Bucknotes 11/22

We all probably have our favorite and least favorite Michigan games from over the years. Here are mine...

Favorite: 1984

The Buckeyes beat the Wolverines 21-6 in Ohio Stadium and clinched the outright Big Ten title, the last OSU team to do so. That Buckeye squad was loaded. Tailback Keith Byars was amazing, almost unstoppable. He was clearly the best player in college football that year in my opinion. His only downfall was that he never completed a Hail Mary pass against Miami .

 

Least favorite: 1995

I know it's hard topping '69 (little before my time), or '96, but Michigan 's 31-23 win in '95 was the toughest one to swallow for me. Tim Biakabutuka kept running that same play over left tackle and OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young never adjusted. (It was no coincidence that Fred Pagac was promoted the following season, the beginning of the Silver Bullet era.) Eddie George still went on to win the Heisman, but that loss in Ann Arbor still has me shaking my head. Weren't the Bucks supposed to have the dominating running game that year?

 

OVERREACTION

What is up with all this stuff about crowd control at the OSU-UM game? Has there ever been a problem before? I was at the last two Buckeye wins in the Horseshoe ('94, '98) and there were no problems. Unless you consider pepper-spraying anyone who got within 20 yards of the goalposts a problem.


I do think it's funny that Lloyd Carr is already whining, but I do not think it's funny that OSU officials are jumping on the bandwagon. It's offensive to Buckeye fans to insinuate that they can't control themselves. Did they make a similar statement prior to the game in Ann Arbor last year?


After Andy Geiger made a "crowd control" announcement earlier this week at a press conference, Earle Bruce, who happened to be in attendance, quizzed him on why he felt he needed to make such a statement. Geiger explained, but Bruce told him he was offended and thought it was a slap in the face to Buckeye fans. Now, I like Andy Geiger and I think he was just doing his job. The "overreaction" probably came from over his head and he was just the messenger. But I'm glad coach Bruce said what most of us were probably thinking.

 

O-LINE REPORT

Thanks to the strong play of true freshmen Nick Mangold and Rob Sims, the Buckeyes are a team with options on the offensive line. They can go with the regular starters: LT Ivan Douglas, LG Adrien Clarke, C Alex Stepanovich, RG Bryce Bishop and RT Shane Olivea, or they can insert either of the two rookies at any time.


Will the Bucks use a rotation to keep guys fresh against Michigan ? Jim Tressel talked more about the O-Line situation earlier this week.


"I would say that you'll see seven or eight guys play on that offensive front," Tressel said. "You'll see the first five: Alex, Bryce, Adrien, Shane and Ivan, but you'll also see Alex playing some guard and Nick Mangold playing some center. You'll see Robbie Sims in there a little bit and I think Mike Stafford finally is to the point now where he's healthy enough that he could go in and contribute."

 

WHAT ABOUT THE BACKS?

Tressel says he expects Maurice Clarett will play and I actually believe him this week. But he also knows that Maurice Hall and Lydell Ross will also be needed.


"I think you'll see Maurice (Clarett) in there. But I would be real surprised if we don't see all three of them have opportunities and all three of them going at it real hard," Tressel said.

 

INJURY FRONT

Darrion Scott missed last week's game with a groin pull, but will play against Michigan . Any other injuries that fans need to worry about? Well, for the 13th week of the season, the Bucks are amazingly healthy.


"Bobby Britton is the only one who won't play. He has a concussion and we are real conservative with head injuries. But really, that's it as far as injuries go. I think the adrenaline will be flowing as such that our guys' bumps and bruises are not going to keep them from playing," Tressel said.

 

THOMPSON COMES OF AGE

Ever since he knocked Brooks Bollinger out, David Thompson has been on a roll. Three sacks against Illinois from a usual backup? Are you serious?


"You always say, and it sounds like a cliché, if your seniors have their career best years, you are going to have a chance to have a good team. You take a guy like David Thompson, who in my mind has had an extraordinary year and was really magnified against Illinois where he got a lot more snaps (because of Scott's injury). Rather than getting 30, he got 50. I couldn't be happier for a fifth-year senior guy like David Thompson who's just been playing really, really well down the stretch," Tressel said.

 

SHAKEUPS

Redshirt freshman Andree Tyree had moved from the offensive line to fullback. I think that's a temporary move, although seeing a Buckeye fullback wearing No. 39 brings back good memories for me.

R.J. Coleman, who is redshirting, has been moved from tight end to offensive line. I think that's a permanent move. Coleman reported at about 260-pounds and seems to be one of those guys that can add 30-pounds and not lose any of his quickness. So, the number of O-Linemen signed in the 2002 class is back to five.

 

TUNNEL OF PRIDE...

Makes its return this week. It's a who's who of Buckeye greats and if that doesn't get the current players fired up, nothing will. I get chills just thinking about it.

 

LOADED HELMETS

A couple OSU players already have their helmets completely filled with Buckeye leaves. Chris Gamble and Mike Doss for sure and I'm probably leaving someone out (Matt Wilhelm?). I must say this is the first year I can remember this happening. Usually by the bowl game there are one or two helmets jam-packed, but never before the Michigan game.

Why more leaves than usual this year? It's a combination of extra games, many big plays and Tressel's policy of awarding "team" Buckeye leaves for wins (two for each Big Ten win). This is why you see even players who never play, including redshirts, with a few Buckeye leaves on their hat.

 

COOL UNDER FIRE

Much is being made of Tressel's cool demeanor on the sidelines. The best example you can probably point to is last week at Illinois . The Illini made that field goal to send the game to overtime and there was Tressel clapping and encouraging his guys as if to say, 'That's all right, we're still going to win this game. No doubt about it.'

I'm sure he gets butterflies like any other coach before the games, but during, he's as cool as they come. He also handles the media better than any coach out there.

 

27TH TIME...

In last 34 years that Ohio State-Michigan game has had an impact on the Big Ten championship. No surprise there.

 

HOOP NOTES

Former Buckeye Michael Redd is averaging 14.7 points through 10 games for the Milwaukee Bucks. This kid is turning into a young star. ... Big Ten shot-block king Ken Johnson has appeared in two games for the Miami Heat and has a pair of rebounds and one block. Not impressive numbers, but it's just nice to see that KJ made it to the league.


Contact Dave at sports@madison-press.com


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