The Start
August 31, 2003 2:00 pm EST

The talent level is absolutely ridiculous (i.e. ridiculously good) on this team.  So much depth and team speed, and it was on display for a national audience last night.  I need to watch a tape of the game and will be trying to catch the Va Tech game and the Texas game today.  I will have a variety of comments later. - Brent

Game Recap : OSU 28   Washington 9
August 30, 2003 11:45 pm EST

Overall, OSU looked very solid in the first game of the 2003 season.  The Buckeyes came out passing on the first series, passing on 5 out of 6 plays.  Things would balance out later in the game, but the ball went high and long early. In the first half, at least 5 receivers caught passes from Krenzel including Jenkins, Carter, Childress, Holmes, and Roy Hall.  Jenkins caught everything thrown in his zip code.  Roy Hall made the catch of the game on an acrobatic catch where he leapt and fully extended upward for a fingertip catch, all the while fighting off a defender. Maurice Hall showed why he was given the start as he gained 58 yards on 15 carries and 1 touchdown.  Lydell Ross complimented Hall with 43 yards on 12 carries and 1 touchdown.  Krenzel picked up right where he left off in the Fiesta Bowl with over 30 yards rushing and two very nice touchdown runs.  Krenzel was also pretty accurate throwing the ball and ended up with over 200 yards for the night.  The offensive line did a great job of pass and run blocking all night.  The overall weight loss was evident.  A couple of miscues, one a fumble by Holmes on a punt, the other a fumble by Roshawn Parker, were the only real concern for the night.

Defensively, the Buckeyes do not appear to have lost anything from last year.  The line, as expected, was dominant.  Washington had 0 yards rushing in the first half, and ended the game with very little, although any yards gained were late in the game against non-starters.  Simon Fraser was lights out the entire game, recording 5 tackles in the first half alone.  AJ Hawk also had a solid game.  Gamble and Fox kept a lid on the talented receivers for Washington.  The hit of the game came from Nate Salley on Charles Frederick.  Salley literally separated Frederick from the ball as soon as it hit his hands to end a late game drive by the Huskies.

On special teams, Nugent performed as expected with several deep kicks and 3 PAT's, and BJ Sander showed what the coaches say he has been doing in practice.  He had a punt downed at the one, another out at the nine, had a really nice punt out of the end zone under heavy pressure, and a late game punt for about 60 yards.  Very good news to say the least.  It was nice to see BJ perform well in a game.

Several true freshmen saw action tonight.  Youboty, Whitner, Irizary, Guilford and Patterson were observed in the game.  Patterson was elated as he recorded his first sack. - jdm/rb

Clarett Breaks Silence
August 30, 2003 7:00 pm EST

Today, Maurice Clarett was interviewed by the Game Day crew from ESPN.  Clarett seemed very genuine during the interview.  He seemed very different.  Reading his body language, and the things of which he spoke, he appears to be learning.  This morning, Maurice indicated he watched as the team began to prepare for this evening's game, and the impact of the events of the off season  began to sink in.  He stated that he is learning that he is part of a team, and that no one is above anyone else.  Let us hope that the words he spoke during the interview were coming from his heart.  Maurice said he would be on the sideline cheering on the team, and that he would help them in any way he could.  

Game time in one hour.  GO BUCKS!  - jdm/rb

Game Day Arrives
August 30, 2003 8:30 pm EST

Folks, the waiting is over.  It's time to strap 'em on.  I'm off to the campus area here is a few.  It doesn't get much better than this.

I did not do a Big Ten preview this year, like I had done the previous two years, so I wanted to get my picks in before the games kick off.

Predicted Order of Finish:

1 Ohio State - schedule may not be favorable, but this team undoubtedly has the most talent in the conference.
2 Michigan - schedule doesn't get any better for a Wolverine team. Well balanced and surely will be in the thick of the race.
3 Wisconsin - best looking Badger team a since at least 1999. Improved defense and a lot of fire power on offense.
4 Purdue - starting 22 is probably the second best group in the league next to Ohio State, but schedule couldn't get much tougher.
5 Minnesota - with a few breaks, Glenn Mason could have his team in the thick of the conference title hunt all year.
6 Iowa - very hard to predict how this team will bounce back from last year's reality check against So Cal.  Can new QB Nathan                      Chandler get it done?
7 Illinois - The Illini like to make their runs in season's like this when there are no expectations. But does this squad have the                        talent?
8 Penn State - So many key contributors lost from last year's team that challenged for top 10 national finish.
9 Northwestern - See notes for Illinois above and apply here as well.  Could surprise a bit if they an stop somebody on defense.
10 Michigan State - Team may go through some growing pains with new coach.  If Smoker bounces back, will finish higher.
11 Indiana - A lot of guys back, but not much talent to begin with.  Will Dinardo get this team going in right direction?  Not an easy                  task.
 - Brent

Clarett On The Scout Team
August 26, 2003 4:15 pm EST

The Ozone is reporting that Maurice Clarett will not be practicing with the OSU offense, but will be part of the scout team offense.  According to reports, Clarett will continue practicing with the scout team until he needs to prepare for a game.

Freshmen to See Action

It is also being reported that a number of freshmen may see time on Saturday against the Huskies.  Included in a list provided by Coach Tressel are Louis Irizarry, Ashton Youboty, Donte Whitner, David Patterson, Kirk Barton and Ira Guilford.  The only (pleasant) surprise of that group is Kirk Barton, who has evidently progressed sufficiently in fall camp to pass over other players such as Downing, Datish, and Coleman. - jdm/rb

Buckeye Depth Chart
August 26, 2003 9:00 am EST

Also, some interesting changes in the Buckeye two-deep linked here.  

Correction For ESPN
August 24, 2003 10:00 am EST

It appears that ESPN's website is incorrect in showing that Gene Wojciechowski picked Michigan State to win the Big Ten.  Wojo has Michigan in the title game, which means that they likely made a mistake listing Michigan State as Wojo's Big Ten pick.


August 23, 1:00 a.m.

College Football Season Kicks off Today

Three D1-A teams will be in action tonight with Kansas State, who ranks 5th in the Coaches Poll, facing California and San Jose State facing Grambling.  The Kansas State game will be televised nationally by ESPN and will kickoff at 7:45 EST this evening.  Watch K State QB Ell Roberson and TB Darren Sproles, who will make things very exciting for Wildcat fans this year.

ESPN "Experts" Don't think much of Ohio State

Nine "experts" from ESPN gave their predictions on the conference winners and the national champions last night.  What do they think of the Big Ten race?  Here are the results of who they picked to win the conference:

Michigan - 5 votes
Purdue - 1 vote
Wisconsin - 1 vote
Michigan State - 1 vote
Ohio State - 1 vote

Yes, you read that correctly.  Michigan State was picked by one of the experts to win the conference.  That expert was Gene Wojciechowski.  Bill Curry submitted the lone Ohio State vote as Big Ten champion.  Curry has predicted a rematch of Ohio State and Miami in this season's national championship game.  Kirk Herbstreit's pick to win the Big Ten?  Wisconsin.  Herbie has Virginia Tech facing Kansas State in the title game.

Washington Preview

Rossford Buck will be previewing the Ohio State - Washington game on this site in the upcoming days.

Media Issues

Hopefully this is one of the few times I will have to talk about non-football issues for next few weeks.  As was rumored all along, I think we are now getting a better indication that Maurice Clarett's financial dealings have more to do with than just the borrowed/test driven car incident.  I believe that Clarett has made his own bed here and is going to have to lye in it.  Yes, the media has gone overboard with this issue, but 19 years old or not, Clarett has made some bad decisions that he and Ohio State are going to have to pay for.  Despite being a Buckeye fan, this part I can come to terms with.

The part that is frustrating is the irresponsible reporting on this issue and the other Ohio State "media" issues.  The Chicago Sun Times reported yesterday that Clarett was "out for the season" and as of 9:30 this morning, they still haven't corrected their website.  And this "academic fraud investigation" has led reporters to talk about this as if it were "obvious" fraud, as if it were "proven", and insinuate that this is an "out of control" program.

How many articles have talked about the number of academic All-Big Ten members on this football team?  How many articles have talked about the 46 players that had 3.0 or higher GPA's during the 2003 fall quarter, while dedicating countless hours towards football?  How many of these reporters did any research whatsoever on what Coach Tressel and his staff go through to try to instill academic excellence within the program?  How many of these reporters looked into to any of Coach Tressel's graduation results at Youngstown State?

The fact is Jim Tressel, Andy Geiger, Heather Lyke Catalano (compliance director) and Dick Tressel (associate director of football operations) have greatly improved the football program's academic status.  If a reporter would bother to look into the procedures that the program has in place to try to help student athletes, the extreme efforts that each of these four put into academics, and the true care that these four people have for the student athletes, they would see a different side of the story.  Is it possible that some players have done work that is not their own?  Sure.  Is it possible that some members that either work for the university or have an association with the university have given "preferential treatment" to athletes?  Sure.  Is it also possible that Tressel, Geiger and company do more than any other Big Ten school in regards to "putting controls in place" and developing procedures to help student athletes get a quality education and to graduate?  Yes.  It not only is possible, it is so.

The New York Times had sources tell them that not only was the NCAA looking into financial dealings of Maurice Clarett, but there was also a disgruntled former teaching assistant that claimed that Buckeye football players were getting preferential treatment.  The Times surely were not going to let the Jayson Blair news slow them down; they jumped all over this one.  Instead of doing real research (they did not speak to anyone in the Ohio State athletic department), they wrote a story based on allegations from a disgruntled former teaching assistant with admitted mental problems, who admittedly had no proof of any wrong doing, was homeless and using a credit card on a closed account, and had a serious axe to grind with The Ohio State University.

Since then, the media has run with the story.  Had Ohio State not won the national championship in 2002 and had the New York Times had a shred of integrity left, this "so-called" academic issue whould not have been a story.  Instead, Ohio State's name has been run through the mud with a former Ohio State teaching assistant breaking the law by disclosing private information about student athletes.  It's shameful.

Maurice Clarett has made mistakes that he and Ohio State will pay for, but can we move on?  I write this only because I feel the need to respond, but should no other "reliable" new information come up in regards to the academics issue, I am done with it.  I choose to move on.  Let's get ready for game week and the defense of THE 2002 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

August 23, 2003, 9:00 a.m.

Daily Links Updated

Click here to go to the daily links page.

August 22, 5:45 p.m.

Geiger and Tressel Speak

Andy Geiger and Jim Tressel just finished speaking with the media at Ohio Stadium.  Neither Geiger, nor Tressel had much to add to what has already been reported today. Some highlights:

--Ohio State has been asked to make a recommendation to the NCAA as to what Maurice Clarett's penalty should be.  Andy Geiger confirmed that it would likely be a multiple game suspension.

--Andy Geiger would not elaborate on how many games "multiple" might mean.  According to Geiger, Ohio State's athletic director, the "multiple" game speculation is based on precidence set in previous similar situations.  

--According to Geiger, this matter has nothing to do with the current investigation into alleged wrong doings in Clarett's African American Studies class that has been highly publicized.

--Geiger also said that the issues involving Clarett are solely issues involving Maurice and do not extend to the entire football program.

--Both Tressel and Geiger confirmed that Maurice Clarett would resume practicing with the team on Sunday.

--Geiger mentioned that Clarett had already sat out 27 days of practice, which will be noted to the NCAA in his report.  Geiger said that he would submit the recommendation within a few days (by Monday or Tuesday) and expected a decision from the NCAA a few days afterwards.  If Ohio State does not agree with the penalty, they can appeal.  The ruling on the appeal would be the final ruling.

--Geiger would not comment on reports that Clarett could potentially pursue other options should he be suspended for several games.  Geiger said that although he met with Clarett and others today, that this issue was not discussed.  He also added that Clarett seemed eager to get back with the Buckeye football team.

blb

August 22, 5:00 p.m.

Ohio State to Recommend Suspension Length

Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger is supposed to be speaking publically shortly, speaking (of course) about the Maurice Clarett situation.  The official Ohio State ahtletic site has comments from Geiger on the current situation.  Ohio State must recommend a suspension length based on NCAA rules that Maurice Clarett has broken.  Click here to check out the piece.

Captains Named

Four seniors: Tim AndersonWill SmithCraig Krenzel and Michael Jenkins were named as team captains today.

blb

August 22, 1:30 p.m.

Clarett Suspension May Be Six Plus Games

This according to the Columbus Dispatch piece linked here.

blb

August 22, 12:45 p.m.

More Waiting

There now are reports that there will be no immediate announcement on the Maurcie Clarett/Andy Geiger meeting that has now concluded.  Neither Geiger nor Clarett answered questions after the meeting.

blb

August 22, 11:30 a.m.

Clarett Announcement Expected at 1:00 p.m. EST Today

We've heard this before.  We shall see.  Sources indicate that Maurice Clarett and Athletic Director Andy Geiger are meeting together right now to discuss eligibility/suspension issues.

August 22, 6:45 a.m.

New Daily Links

Whenever possible, we will try to have links to Buckeye news posted.  Click here to go to the new links page.

blb

August 21, 7:00 a.m.

More Links

Thursday Buckeye news links are posted here

August 20, 8:45 a.m.

Links Again

Wednesday Buckeye news links are posted here

One note - the odds are out for the August 30 games, but the OSU - Washington spread is off the board right now, due to the uncertain status of a key Buckeye tailback.

blb

August 19, 8:45 a.m.

Links

Tuesday Buckeye news links are posted here

August 22, 1:30 p.m.

Clarett Suspension May Be Six Plus Games

This according to the Columbus Dispatch piece linked here.

blb

August 22, 12:45 p.m.

More Waiting

There now are reports that there will be no immediate announcement on the Maurcie Clarett/Andy Geiger meeting that has now concluded.  Neither Geiger nor Clarett answered questions after the meeting.

blb

August 22, 11:30 a.m.

Clarett Announcement Expected at 1:00 p.m. EST Today

We've heard this before.  We shall see.  Sources indicate that Maurice Clarett and Athletic Director Andy Geiger are meeting together right now to discuss eligibility/suspension issues.

blb

August 22, 6:45 a.m.

New Daily Links

Whenever possible, we try try to have links to Buckeye news posted.  Click here to go to the new links page.

blb

August 21, 7:00 a.m.

More Links

Thursday Buckeye news links are posted here.

August 20, 8:45 a.m.

Links Again

Wednesday Buckeye news links are posted here.

One note - the odds are out for the August 30 games, but the OSU - Washington spread is off the board right now, due to the uncertain status of a key Buckeye tailback.

blb

August 19, 8:45 a.m.

Links

Tuesday Buckeye news links are posted here.

August 17, 11:00 p.m.

Who's on First?

According to Coach Tressel, it is going to be hard for Maurice Clarett to be ready for the Washington game, even if he were cleared right now.  So, where does that leave the Buckeyes in regards to a tailback for the opener?  That is not an easy question to answer.  Lydell Ross sat out of Saturday's jersey scrimmage recovering from a quadriceps injury.  Maurice Hall did play, but is battling a minor knee injury.  True freshman Ira Guilford saw some action as the #2 TB yesterday.  Should Clarett not be able to play in the opener, those are your three options right now IF all three are healthy for the opener.  This obviously is a pretty big concern area for the Buckeyes right now.  My guess is that you'll see all three backs against Washington if each is healthy.  Now, if Clarett happens to be cleared by the NCAA within the next few days and is not penalized by Ohio State, my guess is that you will see him come off the bench on August 30th.  Clarett appears to be in good physical condition, enough so that he should be able to contribute in the opener if he rejoins the team quickly.  But if Clarett is not practicing by (say) Wednesday, then there is probably little chance you will see him against the Huskies.


What's on Second?

How are the positions that don't have a player named Maurice Clarett stacking up?  Based on practices, the Saturday scrimmage, and some info from little birdies, the position breakdown may look something like this for the Washington game:

QB: Clearly Krenzel is a given.  Scott McMullen will play only if Krenzel were to go down.
TB: Refer to the previous section for the skinny on Clarett, Ross and Hall.  One last player to mention, though - Roshawn Parker.  Parker is said to be getting reps at TB and FB and could be used in a pinch at TB.
FB: Brandon Schnittker is your starter if healthy.  Branden Joe is doubtful for the opener.  Stan White could see action here, but is playing mostly an H-back roll (somewhat of a hybrid between a tight end and a fullback) right now.  Parker could see action here as well.  Keep in mind that OSU will often utilize the one-back set, meaning you won't see a fullback in these sets.
WR: Michael Jenkins is the sure thing.  Barring injury, you will see him as his customary split end position on almost every down that OSU has the ball.  You could see Drew Carter, Chris Gamble or Santonio Holmes at flanker in 2-WR sets.  It's likely that you will see either Carter or Holmes get the nod as the starting flanker with Gamble playing sparingly as the slot WR in 3-wide sets.  Carter and Holmes could split time as the flanker.  Bam Childress and Roy Hall will likely both see action at WR as well.
TE: Ben Hartsock should be able to play in the opener despite his recent surgery.  This could require Hartsock to play with a plate in his hand.  Regardless of whether or not Hartsock can go, Ryan Hamby is going to play a lot.  True freshmen Louis Irizarry will almost certainly play in the opener as well and could be called on to stretch the field at times.  As mentioned above, Stan White will see time as the H-back.
OL: L to R should be what we have figured (since we found out that Ivan Douglas would miss the season): Rob Sims, Adrien Clarke, Alex Stepanovich, Bryce Bishop and Shane Olivea.  Some other combinations are being tested and may be used at times, but this should be the look of your starting unit.  Nick Mangold will backup Stepanovich at center and will get quality PT.  Stepanovich will sometimes slide to one of the guard positions when Mangold plays.  Mike Kne should also see some legitimate action as well at one or both of the tackle spots.
DL: Will Smith, Tim Anderson and Simon Fraser will start (barring injury.)  If Darrion Scott is healthy, he will start along side Anderson at tackle and will probably be used as a DE at times as well.  Quinn Pitcock and Marcus Green will see action at DT also.  Green is probably the first tackle you will see off the bench.  The other DT that will likely see action is true freshman David Patterson who is quickly making a name for himself.  Joel Penton will surely see time at DE.  You may also see Jay Richardson, Mike Kudla and true frosh Marcel Frost at DE also. 
LB: Look for Robert Reynolds to stay at MLB and to be spelled by Freddie Pagac Jr. if Freddie can go.  Bobby Carepenter is the likely starter at the Sam position and may be spelled by Mike D'Andrea if D'Andrea is healthy enough to play. A.J. Hawk is your clear #1 at the Will spot and will be backed up by converted safety Thomas Matthews.
CB: It's Chris Gamble and Dustin Fox, with EJ Underwood and Ashton Youboty (if the coaches don't decided to redshirt him) as the backups.  
S: The safety position is a little less clear.  Will Allen is one starter and the other (at least for right now) is Nate Salley.  Salley could be spelled often (or even pushed out of a starting roll) by either Brandon Mitchell or true freshman Donte Whitner.  Tyler Everett should see time as well.
ST: Mike Nugent is clearly the man handling both kickoff duties and FG's from any distance. BJ Sander is clearly the #1 punter and is currently the holder for Nugent.  Gamble is again the #1 punt returner.  He could be spelled by Santonio Holmes, but I wouldn't bet on it unless something were to happen to Gamble.  As for kickoff returns, you will likely see two of these three: Maurice Hall, Chris Gamble and Santonio Holmes.

Get your game face on.

I Don't Know's on Third (newcomers)

What true freshmen could see legitimate action?  You could see Brandon Maupin at either DE or DT.  You may see Anthony Gonzalez on special teams.  If injuries continue for the LB's, you may see Curt Lukens.  Look for 
Kirk Barton to redshirt.  Dareus Hiley?  Don't really have an educated guess here, but my hunch is that he will redshirt.   Reggie Smith?  Probably a redshirt.  There are too many talented WR's for Devin Jordan to see action this year.  I would guess that Marcel Frost will play.  Ashton Youboty?  I don't see why you use him if Gamble, Fox and Underwood stay healthy. 

There is a reason I put these guys in the "I don't know" category.  I have been off many times before in guessing which true freshmen are going to play.  It does, however, look likely that Louis Irizarry, David Patterson, Ira Guilford and Donte Whitner are going to play this year.  

blb

August 16, 6:00 p.m.

Sooners, Buckeyes, 'Canes - The Look of Both Polls 

The AP Poll is out, and the top 3 in the AP mirrors the Coaches Poll.  Whose #4?  Check it out here.

More on the scrimmage late tonight or tomorrow.

blb

August 16, 5:30 p.m.

Defense Wins Back Scarlet Jerseys

The defense ended up winning a tight game (scrimmage, actually) earlier today to regain the coveted scarlet jerseys.  The offense won the last offense vs. defense scrimmage in the spring and have worn the scarlet jerseys in practice since.  The defense now will trade their white jerseys and wear scarlet until the offense can win them back.  The final score, based on a specialized scoring system developed by Coach Tressel was Defense 68 Offense 59.  This O-Zone piece has a recap.

I did not get to attend the scrimmage, but will comment based on some information I have received from a source that was there.  Random notes:

--Defensive Tackle David Patterson, as many predicted, seems ready to contribute as a freshman.  That is not to say that he will be a starter and will be a star this season, but Patterson has the entire package and apparently showed it again today.  This kid's future has few limits.

--Santonio Holmes lined up with the ones at wide receiver and was said to have looked good, as usual.  Sources say that he was probably around the century mark in receiving yardage, a mark he has reached (I believe) in each scrimmage this year.  Another youngster with a very bright future.

--In the next, "Yeah, what's new?" category, AJ Hawk was said to have been everywhere today.  I have said it before and will say it again; barring injury, Hawk will lead this team in tackles and is well on his way to being the next superstar LB at Ohio State.

--Justin Zwick was the third QB used today, behind Krenzel and McMullen.  Zwick's numbers won't show it, but he was said to have looked pretty good today and may be inching ahead of Troy Smith according to the O-Zone's John Porentas.  BUT, there is 365+ days to go in this battle.

--Others that stood out today, per various reports: 
Brandon Mitchell, Mike Nugent, Ira Guilford (at TB), 
Joel Penton and Marcel Frost (at DE.)

blb

August 15, 1:15 a.m.

Buckeye and Site News

--Robert Reynolds has moved to MLB at least temporary, but the move could become a permanent one.  Injuries to Fred Pagac Jr. and Mike D'Andrea prompted the move, but there had been talk for some time that Reynolds was better suited at the Mike position, a position he played in high school.  Reynolds said earlier today that he is close to 250 lbs now.  The first team linebackers right now are A.J. Hawk (W), Robert Reynolds (M) and Bobby Carpenter (S).  D'Andrea's injury is said to be a twisted knee.  It will likely keep him out of Saturday's jersey scrimmage (open to media, but not public), but should not keep him out much longer.  D'Andrea could challenge for a starting job inside or outside when he returns. 

--The O-Zone has a piece saying that USA Today blew it with their piece in Thursday's paper, an article that indicated that OSU's profits were down after their national championship season.  USA Today has since admitted its error in a short update you can read by clicking here.

--Purdue's talented tailback that made a big splash last season, Joey Harris, will miss this season because of academic shortcomings.

--In the new merchandise/collector's items department, McDonald's in central Ohio are selling drink glasses each featuring one of the Ohio State's Seven National Championship football teams.  The glasses sell for 2.99/each.  Hangonsloopy.com has the new Mike Doss and Matt Wilhem bobblehead dolls for sale.  And if you haven't checked out the framing page (on this site) recently, there are many new additions including Cleveland Browns, Columbus Blue Jackets and other area sports prints available.   

--Other injuries?  No need to worry about Craig Krenzel.  He will be fine.  Ben Hartsock, however, underwent surgery today to repair his broken right hand, and will be miss Saturday's scrimmage.

--Sources say that Indiana transfer John Kerr may not practice with the team this year, but should be able to join the team in January.  Quarterback Todd Boeckman is practicing currently (wearing #17) and will practice up until the time fall classes start.  He will then sit out the season and will rejoin the team in January.  This allows Boeckman's "five years to play four" eligibility clock to start ticking in 2004 instead of 2003.  So yes, Boeckman will "grayshirt" this year.

--True freshman Louis Irizarry is getting a lot of reps with the one's with Hartsock out of the lineup.  Even if Hartsock misses little practice time, Irizarry will almost certainly be on the field this year.

--As most know, Branden Joe is out of action for awhile with a torn pectoral, which means Brandon Schnittker is currently the #1 fullback.  Stan White Jr., who has also played tight end and linebacker, and former tailback RoShawn Parker are backing up Schnitkker right now.  Both were moved to fullback because of the lack of bodies at that position.  Joe may miss the opener against Washington.

--Walkon Mike Kne appears to be part of seven-man rotation that Offensive Line Coach Jim Bollman may go with, at least initially, this season.  Kne, who is listed as a senior on the official roster, actually is a junior this year and will return next season.  If he has not been put on scholarship yet, chances are this will happen sometime this year.  

--The depth chart has been updated for now, but keep in mind there are a lot of injuries and uncertainties right now.  I did a "best guess" with it.  The recruiting page has a few updates as well.

blb

August 13, 11:30 p.m.

Catching Up

--No news yet on Maurice Clarett.  The chances of Clarett losing his college eligibility now seem unlikey, but who knows.  Still some talk that Clarett could receive a one or two-game suspension.  We shall see.

--Michigan star defensive back Marlin Jackson pleaded guilty to aggravated assault earlier today.  Prosecutors agreed to drop the felonious assault and aggravated assault charges with Jackson's guilty plea to a lesser offense.

--Many injuries for the Buckeyes so far in fall camp.  The good news is that most of the injuries do not appear to be serious.  However, walk-on Steve Fender suffered a torn ACL and will be out for the season.  Fender was expected to be in the mix immediately at a very thin fullback position.

--Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon practices apparently will not be open to the public after all.

--Who are the newcomers that are making some noise already?  David Patterson and Reggie Smith are names that are coming up quite a bit.  (Smith is currently playing outside linebacker.)  And he isn't as new as those freshmen that just arrived, but Donte Whitner is drawing rave reviews at safety.

--Chris Gamble is getting reps on both offense and defense, but Gamble is getting far more reps at corner than he is at WR.  Practice observers say Drew Carter and Santonio Holmes have picked up where they left off after the spring session.  Lotta talent here.

--With Ivan Douglas out for the year, TJ Downing slides into the backup left tackle position.  The rest of the two-deep on the O-line remains unchanged.

blb

August 10, 1:00 p.m.

Recruiting

The recruiting page has been updated.

blb

Previews

For those of you in central Ohio, Kroger's has plenty of copies of the new Sports Illustrated college football preview with Craig Krenzel on the cover.  I'm not a big SI fan, but it's almost impossible not to buy a copy when the Buckeyes are on the cover.  Also, the Krenzel piece is a good read and the preview itself is pretty solid. 

Also, if you are able to find a copy of the Bucknuts 2003 Ohio State football preview at the store, spend the $4.95 and pick it up.  I believe you can also order the preview on their site.  Good analysis from three writers (including Jerry Rudzinski) on each position, the toughest match-ups, breakout players, the MVP's and more.

Latest on Mo

Still no decision yet on Maurice Clarett.  There was some talk that there could be a decision on Monday, but Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger was quoted in today's Columbus Dispatch as saying a decision as soon as Monday would be unlikely.  Rumors on the potential penalties for Clarett have ranged from "He will be reinstated with no penalty" to "He has played his last game at the collegiate level."  Dispatch writer Tim May quoted unidentified sources as saying that even if Clarett is cleared by the NCAA, he will still likely face an in-house multiple game suspension.

Loaded

With or without Maurice Clarett, this Buckeye team looks like the most talented team since 1998.  The off-season weight training looks to have produced more positive results than ever before.  The guys who needed to take off the weight have and those who needed to add muscle weight seem to have accomplished their goals as well.  There is a load of talent returning and there are many up-and-comers that are ready to contribute.  

At QB, you have one of the perfect guys to run a Jim Tressel offense, backed up by a veteran who was outstanding coming off the bench last year.  The wide receiver core is so deep, it's crazy and everyone is back.  The two top TE's return and the Buckeyes bring in the most highly touted TE they have recruited in years.  The O-line returns almost in tact and the four returning starters have collectively lost 100 or so pounds that definitely needed to come off.  The starting front-four on defense is the best since 1996, a unit that had Vrable, Finkes and Fickell.  Despite the loss of two key linebackers, Mark Snyder's unit has super-sophomores A.J. Hawk, Mike D'Andrea and Bobby Carpenter ready to make names for themselves.  And despite the loss of two veteran safeties, the defensive backfield has the best set of corners in the league and emerging star Will Allen ready to come of age at safety.

What position/units did I forget? Well, the running back position is one.  Oddly enough, this may be the biggest question mark on the team this year.  If Clarett is ineligible or injured, there is no proven guy behind him.  There is "potential" but nothing proven.  And the special teams will be without Andy Groom, who will be sorely missed.  BJ Sander has a stronger leg than maybe any punter Ohio State has ever had, but he must show consistency.  And Mike Nugent needs to get back into the groove after missing 3 of his last 7 FG attempts in 2002 and struggling at times in the spring.

If Ohio State can answer the question marks in the last paragraph, you may want to see if you can book some reservations early for New Orleans for the first week of 2004.  Okay, maybe I am getting ahead of myself, but I'm still not convinced that enough people realize how good this team can be.  We'll see how the ball bounces this year, but this team should not need as many breaks as they got last year to beat most of their opponents.  And if Clarett is eligible and healthy, running behind this improved O-line?  This team will dominate many opponents, much more so than they did in last year's title run.

blb

August 8, 7:30 a.m.

Quick Hitters

--Maurice Clarett worked out yesterday in the WHAC, but he didn't exactly work out with the team.  The O-Zone has some tidbits and some photos on their front page.  According to Coach Tressel, Clarett is allowed to work out in the team's facilities, but is being held out of practices and team meetings.

--Sports Illustrated's top 5 has Ohio State at #1, Oklahoma #2, Miami #3, Texas #4 and Georgia #5.  The last time the Buckeyes were picked #1 by SI was in 1998, when Sports Illustrated qualified the ranking with "if Katzenmoyer makes the grade."

--Today's afternoon practice will not be open to the public or the media.

--According to Sian Cotton's dad, his son is still working on obtaining eligibility this season.

--The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League have acquired the rights to Maurice Clarett.  Clarett would not be eligible for the NFL were he to lose his college eligibility, but would be eligible for the CFL.  The CFL's maximum salary is $150,000 per year.  On 1460 The Fan's Herby and Fitz show yesterday, it was disclosed that Clarett had fired his attorney.  Herbstreit had talked with Clarett and stated that Maurice has no intentions on playing in the CFL or challenging the NFL rules that would not allow him entrance into the league until after his junior year.

August 7, 7:30 a.m.

Gear Up

Fans got a brief look at the 2003 Buckeyes in uniform yesterday as the players gathered in the Horseshoe for photo day.  No autographs this year, but fans were allowed to enter the South Section of Ohio Stadium to get a glimpse of this year's team.  So, what's the skinny?  Some tidbits...

--Multiple sources confirmed that Lydell Ross is looking bigger, but the guess on his weight has been anywhere from 215 (as reported today by Tim May in the Columbus Dispatch) to over 225 pounds.  Ross is said to be in excellent physical shape as well.

--Ira Guilford was not in uniform yet because of a delay on his high school transcripts.  Not to worry though, Coach Tressel insinuated that Guilford would be on the field soon after the paperwork was cleared up.  The word is that Guilford will first line up as a safety but will definitely be tried at tailback also.

--More confirmation that the OSU O-line looks to be in great physical shape.  The line collectively has dropped many, many pounds.

--Incoming freshmen Anthony Gonzalez and Marcel Frost will both get their first looks on the defensive side of the ball, with Gonzalez playing in the defensive backfield and Frost playing defensive end.  Dareus Hiley will line up first as a wide receiver.

--Maurice Clarett was not in uniform.  There is a lot of buzz that thinks some kind a suspension could be laid down soon.  As for now, we will have to keep waiting.

--E.J. Underwood is now wearing #2, Mike Doss' old number after wearing #49 as a freshman and #25 in the spring.

--There has been talk of A.J. Hawk moving to middle linebacker, which still may be an option, but Ohio State linebacker coach Mark Snyder doubts that will happen because of the lack of numbers at the weakside linebacker spot.

--The Buckeyes got the jinx - they hit the cover of Sports Illustrated this week (Krenzel, actually) and are picked #1 in SI's preseason poll.

--John Kerr was not there for photo day and is not listed on the roster.  Kerr was expected to transfer to Ohio State after starting at MLB for Indiana last year.  There may still be a paperwork holdup, but the last word was that Kerr is still expected to be a Buckeye.

blb

August 6, 7:30 a.m.

DDN tidbits

According to today's Dayton Daily News, Akron St. Vincent, St. Mary defensive tackle Sian Cotton has failed to quality academically.  Cotton is not on the official roster, but there had been hope that Cotton could still make the grade.  That hope may now be gone.

The Dayton Daily News also quoted Alex Stepanovich as saying, "A lot of guys have trimmed down  like Shane (Olivea) and Adrien (Clarke).  They're getting healthy. We're looking good."  Stepanovich, himself, has dropped quite a few pounds and the news of Clarke's weight loss has been well documented, but if Shane Olivea has also slimmed down considerably, that is very good news for the Buckeyes.  Olivea may have played at 30 pounds over his ideal playing weight last year and had surgery in the off-season, hampering his ability to get his weight down.  Has Olivea been shedding the pounds since spring practice?  That is what Stepanovich seems to insinuate. 

blb 

August 6, 12:45 a.m.

Preview Completed

The 2003 Ohio State football preview has been completed, just in the nick of time before practice starts.  Correction: The preview orginally stated that transfer Anthony Schlegel had transfered in from BYU, but Schlegel transfered to Ohio State from Air Force.  Too many late nights.

More Prints

By popular demand we have expanded our Framed Prints page to include some prints of your favorite professional sports teams.  We now have prints for you Browns, Bengals, Steelers and Blue Jacket fans.  Check out the new items on the framing page.  (No, we haven't reduced the price on the Maurice Clarett "Champs" print just yet.)

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