What did we learn on Saturday?
I believe you can learn something from anything. As an example, most of what I have learned about college football comes from your e-mails responding to this column. You correct both my facts and my opinions (but more on that later…). And, in watching a game on Saturday that had the feel of a serious intra-squad scrimmage – and many ponderous moments (those are moments good for pondering…), I reflect back on the things that we might have learned.
Yes, lots of learning experiences are fairly predictable. Coming to mind are things like:
1) What happens when you run Maurice Wells between the tackles.
2) What happens when John L. Smith is under stress.
3) What happens in the SEC when a school really needs a recruit.
4) What happens when Charlie Weis approaches a buffet table.
All those subsequent actions are predictable. None are pretty pictures. From the 35 yard line yesterday, I did get a pretty good picture of what was happening. And here's what I learned:
1) The new turf looked great. The grass had grown in and the painted lines shown brightly in the sunlight.
2) Vernon Gholston is really really strong. And when he intercepted that ball, I thought he might squeeze the life out of it by accident.
3) Holding will be called in a Buckeye game. The Buckeye offensive line proved that, a few times. When the Buckeyes face smaller annoying-type D-linemen, they tend to hold them rather than block them.
4) Auburn is a fraud. In a week that featured Coach Tommy Tuberville whining about how no SEC team could go undefeated and that wasn't fair, Auburn got creamed by unranked Arkansas, 27-10. Even when the Tigers went undefeated, they didn't get the national attention Tommy T felt they deserved. Saturday, the formerly #2 Auburn got lots of attention. War Eagles, indeed…
5) There were little puffs of dust and grass particles when players made their cuts. That new sod is growing in well and appears deeply set already.
6) Anthony Turner can throw those short slants all day long and Ohio State is not going to stop one of them. The only thing that stopped Bowling Green, in fact, was when they got bored with the short slants and upped the ante with some other plays that simply didn't work out for them.
7) Notre Dame can beat really bad teams really badly. Luckily for their fans, they will get a lot of those opportunities in the next few weeks.
8) Notre Dame supporters vote in the polls. How else can you see this lackluster squad move up to eighth in the rankings, ahead of Tennessee! All the Vols have done is beat both Georgia and Cal by a bunch while losing to Florida by 2. All Notre Dame has done is…well, nothing. They were blown out by Michigan at home and haven't beaten anyone. I would like for them to make public the names of anyone that voted for ND ahead of UT…
9) Fans can get so lackadaisical in a game like the Bowling Green romp that even the wave seemed too much work. Two tries at the wave in the second half crashed before they made it all the way around.
10) The Bowling Green punter was "shooting with a nervous stick". Instead of letting Ted Ginn have a shot at some 10-yard returns, Alonso Rojas simply shanked and stubbed and sideways-kicked the ball 15 yards shorter than a normal human would. Top shelf strategy…
11) The replay official couldn't find their butts with either hand. For the second straight week, they blew an obvious call. What's worse is that they got it wrong after the officials on the field had it right, and then thought they had some sort of "indisputable evidence" to back up their miasma.
12) Indiana, Illinois and Northwestern are making concerted runs at winning the "Truly Awful Award". Michigan State is closing strong, though…
13) The SEC plays tough defense, right? Georgia is one of the best D's in the country right? We learned that those stats can be deceiving as Tennessee rung up a 51-spot on the Dawgs, besting them in a defensive thriller 51-33.
14) OSU depth came into question after David Patterson limped off and they started to run up the gut against the defense. The same thing happened on offense when Kirk Barton had to sit out.
15) Did I mention how great the grass is growing since they replanted the field?
Yes, some of the most exciting moments on Saturday were like watching grass grow. We also watched our beloved Buckeyes run off their 13th straight win, without having to be lucky whatsoever. Yet, for the first time in that 13-win skein, the Bucks didn't cover the spread – which was a Tresselly-ludicrous 35 points. Were fans disappointed in that outcome? You betcha. Which means we have also learned that many of us forgot some of the recent MAC (and MAC-like…) games with scores like OSU over Marshall 24-21 or Ohio State thumping San Diego State 16-13 and – even more to the point(s) – the Buckeyes besting Bowling Green 24-17.
Yes, we are learning to have glorious expectations and anything short of "absolutely magnificent" leaves us with a slightly unsatisfied feeling. That might be a tad unrealistic. Hey – these are the good old days and we should enjoy a great day of football on a spectacular October Saturday with our guys winning by four touchdowns. Our guys deserve better than that and we should learn to appreciate what we have.
I learned that a long time ago…
* * * * *
It's 2008; time to re-up, re-tool and reload…It's back to the future we go. If you have been swabbing out the Bucket each week, you know that we already put to rest the recruiting issues we have with the 2007 class. We did that last week! In 2007, we honed in on certain positions, loading up the defensive backs and defensive line. We brought in quality RB's and WR's. In 2008, the focus shifts to offensive line, linebackers and a grab-bag that includes QB's, TE's fullbacks and lickers.
The great news? We might get the best haul ever at offensive line and one of the best at linebacker – and that's saying a lot.
First, let's look at the hogs in the trenches. We are going for a world record recruiting class there as four top 100 linemen are already very interested in the Buckeyes: Mike Adams from Dublin Coffman, Michael Brewster from Florida, Kyle Long Virginia from and JB Shugarts from Texas. These kids seem to want to play as a group! Pretty cool when it's your group they want to play for! Add in here Zebrie Sanders from Clayton Northmont and Shawntel Rowell. And you have 6 -7 chances to have the best group of five O-linemen in the history of Ohio State.
Linebackers? They could come mostly from one school: Cardinal Mooney. It could be argued that Michael Zordich and Brandon Beachum are the best two in the state. That would be argued fiercely with Bill Greene who says that Devoe Torrence might be the best he's ever seen. Add to that Nathan Williams from Miami Trace, and you don't have to leave the state of Ohio for the best four linebackers anywhere; yet there is already rumored offeree Shayne Hale from PA to add to this illustrious group.
Then there's also safety Dan McCarthy at Mooney who has already been offered; even before Zordich and Beechum.
And then there is the inevitable Glenville treasure chest, holding up that Speedville tradition. After an "off year" of only contributing Jermale Hines to the cause of the Good Guys, we will now look at sensations such as .
Trotwood Madison has visions of becoming "Glenville South" and they are starting to build the talent to get there. Two high-on-the-radar kids for this class are tight end Brandon Moore ("potential to be the best tight end to ever come out of Ohio") and quarterback Dominique Britt.
Finally, there is the "surprise" offer at TE already: Kyle Rudolph from Cincinnati Elder.
Imagine a group composed of the above. That would be 14 or so kids, half of whom will be in the Top 100 in the country! The beat goes on. Indeed, it is a great time to be a Buckeye. These are the good old days!
* * * * *
The wit and wisdom of Notre Dame fans…
* * * * *
But seriously folks…I am consistently amazed (and comment on this phenomena annually) at the hate male I receive from Notre Dame (or Michigan) fans and/or other lower life forms. After all, we are a site for Buckeye fanatics. Doesn't it seem odd that they lurk here, yet alone expect fawning descriptions by us for our sworn and mortal enemies – them? Yet, the e-mails just keep coming. And since my mother raised me with a modicum of good manners, I am forced to answer those mean-spirited and often coarse people from the other side.
In particular, I seemed to have put the "ire" back into "Irish". Notre Dame fans take umbrage when I pick on Notre Dame, Charlie Weis, and fat people in general. Luckily, I can hit all three sensitive areas by just picking on Charlie Weis! Why do I do it? Because he decided to become "bigger than the program" (insert your own "How big is he? Fat joke here…) and because, well, he hasn't really done anything yet, now has he?
So here is a sampling of what "they" wrote me, some of my responses and then some of the Buckeye fans responding as well. To wit (and I use that term in the loosest possible sense…):
|Kevin O. responded to a fine piece of writing in my previous column
that went something like this:
"A passing shot at the floundering tuna. A week without me taking a cheap gratuitous shot at All-Everything coach, Charlie Weis, is just unacceptable. Or, it could be said, Charlie standing in your doorway is like a day without sunshine.
Kevin addressed that offensive line with a clever blitz of his own:
I had to be sure of his intentions, so I wrote back:
Is that really you, Charlie? If so, I take back what I said about your lack of class...
Kevin wasn't done venting and wrote the following warning:
You couldn't spell class if I spotted you the C & L. Iowa is going to clean your clock.
Got me thinking. So, I asked:
But you are saying I can spell "A S S"? Is that as clever as I think? If we beat Iowa, I expect to hear back from you!
I have heard nothing since…
* * *
William M wrote the following:
> another great essay....you must have got your start on wash room walls in gay bars!!!!!!! anyway enough of that blather.......we are long over due for a scandal from your great insitution of learning...anything cooking you know of???...meth lab. ,fixed grades ,theft ,rape....come on zygote, surely you have something for us...................
> William M
Being as PC as I am, I couldn't tell if you intended to be tongue-in-cheek or not. Let me know when you know...
* * *
Notre Dame people took a lot of issues with the issues I took over Charlie's weight issues. Some came on heavier than others:
From Eric H, working at a packaging company:
Funny you're talking about Weis's weight.. I've been to two OSU games the past year and I've not seen a more out of shape, fat, ugly ass group of fans in the country. I didn't think they made that many Triple X tee shirts. OSU fans make SEC fans look like run-way models.
But they don't stand out on the field leading a team of physically fit young men to their destinies, now do they?
* * *
Then there were all the letters that railed against me getting personal – they got personal, of course, to mitigate the damage…
From "Dylan Thomas":
>> > that Notre Dame has so much more history, success,aura, and national love than Ohio State. that there are no Maurice Clarett's or Andy Katzenmoyers coming from South Bend. No AIDS AWARENESS classes being offered to stay eligible. No armed robberies occurring after the playing days are over. that coaches, even Ty Willingham, don't cheat like Tressel does. And you know damn well he does. that Troy Smith will be working in Canada in 2 years, and not starting. that you, much like the current buckeyes, will someday work for a Notre Dame grad, like it or not. that Charlie will end up with more titles than Tressel. Mark it down.that Domers like myself, even those of us from ohio, look down on Ohio State, and its players, students, and alum as plain and simple trash.
From me, in return:
What was wrong with Katzenmoyer, anyway? Your future is, indeed, all in front of you. Call me if you realize any of those ambitions. And - thanks for sharing!
* * *
William G was one of several "Fighting Irish" that not only mailed me but sent multiple copies to dozens of his friends so that they could gloat over my eating humble pie; having been cut down to size, as it were…
> DEAREST #UCKNUTS
> IN CLOSING I`LL
LEAVE YOU TO YOUR OWN DIM
> SOME FACTS FOR YOU
TO SIMMER AND CRY OVER! 11
Wow - that's a lot of cc's! You must have a lot of friends that think just like you do, I guess...
I applaud all of the Irish that live in the past and look forward to the future. There's nothing wrong with that. But when you have a coach that's bigger than the program, a coach that hasn't accomplished anything of merit yet, that's where you rub the rest of us the wrong way.
Get back in touch when he accomplishes any of those things you reference. And, speaking of living in the past, come up with some new Ohio State schtick. That's so old it's not even irritating anymore.
But thanks for taking the time to write!
William thought about the fact that I was a real person and thoughtfully wrote back:
I actually have to apologize for sending that kind of venom in your direction. Even us golden domers have moments of weakness. We pride ourselves on being above that.
* * *
Then there's always the irate Michigan fan – pontificating eloquently this year since they finally have a competitive team.
Christian B wrote:
are) such a retard…
I wrote back:
Christian is a funny name for someone as
unforgiving as you...
Christian was willing to turn the other cheek:
Fair enough..if you had stated that "after we beat UM this year and in 2007" I would not have take such exception. My reason for hating retards? Might have to do with the fact that our coach acts like one much of the time. Enjoy your muses and hope we are both undefeated come November 18th.
* * * *
Fortunately., I get e-mail from those of you who think like I do (the "enlightened majority", as I prefer to think of us). I get hundreds each week and here are a few that represent:
Dear Mr. Bucknuts,
I loved your latest column! Excellent commentary and extremely funny! I love your Notre Dame bashing. (or nFd as I call them. Guess what the "F" stands for) They have to be the most arrogant program in the country. Please keep up the good work.
I have to tell you that it's great to hear someone else say all the things that I think. I knew Texas wouldn't be close and the same for Iowa. I've also been saying Charlie Weis is overrated since he was hired. (Didn't the Patriots win all their Super Bowls with great defense and a late field goal?) Anyway, as long as you keep ripping on Charlie Weis, I'll keep reading.
And a final word from the Atomic Punk:
To all those people who get mad at you raging on Charlie Weis, tell them to get a life. I have NO DESIRE WHATSOEVER to read about what's going on at ND. I could care less. So what are they doing reading ours? Must be team envy.
Hey – keep those cards and letters coming!
Malcolm and the golden spike…Even though its weeks later now, I still get questions about Malcolm Jenkins spike of the return touchdown against Penn State (on or near the goal line?). Personally, I don't think he was in. The replay people this year are so screwed up that they didn't even bother with the spike – they were looking to see if he And I say what Tressel said and Paul Brown had gone out of bounds, or shots of girls in tight sweaters, I don't know.
But we had an outpouring of people splitting hairs over the finer points of what (could have) happened. In other words, people so obsessed, they are just like us!
One said: If ball goes out of bounds at 1 yard line then our ball at the one. If ball goes into endzone then PSU ball on 20. I don't think they can call the dead ball unsportsmanlike on this because he wasn't in the endzone so it is a live ball and is treated like fumble.
Another answered: But since nobody was trying to pick up the ball, how could they determine the poession of the ball? If the ball goes into the endzone, and Ohio State picks up the ball in the endzone, is it also a TD
I don't recall what happened to the ball at the end of the play. If it goes out of bounds, it's OSU's ball at the spot. If it goes into and out of the endzone, it's a touchback. However, if it stays inbounds and the whistle blows, I think it's non-reviewable due to the inadvertent whistle rule.
And I say what Tressel said and what Paul Brown used to say, "Act like you've been there before". And hand the ball to the official and save us all a lot of time!
* * * * *
While busy stealing other people's stuff…I will finish filling this Bucket with a look forward to that loveable wacko we know as John L. Smith. And, perhaps, we are getting a final glimpse of Mr. "Snatching dfeat from the jaws of victory". He has a way of blowing up in public and then, somehow, making it worse in his subsequebt explanations. A prime example occurred after the utterly inexplicable loss to Illinois, after which JLS tried to explain anyway:
Smith admitted that he hadn't gotten his team prepared to play the Illini after mismanaging the clock a week before and blowing a 16-point lead with eight minutes left in the game to lose 40-37 to Notre Dame.
"Apparently, I don't have the answer," said Smith when asked about his team's performance. Even worse he continued, "We can't get them to go hard in practice," continued Smith." So we've got to continue to look for the answer."
And who, John, do you blame for not "getting them to go hard in practice"? I know who the fans blame. And don't look for Michigan reference letters in looking for that new job…
If you need a good reference for a new job (or, if you are a Notre Dame fan and are simply looking for that first job), feel free to contact Mr. Bucknuts to talk about that or (really) anything else at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com