Think the NCAA clearinghouse is taking its time with Derek Morris? Well, it could be worse. I caught a radio interview with Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville, who is still fuming over a run-in his program had with the clearinghouse last year. Lamarcus Rowell, one of the nation's top 2001 linebacker recruits, was not cleared until the 10th game of the season. Why? Well, Rowell was apparently cleared in late August, but a secretary at the clearinghouse "fumbled" the paperwork according to Tuberville.
"He was cleared, but we didn't know it," Tuberville said. "We kept calling them and they kept telling us they didn't have the final word yet. So, now a young man missed almost an entire season and is still trying to catch up.
"I am not a big fan of the clearinghouse. It's a money-making project. They are making money off of these kids."
Tuberville also cleared up a misconception that the clearinghouse is part of the NCAA.
"The clearinghouse is separate from the NCAA. It's a private organization that NCAA hires to handle these things. They charge the kids for everything they review."
As for the Buckeyes, Tressel hinted on Wednesday that he expects Morris will join the team at some point this year. Hopefully it's before week 10, but Morris is reaching that point where he has little chance of cracking the starting lineup anyway. Even if he is as talented as Orlando Pace, Big O was here from day one (and starting from day one). These are practices that can't afford to be missed, especially by freshmen hoping to play. But, even if Morris isn't a starter this year, it would be nice to have him around. Especially with the questions surrounding Adrien Clarke.
THE OTHER JAY-Z
As most of you know, Justin Zwick is not the first Zwick to play quarterback for Jim Tressel. Jared Zwick, Justin's brother, played for Tressel at Youngstown State and is currently in dental school at Ohio State. We caught up with Jared recently and talked about his experiences with Tressel and how he might able help his little brother with the transition to college.
"Playing for coach Tressel was a great experience," Zwick told Bucknuts.com. "I am the oldest in my family and was the first to go away to college, or get an athletic scholarship. It was a little overwhelming to go in as a freshman, I really didn't know what to expect at first, but the great thing about coming in to the Youngstown State football program was the family atmosphere. The first thing I noticed was how close the team was because he had been there for a number of years and really developed the program the way he wanted to. It's the same thing you see developing here at Ohio State. Just the way the upperclassmen take you in and show you the ropes and the competition in practice from start to finish.
And then, aside from the football side of things, was the importance placed on academics and spiritual values. Coach Tressel would just help you out in any way he could."
Like many are predicting for the younger Zwick, Jared came right in as a true freshman and played for Tressel.
"I played in the very first game my freshman year. I didn't come in until the second half, I think it was the third quarter when I took my first snap. That was pretty neat getting out there right away."
Later in his career, Zwick was beat out by a younger player for the Penguins' starting QB job. But he still loved his time with Tressel, even if it was as a backup.
Now, Jared is focused on two things: Getting through dental school (has a little over two years left) and helping his brother make it as a Buckeye.
"I think I can help him with it, but it's such a different scale here. Things are so much bigger and faster here. I mean, we had some great players at Youngstown, guys that definitely could have played at this level, but it's not the same.
"Justin has a little bit of an advantage over your average freshman. He would come to Youngstown and work out, so he's been around, he's a little savvy to the situation. And it's nice to have some family around too. He always has someone to hang out with in addition to his teammates," Jared concluded.
Branden Joe was suspended for all of preseason camp (27 practices) and the season opener against Texas Tech for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI). Not that you need to hear the details again, but Joe fell asleep behind the wheel after pulling over on the 315 exit ramp off Lane Ave and refused a breathalyzer test. His three-week suspension seems to fit the crime, but how did Redgie Arden get off so easy? Arden picked up a DUI back in the spring and reportedly his punishment was handled "in house." In other words, Arden had to do a lot of strenuous physical activities (things like bear crawls) on his own after practices last spring. I'm sure that was no fun for Arden, but go ask Joe what he'd rather do: Miss all of preseason camp and the first game, or do some extra bear crawls? ... Now, what's the reason for the double standard? Well, maybe head coach Jim Tressel had just seen enough. This is the third alcohol-related issue he's had to deal with, fifth incident overall, and maybe he decided it was time to send a message. Another factor might be that Arden's DUI came in his hometown and happened months before the season, while Joe's came near campus and right before the start of camp. I don't think where/when the incident happened should matter, but those are the only two reasons I can think of.
Another odd thing we have seen is the "demotion" of Matt Wilhelm to second-team middle linebacker. Now, no one really believes that Wilhelm is going to be a backup this year, but the move still doesn't make sense. The coaching staff said it was because Wilhelm missed spring ball, but Darrion Scott and Shane Olivea also missed the spring and both are running with the starters right now. Maybe the coaches were trying to send a message to Wilhelm, maybe they were just trying to fire him up a little bit, but I would think he would be the last guy on the team that needs motivation for this season... This could have everything to do with Freddie Pagac, but that would mean he has improved a whole bunch from last year.
Bad news about Matt Sylvester. The redshirt freshman forward had back surgery and is out 12 weeks. Sylvester missed all of last season with a back injury, but decided not to have surgery and was reportedly close to 100 percent by spring. He then fractured a bone in his hand during an off-campus fight (he was helping a friend) and was forced to miss the Worthington Summer League. The back flared up two weeks ago and Sly finally decided to go under the knife. This is a big blow to the basketball Bucks because they are already short on numbers. Sylvester will return, but will he be effective in 12 weeks? Probably not. Without him, the starting lineup will probably go like this: 1. Brandon Fuss-Cheatham, 2. Brent Darby, 3. Sean Connolly, 4. Zach Williams, 5. Terence Dials... Velimir Radinovic will be a strong contributor off the bench and I would even like to see Vel and Dials on the floor at the same time on occasion. The Buckeyes also have JUCO transfer Shun Jenkins to turn to, so they will be more than solid in the paint.
But things are not looking good in the backcourt. Tony Stockman and JJ Sullinger have to sit out a year and right now the top backup is Oregon State transfer Emonte Jernigan. The real problem is at the 3 position. With
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