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Current Football News Archive

Buckeyes Lose Running Back To Injury
June 30, 2012 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - Ohio State will likely begin the football season without its top running back after Jordan Hall suffered a foot injury outside his Columbus residence earlier this week. Hall, a senior from Jeannette, Pa., tweeted Saturday morning he had successful surgery on the foot, and the university confirmed the news with an announcement later in the day.

In a news release, a school spokesman said Hall was walking in grass when he suffered a cut that required surgery at the Ohio State University Medical Center.

"This is an unfortunate accident to a really fine young man," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. "He’s handling things well, though. He’ll be in a non-weight bearing cast for about six weeks and then he’ll rehabilitate the injury for at least four weeks after that."

The 10-week estimate would keep Hall out until the middle of September, in which case he would miss at least two games.

The blow could be a big one for the Buckeyes, who will be in their first year in Meyer’s spread option offense.

Meyer listed Hall as his starting running back in a post-spring depth chart, and the coach said the 5-9, 198-pounder could be used in multiple roles, including slot receiver.

In April, OSU running backs coach Stan Drayton praised Hall's growth during the offseason. "Any time a kid goes from a 2.0 to a 3.4 in a quarter to me that represents change in a positive way," Drayton said. "You see the leadership and the toughness both in the weight room and on the field, that was already there but he’s taken it to another level. there’s change all around. I see him embracing teammates, I see him encouraging freshmen. I didn’t see Jordan Hall doing that last year. He’s very unselfish right now and feels accountable to his teammates. I guarantee that is going to show up in his play."

Drayton also called Hall's first step as good as he has ever seen while confirming plans to use him in a variety of ways. "He’s tough to tackle. He’s so quick, so to not get him in space, we’ve got to be dumb coaches, right?" Drayton said. "We’re going to do the best we can to showcase that ability."

Four scholarship tailbacks are left in his wake – senior Carlos Hyde, sophomore Rod Smith and freshmen Brionte Dunn and Warren Ball – but all of them are bigger, power-oriented backs, unlike Hall.

Hyde likely becomes the starter with Hall sidelined.

Hall enters his senior season with 817 career rushing yards with five rushing touchdowns along with 21 receptions for 202 yards and four more scores.

The Buckeyes open the season Sept. 1 when they play host to Miami (Ohio).

Preseason camp will being the first week of August.

Fountain of Utes - Tapes bonded Buckeyes coordinator Tom Herman with his new boss
June 28, 2012 Source: ESPN Buckeye Nation - Preparing for his first season as an offensive coordinator and looking around for fresh ideas, there was a logical place for Tom Herman to start in 2005.

A team from outside the power conferences had just gone undefeated thanks to a dynamic, unique attack that seemed to mesh perfectly with the kind of system that was evolving in Herman's brain. So he popped in the film of Utah's perfect season, borrowed a few things to go with what he already had in mind and got to work building a reputation as one of the best young play-callers in the game.

Herman can still easily recall the way the Utes ran the triple-option out of the shotgun, the different looks they gave a defense with a variety of motions and the big plays produced with their play-action passing game.

Seven years later, that background might be even more handy since the man in charge of Utah back then, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer, tabbed Herman as his new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach despite those old tapes representing one of the few previous ties between them.

"There were a few teams where I was saying, 'Who do we want to be like? Who do we want to emulate?'" Herman said. "Obviously that Utah team, what they did offensively was phenomenal. That was kind of the genesis of building an offense at Texas State, and then maybe every now and again I would reference it later.

"I think they were unique at that time in what they were doing, and we really honed in on it as much as we could learn off of video and tried to incorporate it into what we were doing at Texas State, then on to Rice and Iowa State."

The next step is to help integrate it with the Buckeyes -- and, of course, with Meyer. So far that relationship appears to be a perfect fit given the shared philosophies the two have about moving the football, which might not be a surprise considering the homework Herman had done on his new boss in the past.

But breaking down a season or two on film is hardly enough to even shape a single game plan, let alone give a young coach a full playbook or establish all the core fundamentals of his approach -- from protection schemes to routes and everything in between. For much of that knowledge Herman is quick to point to Greg Davis, the former Texas offensive coordinator who helped teach him the game during a two-year stint at a graduate assistant with the Longhorns.

High-scoring attacks at Texas State, Rice and most recently Iowa State helped validate some of the ideas he has had about offense in his 12-year coaching career. Herman now finds himself bouncing them off the man he watched on those tapes nearly a decade ago.

"It's eerie," Herman said. "It's really, really eerie to see the alignment of philosophy and core values and beliefs for two guys who have never really met, never talked football, never shared ideas. For us to come together in the same room and click that well from the ground up, that's been really smooth these last six months...

"You take the best of both worlds when you move on to build your own offense," Herman said. "Take the good of both and try to slice as much of the complicated or the bad of both as you can to come up with your own style.

"Some of that stuff [from watching Utah] carried over, and it also evolved."

The new evolution is reserved for the Buckeyes, and they have two guys who appear to have the same idea how to design it. ... Click to Read the rest

Recruitingspacer4-Star DT Hill Is A Buckeye
June 27, 2012 Source: Bucknuts.com - Buckeye Nation, at least the segment of Buckeye Nation that follows recruiting, has to be turning cartwheels as defensive tackle Michael Hill (Pendleton, S.C./Pendleton) has committed to Ohio State.

Paul Strelow from 247Sports has confirmed Hill’s commitment to the Buckeyes through Pendleton coach Paul Sutherland.

Hill had Ohio State at the top of his list even before he visited OSU in early June. He came back from the visit saying there was a 75% chance he would be a Buckeye.

Hill subsequently made visits to a number of other schools including LSU, Florida, Alabama and most recently Clemson. But today Hill is a Buckeye.

The 6-foot-2 and 315-pound Hill has been a varsity starter since the beginning of his sophomore season. Hill made 79 tackles during his junior season including eight sacks. He had 27 tackles for loss and forced four fumbles.

Hill has a very impressive list of scholarship offers that includes Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Florida State, Tennessee, Clemson, North Carolina, South Carolina and Michigan.

Hill, a 4-star prospect, is the No. 2 prospect in South Carolina in the 247Sports rankings. He is the country’s No. 12 defensive tackle and the country’s No. 197 overall prospect.

Kurelic’s Comment: This is absolutely a huge "get" for the Buckeyes. It gives Urban Meyer a super defensive end prospect in Joey Bosa and a super tackle in Hill on top of the great group of defensive lineman Meyer signed in February.


Hill Makes Fourteen
June 27, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors - The good times continue to roll this week for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Just a day after the Bucks secured the services of ATH Darron Lee, one of the nation's top defensive tackles in Pendleton (SC) Michael Hill gave his verbal pledge to Urban Meyer.

The 6-2/315 Hill is a consensus four star prospect across all recruiting services and is ranked as the fifth best at his position by Rivals, twelfth best by 247 Sports, fourteenth best by Scout, and seventeenth best by ESPN/Scout's Inc. He held offers from LSU, Clemson, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, and many others before committing to Ohio State.

The Buckeyes found themselves in a fortunate situation with the mammoth lineman, as he grew up rooting for the program despite growing up in South Carolina. He followed through on his childhood fandom by making a visit with his father to Columbus a few weeks ago. He made a couple of other visits following his trip to OSU and was supposed to narrow his list down to a top three, but decided he found a home and committed to Ohio State earlier today.

In Hill the Buckeyes get an outstanding defensive lineman who has the ability to come in and step right into the role Jonathan Hankins will hold this year on the defense, something very few, if any of the current players or other verbal pledges have the capability to do. This is a huge pull for Urban Meyer as he continues his quest to compile the best recruiting class for 2013 on the national level.

RecruitingspacerLee Makes Thirteen
June 26, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors - It was almost a two month long dry period for Ohio State on the recruiting trail before news of P Johnny Townsend committing to the Buckeyes broke last week. When it rains, it apparently pours as Urban Meyer and the OSU coaching staff got some more good news today when New Albany ATH Darron Lee committed to the program minutes ago, his mother tells Eleven Warriors.

Lee, at 6-2/205, became the thirteenth member of Ohio State's recruiting class of 2013. He has been on the radar for some time now, but interest first intensified in early June when he went step for step with top prospect Vonn Bell at OSU's first senior camp of the summer. After that camp the staff told Lee they liked what they saw, but needed some more time to make a decision when it came to offering him a scholarship.

Wanting the offer from the hometown school badly, Lee decided to come back to Columbus this past weekend to work out at camp again. After spending time at wide receiver, corner back, and safety at the last camp, Lee worked out mostly at defensive back this time, but also spent some time at linebacker. His second workout obviously did the trick as the staff was convinced they had themselves a player in the New Albany standout and extended an offer earlier today, which was accepted on the spot.

Lee plays all over the field for his high school team, including wide receiver, defensive back, and even quarterback. It is unknown exactly where he will play for the Buckeyes, but sources tell Eleven Warriors he is likely to begin his career at the star position and then move to outside linebacker once he bulks up courtesy of Mickey Marotti.

Regardless of where he ends up on the field, the Buckeyes made an excellent pick up today in Lee, who has proven on the summer camp circuit that he has all of the tools to be successful in big time college football. The Buckeyes continue to work to fill their class of 2013, which is expected to number about 20 members, so stay tuned to 11W for the latest buzz on the recruiting trail and for more on Lee's pledge to Ohio State.

Listen to the audioUrban Meyer On his New Role and the Recruiting Challenges June 21, 2012 Source: 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer joined Dan Dakich on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis to discuss the new role, how his gig at ESPN helped make it happen, the nature of coaches never being satisfied, and how his recruitment efforts have gone thus far.

Why the Buckeyes Will Go Undefeated in 2012
June 20, 2012 Source: Eleven Warriors - #1 Ohio State’s Up-tempo / Unseen offense.

It’s no secret Urban Meyer and Tom Herman are speeding things up on the offensive side of the ball. The Buckeyes will be running a style of offense patrons of the Shoe may never have seen from their boys in the Scarlet and Gray in any decade (exciting.). The no huddle, quick-strike mentality seeks to stretch opposing defenses from sideline to sideline ultimately moving the ball from end zone to end zone (at least in theory). The philosophy appears to be working as Meyer definitely has the whole scoring thing down.

It’s a system in which Braxton Miller should thrive. Often last year it seemed the freshman was moving the ball in spite of Bollman’s playcalling. In 2012, Braxton gets the keys to an offense that is tailored to his strengths. One that rolls him out of the pocket, builds confidence with short passes, and forces defenses to account for his scrambling ability at all times.

Fans of the Scarlet and Gray aren’t the only ones who will be seeing this offense for the first time as opposing defenses will be in the same boat. Meyer didn’t unveil a ton in the spring game and it’s safe to say he wont be showing much of his hand until the Sept. 15 matchup against Cal.

This gives an undeniable advantage to the Buckeyes as defenses wont be entirely sure what to prepare for. Sure they can study some of Meyer’s Florida tape, but this offense will be incorporating bits and pieces of both Meyer and Herman’s philosophies. Basically it’s a high-powered offensive Frankenstein pieced together by two of the finer scoring minds in college football. Light your torches and bring your pitchforks Big 10 villagers, because it could be a long day.

#2 Dominating Defense

This defense has everything you could ask for in terms of potential for domination. There are clear leaders in John Simon and Jonathan Hankins, there’s depth, and there’s experience with nine returning starters.

Tom Dienhart of the BTN ranked both OSU’s 2012 defensive line and secondary at No. 1 in the Big Ten. The stout defensive line should give a relatively young group of linebackers (led by Ryan Damn Shazier) the opportunity to roam and use their athleticism to make plays.

In addition, the consistency in the defensive coaching staff should afford this group less of a learning curve than most experience with a new head coach. The comfort in having Coach Fickell and Coach Vrabel back on the sideline can’t be understated. Far from the offense's situation, this group can "X and O" (read: think) less and simply play football.

#3 Relative Ease of Schedule

Unlike in years past where Ohio State has taken on a powerhouse program early, this season’s home and away is Cal. The Golden Bears wont be a cake-walk by any means, but USC and Texas they are not.

From there the Bucks will be tested on the road against MSU, but the Spartans will have an unproven signal caller under center. If the defensive line can get pressure, I like Ohio State’s chances.

Following the Spartans, the Bucks get a Nebraska team in Columbus they should have beaten last year (BAUSERBOMBS!!!), a few nameless teams in Indiana (I can say that because Ohio State plays Purdue at home which means they win by 24 instead of experiencing Purdue-Harbor on a loop) and a Penn State team with Matt McMoxie at the helm. Not exactly daunting.

Then comes what I believe to be the biggest test of the season: an away game at Camp Randall. The Badgers will likely have Danny O’Brien under center, the athletic Maryland transfer who threw for 29 TDs and 18 INTs during his time with the Terrapins. The game will be a tough one, but when playing Wisconsin, the unthinkable tends to happen. Hopefully the Buckeyes can bring that luck on the road.

Finally, Michigan rolls into town. This game will be the Buckeyes bowl appearance, and Meyer will demand perfection. It’s hard to see the Buckeyes losing this contest at home, especially since they were only a few Miller overthrows away from a win last season in Ann Arbor.

The schedule isn’t a complete cupcake, but it’s much more manageable than in years past.

#4 Improved Overall Coaching Staff

Throughout the Tressel years, it was clear he ran the show. The consummate micro-manager, he had his hand in every facet of the program. During last season’s train-wreck we may have learned more about Tressel as a coach than in any season he was actually on the sideline. He was the glue holding the Bollmans and Sicilianos of the world together. Without him, everything fell to pieces.

Top to bottom, this coaching staff is better than any group Tressel had in Columbus (with the possible exception of 2001-2003 with Mark Dantonio as DC). Meyer made it a point to hire or retain some of the best assistants available, specifically so he wouldn’t have to re-live his stressful days in Gainesville.

The staff is an enthusiastic bunch that knows how to work from the ground up. When you get a lot of great minds in the same room, good things tend to happen.

#5 Spoiler Mentality

This effectiveness of #5 relies solely on the effectiveness of #4, but I think playing spoiler is something the coaching staff will harp on all season. With no postseason to play for, this team is going to have to find something to motivate them week-in and week-out. I believe that motivation will come from players wanting to ruin the season of each and every team they face in 2012.

It’s not hard to see guys like Kerry Coombs and Mike Vrabel pounding this into players’ skulls, and I believe it will be a rallying cry for the team.

Spoil everyone’s season, go 12-0 and sit back and watch the world burn. Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me.

If all goes as designed the Buckeyes’ high-powered offense and terrifying defense will be driven by an undeniable want to play spoiler during every week of 2012’s manageable schedule, propelling them to a 12-0 season. (Whew that was a long sentence…take a breath).

A few things will have to fall their way, but no team goes undefeated without a little luck am I right?... Click to Read the rest

Preview 2012 1st Team All-America Defense
June 19, 2012 Source: CollegeFootballNews.com - Note: This isn't a ranking of the top pro prospects. This is based on the seasons we think the players are going to have.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN - Johnathan Hankins, Jr. Ohio State
One of the most active and productive all-around tackles in college football, Hankins tied for third on the team with 67 tackles to go along with three sacks and 11 tackles for loss. At 6-4 and 317 pounds he has tremendous size and shocking quickness off the ball, able to both be an anchor against the run while also dominating as an interior pass rusher. Steady, he came up with a great midseason stretch and was at his best in the biggest games. The defense will work around him once again, and with John Simon taking some of the attention away, he should once again be a statistical superstar... Click to Read the rest


Buckeyes Have Their Punter
June 19, 2012 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com - There has been a lot of talk if the Buckeye would or would not take a specialist in the class of 2013. On Tuesday afternoon we got our answer as we learned that the Buckeyes took a commitment from Orlando (FL) Boone punter Johnny Townsend. The commitment to the Buckeye staff happened earlier on Tuesday morning according to Townsend.

The new Buckeye is not a household name to many people but he has done a lot to impress people in the know with his skills. As a junior the 6-foot-2, 200 pound punter averaged 42 yards a punt while splitting time at safety and outside backer on his high school team and also played baseball during part of the season.

The path to Columbus (Ohio) for Townsend did not take too long and the whole recruiting process moved very quickly.

"I have been talking with coach Urban Meyer for not even a week," Townsend told BuckeyeGrove.com. "They offered me (Tuesday) morning. I willl have the opportunity to start as a freshman and punting all four years at Ohio State and working with coach Meyer one-on-one. He wants to coach the punters and kickers one-on-one."

Townsend recently made the trip to Columbus to the Ohio State kicking/punting camp and made enough of an impression. The new Buckeye also held an offer from Cincinnati and had preferred walk-on offers from Alabama and Florida.

Townsend did what he set out to do with his trip to the Ohio State kicking camp, picking up an offer to a place that he wanted to go to.

"I went out there and competed and felt that I earned it," Townsend said. "It is the place I want to be."

The Ohio State head coach is a known person to the Townsend family and they knew all about coach Meyer well before he became part of the Ohio State program.

"I know that he is an incredible coach," Townsend added. "He loves what he is doing. Me and my family were Gators fans and we followed him for a long time. The fact that he works directly with the specialists really sparked my interest and he will help me get better."

Urban Meyer's contract highlights
June 19, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch

• $700,000: Base salary per year
• $1.85 million: Media/promotions/public relations duties per year
• $1.4 million: Equipment/shoe contract per year
• $50,000: If team grade-point average is 3.0
• $100,000: If GPA is 3.3
• $150,000: If GPA is 3.5
• $50,000: Winning Big Ten Leaders Division (will earn it this year if OSU wins division, even though it is ineligible for Big Ten title game)
• $100,000: And automatic one-year contract extension if OSU wins league championship game
• $150,000: Non-national championship BCS bowl
• $250,000: National championship game appearance
• $1,200: Per month stipend toward use of two vehicles
• $450,000: If he remains coach at end of January 2014
• $750,000: If he remains coach at end of January 2016
• $1.2 million: If he remains coach at end of January 2018


Meyer's deal stresses compliance
June 19, 2012 Source: Columbus Dispatch - $26 million contract as OSU coach puts a premium on reporting any potential violations

Urban Meyer’s contract to serve as Ohio State’s football coach is 33 pages long.

Much of it is material standard in a coaching contract. Some of its length is due to the detailed breakdown of the $26.0165 million that Meyer will be paid, excluding bonuses, over the six years of the contract. But even more telling is the amount of ink given to spelling out the consequences — on both sides — of actual or potential NCAA violations.

The Ohio State Board of Trustees is expected to approve Meyer’s contract on Friday. OSU revealed the contract yesterday.

The contract mandates that Meyer must be diligent in following NCAA rules. Meyer must notify OSU in writing if he knows of or suspects any NCAA violations. Meyer has never been found to be in violation of NCAA rules at his previous jobs, but after the NCAA scandal that ended Jim Tressel’s coaching tenure, OSU is not taking anything for granted.

The contract that Tressel signed in 2006 did have a section requiring that he report violations or actions “likely to” be violations. Meyer’s contract requires notification even if an action merely “may potentially have violated” any law or rule.

“It’s more explicit,” Smith said. “It’ll just jump out at you. No gray area.”

The contract also assures Meyer that OSU has informed him of “all significant NCAA issues of which it is aware.” If the Big Ten or NCAA levies any additional sanctions based on violations prior to Meyer’s hiring, Meyer can terminate the agreement and receive $1.5 million per year left on his contract. Meyer, like others at Ohio State, was stunned when the NCAA sanctions announced last December included a bowl ban for the 2012 season.

Smith said that finalizing the deal that was worked out in principle before Meyer’s hiring in November was a smooth process.

“We started after spring ball really getting into it,” Smith said. “Our whole thing was to get it done before the last summer board meeting, which is this week.

“We were able to move pretty fast. His attorneys and our attorneys worked well together. Urban and I were philosophically on the same page, and that made it a lot smoother.”

Smith said he is pleased by the job Meyer has done.

“He’s doing a great job,” Smith said. “Obviously, he did great in recruiting and has put a great staff together. He has really gotten out in the community and out in the state. He’s doing great on all levels.”

The same goes, Smith said, for his relationship with Meyer. They did not know each other well before Meyer’s hiring last fall.

“We communicate often and have a great working relationship and personal relationship,” Smith said. “He’s just a genuinely kind person. He’s a football guy, and he knows I’m a football guy. We’ve hit it off very well.”

Smith said Meyer consulted with him before stripping scholarships from tight end Jake Stoneburner and offensive lineman Jack Mewhort for urinating on a building and then fleeing police earlier this month.

“Urban contacted me about his strategy,” Smith said. “I supported it. He implemented it.

“We wanted to make sure that all of our kids understood that any type of inappropriate behavior will be dealt with. He wanted to come down hard. That’s why I supported it. It sends a message. It certainly was the right thing for him to do.”

Home run summer: Ohio State
June 15, 2012 Source: ESPN - Our series continues looking at a player or a group of players from each Big Ten team who needs a home run type of summer before preseason camp begins. Who needs to hit it out of the park in preparation for the season?

Who needs to step it up: The wide receivers

They've been called out repeatedly by Urban Meyer and his assistant coaches. When I asked Buckeyes offensive coordinator Tom Herman this spring who had impressed him in the pass game besides running back Jordan Hall and tight end Jake Stoneburner, he gave me a priceless look, as if to say, "You're serious?" It's no secret that Meyer and Herman want to pass the ball more after taking over an offense that had one of the more anemic aerial attacks (115th nationally, 127 ypg) last year. It's no secret both coaches like Braxton Miller's potential as more than a running quarterback. And it's also no secret that both coaches are looking for someone to step up at receiver to help Miller. This is a very big summer for the entire receiving corps to take a step forward and build chemistry with Miller in the new spread offense. Freshman Michael Thomas had Buckeye Nation buzzing with his big spring game performance (12 receptions for 131 yards), which is an encouraging sign. Perhaps Thomas will be Miller's top receiving option, but it'd be nice if older wideouts like Corey Brown, Devin Smith, Verlon Reed and Chris Fields elevate their play.

Unit Rankings: 2012 Big Ten secondaries
June 11, 2012 Source: BTN - Big Ten defensive backfields are loaded with talent; Tom Dienhart's rankings of the 2012 Big Ten secondaries.

1. Ohio State – All four starters are back for what should be one of the best secondaries in the nation. Cornerback Bradley Roby was a freshman sensation in 2011. His next stop: stardom. Travis Howard forms the other half of this strong corner tandem. Christian Bryant (strong) and C.J. Barnett (free) are a stout duo at safety. Barnett is one of best safeties in the Big Ten. In fact, he may be the top safety, flashing instincts, tackling ability and coverage skills.

2. Michigan State – Losing star safety Trenton Robinson hurts, but this still shapes up as a strong secondary. Johnny Adams rates as one of the top corners in the Big Ten—and the nation. He’s a legit Thorpe Award candidate and likely first-round draft choice. Darqueze Dennard is the ying to Adams yan, a corner with size and coverage skills who often is tested with Adams on the other side. Strong safety Isaiah Lewis came into his own as a premier talent with All-Big Ten ability last season. Kurtis Drummond is penciled in at Robinson’s strong safety slot. Coaches like his potential.

3. Nebraska – The Cornhuskers are strong at safety even with the loss of Austin Cassidy. Strong safety Daimion Stafford should be one of the stars of the secondary and maybe the best player on the defense. He’s a big hitter who covers a lot of ground. Free safety P.J. Smith is a veteran who knows the defense and rarely is out of position. There is talent at cornerback but little experience. Standout Alfonzo Dennard is gone, which hurts. Mohammed Seisay arrived from a junior college in the spring and looks like a potential star as the No. 1 corner. Andrew Green and Ciante Evans—among others–also figure in at corner. Former running back Braylon Heard could an asset as a nickel or dime back.

4. Michigan – This unit is coming off a strong season—and it could be even better in 2012. Cornerback Blake Countess enjoyed a big debut last season and looks like a future star. He’ll pair with J.T. Floyd to form a nice corner tandem. Floyd is bigger and thicker than Countess but still can cover with aplomb. Courtney Avery also will be a factor at a corner spot that will be a strength. Savvy veteran safety Jordan Kovacs is a former walk-on who has blossomed into a leader. He is an underrated athlete who runs well and likes to hit. At free safety, Thomas Gordon has range, speed and a nose for the ball. He’s able to cover from sideline to sideline. This unit may have to tighten coverage to compensate for pass rush that has something to prove... Click to Read the rest


2012 Spring Practice - Get ready Buckeye Nation!

Most important game: Ohio State
June 8, 2012 Source: ESPN - Is there ever really such a thing as an unimportant game for Ohio State? Not really for a program whose fans live and breathe Buckeyes football.

Still, not every game is created equally. We're examining the most important game on the 2012 schedule for each Big Ten squad, choosing those that will have the biggest impact on the league race or hold special meaning for one of the teams involved. So let's check in on those Buckeyes and the most important game in Urban Meyer's first season.

Most important game: Nov. 24 vs. Michigan

Why it's important: Wait a minute, some of you are probably saying. We didn't choose the Ohio State clash as Michigan's most important game earlier in this series. Have we forgotten that, or are we saying that The Game is somehow more important for the Buckeyes than the Wolverines? No. Well, OK, sort of, for this year at least. The difference between the two is that Ohio State can't play for the Big Ten championship or go to the postseason because of its NCAA probation. So while there will be many big games on their schedule, the Buckeyes will have to view their season-ender against the Maize and Blue as their bowl game. A loss there would send them into the offseason on a sour note with no chance to change that until the following September. And there's no way any Ohio State fan wants to see Brady Hoke go to 2-0 in the rivalry, especially not in the Horseshoe. Meyer is wildly popular now, but all he has to do is ask his predecessors how quickly that can wear off if he doesn't beat Michigan. That's why this is the most important game on the schedule for Ohio State this year, but not necessarily the Wolverines.

Big Ten point spread projections: Meyer’s Buckeyes could be underdogs in two games
June 6, 2012 Source: Beyond The Bets - We’ve projected point spreads for all 798 games...and have also broken them up by conference for convenience. In addition, we’ve provided what the standings would look like if the projected favorite won every game...Keep in mind: There are a handful of coin flip games that could go either way. Michigan State, “projected” to finish 6-2, could easily fall to 4-4 or even 3-5 if it drops a couple games as a small favorite.

Wk 1 - Thurs, Aug 30th - Miami (OH) at Ohio State -27
Wk 2 - Sat, Sept 8th - UCF at Ohio State -16.5
Wk 3- Sat, Sept 15th - California at Ohio State -14
Wk 4 - Sat, Sept 22nd - UAB at Ohio State -38
Wk 5 - Sat, Sept 29th - Ohio State at Michigan State -1.5
Wk 6 - Sat, Oct 6th - Nebraska at Ohio State -5
Wk 7 - Sat, Oct 13th - Ohio State at Indiana +21
Wk 8 - Sat, Oct 20th - Purdue at Ohio State -16.5
Wk 9 - Sat, Oct 27th - Ohio State at Penn State +6
Wk 10 - Sat, Novr 3rd - Illinois at Ohio State -19.5
Wk 11 - Sat, Nov 10th - BYE
Wk 12 - Sat, Nov 17th - Ohio State at Wisconsin -4
Wk 13 - Sat, Nov 24th - TTUN at Ohio State -4

Big Ten LEADERS Division Projections
Wisconsin 7-1
Ohio State 6-2
Illinois 4-4
Purdue 3-5
Penn State 2-6
Indiana 0-8...

Big Ten LEGENDS Division Projections
Michigan 6-2
Nebraska 6-2
Michigan State 6-2
Iowa 5-3
Northwestern 2-6
Minnesota 1-7... Click to Read the rest

Unit Rankings: 2012 Big Ten Defensive Lines
June 6, 2012 Source: BTN - The trenches are where games are won–ask any coach. And the Big Ten, led by a strong crop in the Leaders Division, has some good defensive fronts that will rate among the best in the nation.

Where does your Big Ten school’s defensive line rank? Check out my entire list in this post. Don’t agree with my rankings? Leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post. Also, don’t forget about all of my 2012 unit rankings

1. Ohio State – This is where it all begins for what should be a strong Buckeye defense. There’s lots of depth and talent, as end Solomon Thomas is the only loss. Tackle John Simon plays like his hair is on fire, using strength and effort to dominate. Want more? He has been described as being “Tebow-ish” by Urban Meyer. Coaches also think tackle Garrett Goebel is in store for a special season. Massive tackle Johnathan Hankins may be the top NFL prospect in the Big Ten. End Adam Bellamy comes off the edge with ferocity. Want more? End Nathan Williams is back after a knee injury ruined his 2011 season. Plus, Ohio State will welcome several monster recruits who could impact right away... Click to Read the rest


Marshall moving positions at Challenge
June 6, 2012 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com - At first, the talk of changing positions bothered Middletown (Ohio) athlete Jalin Marshall.

He wanted to play quarterback, and he worked hard to hone his skills, but the move to wide receiver was inevitable and he has come to grips with it.

"Now that I am so much older, I think I can deal with it better," he said. "It is part of the process that I have had to embrace."

Marshall, all of 16, talks like a veteran making a career change when talking about his switch to wide receiver. The No. 2-ranked athlete and No. 48 overall player in the Rivals100 will be stepping onto the field at Lakewood Stadium in south Atlanta ready to use his entire skill set at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.

"I still love quarterback, and I still want to work to play that position, but it makes me feel good that people can see I can play all over," Marshall said. "It is a blessing to be among the Top 100 players.

"I get told all the time that I won't be a quarterback, and maybe I won't, but if I can be a receiver and show people my skills that is a blessing."

Marshall has gone through two head coaches in his time at Middletown, moving from a spread offense to a triple-option offense. His learning curve has changed as he changed positions, but he thinks his time under center will help him move to the outside or the slot position.

"I have to read the defense as a quarterback and see where the holes are," he said. "I think I can do that as a receiver and if I can manipulate what they are going to do, that will give me an advantage."

As an Ohio State commit, Marshall will be one of the few skill-position, Big Ten-representatives at the invitation-only event.

It is a responsibility that he takes seriously, and he believes he can showcase the speed it takes to play in the Big Ten.

"I have great vision and speed," Marshall said. "I am very quick, too. I can make people miss and I can make them break down and leave them.

At 6 feet and 190 pounds, Mashall has been clocked in the 4.5 range for his 40-yard dash. He also owns a 35-inch vertical jump.

Those measurables make it understandable why he is projected as a receiver.

"I have had to deal with it my whole life," Marshall said. "It just is what it is, I am blessed to be as athletic as I am and sometimes that is a bit of a curse because I can play receiver.

"It is a path I chose to take and this is what comes with it. I am just going to try to keep showing people what I can do." ... Click to Read the rest

Can Ohio State go undefeated?
June 5, 2012 Source: The News Herald - ESPN Insider is taking a look at "20 teams that can win it all" in 2012 and lands on an interesting team today: Ohio State.

Of course, the Buckeyes can't win a BCS championship, as they are ineligible for the postseason and can't be ranked in the BCS standings as part of their NCAA probation. But Ohio State still could theoretically finish first in the Associated Press poll if it were to go undefeated.

K.C. Joyner writes that it's not too far-fetched to believe in that outcome. One of his top reasons why the Buckeyes could have a dominant season is an offense that could break out in Urban Meyer's first year after performing better than people thought in 2011.

"The truth is that in many ways this offense wasn't nearly as bad as its reputation. For example, according to cfbstats.com, the Buckeyes ranked third in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game and yards per carry in conference contests. The return of two of their backs with 100 or more carries (Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall) and Meyer's ability to customize game plans around the talents of his rushing talents are two reasons the Buckeyes made my list of the best running back committees in college football.

Quarterback Braxton Miller's abilities as a runner are another reason to be optimistic about the OSU offense. His production on designed runs improved as the 2011 season progressed; he increased his yards-per-carry average from 5.6 during his first six games (with no touchdowns) to 9.1 in the last six (with seven TDs), according to ESPN Stats & Info."

A strong defense, anchored by John Simon and Johnathan Hankins up front, and the wealth of talent that's always around in Columbus are other reasons to be optimistic. Reasons to be pessimistic include the Buckeyes' still-developing passing game and the parity of the Big Ten.

My take is that an undefeated season wouldn't come as a total shock. Ohio State's nonconference schedule (Miami of Ohio, UCF, Cal and UAB) is as easy as it has been in years, and the Buckeyes should get through that 4-0. They have to open Big Ten play at Michigan State, which we currently rank No. 1 in our league power rankings. That's a daunting assignment, but should Ohio State pull it off, it gets Nebraska the following week in the Horseshoe for what should be a special atmosphere. Win that one, and there's a very good shot at being 8-0 before heading to Penn State on Oct. 27.

Going to State College and later to Madison, Wis., will be among the toughest challenges of the year for Meyer's team. The Buckeyes are not particularly deep on offense and can't afford an injury to Miller or many of their offensive linemen this season. The passing game will have to improve by leaps and bounds over last year, especially at receiver.

On the other hand, the Buckeyes didn't get blown out in any Big Ten game last year during a 6-7 campaign and will have a much more experienced head coach at the controls. Without a postseason to look forward to, they can make going undefeated their main goal.

In the end, I think a 10-2 or possibly even 11-1 season represents a more realistic ceiling for this team. I believe the conference is just too balanced for any team to run the table, that those road games to Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State are too formidable and that Ohio State has some trouble spots with its passing game and depth. But it wouldn't be a total stunner to see the Buckeyes turn in an outstanding regular season.

What do you think the chances are for Ohio State going 12-0 in 2012?... Click to Read the rest

Heisman winner Troy Smith sees greatness in Braxton Miller
June 3, 2012 Source: The News Herald - Former Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith thinks current OSU signal-caller Braxton Miller has the potential to be exponentially better than him.

After seeing what Miller was able to do as a true freshman at Ohio State, then meeting the 6-foot-3, 190-pound soon-to-be-sophomore, Smith sees the sky as the limit for Miller — if not better.

"He has a glass cylinder over his head. All he has to do is explode through," said Smith at Classic Park in Eastlake on Saturday, where he signed autographs as part of the Lake County Captains' celebration of Cleveland Sports History Night...

Miller's freshman numbers blow away those of Smith's freshman year, when he had no offensive statistics, playing all 11 games on special teams.

"I see a lot of myself in him, all of myself," Smith said. "I solely believe he has a chance to be 10 times better than I was. He's a lot faster. He's a much better athlete.

"I'm extremely excited about his future. I want to see him take off."...

"I have not gotten a chance to really give him the tutelage I would like to give him," Smith said. "He's the quarterback of the future. He's the person who will give us a chance to win."...

Smith repeatedly used the words "we" and "us" to refer to the Ohio State program. He said the departure of former coach Jim Tressel and the influx of a new coaching staff doesn't dim his love for his alma mater a bit.

"It's my team through and through, until the day I leave this earth," he said. "I think Urban Meyer is doing some good things over there."

Smith said he hasn't spoken with Meyer since his hiring.

Meyer was the coach at Florida when the Gators ripped Ohio State, 41-14, in the 2006 season's BCS National Championship game. A month after winning the Heisman Trophy, Smith completed 4 of 14 passes for 35 yards and was sacked five times against Meyer's defense.

Smith said he remains an unbridled supporter of Ohio State, but he is still very loyal to the man who brought him to Columbus — Tressel.

He referred to four father figures in his life — "my biological father, my foster dad, (Ted) Ginn Sr. and Tress."

Nothing will change that, he said.

"Tress is great," Smith said. "Without him, there wouldn't be a me. There's nothing superficial about that. He was a father figure to me on and off the field. I would follow him into a dark alley. Wherever Tress goes, I have his back 110 percent."... Click to Read the rest


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