Mr. Bucknuts Bucket Of Bullets

What went right against Northern Illinois? What went wrong? And what will go right against the Longhorns? Mr. Bucknuts looks back at NIU and ahead at this week's monster showdown in the Lone Star State in this week's version of the Bucket.

The Question Man meets the Answer Man and he says that the Buckeyes played well enough to beat a good NIU team but generated as many new questions as new answers. We will all  be quick to judge and harsh critics but – believe me – the team we saw in the ‘Shoe won't be the team we will see in Austin, although basic similarities will be obvious. The old saw that teams improve more from their first game to their second game is particularly true when you have so many young players….

Since the Saturday Buckeye big win has been cussed and discussed to death around these parts, I will just mention a few observations and concerns:

1) There were three great backs out there on Saturday and OSU's two great backs weren't as good as their one. Garrett Wolfe got 300 of the N Ill 343 total yards and we won't see a better RB all year.

2) Who will prove to be a better tune-up, Northern Illinois or North Texas? OSU's opponents looked like a solid mid-tier team. The North Texas guys looked like they would struggle against Lakewood St. Ed.

3) Troy didn't run. Yet.

4) The "jailbreak" blitz that we expected was simply the number of players (particularly DB's) used. They were coming on and off as fast as they could get on their helmets. I liked that. I didn't like the soft play of the safeties or the poor tackling on D. That's going to hurt if they don't shore it up. Shore enough…

5) The big plays they gave up... Yeccchhh. Donte wouldn't have allowed it. See #4…

6) I have seen less holding in a ballroom dancing class. It shows that the officials need a lot of improvement before their next game as well and that the new skin tight jerseys need to be even tighter.

7) Troy didn't run the football. Yet…

8) The toughest distance for placekickers is the six inches between the ears. I am not yet officially concerned, but you want these guys to get confidence. The kickoffs were terrific and I think things will be OK. I think they can. I think they can…

9) Troy hasn't run yet but we will run right now and talk Texas. You know, that is the next game coming up, isn't it?

*     *     *     *

Since the Buckeyes and Longhorns are 1-2 in the AP poll, it marks the first time ever that OSU would be involved in a 1-vs.-2 game during the regular season.

Ohio State has played in two such games in bowl games. The top-ranked Buckeyes downed No. 2 USC 27-16 in the 1969 Rose Bowl, while No. 2 OSU upset No. 1 Miami (Fla.) 31-24 in double overtime to win the 2003 Fiesta Bowl (anyone remember that one?).

There has not been a 1-vs.-2 regular season game in college football since No. 2 Florida State downed No. 1 Florida 24-21 in November 1996 in Tallahassee. Let's get it on!

*     *     *     *

The Vince Young excuse is getting old…To anyone that will listen, Texas fans wax rhapsodically (as they should) about the great Vince Young. Then they sigh and talk about "what could have been". As if Young is the only junior in the country that went pro last year. Well, how about Santonio Holmes and Donte Whitner and Ashton Youboty? With Holmes as the go-to guy and the second return man, the offense goes from "Scary Good" to "Lethal". With Whitner as a captain and conductor of the defense from his safety position AND with Youboty being the second of two lockdown corners, our defense improves immensely. Yes, Young was the No. 3 drafted player last year. But Whitner was 8 and Holmes went in the first round and Youboty went the first day. So come on, steers, quit your whining, send McCoy on out there and let's play some football…

*     *     *     *

Ozzy, oddities and Bucknuts…Yes, we use the song, "Crazy Train" as the 2006 theme music for the Bucknuts Radio Hour. But did you realize that songster (and world-class oddity) Ozzy Osbourne shares similar views about Texas as some Bucknuts fans. Ozzy, of course is famous for both penning that tune – amongst many others –and for his consistently inconsistent behavior. As to the latter (and courtesy of pen-friend Jack Swan), we present to you one set of mug shots and the crime to which they correspond:

Ozzy Osbourne

aka John Michael Osbourne

Timeline

  • 19 Feb 1982  Wearing a dress, rocker Ozzy Osbourne is arrested in San Antonio, Texas for urinating on the Alamo.
  • 1 Oct 1982  Visits the Alamo. This time, instead of urinating on the Alamo, plays a concert there. Donates $10K to the Alamo.

*     *     *     *

Let's mess with Texas…Although OSU was only given 4000 tickets to get into Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, many more thousands of Buckeye fans intend to turn that weekend into their own memorial of the game, royal or otherwise. Bruce Brandel, vice president of the Austin chapter of the Ohio State Alumni Association said, "We're projecting 35,000 or 40,000 people". To prepare for that onslaught, the association plunked down $10,000 to rent out the Erwin Center (the 16,000 seat UT basketball arena) just a few blocks from the stadium. There, they'll put together an away "Skull Session" complete with the Buckeye Band, being sent to Austin through a private donation of nearly $250,000. That's not enough, of course. So the alums lined up Stubbs, a huge bar and amphitheater to become "Varsity Club West" and expect one huge Buckeye bash on both Friday night and Saturday. Who gets to the game from there? Well, that's going to be a struggle – both logistically and financially. With tickets soaring over the $1000 mark, one broker put it: "They'll pay when they have to. These are the two biggest spending sports schools on the planet. And this is the World Cup of football"…

*     *     *     *     *

Guys, guys, where have you gone?...So far, Michael Roberts has gone to Indiana State, Chad Hoobler is off to Ashland College and Erik Haw, along with Marcel Frost have been optioned to our minor league club, Jackson State. Brandon Underwood, Sirjo Welch, Sian Cotton and Brandon Maupin are attending the School of Hard Knocks due to various academic insufficiencies. While there is always hope for Brandon U and Sirjo, Sian and Brandon M are down for the count. And Devin Jordan, with Curt Lukens, will finish out their Buckeye careers on injured reserve. That's a lot of transition in one year from guys that figured large on the long-term planner. Instead? We have four new walk-ons with unanticipated schollies: Tyler Whaley, Trever Robinson, Ryan Franzinger and Derek harden, names no one had on their recruiting radar at this level. That's the way life is supposed to work. The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on. Or as my Uncle Bucky used to say, "The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese".

*     *     *     *     *

The best team they play every day…Much is made of how to prepare this new young defense for the fierce and overwhelming offenses they will face. Yet – who do they practice against every day? Probably the fiercest, most overwhelming and most diversified offense in the nation. That's right – the Ohio State offense! Will they find a better pounder than Chris Wells? Or a faster wide-out than Ted Ginn? Or a better offensive line? No, the real question is how we had so many good defenses in the past when they practiced against our old one-dimensional approach. (from years and years ago, fans. Really. You can look it up…)

*     *     *     *     *

Linebackers…Check this out; the scary fast linebacker corps of Thaddeus Gibson ("the best linebacker I've seen in Ohio in five years" – Duane Long), Tyler Moeller ("You can't keep him off the field" – OSU coaches) and Mark Johnson ("California's best inside LB" – the recruiting gurus). Pretty exciting group, eh? Yeah, and they are the third string!

Which is another way of saying that Ohio State has an unusually special group at linebacker this year, even by our usually unusual standards. And in that "third tier", that doesn't include guys on the outside looking in: Mike D'Andrea, Austin Spitler and Curt Lukens. D'Andrea might have been the most highly recruited LB ever at OSU (I didn't say the best – just the most sought after…). Spitler has been dinged and coaches are looking for a place for this hard working blue collar kid. And Lukens was tried at both safety and linebacker before injuries put him on the shelf.

As we sashay through my series of position-by-position analysis (you can probably tell I am up to the linebacker position) in an effort to assess recruiting needs and possibilities, we then come to the part of the show where you ask: what about the first and second string? These guys are gifts from the gods. I predict that – at least soon – OSU will start Marcus Freeman, James Laurinaitis and Ross Homan. Btw, that's "sophomore, freshman, sophomore", which addresses another question about long-term possibilities. Homan is a Hawk clone, Laurinaitis is a Wilhelm clone and Freeman is a guy that future clones will compare themselves to. Send in the rest of the clones? Second string is John Kerr, Larry Grant, and Curtis Terry. Kerr will go back and forth in strings and also can fill the middle. Grant might have been the best LB in the JUCO ranks last year and will show up in rotation and on special teams. And Curtis Terry is the "rush" LB and ST demon. Quickly, now, why did "budding superstar" Chad Hoobler transfer to Ashland?

After this season, we lose D'Andrea (Mike, we hardly knew ye…), Kerr and, well…that's it. Even after next year, they only lose Larry Grant from this prodigious group. It would be great to red shirt Moeller, Gibson and Johnson this season but it will be hard to keep those first two off the field.

Next year? They are in on some talent. But other than the strange journey with Pat Lazear, the only other LB that gets me excited (considering the above) is Glenville's Jermale Hines, and the pipeline we need to keep flowing up there.

*     *     *     *     *

Seven come eleven…We all know about the Glenville pipeline to the Buckeyes. Right now, there are seven Tarblooders on scholarship to the football Bucks: Teddy, Troy, Curtis Terry, Jamario O'Neal, Ray Small, Bryant Browning and Robert Rose. But it isn't much of a stretch to imagine that there could be eleven G-ville alumni on the current team. The other four? Donte Whitner left a year early, of course. Dareus Hilley was in the program but ran into academic problems. Freddie Lennix was admitted by the team but not by the school. And according to Coach Ginn, Curtis Smith was actively recruited but couldn't get by the academic threshold. If all eleven were in scarlet and gray, that would be 13% of the total scholarship players. So, if you are really into recruiting, you need to be scouring the kids that are underclassmen at Glenville! It seems, this year, that only Jermale Hines might be on the radar. But the pipeline is filling and there are more names to come at OSU's north development camp…

*     *     *     *     *

You just can't give Weis 32 weeks to prepare… As the self-anointed genius that he is, Charlie "Chuckie the Tuna" Weis has a huge advantage when given the entire off-season to prepare for Notre Dame's opener. Just look what he was able to do when given a full month to prepare for Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl! What's that? The most yards ever given up by Notre Dame in history? But this is different this year. Weis, because he is Weis, took the slow defense and made it faster. Don't ask how. I mean he's got 4 Super Bowl rings. He's the highest paid coach in college FB and you just had to feel sorry for that lowly Georgia Tech squad. What's that? 14-10? No way! Well, Charlie is SO smart that maybe he was just disguising the real highy ranked Notre Dame team that he plans to unveil. Ya gotta love the big lug, particularly if you make your living as a caricaturist…

I don't know why GT even bothered to suit up.

*     *     *     *

A day without sunshine is like, night…This weekend, we put up or shut up in Austin. Young defense, hot Texas weather, Colt McCoy, Mack Brown versus Jimmy T, yada yada yada. I have been pissed off since that last September when – at midnight – I trudged out of Ohio Stadium fuming about a game we should have won by ten or more. I have simmered. I have fumed in silence. I have gone over in my mind all the mistakes and Hamby's drop and the pooch kick and Troy playing gingerly for half the game and the safety that wasn't and yada yada yada. No one remembers that stuff when it gets to posterity. They just point and say, "Scoreboard".

It's time to right that wrong and get back to the future. As my folks used to say, "The past is a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there". Saturday night will be the past I want to talk about, a week from today. OSU will stop the Texas running attack and force Colt to fire at moving targets. OSU will make mistakes and we will wince at some of the plays. The Texas D will be surprisingly good and OSU will mess up something on special teams. All that said, OSU will still win 27-17 and that 10 points I was looking for last year will be smiling at me like a Cheshire cat…

If you have any strange premonitions, or have simply been harboring dark thoughts and want to share, feel free to contact Mr. Bucknuts at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com.




Buckeye Sports Top Stories

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The Question Man meets the Answer Man and he says that the Buckeyes played well enough to beat a good NIU team but generated as many new questions as new answers. We will all  be quick to judge and harsh critics but – believe me – the team we saw in the ‘Shoe won't be the team we will see in Austin, although basic similarities will be obvious. The old saw that teams improve more from their first game to their second game is particularly true when you have so many young players….

Since the Saturday Buckeye big win has been cussed and discussed to death around these parts, I will just mention a few observations and concerns:

1) There were three great backs out there on Saturday and OSU's two great backs weren't as good as their one. Garrett Wolfe got 300 of the N Ill 343 total yards and we won't see a better RB all year.

2) Who will prove to be a better tune-up, Northern Illinois or North Texas? OSU's opponents looked like a solid mid-tier team. The North Texas guys looked like they would struggle against Lakewood St. Ed.

3) Troy didn't run. Yet.

4) The \"jailbreak\" blitz that we expected was simply the number of players (particularly DB's) used. They were coming on and off as fast as they could get on their helmets. I liked that. I didn't like the soft play of the safeties or the poor tackling on D. That's going to hurt if they don't shore it up. Shore enough…

5) The big plays they gave up... Yeccchhh. Donte wouldn't have allowed it. See #4…

6) I have seen less holding in a ballroom dancing class. It shows that the officials need a lot of improvement before their next game as well and that the new skin tight jerseys need to be even tighter.

7) Troy didn't run the football. Yet…

8) The toughest distance for placekickers is the six inches between the ears. I am not yet officially concerned, but you want these guys to get confidence. The kickoffs were terrific and I think things will be OK. I think they can. I think they can…

9) Troy hasn't run yet but we will run right now and talk Texas. You know, that is the next game coming up, isn't it?

*     *     *     *

Since the Buckeyes and Longhorns are 1-2 in the AP poll, it marks the first time ever that OSU would be involved in a 1-vs.-2 game during the regular season.

Ohio State has played in two such games in bowl games. The top-ranked Buckeyes downed No. 2 USC 27-16 in the 1969 Rose Bowl, while No. 2 OSU upset No. 1 Miami (Fla.) 31-24 in double overtime to win the 2003 Fiesta Bowl (anyone remember that one?).

There has not been a 1-vs.-2 regular season game in college football since No. 2 Florida State downed No. 1 Florida 24-21 in November 1996 in Tallahassee. Let's get it on!

*     *     *     *

The Vince Young excuse is getting old…To anyone that will listen, Texas fans wax rhapsodically (as they should) about the great Vince Young. Then they sigh and talk about \"what could have been\". As if Young is the only junior in the country that went pro last year. Well, how about Santonio Holmes and Donte Whitner and Ashton Youboty? With Holmes as the go-to guy and the second return man, the offense goes from \"Scary Good\" to \"Lethal\". With Whitner as a captain and conductor of the defense from his safety position AND with Youboty being the second of two lockdown corners, our defense improves immensely. Yes, Young was the No. 3 drafted player last year. But Whitner was 8 and Holmes went in the first round and Youboty went the first day. So come on, steers, quit your whining, send McCoy on out there and let's play some football…

*     *     *     *

Ozzy, oddities and Bucknuts…Yes, we use the song, \"Crazy Train\" as the 2006 theme music for the Bucknuts Radio Hour. But did you realize that songster (and world-class oddity) Ozzy Osbourne shares similar views about Texas as some Bucknuts fans. Ozzy, of course is famous for both penning that tune – amongst many others –and for his consistently inconsistent behavior. As to the latter (and courtesy of pen-friend Jack Swan), we present to you one set of mug shots and the crime to which they correspond:

Ozzy Osbourne

aka John Michael Osbourne

Timeline

*     *     *     *

Let's mess with Texas…Although OSU was only given 4000 tickets to get into Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, many more thousands of Buckeye fans intend to turn that weekend into their own memorial of the game, royal or otherwise. Bruce Brandel, vice president of the Austin chapter of the Ohio State Alumni Association said, \"We're projecting 35,000 or 40,000 people\". To prepare for that onslaught, the association plunked down $10,000 to rent out the Erwin Center (the 16,000 seat UT basketball arena) just a few blocks from the stadium. There, they'll put together an away \"Skull Session\" complete with the Buckeye Band, being sent to Austin through a private donation of nearly $250,000. That's not enough, of course. So the alums lined up Stubbs, a huge bar and amphitheater to become \"Varsity Club West\" and expect one huge Buckeye bash on both Friday night and Saturday. Who gets to the game from there? Well, that's going to be a struggle – both logistically and financially. With tickets soaring over the $1000 mark, one broker put it: \"They'll pay when they have to. These are the two biggest spending sports schools on the planet. And this is the World Cup of football\"…

*     *     *     *     *

Guys, guys, where have you gone?...So far, Michael Roberts has gone to Indiana State, Chad Hoobler is off to Ashland College and Erik Haw, along with Marcel Frost have been optioned to our minor league club, Jackson State. Brandon Underwood, Sirjo Welch, Sian Cotton and Brandon Maupin are attending the School of Hard Knocks due to various academic insufficiencies. While there is always hope for Brandon U and Sirjo, Sian and Brandon M are down for the count. And Devin Jordan, with Curt Lukens, will finish out their Buckeye careers on injured reserve. That's a lot of transition in one year from guys that figured large on the long-term planner. Instead? We have four new walk-ons with unanticipated schollies: Tyler Whaley, Trever Robinson, Ryan Franzinger and Derek harden, names no one had on their recruiting radar at this level. That's the way life is supposed to work. The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on. Or as my Uncle Bucky used to say, \"The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese\".

*     *     *     *     *

The best team they play every day…Much is made of how to prepare this new young defense for the fierce and overwhelming offenses they will face. Yet – who do they practice against every day? Probably the fiercest, most overwhelming and most diversified offense in the nation. That's right – the Ohio State offense! Will they find a better pounder than Chris Wells? Or a faster wide-out than Ted Ginn? Or a better offensive line? No, the real question is how we had so many good defenses in the past when they practiced against our old one-dimensional approach. (from years and years ago, fans. Really. You can look it up…)

*     *     *     *     *

Linebackers…Check this out; the scary fast linebacker corps of Thaddeus Gibson (\"the best linebacker I've seen in Ohio in five years\" – Duane Long), Tyler Moeller (\"You can't keep him off the field\" – OSU coaches) and Mark Johnson (\"California's best inside LB\" – the recruiting gurus). Pretty exciting group, eh? Yeah, and they are the third string!

Which is another way of saying that Ohio State has an unusually special group at linebacker this year, even by our usually unusual standards. And in that \"third tier\", that doesn't include guys on the outside looking in: Mike D'Andrea, Austin Spitler and Curt Lukens. D'Andrea might have been the most highly recruited LB ever at OSU (I didn't say the best – just the most sought after…). Spitler has been dinged and coaches are looking for a place for this hard working blue collar kid. And Lukens was tried at both safety and linebacker before injuries put him on the shelf.

As we sashay through my series of position-by-position analysis (you can probably tell I am up to the linebacker position) in an effort to assess recruiting needs and possibilities, we then come to the part of the show where you ask: what about the first and second string? These guys are gifts from the gods. I predict that – at least soon – OSU will start Marcus Freeman, James Laurinaitis and Ross Homan. Btw, that's \"sophomore, freshman, sophomore\", which addresses another question about long-term possibilities. Homan is a Hawk clone, Laurinaitis is a Wilhelm clone and Freeman is a guy that future clones will compare themselves to. Send in the rest of the clones? Second string is John Kerr, Larry Grant, and Curtis Terry. Kerr will go back and forth in strings and also can fill the middle. Grant might have been the best LB in the JUCO ranks last year and will show up in rotation and on special teams. And Curtis Terry is the \"rush\" LB and ST demon. Quickly, now, why did \"budding superstar\" Chad Hoobler transfer to Ashland?

After this season, we lose D'Andrea (Mike, we hardly knew ye…), Kerr and, well…that's it. Even after next year, they only lose Larry Grant from this prodigious group. It would be great to red shirt Moeller, Gibson and Johnson this season but it will be hard to keep those first two off the field.

Next year? They are in on some talent. But other than the strange journey with Pat Lazear, the only other LB that gets me excited (considering the above) is Glenville's Jermale Hines, and the pipeline we need to keep flowing up there.

*     *     *     *     *

Seven come eleven…We all know about the Glenville pipeline to the Buckeyes. Right now, there are seven Tarblooders on scholarship to the football Bucks: Teddy, Troy, Curtis Terry, Jamario O'Neal, Ray Small, Bryant Browning and Robert Rose. But it isn't much of a stretch to imagine that there could be eleven G-ville alumni on the current team. The other four? Donte Whitner left a year early, of course. Dareus Hilley was in the program but ran into academic problems. Freddie Lennix was admitted by the team but not by the school. And according to Coach Ginn, Curtis Smith was actively recruited but couldn't get by the academic threshold. If all eleven were in scarlet and gray, that would be 13% of the total scholarship players. So, if you are really into recruiting, you need to be scouring the kids that are underclassmen at Glenville! It seems, this year, that only Jermale Hines might be on the radar. But the pipeline is filling and there are more names to come at OSU's north development camp…

*     *     *     *     *

You just can't give Weis 32 weeks to prepare… As the self-anointed genius that he is, Charlie \"Chuckie the Tuna\" Weis has a huge advantage when given the entire off-season to prepare for Notre Dame's opener. Just look what he was able to do when given a full month to prepare for Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl! What's that? The most yards ever given up by Notre Dame in history? But this is different this year. Weis, because he is Weis, took the slow defense and made it faster. Don't ask how. I mean he's got 4 Super Bowl rings. He's the highest paid coach in college FB and you just had to feel sorry for that lowly Georgia Tech squad. What's that? 14-10? No way! Well, Charlie is SO smart that maybe he was just disguising the real highy ranked Notre Dame team that he plans to unveil. Ya gotta love the big lug, particularly if you make your living as a caricaturist…

I don't know why GT even bothered to suit up.

*     *     *     *

A day without sunshine is like, night…This weekend, we put up or shut up in Austin. Young defense, hot Texas weather, Colt McCoy, Mack Brown versus Jimmy T, yada yada yada. I have been pissed off since that last September when – at midnight – I trudged out of Ohio Stadium fuming about a game we should have won by ten or more. I have simmered. I have fumed in silence. I have gone over in my mind all the mistakes and Hamby's drop and the pooch kick and Troy playing gingerly for half the game and the safety that wasn't and yada yada yada. No one remembers that stuff when it gets to posterity. They just point and say, \"Scoreboard\".

It's time to right that wrong and get back to the future. As my folks used to say, \"The past is a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there\". Saturday night will be the past I want to talk about, a week from today. OSU will stop the Texas running attack and force Colt to fire at moving targets. OSU will make mistakes and we will wince at some of the plays. The Texas D will be surprisingly good and OSU will mess up something on special teams. All that said, OSU will still win 27-17 and that 10 points I was looking for last year will be smiling at me like a Cheshire cat…

If you have any strange premonitions, or have simply been harboring dark thoughts and want to share, feel free to contact Mr. Bucknuts at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com.



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