The fullback position at OSU has evolved from the Woody
Hayes Era to the Bruce/Cooper Era. I use the "Bruce" and "Cooper" eras
as interchangeable, in this regard, because they used their fullbacks the same
way. The "Tressel Era"? Same thing…
That is…Woody used his big back as a battering ram and
the short-yardage guy. If there was just one running back in the backfield, it
would most often be the fullback. The subsequent coaches and offenses liked the
fullback more as a blocker (i.e. additional offensive lineman). They would get a
gratuitous handoff or a swing pass but that was not an integral part of the
offensive game plan. There were some modifications, of course. When Matt Keller
moved to the fullback position (due to some injuries by the previous
inhabitants), he became more of a runner because he was not a dominating
Which brings us to the present tense. Jamar Martin spoiled
Buckeye fans as he was one of the most dominant blockers in our storied history
of dominant blockers. And we had a number of able bodies fermenting on the back
burner. Or, so we thought…
At the beginning of the season, our fullback prospects
included sophomore (in eligibility) Branden Joe, freshman Brandon Schnittker,
junior Jesse Kline and junior Nate Stead. Kline showed the best potential as a
runner, Stead was a powerful blocking back, and Schnittker/Joe were the athletic
combo guys. But when the smoke cleared and the season began, Kline left the team
due to continuous injuries, Stead wasn't in the picture due to grade concerns
and Joe/Schnittker became the brand new option(s). Jack Tucker – a converted
linebacker – provided some depth but not much optimism at that position.
Tressel's brain trust is presented with the options of 1)
changing the offense to more of a two-back set 2) finding the next Jamar
Martin/Nicky Sualua clone or 3) working with the type of athletes we already
have. Option #3 seems to be both the most likely and most realistic.
Michigan did well this year in changing big tailback BJ
Askew into a small fullback. OSU is trying to ape that idea with both Joe and
Schnittker, although our two guys are both bigger than Askew. Thus far, the
experiment is about a push as our fullbacks have not been great blockers or
great runners. Lately, Tressel has inserted mammoth Andree Tyree into the jumbo
formation, mostly to put the fear of God into the opposition.
Recruiting? I scan the skies, the charts, and the articles,
but have yet to find OSU in on any fullback recruits. Joe Razzano (from Milford)
is the only true fullback rated in the Top 50 in the state and he isn't being
recruited by the Buckeyes.
Dr. Recruitnik has no e-mail address, but if you have e-mail for him, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and Mr. Bucknuts will see if he can summon him...