from the front four, and no developed depth anywhere meaning the machine might quickly grind to a halt if injuries hit the skill positions. The secondary didn't get any faster in the off-season, although a few freshmen should provide some immediate help, the offensive line is average, and the overall athleticism and talent level, which was exposed in the Fiesta Bowl by Ohio State, is a year or two away from being up-to-snuff for a national title-caliber powerhouse. There's a whole boatload of talent on the way and this will be a USC-like program by 2008, but not all of the stars are in South Bend quite yet. Remember, outside of the win over an average Michigan squad, last year's team didn't beat anyone with a pulse.
Relative Strengths: quarterback, receiver Relative Weaknesses: linebacker, secondary
As to the ranking of our beloved Buckeyes? I think that these fine folks have it pretty close there, too. They are at #3 with the following details:
3. Ohio State
Ohio State Preview
Predicted Finish: 10-2 2005 Predicted Finish: 10-1 2005 Record: 10-2
Why Ohio State should be No. 1 ... QB Troy Smith should make the spread offense sing making big play after big play with his legs as well as his arm. The receivers are big, fast, and talented with Ted Ginn Jr. appearing to be ready to blossom into a superstar wideout. The backfield is full of talent with star freshman Chris Wells ready to push possible All-Big Ten runner Antonio Pittman. The line might be the best in the Jim Tressel's six years in Columbus with a world of talent, especially at tackle. There's no reason whatsoever to worry about the defensive back seven that has to replace all its starters. The line needs to come up with a steady pass rush, but that's nitpicking; All-America tackle Quinn Pitcock and the boys will be a rock against the run.
Why Ohio State isn't No. 1 ... It's one thing to look great in practice; it's another to be consistent under fire. The Buckeye defensive back seven will eventually be unbelievable, but how long is it going to take?
Relative Strengths: quarterback, offensive line Relative Weaknesses: defensive experience, linebacker
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I just got lost in thought…It was unfamiliar territory. Actually, I was thinking what a great job the guys in "Development" do at Ohio State. Guys like Pat Chun, who directs the Buckeye Club, amongst other duties. Most of these guys really do bleed scarlet and gray. And that starts at the top. One of the primest examples is Head Coach Jim Tressel. Jim and his wife, Ellen, agreed to co-chair the Ohio State library renovation project. They not only worked the job, they also donated $100,000 themselves. And to keep some more of that family money close to home – Coach T was also a significant donor to the ongoing WHAC renovation.
Do as I do – not as I say. What a great example…
If you want to donate to the "Save Mr. Bucknuts Hard Drive Campaign", - hey – collect the whole set! – or if you just have some caustic comment you need to get off your chest, get in touch with the old cyber-loser at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com. Go ahead, he needs some cheering up…