Coach Conley Chat Transcript: Sept. 28

Former Ohio State assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Bill Conley held a live chat session with subscribers Friday afternoon about the Buckeyes' upcoming game with Minnesota and a variety of other subjects. Here is a transcript of that chat.

Coach Bill Conley: It's a cool fall afternoon in Columbus – it's starting to feel like football weather. I'm here and ready to chat.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley - Great to have you in chat. Always appreciate your insights!!! What do you think is the right discipline for Henton, supposing as a worst case that he is found guilty?

Coach Bill Conley: First of all I think the coaching staff is handling everything the right way. Antonio has been temporarily suspended but will start practicing on Monday of next week. He will not play until the whole issue is resolved. I really don't think it will warrant him being kicked off the team. Remember, a coach is a parent to a player on the team, especially if the kid is from out of state. It would be wrong to dismiss a player that has not been in any previous trouble unless the crime is of a serious nature. I look for Antonio and the program to weather the storm.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley - There was a lot of thought that perhaps Henton had passed Robby Schoenhoft for number two based on his performances the last couple of outings. What is your take? Had he surpassed RS?

Coach Bill Conley: I think it was definitely becoming more competitive for the No. 2 spot. I really think Robby was still No. 2 because he was the guy getting reps with the first team offensive front. Antonio was working with the second offensive line even though he got more overall reps last game.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley - What do you think the issue is with Notre Dame? Is it poor recruiting decisions or poor coaching or combination?

Coach Bill Conley: First of all I think their team lacks speed, especially on defense. They also are not very physical up front on their offensive line. I think recruiting is the biggest issue, a combination of a poor job by Tyrone Willingham and the arrogance of Charlie Weis. I'm also not sure Charlie has enough former college coaches on his staff. He= probably has too many pro guys.

AdaBuckeye: Thanks Coach Conley for fielding these questions. Will the big OL for Minnesota be able to rush for more yardage than any has this year against the Buckeyes? Do you think they rush for over 100 yards?

Coach Bill Conley: It wouldn't surprise me. The offensive line of Minnesota is the strongest position on the team. They're big and physical. Minnesota really likes to get the ball to the outside on the outside zone and handoff sweep. They also will run the option with Adam Weber.

Coach Bill Conley: Of course they have not been up against a defense as strong as the Buckeyes. I think the Gophers can rush for over 100 but barely.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley - Regarding the Metrodome: How is it as a playing environment? Do the players and coaches hate it, like it, or doesn't matter? Is noise a factor there?

Coach Bill Conley: Let me answer the latter part of the question first: Is noise a factor? Absolutely not, because there's nothing to cheer about for the home team. The Metrodome is an awful environment to play football. It always seems dark and gloomy and being that the game is at night, makes it an even worse situation. Thank goodness this will be the last game EVER the Buckeyes will play in the Metrodome.

AdaBuckeye: Interesting answer to the ND question. What is the difference between pro and college coaches in how they relate to college players?

Coach Bill Conley: AdaBuckeye, the difference between pro coaches and college coaches is that pro coaches do not have to deal with recruiting, alumni, public relations, etc. It's often difficult for them to go into a home and talk to parents and also to deal with high school coaches. At the pro level, they simply coach the X's and O's. Oftentimes they lack the communicative skills that a good college recruiter has to have.

BillArmstrong: Coach, what are your views on the Big Ten Network mess? I just heard that WOW cable has signed on but without Time Warner.

BillArmstrong: It looks like we are screwed for Kent State and most basketball games. Maybe they should worry about educating our kids and not about being TV executives.

Coach Bill Conley: We just got the same message about WOW minutes ago. The whole thing is a big mess. It seemed like the system was pretty good the way it was before. It's a shame that it's the viewer and the fan that loses out in these situations.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley - Kris O'Dowd is starting at Center for USC as a true freshman. Did you see that kind of potential in him? What's your take on why OSU and O'Dowd cooled on each other? Thank you.

Coach Bill Conley: I thought Kris O'Dowd was a very good player. I think the biggest thing was closer to home and they had been able to see Southern Cal more on television. I would assume he probably knew more players at Southern Cal than he did at Ohio State.

AdaBuckeye: The Wisconsin game is shaping up to be a possible recruiting event that has many who follow recruiting in a continual salivating mode. Many key recruits left on the board and most, if not all, of the Brew Crew are reportedly going to attend. If this visit helps to tip the scales in OSU's favor with many of the recruits visiting, how would you rate the 2008 class?

Coach Bill Conley: I think the class is already one of the best in the country. As a matter of fact I would be shocked if it doesn't end up in at least the top six. The thing I really like about the class is that they've really locked up some of the best offensive linemen in the country. Being that we are still a young football team with good young talent, I'm excited about the Buckeyes' future in terms of talent.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley - Knowing that Chris Wells is a little knicked, how should the game plan be affected for Minnesota, or should it?

Coach Bill Conley: I think it has a definite effect. I don't think Beanie can get near as many carries as you normally like to give him. I would expect the Buckeyes to throw the ball maybe a little bit more and take advantage of the poor linebacker play of the Gophers by throwing over the middle. Hopefully Beanie will get somewhere around 15 snaps of carrying the ball and Mo Wells can carry the load so they don't have to take the redshirt off of Boom Herron.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley - Back-to-back night road games - Minny & Purdue - how fearful should we Buckeye fans be of Purdue in this scenario? How good is Purdue?

Coach Bill Conley: I watched the Purdue/Minnesota game and they're really not a very good defensive team. I think they're a lot like Minnesota in that the strength of the team is in the offense. I think the quarterback Curtis Painter is a good passer and a very average runner, but they have a couple of good running backs. I was worried about the Purdue game before I saw film. Now I'm not so worried.

AdaBuckeye: If we played the team up north today, how would the Bucks fare?

Coach Bill Conley: I think at this point in the season we are a better team. We are playing much better defense and we have a more productive offense. It will be interesting to see how the team up north does the next few games. As I said this summer, I still think the Big Ten championship will be determined in Ann Arbor the last game of the year.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley – How big is the gap between USC or LSU and a team like the Buckeyes, both in terms of ability and perceived strength? Could the Buckeyes hang with them and can a no-loss Buckeye team pass a 1-loss USC or LSU?

Coach Bill Conley: RedondoBeachBuckeye, first of all I think Southern Cal and LSU are the two superior college teams in the country. We would have trouble beating either one of those two teams at this time because of our youth. Down the road I think we'll steadily improve and if we remain undefeated and one of them loses in the latter half of the season, we will pass them up, no doubt.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley – There has been lot of Big Ten bashing this year. Do you think it's justified? Colin Cowherd (on ESPN Radio) this a.m. called the UM-PSU game a reversion to the '70s. Do you think the spread is an "upgrade" offense and the Big Ten powers are being stubbornly resistant?

Coach Bill Conley: I think the Big Ten is down this year. There's a real lack of defense except at Ohio State and no great quarterbacks even though Todd Boeckman is proving to be one of the better ones at this point in the season. I have no idea where Cowherd got the idea that the UM/PSU game was a reversion to the '70s. The spread offense is being commonplace in every conference around the country. Everything runs in cycles. You have so many different types of spread offenses today that it's tough to put them all under one umbrella.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley - How far off do you think is the day where either the OSU-UM game gets pushed to later in the season or the Buckeyes schedule a game post-UM affording the Buckeyes a bye week?

Coach Bill Conley: I think the UM game will always be the last game of the year. That's a tradition that is unparalleled in college football. The only way there would be another Big Ten game after that would be if the conference would make a decision to split into two divisions by adding another team and then have the two winners play an extra game like in the SEC. But I don't expect that to happen.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley - How much more upside do you see in the OSU offensive line? Lots of room for improvement or maybe only a little more?

Coach Bill Conley: I'll tell you what, I thought the offensive line made huge strides against Washington but I don't think they played quite as good against Northwestern. They need to improve every week because opposing defenses will get tougher down the road.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley - Are the problems with the long snapper simple a repetition issue or is there something else?

Coach Bill Conley: That is the one position on the football team that is the most underrated. It looks like something that is easy to do, and believe me, it is not. Many of your long snappers today are specialists and that's all they do whereas in the past it was often a regular position player. I still think coaches would rather have a position player that can long snap if they have that option. I think back to Kevin Houser, who is still snapping for the New Orleans Saints and was a very good tight end. It's a matter of consistency. The great ones can snap the ball without looking because it's a feel. The problem the Buckeyes have had is that the snaps have been too low. They're trying to find the right guy and have worked three different players in trying to find that consistency. It will be costly if they don't resolve the issue.

Coach Bill Conley: We have time for a couple more quick questions, then I have to go tape my ankles and put on my eye black.

SusanZ: Hi Coach. No questions. I just arrived in Minneapolis and thought I'd try to catch the end of your chat

SusanZ: The airline lost my luggage (drats)

Coach Bill Conley: How is the weather Susan? Even though it doesn't matter because we are playing in the dome

SusanZ: It's beautiful: sunny, clear mid 70s.

Coach Bill Conley: Sorry about the luggage. Guess that weather means that ice fishing is out.

SusanZ: That's for sure. My jacket is in my suitcase so it's OK for now but tonight it will probably be kind of cool

Coach Bill Conley: I'm guessing we'll have as many Buckeye fans as Gopher fans in the dome.

SusanZ: I would think so. Our pilot said "GO BUCKS" as we deplaned.

SusanZ: I'm wondering if A.J. Hawk will be there. The Packers play the Vikings on Sunday in the dome.

Coach Bill Conley: I'd say there's a good chance A.J. will be there. The team usually comes in the day before the game.

SusanZ: I'll look for him then.

SusanZ: And Tyler Everett. Isn't he playing for Minnesota?

Coach Bill Conley: Tyler is on the Vikings practice squad.

SusanZ: That's what I thought. He'll probably be there too.

Coach Bill Conley: Also look for Darrion Scott and Antoine Winfield, who are both Vikings.

SusanZ: OK, thanks Coach. I'll get pictures of them if they are there.

Coach Bill Conley: That's all for today. Talk to you down the road. Look for the Buckeyes to have a great final game in the Metrodome. See you in the end zone.

SusanZ: See ya, coach. Go Bucks.

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