Bucknotes (9/13)

What's up with Ohio high schools associating their teams with Michigan? Dave Biddle talks about that today in Bucknotes as well as the Nuge, Craig Krenzel, and he also wants the fans to make it loud this Saturday.

It's an awful thing. It absolutely disgusts me.


And this has nothing to do with burritos as big as your head.


I am talking about Ohio high schools that use Michigan 's fight song as their own, or copy UM's helmet.


I see it way too much.


In case you didn't know, I double as a sports editor of a newspaper in Madison County. I see a lot of high school games and every time I see one of our in-state schools use a Michigan logo, or play the Michigan fight song, the name Benedict Arnold comes to mind.


I mean, what could be a bigger slap in the face to Ohio State ? What do you want to bet that there are no high schools in Michigan that have adopted OSU's fight song? Probably won't hear "Hang on Sloopy" at too many pep rallies in that state up north.


Specifically, I will tell you about two incidents I witnessed at Jonathan Alder High School in Plain City . It's Donnie Nickey's former school and deep Buckeye country.


The first game of this season, Jonathan Alder opened up with a home game against Maria Stein Marion Local, the defending VI state champions.


Sometime during the first quarter, I heard someone in the press box say, "What the hell is that?" Soon after, I am hearing the horrible sounds of UM's fight song. At halftime, the lady who was announcing for Marion Local's band actually got booed out of the press box. Not a very classy move, but neither is an in-state school playing that dreaded song. (Marion Local won 34-33 that night, so the local fans had two reasons to go home angry.)


Here's the better of the two stories: Last year, Alder hosted Sidney Lehman, coached by former Buckeye and Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jeff Uhlenhake (Jeff is also known for his cameo roll in the movie "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective"). Lehman uses the Michigan-style helmets, something that did not sit well with the big coach.


After the game (an Alder win), I asked Uhlenhake about his team using the Michigan helmets.


"They have always been that way, long before I got here," the then second-year coach said. "I love working here, but that would be the one thing I would change if it was up to me. It's difficult to see those helmets everyday."


Spoken like a true Buckeye. Fortunately, Uhlenhake seems like he can get over it. Unfortunately, I cannot.


But seriously, what are these AD's and superintendents thinking? They should have the final say on something like this. Are they really oblivious that they are disrespecting tOSU?


And don't tell me they can't change, just because of tradition.


If college and pro teams can change their nicknames, like several have, Ohio high schools can lose the Michigan copying. Granted, most of the name changes were out of sensitivity for Native American groups ( Miami U. , St. John's), or violence (Bullets to Wizards), but the point is changes can be made. Especially something like a fight song. Rip off Wisconsin 's (like my high school did), or Notre Dame's, but please, not Michigan 's. Hearing that one day a year is already too many.

(Remember when Michigan put Wolverine stickers on its helmets for good plays? Eventually, they took too much flack for imitating Ohio State and did away with the stickers. Our Benedict Arnold high schools need to do the same.)


Alright, got that off my chest. Now let's move on to the important stuff...



The offense that Jim Kelly made famous in Buffalo was nicknamed the "K-Gun." Kelly would run a no-huddle/non-hurry-up offense in which he would stand in the shotgun and calmly call the plays from there. We saw a lot of this from Craig Krenzel against Kent State . Maybe it was just something to give future opponents to worry about, or maybe it is something the Bucks are planning to use more of. Krenzel has the cool and the intelligence to pull off his own version of the "K Gun" and I hope it's something we continue to see throughout the year.



I am actually more impressed with his kickoffs than his placekicking (and perfect is hard to beat). Nuge seems to be able to pin the ball in the corner at the one or two yard-line, or nail it deep in the endzone whenever he wants. He's toying with people. It's like sometimes they have to tell him to ease up and aim for the corner just to give the kickoff coverage team some reps. Nugent's kickoffs make our defense even that much better. After the Buckeyes score, you won't begin your drive past the 20 (unless you are that crazy guy from Texas Tech who would have brought it back from the Varsity Club).



The Bucks are ranked No. 6 in the AP poll and No. 8 in the Coaches/ESPN. When was the last time they were ranked that high? Two years ago, OSU elevated to No. 5 and responded with a 29-17 home loss to Minnesota . That got the Bucks out of the top 10 real quick and was the beginning of the end of John Cooper's final season.



This must be the biggest group of receivers that Ohio State has ever had at one time. Michael Jenkins and Drew Carter are both 6-foot-5 and Chris Gamble and Chris Vance check in at 6-2. It's like these guys are OSU's JV basketball team or something. Add in Bam Childress at point guard (he was an all-state PG in high school) and we might be able to give Obie and the boys a run for their money. Well, Jenkins and Carter, as athletic as they are, would get killed inside against Terence Dials and Zach Williams. But the wide receiver backcourt of Gamble, Vance, Childress (and John Hollins off the bench) is much more athletic than Sean Connolly, Brent Darby and Brandon Fuss-Cheatham. OK, it will never happen, but it's fun to think about.


One more note about Jenkins and Carter: Both of them are standouts on OSU's track team. Big guys that can run? That sounds good to me. And you really have to like the fact that they'll all be back next year, except Vance.



Washington State put a huge picture of quarterback Jason Gesser on a grain elevator in Dusty, Wash. (pop.12) with the caption: "Gess Who for Heisman?" Head coach Mike Price was asked about it. "It's just a little spoof at what Oregon is doing, that's how it started," Price said in his always jovial way. That's pretty hilarious stuff. Schools in the Pac 10 must be getting sick of hearing about those Times Square billboards (Joey Harrington, Onterrio Smith) that the Ducks put up the last two years. Funny move by Price, who's ego is not half as big as Mike Bellotti's.



If you were looking at the Kent State game as an offensive tune-up for Washington State , you can't like that. The defense was so good, the offense didn't have a chance to get much work in.


BRITTON COMING ON                

Jim Tressel said on his radio show this week that the one cornerback who is really coming on is junior Bobby Britton. Tressel said Britton was a little banged up during camp, but is now healthy and is starting to prove he deserves more playing time. Remember, Fred Pagac Sr. (I'm sure he loves the senior tag) played Britton as a true frosh two years ago, so he obviously saw something in the kid. And Pug was always a very good judge of talent.


Britton missed most of last year with a groin injury, but if he can continue to push starters Dustin Fox and Rich McNutt, it will only help the team. It looks like the Buckeyes have a solid group of five corners which also includes EJ Underwood and Harlen Jacobs (Tress mentioned both of them in a positive light as well). While I say solid, I still think there are going to be some long afternoons for this group. I don't think they will kill us, but they will keep the defense from being one of the top two or three in the nation.



Eventually, the Bucks are going to run out of new offensive captains. Who will be the man after Ben Hartsock? My guess is Alex Stepanovich. After that? Maybe Jenkins. Or possibly one of the junior offensive linemen.


But, I think at some point the team needs a full-time offensive captain. After the rounds are made, maybe someone like Krenzel will get the honor each game.



Good to see ESPN made the right choice and nice campaigning by Herbie. He really plays the politician role well.


Now, it's on us. Buckeye fans need to be loud and then much, much louder than that. And after you leave the bar at 8 a.m. , continue being loud. Be exceptionally loud at the GameDay set (show airs live from 10:30 - noon ) and after that, be loud as you can imagine at Skull Session. At the game, turn it up about 20 notches and if Gesser ever completes a pass after an audible, you should fine yourself 20 push-ups.


Come on Bucknuts. Anyone else sick of hearing national TV commentators say that crowds at Ohio Stadium are quiet? Well, if you are going to the game, do something about it.



Contact Dave at sports@madison-press.com   

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