Buckeye 50 Weekly Top 25 Now Posted
October 13, 2005 8:00pm EST

The Buckeye 50 Yard Line weekly top 25's are now posted. The weekly picks will post by tomorrow morning.  More Buckeye notes before the weekend. - Brent

Buckeye Notes Post Penn State
October 11, 2005 8:00am EST

The latest depth chart released on the official OSU site lists Kirk Barton OR Alex Boone as the starting right tackle this week.  This may not be the most accurate information; unconfirmed word is that Barton's injury could keep him out awhile, but we shall see.

Jim Lachey blasted the officiating on last night's weekly Buckeye radio program, at least in terms of offensive holding.  Some key holds seemed to have been missed by the men in stripes Saturday night.  (But, let's face it, there were dozens of other reasons, basically relating to poor play by the OSU offense, that lead to the Bucks loss.)  Lachey was also very critical of Troy Smith to the point where he questioned whether or not it is time for a change.

Mike D'Andrea made the depth chart this week as the 2nd team MLB, but other talk says MDA will not make it back until the Indiana game.

Despite the warranted uproar in Buckeye land, a win by OSU and a loss by Penn State this Saturday puts Ohio State back in first in the Big Ten (at least in terms of losses).  Ohio State is presently a 6 1/2 point favorite over Michigan State and Michigan is a 3 1/2 point favorite over Penn State in Ann Arbor.

Ohio State at Indiana, a week from Saturday, will kick off at 12:10 EST on ESPN.

In case you missed it, it is official now that OSU's 12th game next year will be against Bowling Green (in Columbus) on September 7th.  BGSU star QB Omar Jacobs is just a junior, but may pass on his senior year to enter the NFL draft.

Josh Huston leads the Big Ten in FG's (11), FG % (84.6), and kick scoring (9.2 ppg).  Also, 15 of Nugent's 28 kickoffs have been touchbacks with some kicks intentionally being kicked short to avoid dangerous kickoff returners.  (Source: Official OSU Media release OSU vs. MSU 2005)

Steve Rehring, Rory Nicol and Marcus Freeman will remain sidelined this week.

Dionte Johnson has made consecutive starts at FB for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State did not award select an offensive player of the week for the second time this year.  The other week no offensive POW was awarded was against San Diego State.  Same goes for an O-lineman of the week....the PSU and SD State games saw none selected.

Pat Has Concerns Over the OSU Offense
October 9, 2005 9:15pm EST
 
I have given this plenty of thought and realize I may alienate some with my opinions in this article.  I can assure you it is not my intention to persuade anyone or offend anyone.  I am merely stating my opinions as a caring and concerned Buckeye.  If you want to turn away, do so now as my gloves are coming off.

Without looking up too many statistics, currently the Buckeyes are:

1.Dead last in the Big Ten in avg. yds. per game: 354
2.Rank 10th in the Big Ten in points per game with 24.8
3.Dead last in total season passing yards with 917
4.Dead last in total season rushing yards with 855
5.Dead last in 1st downs per game with 20
6.FIRST in TIME of POSSESSION WITH 33:50 per game

(source: Yahoo Sports)

This is pathetic, AND some things need changed immediately.  Under Jim Tressel and Bollman, our offense has been in the bottom 25% consistently.  Worse, there IS NO UPWARD TREND HERE either.  I remain steadfast that it is not the players.  They are wanted by most teams in the country.  Sure the guys can play better, but whose job is it to SEE that they play better?

I am sure the coaches are all quality people.  That’s not the issue.  Jim Tressel has hired superior defensive coaches and lets them do their jobs.  Our defense takes a back seat to no one.  His record and apparent inability to hire good offensive coaches is approaching insanity.  Need examples?

With Ohio State’s reputation for great running backs and the history, tradition and pride we have here, are you telling me the best Tressel could hire nationally was his older brother, Dick?  His older brother never was a RB, never coached RB’s, and never coached in Div. I prior to OSU and was basically brought out of mothballs (football operations) to coach arguably one of the two most important positions for one of the top five programs in the country.  Is this THE BEST Jim Tressel could do?  You mean no one else wanted this job?  What was Jim Tressel thinking?

I have been around Jim Bollman.  I don’t know what his real job and contributions are even though he has the title offensive coordinator.  Jim Bollman is a nice guy, but he is incredibly boring, totally uninspiring, without emotion and is absolutely NOT a driver or motivator.  Jim Tressel has said he himself “calls” the plays.  Has anyone ever clarified if there is a difference between deciding which plays to run and perhaps “calling” them in?  Who actually is responsible for researching and defining the offensive game plans themselves?

None of the QB’s under Joe Daniel’s mentorship have improved that I have noticed.  Did Bellisari get ANY better?  Did he ever change what he did, or improve his reads, or did he stay the same and want to run all the time?  Better yet, why did he even STAY at QB?  You could make the same argument for Craig Krenzel.  He was a great leader but never really improved much.

Here however, is what I believe the real problem to be.  I believe that Tressel thinks if he can field an offense that won’t turn the ball over (have you ever thought any of our QB’s are scared to death to make a mistake?), and continually has a superior defense and solid special teams he’ll win most of the time.  He sees the offense as an opportunity to lose a game.  An article in the Columbus Dispatch newspaper today said it well; “The Ohio State offense looks like a Ferrari sitting in a garage …. but wheezes and lurches like a ’78 Gremlin on the field.”  The performance of our offensive line has been embarrassing since Tressel and Bollman have been here.

I think Jim Tressel has only one option at this point – replace his entire offensive coaching staff.  He needs also to hire a full time offensive coordinator.  Unfortunately, I think the chances of this happening are close to zero.  If I am correct, this puts Jim Tressel then at total personal, individual fault and he should then take full responsibility himself, unless he goes ahead and actually replaces his entire offensive staff.  If Tressel refuses to take action, he should be replaced.  

Better yet, why is Jim Tressel seemingly content to accept this kind of performance?  This is what I don’t fully understand.  Jim Tressel is a loyal guy.  That I understand and admire.  However, when the performance of an area under your direct responsibility continues to fail, that senior manager MUST act or be at-fault himself.

Last year, I wrote an editorial to the effect that it was time for Jim Tressel to act as the executive and fix or replace something reporting to him which is obviously broken.  This notion faded when we started winning.  However, it has resurfaced now and is timelier than ever.  This offense, under the direction of whomever, is a dismal failure with no upward trend whatsoever.  It is time, perhaps past the time, to take decisive action.  As the saying goes; you are either part of the solution or part of the problem.  

Regardless, change MUST occur.  NOW.  I am sure Jim Tressel, like everyone else has made mistakes since he arrived here.  I have no problem with that, we are all human.  However, he will be making the mistake of his life if he thinks the Ohio State fans are willing to put up with this much longer, EVEN if we continue to win.  What a waste of offensive resources.

Pat Reviews His Keys To The Game
October 9, 2005 4:30pm EST
 
Were my keys for the game correct or what?  Let's see how my keys turned out.

  • Has Troy Smith settled into his "normal" pattern and rhythm?  Troy didn't have much rhythm last night, but he really didn't have time to get set either (as the photo shows).  Troy had somewhat of an off night but this loss wasn't his fault in my opinion.
  • Has our offensive line found consistency yet?  Without reviewing the statistics, our line reminded me of the Iowa or Purdue performances from last year.  This is a disgrace.
  • What kind of game will the offensive coaches call?  See comments regarding the offensive line just above.
  • Can we finally answer the OSU version of Where's Waldo - you know the one - "WHERE'S TEDDY?"    Two problems here.  First, they tried to find Ted Ginn, but I'm not sure Teddy wanted to be found.  Second, I don't know if Ted is hurt, scared or has become a head-case.  Right now, he looks lost but does a great job of running east and west.
  • Can our defensive line have another stellar game?  They had a tough first half but found themselves in the second half and had a good game overall.  However, I imagine Jim Tressel saw them as a complete failure simply because they didn't put points on the board to bail out the offense.  Oh wait, the defense is supposed to keep the OTHER team from scoring.  It's OUR offense that's supposed to score.
Hand it to Joe Paterno and Penn State - they didn't come to play, they came to win.  Bye weeks can't be the problem, it is something else.  Our performance yesterday now is going to make next week's game with Michigan State REALLY interesting.

I'll have more later, but my mom told me when I was young that if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything.  Subsequently, I want to think my thoughts through a little more before I publish what I am thinking and feeling now.
 
Saturday, October 8, 2005

11:56 AM Eastern

Major questions for tonight's game:

  • Has Troy Smith settled into his "normal" pattern and rhythm?  He has not had consistent games yet, either bad or good.  So which Troy will we see tonight?  My money is that his performance against Iowa represents what he will bring to us the rest of the season, but it is a fair question going into this game.
  • Has our offensive line found consistency yet?  Again, their performance against Iowa was very good, but was that the standard or exception?  I am less comfortable with my answer here, but I think they have finally found themselves (about time).
  • What kind of game will the offensive coaches call?  See above statements, but with far bigger question marks.  They need to continue to let the dogs out, PRUDENTLY.  We have just too much talent to play the "Prevent Offense."
  • Can we finally answer the OSU version of Where's Waldo - you know the one - "WHERE'S TEDDY?"    In reality, this is a multi-dimensional question and involves much more than just Ted Ginn himself.  The Scarlet & Gray conspiracy theorists are having a field day with this question.  Many are saying this is deliberate by design.  Those who know the answer to this should e-mail us with the answer to who shot JFK.
  • Can our defensive line have another stellar game?  We will need them to have one today.  We MUST contain Michael Robinson as well as we did Drew Tate of Iowa.  This will be critical.  After the game, Tate said we not only controlled his wheels but we also kept him between his tackles.  He felt this was devastating to him and Iowa.  Robinson is closer to Vince Young than Drew Tate.  Also, Penn State's offensive line is not on par with Texas, but they are not that far off either - they are far better than Iowa's.  This could be the key of the game.  Later tonight, you can thank our defensive line for the victory.

I personally think all the talk of "trends" due to a bye week and night game are bologna.  We were no more ready mentally to play NW last year than I am to jump out of an airplane.  Two years ago against Wisconsin, we had our weaknesses exposed and Krenzel played when he was in no medical condition to play and it showed.  This is a totally different team than either of those.  Much better chemistry and esprit de corp now with this team.  Our team and coaches approached those two games like it was a walk through.  They are taking Penn State today as serious as Texas or Michigan.

This will be a classic game tonight and easily our biggest test until TBGUN.  This game will define our Big Ten season.  Get your tapes and Tivo's ready for this one!

Pat


Thursday, October 6, 2005

8:00 PM Eastern

Weekly Picks

OSU got the week off, maybe we should have taken the week off from our picks as well.  But regardless of our results, the Buckeyes moved up two spots in the polls.  If you would like to be a guest picker, simple send and email to greggw@buckeye50.com. We choose our participants from those that respond each week.

Below are our games and picks for week 6.  OSU has a tough game against the Nittany Lions who are coming off a big win over previously undefeated Minnesota.  Can this group of JoePa Freshman come up big two weeks in a row?  Also from the Big Ten, we will be picking the game between Minnesota and TBGUN.  From the national scene there are a couple of games that might impact our standing in the polls: Texas vs. Oklahoma, Georgia at Tennessee and California at UCLA.

Our guest picker is Tim Tilton.  He is a resident of Canal Winchester, OH and a 1976 graduate from OSU. He tells Buckeye50 the first OSU game he ever attended was the 1971 OSU
vs. Stanford Rose Bowl.  Two Stanford players (Jim Plunkett and Randy Vataha) beat an OSU team of All-Americans.  During the second half of the game it became so much to take that he got up to leave numerous times.  His Dad made me sit down and stay for the entire game (first time to the Rose Bowl and he was going to get our money's worth).  It was hard medicine to swallow, but Tim says getting to see OSU beat Miami in the Fiesta Bowl for the National Championship has more than made up for any OSU loss he ever had to sit through.  Best of luck to Tim.  He has a challenge to meet the success our guest pickers have had.  Here are this week’s picks:


Game   Week 4           Brent     JoeSU      Gregg       TimComment

OSU at Penn State      OSUOSUOSUOSU(Brent) Close, but sorry Joe.

Minnesota at Michigan MichMichMichMich(Brent) Michigan back on track

Oklahoma vs. Texas  Texas      Texas      Texas      Texas      (Tim) Wish it wasn’t so but TX wins this year.
Cal at UCLA              UCLA      UCLA      UCLACal (Joe) Los Angeles stays undefeated for one more week.
Georgia at TennesseeTenn     Georgia      TennTenn       (Gregg) Hopefully Fulmer doesn’t wait till the second half to implement the offensive plan.

Upset Special
Brent: Iowa over Pur    (And if Oklahoma hangs around in the first half, they beat Texas)
Tim: NW over Wisconsin

YTD Results :

Brent 15-10
Joe-S-U   16 - 9
Gregg 14-11
Guests 16-9

7:15 AM Eastern

The Buckeye 50 Yard Line weekly Top 25 polls are now online.  Click here to check them out.  The weekly picks will be up later tonight or tomorrow morning.   

Buckeye Notes

--In case you missed it, Santonio Holmes was quite frank with the media on Tuesday.  Holmes on the Penn State starting corners, who are getting some good pub, "To be honest with you, I don’t care about them.  I know we can beat them deep."  Holmes added, "You can’t live off that hype of what you’ve done in the previous games; you have to play every game.  So with this week, you’ve got two, three, four, five great receivers coming in, so they’ve got to be ready."  I'm not so fond of this kind of talk.  If Holmes is going to talk the talk, the Bucks better walk the walk Saturday.

--Ohio State is just 1-3 under Tressel the week after a bye.  Hopefully this has been a motivational point Tressel and the coaches have made this week.

--Steve Rehring (pneumonia) is back practicing again, but Coach T stated that it is possible that Rehring could redshirt this year.  Mike D'Andrea is now shooting for the Michigan State game for his return.  Tressel mentioned that D'Andrea is ahead of Marcus Freeman in terms of when each player may return.  No timetable was mentioned for Rory Nicol's return.  Vernon Gohlston is back and should see action at DE Saturday night.

--With the win over Iowa, Jim Tressel coached Ohio State teams are now 17-6 against ranked teams and 5-2 against top 10 teams.

--Joe Paterno is 78 years old and has been Penn State's head coach for 40 years.

--Time of possession has been key in the Buckeyes last two games.  OSU held the ball for over 38 minutes against San Diego State and Iowa.

--Ohio State and Penn State have faced each other 20 times.  The record?  10 wins a piece.

--Aaron Brown will announce his decision today.  Most of those who follow recruiting closely think the highly touted O-line prospect from Cincinnati will commit to Va Tech over Ohio State.  We'll know soon.

blb

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

It has been a while due to an unbelievable personal schedule, by I found a way to sneak a few minutes to reflect on this Saturday's game against Penn State.   It seems Joe Paterno had a rather interesting press conference earlier this week.  Perhaps not so much for what he said, but for what he DIDN'T say.   Rather than take up valuable real estate on this page, I have comments in an editorial LINK.

Pat

7:15 AM Eastern

Buckeye Notes

--Cincinnati Princeton Offensive Tackle Aaron Brown is supposedly set to announce his decision on where he plans to attend school next year.  His choice is thought to be either Virginia Tech or Ohio State.  Brown has not had a stellar senior season so far, but is a prospect that appears to have huge upside.  The original thought was that Ohio State would be tough to beat here, but recent talk seems to think Brown will be a Hokie.  The Buckeye 50 Yard Line's entire recruiting page will be updated later this month.

--Penn State recruited a big time tailback a few years back by the name of Austin Scott.  Scott has had his opportunities, but right now is playing second fiddle to junior Tony Hunt, who has rushed for 475 yards in 5 games and is averaging just under 7 yards per carry.  Hunt will likely carry the ball the most on Saturday, but PSU quarterback Michael Robinson, like OSU's Troy Smith, will often keep the ball himself.  And keep an eye on two Penn State freshmen, Derrick Williams and Justin King.  Williams and King, like Teddy Ginn, will line up in several spots and can break one at any time.  The duo has 22 carries for 211 yards and 2 TD's already this year.

--There will be some great linebackers on the field again Saturday.  We all know about the Buckeye linebackers, but Penn State has one of the best in the Big Ten in Paul Poluszny.  The junior outside linebacker ranks third in the Big Ten in tackles behind Iowa's Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge.  PSU junior linebacker Tim Shaw ranks 6th.

--As far as I know this is still unconfirmed, but Chris Fowler had mentioned that ESPN's GameDay would be in Happy Valley Saturday.

--Buckeye 50 Yard Line top 25 polls and weekly picks will be posted tonight.

blb

Sunday, October 2, 2005

8:45 PM Eastern

The new rankings are out and as expected, the Buckeyes have moved up a notch to 6th behind USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Georgia.  Both LSU, who lost in OT to Tennessee this past Monday, and Florida, who was spanked by Alabama, dropped below the Buckeyes.  If the Bucks can get by a greatly improved Penn State team in Happy Valley next Saturday night, they could possibly slide into the top 5, as Texas and Georgia have tough ones Saturday.  Texas faces their nemesis Oklahoma, who showed signs of life yesterday and Georgia travels to Tennessee.

The depth chart has been updated.  Click here to check it out.  Mike D'Andrea was thought to be on schedule to return this week and make the trip to Penn State, but Coach Tressel indicated this past week that D'Andrea's return has been pushed back.

Random Thoughts on the Buckeyes so far and some thoughts on Penn State...

--The coaches definitely need to find someone to spell Antonio Pittman.  Pittman looks great but seems to be taking a beating.  Former Buckeye tailback Joe Montgomery recently pointed out that Pittman's upright running style is exposing him to more punishment than most backs take.  Eddie George had the same issue, but Eddie weighed 230 pounds when he played here; Pittman is 190, if that.  Erik Haw dug himself a big hole with his arrest this past June, but may be getting back in good graces with Coach T.  It would be nice to see Haw get 8 to 10 totes against Penn State this week.  I don't see how Haw would not be the second best option right now, behind Pittman.

--Troy Smith was spectacular against the Hawkeyes 8 days ago, but things are going to get a lot tougher come Saturday.  Smith had all day to throw as the Buckeye O-line dominated an undermanned Iowa D-line last Saturday.  He likely will have far less time to throw against a very stout Penn State defense.  Penn State is third in the Big Ten in sacks and starts four seniors on the D-line.  Iowa had to replace four outstanding starters this year and their replacements were no match for the veteran OSU O-line.  This matchup (OSU's O-line vs. PSU's D-line) will be key in deciding the outcome Saturday night.

--The next Buckeye game you attend, take a moment to watch Mike Kudla for a series of plays.  This guy has taken his game to another level.  He absolutely dominates and is a big reason for the defense's success so far this year.  Injuries slowed him down his first three years here, but now that he is healthy, he is unblockable.  Keep your fingers crossed that Mike stays healthy.

--"The best set of Ohio State linebackers" is always a good debate, but I'd like someone to name a pair of former Buckeye outside linebackers that were better than AJ Hawk and Bobby Carpenter.  I can't.

--It will be interesting to see if Teddy Ginn finally gets on track Saturday.  The emergence of Tony Gonzalez against Iowa has to have opened the eyes of the Penn State coaches.  There seems to be many reasons why Ginn is off to a slow start, including the conservative offensive scheme, his poor rout running, a possible riff between him and Troy Smith, the tipping off of plays, etc.  But Ginn's going to go off at some point and the presence of Tony Gonzalez is only going to help him.

--I can't remember when I haven't backed the OSU coaching staffs when it comes to recruiting decisions.  There are always going to be Ohio players that OSU did not recruit that go on to be stars in D1-A.  With that being said, it has been a bit frustrating so far seeing what Javon Ringer is doing at Michigan State and what Tyrell Sutton is doing at Northwestern.  These are two small backs from Ohio that Ohio State passed on to go down south to get a similar sized back, Maurice Wells from Jacksonville.  Sure, Wells is just a freshman and will certainly improve, but I really think this guy is miles away from really helping this team right now.  (Hope I'm wrong.)  Sutton and Ringer have made the transition smoothly and sure look like keepers.  Hindsight is 20/20 I guess, but this one stings a bit.

blb

Sunday, October 2, 2005

8:45 PM Eastern

The new rankings are out and as expected, the Buckeyes have moved up a notch to 6th behind USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Georgia.  Both LSU, who lost in OT to Tennessee this past Monday, and Florida, who was spanked by Alabama, dropped below the Buckeyes.  If the Bucks can get by a greatly improved Penn State team in Happy Valley next Saturday night, they could possibly slide into the top 5, as Texas and Georgia have tough ones Saturday.  Texas faces their nemesis Oklahoma, who showed signs of life yesterday and Georgia travels to Tennessee.

The depth chart has been updated.  Click here to check it out.  Mike D'Andrea was thought to be on schedule to return this week and make the trip to Penn State, but Coach Tressel indicated this past week that D'Andrea's return has been pushed back.

Random Thoughts on the Buckeyes so far and some thoughts on Penn State...

--The coaches definitely need to find someone to spell Antonio Pittman.  Pittman looks great but seems to be taking a beating.  Former Buckeye tailback Joe Montgomery recently pointed out that Pittman's upright running style is exposing him to more punishment than most backs take.  Eddie George had the same issue, but Eddie weighed 230 pounds when he played here; Pittman is 190, if that.  Erik Haw dug himself a big hole with his arrest this past June, but may be getting back in good graces with Coach T.  It would be nice to see Haw get 8 to 10 totes against Penn State this week.  I don't see how Haw would not be the second best option right now, behind Pittman.

--Troy Smith was spectacular against the Hawkeyes 8 days ago, but things are going to get a lot tougher come Saturday.  Smith had all day to throw as the Buckeye O-line dominated an undermanned Iowa D-line last Saturday.  He likely will have far less time to throw against a very stout Penn State defense.  Penn State is third in the Big Ten in sacks and starts four seniors on the D-line.  Iowa had to replace four outstanding starters this year and their replacements were no match for the veteran OSU O-line.  This matchup (OSU's O-line vs. PSU's D-line) will be key in deciding the outcome Saturday night.

--The next Buckeye game you attend, take a moment to watch Mike Kudla for a series of plays.  This guy has taken his game to another level.  He absolutely dominates and is a big reason for the defense's success so far this year.  Injuries slowed him down his first three years here, but now that he is healthy, he is unblockable.  Keep your fingers crossed that Mike stays healthy.

--"The best set of Ohio State linebackers" is always a good debate, but I'd like someone to name a pair of former Buckeye outside linebackers that were better than AJ Hawk and Bobby Carpenter.  I can't.

--It will be interesting to see if Teddy Ginn finally gets on track Saturday.  The emergence of Tony Gonzalez against Iowa has to have opened the eyes of the Penn State coaches.  There seems to be many reasons why Ginn is off to a slow start, including the conservative offensive scheme, his poor rout running, a possible riff between him and Troy Smith, the tipping off of plays, etc.  But Ginn's going to go off at some point and the presence of Tony Gonzalez is only going to help him.

--I can't remember when I haven't backed the OSU coaching staffs when it comes to recruiting decisions.  There are always going to be Ohio players that OSU did not recruit that go on to be stars in D1-A.  With that being said, it has been a bit frustrating so far seeing what Javon Ringer is doing at Michigan State and what Tyrell Sutton is doing at Northwestern.  These are two small backs from Ohio that Ohio State passed on to go down south to get a similar sized back, Maurice Wells from Jacksonville.  Sure, Wells is just a freshman and will certainly improve, but I really think this guy is miles away from really helping this team right now.  (Hope I'm wrong.)  Sutton and Ringer have made the transition smoothly and sure look like keepers.  Hindsight is 20/20 I guess, but this one stings a bit.

blb

Friday, September 30, 2005

9:30 PM Eastern

Hopefully, the OSU offense is finally on track, as were most of our picks last week.  With a combined 12-3 performance last week, I am ready to head to Vegas.  Of course, Vegas is always a good idea!  But we are making this week a lot more difficult.  The spread for all these games are under 5 points.  If you would like to be a guest picker, simple send and email to greggw@buckeye50.com. We choose our participants from those that respond each week.

Below are our games and picks for week 5.  Even though OSU does not play and there are not major match-ups, there are some games that will help shape the Big Ten and National picture.  This week we will start with Michigan at MSU and see if TBGUN have anything left in the tank.  I think without a healthy Michael Hart, they are in for a long season.  We also are dropping in on Happy Valley a week early to predict which of the two undefeated teams will emerge as a leader.  And hopefully Purdue will get back on track against the Irish in West Lafayette.  One of the potential upsets might be in Tuscaloosa where the Gators will have their biggest road test to date.  And in the Big 12 North, the winner of the Iowa State Nebraska game will likely take the division.

Our guest picker is Doug Flowers.  He is a resident of New Albany, OH and a 1989 graduate from OSU.  Last week Doug's 9-year-old son Anthony improved his lifetime record to 6-0 in Buckeye games he has watched in person.  We may need to take up a collection to make sure Anthony gets to Ann Arbor in November.  Best of luck to Doug.  He has a challenge to meet the success our guest pickers have had.  Here are this week’s picks:


Game   Week 4          Brent  JoeSU  Gregg  Doug

TBGUN at MSU        UM     MSU    MSU   MSU
(Gregg) Unfortunately we may actually want Michigan to win.  Don’t want to head to Ann Arbor in November when they have nothing to play for but pride.

Minnesota at Penn State Minn   Minn     Minn    Minn
(Gregg) Sorry JoePa but it is the real season now.

Notre Dame at Purdue      Pur      ND               Pur             Pur
(Gregg) Tiller can’t win close ones like Mason can’t win after October.

Florida at Alabama     Fla      Ala        Ala     Fla
(Gregg) This may be the preview of the SEC Championship game.

Iowa State at Nebraska     Ia St   Ia St      Ia St    Neb
(Gregg) The Nebraska offense is yet to show me something.

Upset Special
Brent UM over MSU   
Greg ASU over USC

YTD Results  Brent 14-6     JOE-S-U 14 - 6     Gregg 13 – 7    Guests 15 - 5

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
7:45 AM Eastern

Joe-S-U, Gregg and myself each weigh in with our weekly Top 25 polls - click here to check 'em out.  We'll have more tonight including the weekly picks, a depth chart update and some comments on the Bucks heading into their off weekend.

blb

BUCKEYE50.COM PLAYERS OF THE GAME- IOWA 
  
OFFENSE- TB Antonio Pittman (Soph.) 
* 171 yards rushing on 28 carries 
  
This wasn't an easy decision.  Troy Smith's 316 yards of total offense was huge and  Anthony Gonzalez had his best game as a Buckeye.  But Pittman (and by default the offensive line) gets the kudos for their work on the ground.  The tone of the game was set on the Bucks' very first play as Pittman gained 11 yards out of a double-TE, "I" formation that you don't see much anymore with the "Shot-Ginn" look OSU favors.  We all were concerned if a running game would develop to balance Ohio State's brilliant receiving corps, and perhaps that question was answered against the best back 7 the Bucks will face in the Big 10.  The 171-yard effort was Pittman's second 100+ game this season and third of his career.  He is averaging 101 yards a game so far in 2005. 
  
DEFENSE- LB A.J. Hawk (Jr.) 
* 11 tackles (4 solo, 7 assisted) 
  
Yes, Bobby Carpenter and Mike Kudla would have certainly been deserving candidates this week.  It was tempting to give the honor to Carp just for his sack that preceded Drew Tate's meltdown.  But for the fourth straight game A.J. led the way in tackles for the Bucks, and right from his big stick on Iowa tight end Scott Chandler on the Hawkeyes' first possession it was a Butkus Award-worthy performance.  With the momentum of the game turned after Brandon Schnittker's fumble inside the Iowa 5, Hawk teamed with Mike Kudla for the second of back-to-back sacks that blew up the ensuing Hawkeye series.  Then after opportunity arose again for Drew Tate following A.J. Trapasso's fumble, Hawk once more met Kudla at the quarterback for a loss that held Iowa to a field goal.  A.J.'s hit on Iowa tailback Albert Young after a short reception brought a roar from the crowd as well.  With 41 tackles so far in 2005 A.J. now has 314 career stops, placing him in a tie with Aaron Brown for 12th on OSU's all-time list.  Next up in his sights are # 11 Kelton Dansler (316), # 10 Randy Gradishar (320) and # 9 Michael Doss (331). 
  
SPECIAL TEAMS- PK Josh Huston (Sr.) 
* 4 of 4 on PAT's 
* 47 yard field goal 
  
Josh's lone field goal at the end of the first half was his 10th in 11 tries this season, and momentarily bailed Jim Tressel out after his questionable clock management as the 1st half wound down.  All of Josh's kickoffs sailed into the endzone, and although you like to see those kicks not come out, Huston has shown a propensity to place his kickoffs just a couple of yards deep which has led to questionable judgments on the part of opposing kick returners.  A downed knee saved Iowa from disaster on the kickoff following OSU's first score, while the boot after Gonzalez' second TD brought on hesitation and a subsequent Rob Harley tackle of Iowa's returner at the Hawkeye 4.  No offense intended to Josh Huston, but we are way overdue to give our special team award to Ted Ginn, Jr. or Santonio Holmes. 

Joe-S-U

Thursday, September 29, 2005

7:30 AM Eastern

Those of us that work on the site have been tied up a bit since Sunday, but we will be catching up before this weekend's games.  There are some good ones, with all of the undefeated teams ranked ahead of the Buckeyes in for potential challenges, except for Georgia, who does not play.  We will catch up on the weekly picks, the Top 25, an updated depth chart, some random Buckeye notes and more.  Stay tuned.

blb

Sunday, September 25, 2005

1:50 PM Eastern

This past week, Troy Smith became fed up and had had enough.  Jim Bollman had enough.  Antonio Pittman had enough.  But most importantly, the offensive line had had enough.  The defense, however, decided it HADN'T had enough.  All of which led to Ohio State manhandling a good Iowa team.  Interestingly, without two turnovers and a holding penalty on a punt return by Ted Ginn, the final score SHOULD have been 52-6, or worse.

For those who watched the game, it more closely resembled our performance last November against The Bad Guys Up North; a.k.a., TBGUN.  

The Ohio State offense, led by an excellent offensive line performance, racked up 530 total offensive yards to Iowa's 137, with most of Iowa's yards coming in the second half.  

The defense had just a a fair day; it held Iowa to  - 9   yards rushing for the game.  Yes, THE ENTIRE GAME!  Without looking it up, I think Iowa went into the locker at halftime with only 30-some TOTAL YARDS.  I have been attending games for many decades, and I can't remember a defensive performance quite like this.  Perhaps the last was in November of 1985 against then #1 Iowa, in what was arguably one of the greatest games ever played in Ohio Stadium.  Of particular praise for this defense should be the clearly improved effort and play of the defensive line.  However, the entire defense was stunning and played highly inspired, intense football the whole game.  The defense went into the game bound on containing Drew Tate.  Tate was quoted after the game as saying, "They (OSU's defensive front) just did a really good job of keeping me between the tackles and they did a good job up front where I couldn't ever really step up in the pocket...their two tackles were just bull-rushing."  You guys were simply AWESOME!

Offensively, I predicted a lower scoring game this past week.  I have never been so happy about being wrong.  From the very first play, Ohio State's offense was workman-like and surgically took apart a pretty darn good Iowa defense.  And, we made it look easy.  Antonio Pittman ran better than any TB has run for OSU in the last 5 years.  He only had 171 yards for the game while averaging over 6.1 yds. per carry.  Troy Smith seemed to know exactly the right time to take off and checked off extremely well to his second and third targets.  I sang the praises of Anthony Gonzalez before this season started and Saturday my praises were upheld.  I think Anthony can catch just about anything he can touch.  He merely had 6 catches for 90 yds. and two touchdowns.

Finally, let's give the offensive coaches credit for finally calling an aggressive game where they mixed it up and became unpredictable.  For those who caught Kirk Ferentz's post-game news conference, the normally poised and unflappable coach outwardly showed his frustration several times, including snapping and swearing at Iowa's Sports Information Director in front of reporters.

Misc. items: No injuries yesterday.  Congratulations and a special "thanks" to Minnesota and Wisconsin yesterday.  I watched the entire Wisconsin/Michigan game and neither one looked particularly impressive, but those irritating Badgers got it done when it counted!  You got to love those little guys.  Oh, how I wish we played them this year. 

Also, for those who haven't heard yet, one of my favorite OSU basketball players, Chris Jent, has joined Thad Matta's coaching/advising team.  For those who may not remember, Chris Jent played basketball with about the same intensity that A.J. Hawk plays football.  I also saw Chris at the game yesterday.  His intensity will feed to ANYONE in the program.  Translation: rocket fuel, not just high octane gasoline!

Ah, life is good in Scarlet and Gray land again - more later.

Pat

Friday, September 23, 2005

7:20 PM Eastern

IOWA PREVIEW

Ohio State’s loss to Texas and Iowa’s thumping at the hands of Iowa State have taken some of the national bloom off of what was looking like a Top-10 matchup, but anyone who has spent any time at all in Big Ten country knows that this game is a must-win for either team.

Iowa comes to Columbus with a 2-1 record, with a 56-0 opening win over Ball State and a 45-21 victory over Northern Iowa sandwiched around the 23-3 defeat by the Cyclones.  The 21st ranked Hawkeyes have a 7-game Big 10 winning streak at work, having run off 7 straight triumphs after losing their conference opener at Michigan last season.  Iowa’s 7-1 record was good enough to tie the Wolverines for the Big 10 championship in 2004 after OSU’s big win over the Maize and Blue.

For the Hawkeyes, it pretty much begins and ends with their junior quarterback Drew Tate, an all-Big 10 first teamer in 2004.  With Iowa down to their sixth-string running back last year, Tate literally carried his team to the conference co-title.  Included was a 331-yard, 3 touchdown passing performance against the Bucks last year, not to mention Tate’s flair for the dramatic with his 52-yard scoring strike to Warren Holloway as time expired to beat LSU in the Capital One Bowl.  So far in ’05 Drew has completed 29 of 39 passes for 403 yards and 4 TD’s.  Anyone who wanted proof of Tate’s worth to the Hawkeyes only needed to watch how lost the Hawkeyes looked when Tate went out with a concussion in the Iowa State game.  He is the heart and soul of Iowa, and although Ohio State’s offense has admittedly looked flat this season, the Bucks have nowhere near the dropoff from Troy Smith to Justin Zwick as Iowa has without Drew Tate.

After battling injuries for 2 years, sophomore tailback Albert Young has had a strong start with 298 yards and 3 touchdowns during the non-conference slate.  Young’s work has allowed the Hawkeye passing game to flourish, with Clinton Solomon leading the way with 8 receptions for 154 yards and 3 scores.  Ed Hinkel has chipped in with 10 catches for 104 yards while Iowa’s prototypical huge tight end, 6’7” Scott Chandler, has also snared 10 passes for 102 yards.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz has tinkered some with his offensive line.  His son Brian Ferentz started all of last year’s Big 10 games at guard but now is back at his natural center position.  Right guard Mike Elgin was the starting center last year before moving, and right tackle Mike Jones started ten games at guard in 2004 before sliding over.  

One bugaboo for Iowa this season has been turnovers.  The Hawkeyes have already lost 5 fumbles this season, which is exactly how many they lost ALL of last year.  Drew Tate has only thrown one interception this season after throwing 14 last year, but the one pick resulted in Tate leaving the Iowa State game after suffering a concussion attempting to tackle the Cyclones’ Steve Paris.  Iowa’s turnover margin of –3 is currently last in the Big 10.

All four of Iowa’s defensive line starters from 2004 not only graduated but signed NFL contracts.  So far though the Hawkeye D-line has held up this season.  DT Mitch King leads the team with 6 TFL’s while DE Mike Follett is tied for the Big 10 lead with 3 sacks.  What’s more amazing is that these two are listed as second-string on Iowa’s two-deep, pointing out Ferentz’ liberal use of D-linemen.  

Of course, one of the biggest highlights Saturday is the opportunity to see two of the nation’s best linebacking corps go at it.  Folks, you won’t have this much talent at linebacker all in one place until they have the Butkus Award ceremony in December.  Chad Greenway is coming off a 20-tackle performance against Northern Iowa that garnered him Big 10 Defensive Player Of The Week honors.  Greenway is second in the league in tackles with 35, while his fellow All Big-10 counterpart Abdul Hodge is sixth with 27 and also has both of Iowa’s fumble recoveries.  Ohio State, based on its’ depth, has the better overall unit but individually Greenway and Hodge don’t have to take a backseat to anyone.

Iowa has a pair of very experienced corners in junior Jovon Johnson and senior Antwan Allen.  Allen had actually started all 38 games in his Iowa career until he had to sit out the Ball State opener due to suspension.  And while OSU has had the more ballyhooed punt return unit, Johnson will actually be the only player on the field with a punt return TD after his 90-yard runback against Ball State.  Allen and Johnson go 5’10” and 5’9” respectively, so it will be worth watching to see if Roy Hall, Devon Lyons or one of OSU’s other big receivers can take advantage.

The Hawkeyes have actually split the punting duties of all things so far this year.  John Gallery has punted 7 times for a 42.6 average while Andy Fenstermaker has booted 6 times for a 43.2 average.  And placekicker Kyle Schlicher is one of the Big 10’s best as he comes into play Saturday perfect on the season (2/2 FG’s, 14/14 PAT’s).

Perhaps the Bucks could take a few notes from Iowa’s red zone offense, which is second in the Big 10 currently.  The Hawkeyes have converted 10 of 11 redzone opportunities with 9 TD’s and 1 FG.  And the offense has been efficient while taking advantage of good field position- Iowa’s average scoring drive in ’05 is 58 yards in 2:40.

The win over Northern Iowa gave the Hawkeyes their 20th straight win at Kinnick Stadium, and when the Hawks return to try for # 21 it will be on a new playing surface.  The process of removing the existing Kinnick turf began right after last week’s game so that a new grass field could be brought in.

We’re only in Week 4 and this game is pretty much do or die.  Although OSU hasn’t given up Rose Bowl hopes just yet, the loser Saturday is going to be behind the eight-ball in Big 10 play.  Yes, the Bucks were excited (maybe too much so) to play Texas, but make no mistake- Ohio State has had this game circled for almost a year now no matter how much some of the team and coaches want to downplay it.

BOTTOM LINE- The dropped balls by Ginn and Gonzalez on the opening drive of the Texas game were indicative of a little too much adrenaline.  OSU needs to settle down some at the outset.  There’s no more need to use “Troy Smith” and “rust” in the same sentence.  It should all be shaken off and we’re either going to see a more patient Troy Smith operating a more wide-open offense or the Bucks are going to be in trouble.  While Drew Tate isn’t as big as Vince Young he’s just as good of a leader and a much better passer.  OSU’s defense has been outstanding but if the offense doesn’t get it together then Tate is going to take advantage if he gets a lot of opportunities.  You take a win anyway you can get it in Big 10 play, but with Penn State and Michigan State looming the Buckeyes have got to get the offense in gear.  If things start to click OSU should post a solid victory.  If last week’s offense shows up it may be up to defense or special teams to put up points.  

Joe-S-U

Here are my keys to the game for the Bucks:

  • Contain Drew Tate - he can hurt you as bad as Vince Young
  • Establish a running game, throw vertically and get aggressive on offense

Sorry if you were expecting something more exotic, but I think it is just about that simple.

Pat



Thursday, September 22, 2005

8:25 PM Eastern

BUCKEYE50.COM PLAYERS OF THE GAME- SAN DIEGO STATE

 
OFFENSE- QB Troy Smith (Jr.)

* 14 of 26 passing, 149 yards, 1 INT

* 14 carries for 87 yards, 2 TDs

We were highly tempted to follow the coaching staffs lead and not hand out an offensive player-of-the-game award, but if someone gives you a lemon, try and make lemonade.  For every nice run Troy had, there were too many times of taking off with open receivers downfield.  For every successful pass, there were ill-advised, forced throws.  Guys were picking passes off their shoetops, and Troys usual nice touch was lost at times for darts that wouldve made Nolan Ryan proud.  On Monday the Bucks watched the game film from last years travesty at Iowa City.  How about getting the Michigan game film out again and remembering why we all couldnt wait to see this years offense? 
 

DEFENSE- DE Mike Kudla (Sr.)

* 2 tackles, both for losses totaling 5 yards


A.J. led the way again on tackles, but I dont know if the TV coverage showed the full story of what I saw from C-Deck- Mike was in the Aztec backfield on practically every play and SD State had no answer.  On one of his sacks Kudla almost drove the Aztec offensive lineman right into QB Kevin OConnell.  As outstanding as OSUs defense has been this year, more playmaking from Kudla and Company up front would be a welcome site.  Bobby Carpenter has made a nice bookend to Mike playing up on the line in certain situations, and Kudla needs to take advantage of the attention paid to Carp.


SPECIAL TEAMS- P A.J. Trapasso (RS Fr.)

* 6 punts for a 41-yard average, long of 49


After a string of senior starters, Drew Tate became Iowas first underclass QB since 2000.  Trapasso slides into a similar situation as OSUs punter, and early returns suggest the job should be in good hands for the next 4 years.  A.J. is averaging 40.4 yards on his 12 punts so far in 2005, and while we havent  seen any cannon shots yet like Andy Groom or the towering hang-time of B.J. Sander, he has been steady in the Bucks first 3 games.  Dont forget A.J. was an all-around threat in high school- hell  take off running sooner or later on a punt and someones gonna get burned. 

Joe

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

12:50 PM Eastern

Joe-S-U has done an outstanding analysis of the game last Saturday.  Later tonight we will have our revised Top 25 lists, followed with our picks tomorrow and various reports.  Breaking news as it happens 
Pat


Tuesday, September 19, 2005

10:30 PM Eastern

After studying these questions, talking with many fans, listening to Tressel's press conference today, reflecting upon past years, AND combining the known philosophies embraced and practiced by Jim Tressel,  here is my two cents on our offense:

Keeping in mind some capstone philosophies of Tressel 
  • win the surest way
  • don't turn the ball over
  • field position is critical
  • better to punt and live to fight another day
  • design your team and the talent on it

Here are my thoughts:

  • I think that Jim Tressel is content to build an offense slowly throughout the year, and to initially run ONLY those plays that he is CONFIDENT will work at the time.  This is one of the reasons people say his teams get better as the season progresses.
  • Woody and Earl were also slow to open up the offense.  They, like Tressel, know that over time a conservative offense may not score a lot of points and produces "ugly" wins, but at the same time that conservative offense won't cause the other team to get points from turnovers at our expense.  Here is where the defense and special teams keep us in games.
  • Who knows how many times the team must "prove" they can do something in practice before he turns it lose on game day, but it must be a lot.
  • Tressel has played great chess games before a big game more than once by showing too little or showing what looks like new features only to never use them.  Last year against Michigan I am sure he blew Jim Hermann's mind early in the game.  The first thing I remember saying to my friends during last year's GAME was, "Where in the world did all of this come from out of the blue?"  The problem with this is we never know what is a "real" performance and what is staged.
  • All of this adds up to the now infamous name of, "Tressel-Ball."  
  • Most of Tressel's followers from his past have said he will do two things to fans; drive them nuts throughout the year and deliver championships

Regardless of anything else, Tressel-Ball seems to work.  My concern is not so much for whether I like, or whether we should drop Tressel-Ball, but I see no reason why some of the things that go along with it need be there.  Such as:

  • Why must we take so long EACH year to develop the offense?  We have most everyone back from last year, just like USC, be we look as if we are starting 8-9 new players.  USC picked up right where they left off last year.
  • Poor execution repeatedly by the offensive line (over the years, not just a few games)
  • Indifference to using known weapons (throwing vertically to Ted Ginn)
  • Poor offensive strategy and play selection - no screen passes, no toss sweeps, end arounds that are telegraphed two plays earlier, etc.
  • Lack of imagination and diversity in the running game period - very few counter-treys, etc.
  • Play calling often appears to be just done by saying, "well, why don't we try this now, or maybe should get the ball to _____, etc."  I don't know if this is what really happens, but at times it seems like it.
  • The spread formation is great with potential, but I wonder if we have the offensive coaches that have significant experience implementing it and the creative play calling required.

In short, we obviously have talented, intelligent and hard working coaches.  To me, it boils down to either Jim Tressel being too busy to also be a legitimate and effective offensive coordinator, or he doesn't have the horsepower in other offensive coaches he needs.

Things could be a lot worse.  Tressel-Ball is proving a gold mine for cardiologists locally and we have had two to three great years from him so far.  We are just starting the Big Ten season this week.  Let's see what Jim has and what Troy Smith has this week.  This week, is the REAL test.

Pat

p.s. I don't believe the first word from anyone who says this Saturday is not about revenge.  We clearly have a major score to settle! 


Monday, September 19, 2005

10:30 PM Eastern

I am taking a different approach to writing about the team during this week.  The reason for it is all the e-mails and questions I have received regarding the team, particularly the offense.  Most of the e-mail has been asking basically two questions:

1.WHAT IS GOING ON WITH OUR OFFENSE AND THE POOR PRODUCTION/INCONSISTENCIES?
a.Experimenting with QB’s
b.Starting the one with the most rust and the poorer pocket passer
c.Poor redzone results
d.Lack of a vertical passing component
e.Limited and predictable play calling/selection

2.What is at the root of these problems
a.Our players on offense are over-rated 
b.We get good players but they are poorly coached and don’t develop sufficiently
c.Poor offensive game plans are conceived
d.Good offensive game plans are conceived, but are changed or abandoned during the game
e.Our offensive coaches are poor planners and teachers
f.The offensive coaching staff (as a unit) are directed toward a particular outcome that is very rigidly controlled and allows for no creativity, no input, no deviation from that plan.  
g.The entire offensive structure is autocratic and dictated/controlled by one man
h.Tressel and the offensive coaches have not had the right mix of horses (players) that they claim they want to have a consistent power running game
i.Strategies and game plans don’t match up with the personnel on the field
j.Things are actually working close to, or exactly as desired

That’s a pretty broad range of possibilities.  I am posing no answer here, just these questions and ideas for people to ponder.  I am not sure what to make of the offense this year, but we SHOULD know a lot more after this Saturday.

I watched the USC – Arkansas game Saturday night.  At first, it looked like the Razorbacks were going to hang with them.  Then, Reggie Bush scored a TD on a delayed draw and USC never broke a sweat after that.  Offensively, they looked like a machine.  They are a precision group that gets the right play called for the down, execute flawlessly and with tremendous confidence.

I pose these thoughts with the idea I want all of us to think about this, and I will provide my thoughts tomorrow night as I think they are relevant to this week’s game with Iowa.

Pat

8:20 PM Eastern

The Dayton Daily News reported that Marcus Freeman, heretofore the heir apparent to Bobby Carpenter, will miss most if not all of the rest of this season due to an infection resulting from knee surgery recently.  He is taking antibiotics through an IV tube for at least the next four weeks and obviously can't work out or participate.  I have been personally very high on James Laurinitis but I was hoping he would get into the rotation some other way.

The entire staff of the Buckeye 50 Yard Line wishes Marcus a full and speedy recovery!

Pat

Friday, September 16, 2005

8:40 AM Eastern

SAN DIEGO STATE PREVIEW

OSU faces the Aztecs for the third time in five years this Saturday at 3:30 from Ohio Stadium.  In 2001 the game was scheduled for September 15th but with the events of 9/11 the two schools were among the first in the country to postpone.  Both teams had October 20th as a bye week so the game was moved to that date.  It was the first time Ohio State had an interrupted Big Ten schedule since 1982 and was the latest non-conference game in OSU’s regular season since a 27-0 loss to Penn State on November 7, 1964 when the Nittany Lions were still an independent.

The Aztecs had a 12-6 halftime lead in that 2001 meeting, and the crowd couldn’t yell for backup quarterback Craig Krenzel as he was back in Michigan at his sister’s wedding.  The missed OSU extra point was one of only 3 that Mike Nugent would miss in his entire career.  In the second half the Bucks got turnovers on 5 straight Aztec possessions and went on to win 27-12.

In 2003 San Diego State returned to Ohio Stadium and gave the Bucks all they could handle before losing 16-13.  OSU’s lone touchdown came on a school-record 100-yard interception return by Will Allen, and the game is one of four in the Jim Tressel era that Ohio State has won without an offensive touchdown.  

Aztec head coach Tom Craft is in his fourth season with a career record of 14-24.  After improving from 4 wins in 2002 to 6 in 2003, SD State regressed to 4 wins last year and with an 0-2 start so far in 2005 the heat is on Coach Craft.  The Aztecs dropped their opener to UCLA 44-21 and lost on the road at Air Force last Saturday 41-29.  SD State put up more than 400 yards of total offense in both of those games, but a young, inexperienced defense and a –4 turnover ratio have cost them.  Their defense and special teams have shown a propensity for giving up big plays, and in what could be a good omen the Aztecs have already had one punt returned for a touchdown on them this year.

At quarterback San Diego State will go with sophomore Kevin O’ Connell.  O’Connell has completed 66% of his throws this season and has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 8 straight games.  On the downside he has fumbled the ball three times already in ’05 and has thrown 2 interceptions.  Freshman Darren Mougey could also see time under center Saturday as well.

Balancing the passing attack is sophomore running back Lynell Hamilton.  Lynell had rushed for 1,087 yards as a freshman in 2003 before breaking his ankle in SD State’s final game.  After redshirting last year, he is SD State’s leading rusher so far in 2005 with 147 yards and 3 touchdowns.  One stat to keep an eye on Saturday- In games where Hamilton has gained at least 94 yards rushing, SD State is 5-0.  When he’s held to less than 94, the Aztecs are 0-7.

 Leading the receiving corps is senior Jeff Webb, a legitimate NFL prospect and a two-time all-Mountain West performer.  After hauling in 71 receptions for 863 yards last year he has 13 catches this season for 162 yards and one score.  Neither Miami nor Texas were shy about going after Ashton Youboty so we’ll see if Ashton is matched up with Webb.

Defensively, the Aztecs lost their top 7 tacklers from last season, including 2-time MWC defensive player of the year Kirk Morrison and fellow linebacker Matt McCoy.  Sophomore Antwan Applewhite and junior Jonathan Bailes will work the trenches for the Aztecs, while senior Marcus Demps leads the secondary.  Marcus is the younger brother of Will Demps, currently with the Baltimore Ravens.  The defensive backfield took a hit last week as Jacob Elimimian broke an arm and is out indefinitely.  Elimimian was the SD State defender who intercepted Craig Krenzel on OSU’s first offensive play of the 2003 game. With Jacob’s broken arm, the San Diego State defense now has no one that played against OSU just 2 years ago.  

BOTTOM LINE- This game has pretty much been labeled a “snoozer”, one of those September games that you really can’t get jacked up for.  The Texas hangover (literally and figuratively) is still in the air, and it remains to be seen how the Bucks will respond.  The Aztecs took Michigan to the wire at the Big House last season, but that was then.  SD State’s opponents have averaged 42.5 points this year, and with Troy Smith getting a full week of practice as “The Man” Ohio State’s offense should roll.  Hopefully the gameplan will include more than 5 touches for Ted Ginn, Jr., although it wouldn’t be surprising to see the committee of tailbacks get a lot of work Saturday.  And quite honestly I’m not sure what more the defense or special teams can do to improve on their Texas performance besides eliminating penalties.  There will be some shuffling above the Bucks in the polls this weekend so a dominant win is in order.  And I would love it if the first time the Bucks get in the red zone Saturday that Troy sends Ryan Hamby down the seam and dials him up for six.  How in the world a dropped pass in the THIRD quarter of a game has cost us a national title two weeks into the season is beyond me.

Joe-S-U



Thursday, September 15, 2005

9:40 PM Eastern

After last week, Gregg needs to get out of the country for a while.Well, we have our first week in the books now for our weekly picks.  Our Buckeye50 staff did OK, but the best pick we made was the selection of a guest picker.  Rick DeSutter correctly guessed all 5 of the games last week including his upset special.  Great job Rick!

Not that our staff results were much different though, we were a combined 11-4 which is not too bad to start out the season.  Below we have our picks for the week 2.  We will be covering the big games: Notre Dame and Michigan, Iowa at Iowa State, and the game LSU was forced to move to Tempe due to the hurricane.  We will also check in on our former Defensive Coordinator to see how Marshall handles the Kansas State Wildcats.  Of course the biggest game of the week and the biggest non-conference game of the year will pit our Buckeyes against the Longhorns of Texas.

Thanks for all of you that have responded saying that you would like to be a guest picker, feel free to continue submitting your name to greggw@buckeye50.com.  This week’s is Timothy Mayo.

 

GO BUCKS!

Pat

8:11 PM (Eastern)

We have some final thougts on Texas, our new polls, an Aztec preview (Friday) and one person who had the stones to actually e-mail us!

First, let's see how J.J. feels about receiving his own detracting e-mail.  I give full credit to J.J. to come forward and admit he was one who e-mailed Ryan Hamby.  For this alone, I give you credit.  Here is J.J.'s e-mail address for those who are now fans of his:

"J.J. Tillman" <jjtillman44@hotmail.com

Here, verbatim, is my e-mail from J.J. today:


"Hello Pat - I am one of the people who sent "hate email" to Hamby - I read your posting yesterday and felt compelled to email you.  I sent 2 emails to Hamby (see below).  Although I don't 100% agree with my sending of these emails, I don't consider them to be "hate emails" either.  I never cursed nor threatened Hamby, I simply expressed my dismay with his effort.  I am not sure the content of other emails received by Hamby, and if cursing and/or threats were made, then yes those people were in the wrong and could be classified as cowards.
 
I am and have been a loyal Buckeye fan for my entire life - I have followed the Bucks to the Outback Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the Alamo Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and I actually was in the stadium for the Fiesta Bowl and the greatest OSU victory ever, over Miami. 
 
I realize that football is "just a game" and that college players are still "young men."  But any division 1 athlete must realize that they are in the spotlight and with that spotlight comes fan reaction - both positive and negative.  I as a paying fan have the right to express myself.  What would Hamby expect if he was in the NFL? 
 
But anyways, I welcome your response, if you deem it necessary.  Regardless if you blast me for my emails or not, keep up the good work on the website. 
 
1st email (retyped per memory) sent on the Monday morning following the game: "Thanks for costing us the national championship - catch the ball"
 
2nd email (actually copied and pasted) sent in response to reading in the media about the emails he received: "Stop whining to the media about "hate emails" - if you wouldn't of dropped that pass then we would still be on route to Pasadena and you would not of received any emails.  You brought this on yourself."
 
JJ

One of the greatest things about our country is the right to free speech.  For this, I support anyone's desire to write as they see fit.  However, your judgement J.J. totally escapes me, including that part where you said you didn't 100% agree with your sending of your messages. (?)

Please do me two favors J.J.; feel free to write me and vent in the future, and PLEASE, NEVER sit next to me at a game.

Moving on, here is Joe-S-U's players of the game from Texas:

 BUCKEYE50.COM PLAYERS OF THE GAME- TEXAS

 

OFFENSE- FL Santonio Holmes (Jr.)

*4 receptions for 73 yards (18.2 avg.), 1 TD

*3 kickoff returns for 109 yards

 

We could have put Josh Huston here with Santonio as special teams POTW, but well reverse it.  Holmes now has a touchdown reception in Ohio States last 4 regular season games and is working on a 20-game streak with at least 2 catches.  All of his receptions moved the sticks- a 7-yard catch on 3rd and 5, his 36-yard TD on 3rd and 8, a 12-yard snag on 2nd and 10 and an 18-yard pickup on a 2nd and 7.  He also averaged 36 yards on his 3 kickoff returns, which prompted Mack Brown to say in his postgame news conference that Texas kick coverage unit stunk.  And Justin Zwick probably wishes he had the pass back that missed a wide-open Holmes down the east sideline late in the third quarter.

 

DEFENSE- OLB A.J. Hawk (Sr.)

*12 tackles (7 solo, 5 assisted), including 3 tackles-for-loss for 12

*Seventh career interception with a 24-yard return

*One fumble recovery

 
I dont want to jinx anything, but even in a losing effort Ohio State should clear room for another Butkus Award.  Hawk made the highlight-reel plays but the entire linebacking corps was outstanding Saturday night.  A.J.s sack of Vince Young at the end of the first half ensured Texas would only get a field goal.  A.J. was a vital cog in the biggest sequence where OSU beat themselves.  Having to settle for field goals after Hawk gets you two turnovers within 3 plays really made the difference.  Hawk now stands 13th on OSUs career tackle list with 295, with #12 Aaron Brown (314), #11 Kelton Dansler (316) and #10 Randy Gradishar (320) next in his sights.
 

SPECIAL TEAMS- PK Josh Huston (Sr.)

*5 of 6 on field goals (45, 36, 25, 44, 26)

*1 of 1 on PATs
 

Joshs 5 field goals tied the school record held by Bob Atha and Mike Nugent, but my guess is its #6 that Josh would like to have again, not to mention hed probably gladly trade any of the 5 for a touchdown that wouldve put the game away.  Ohio State placekickers have now scored at least 10 points in the Bucks last 4 games.  Josh did another great job with kickoffs although Antonio Smith and Chad Hoobler had to provide unnecessary drama on two of them.  First it was Mike Tirico, then Brent Musburger.  Memo to ABC announcers- Its JOSH Huston, not JOHN Huston. 

Joe-S-U

 
More later.

Pat

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

3:41 PM (Eastern)

It is rare that I have the time to post during the day.  I feel compelled to address the horrible treatment of Ryan Hamby.

To those who have sent him negative e-mail, please e-mail me and let me publish your name and address.  

Ryan is a true Buckeye and a great player.  The only thing this young man is guilty of is trying.  Yes, "trying" in front of only about 30 million people or so.  Ryan has proved himself a loyal, highly dedicated Buckeye.  I am truly ashamed of anyone who has sent him negative e-mail.  Each and every one of you who did are no more true Buckeyes than someone who supports the Maize and Blue.

Everyone at this site supports Ryan, his efforts and his position on the team.  I am proud he is on our team and represents OSU very well.  Keep up the great work, Ryan.  You tried your best.  Hang your head high - you are supported and loved by TRUE Buckeyes around the world.

Again to those who e-mailed Ryan, if you have the nerve, send me your e-mails and address so we discuss this openly.  I doubt I will hear from you.  My feelings on this are best summarized by one of my favorite quotes of all time:

Man in the Arena

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
President Theodore Roosevelt


Pat


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

10:31 PM (Eastern)

Here is Joe's excellent "meat and potatoes" final post game analysis of the close loss to Texas.  We will preview San Diego State and have our picks in the next day or so.  Yes, we are still recovering and licking our wounds.  I hate to lose, especially when winning the game was such a distinct possibility.  However, if we realistically look at the rest of the season we could be back to top 5 in a few weeks.  Life as we know it really didn't end last Saturday night at 11:30pm Eastern.  More on this idea tomorrow.

Pat

 
Sunday, September 11, 2005

7:58 PM (Eastern)

First, congratulations to Texas and their truly great fans.  I enjoyed meeting and partying with them - they are a class act.  The Texas players are big, strong and faster than I thought.  We will not see another team on their level this year, regardless of who we play.

Next, I will second Brent's comments about Vince Young - this guy is the real deal.  He was better than I thought as well.  Right or wrong, I think he really got our defense thinking way too much in the first quarter particularly, because he did everything so well.  We had no idea what was coming.

Next, (and I want to go on record saying this is exclusively my own personal feelings) I want to say that I have been, and still am, very proud Jim Tressel is our coach.  With that said, I am still in a fog as to some of his play calling last night, but more so his decisions on deploying, replacing, replacing again, the one more time, Zwick and Smith.

Clearly, these are two excellent athletes and both can run the offense.  I hold no grudge against Zwick's fumble even though it was basic carelessness.  He was simply trying to do what a Buckeye should do; compete and make some plays.  I thought his passing was good overall and he ran well for someone who "supposedly" isn't a running QB.

Even though I didn't publish it, I was worried last night about the "rust factor" for Troy Smith.  He was a little sharper than I expected, but was not in the same form as he was for Michigan.  How could he be after not playing for 10 months or so?

I personally think our coaches blew it last night.  We were starting to move the ball and slowly dictate the game.  I think the QB rotations were ill advised and in my opinion, HAD to impact both play selection and team rhythm.  For all of the great thing Tressel has done since he has been here, I hold no grudge against him either.  However, I still think they coached poorly last night and this QB rotation thing HAS TO GO.

It is just me, but I think the team is different with Troy Smith in there.  He takes command, they have more energy and the players respond to him to differntly.  My wife said it best today; "Justin played well, but this team is better with Troy."

Congratulation again to Texas.  Now, let's re-group as we have another barn-burner in two weeks with Iowa coming to town.  By my measures, we owe them one.

Pat


3:10 PM (Eastern) 

Let's give credit where credit is due; Texas got it done when it counted.  Ohio State, on the other hand did not.  The game could have gone either way and we can play the "what if..." game for the next decade.  But none of that is going to change the fact that Texas is now 2-0 and firmly entrenched in the National Title hunt, where as Ohio State is 1-1 and needs to win out and hope for help to get back in this hunt.

I will also give props to Vincent Young who showed me that he is a better quarterback than I gave him credit for.  When he took his first snap under center last night, I thought that the crowd would certainly affect him.  If it did, it didn't affect him much.  Although the Buckeye defense finally made the right adjustments to slow down his running, Young was in charge the whole night, and looked like a pro as he directed Texas to the game winning drive.

It's a tough one to take, but there's still 9 more games to play plus a bowl game.

More later.

blb

Friday, September 9, 2005

8:18 PM (Eastern) 

Here are my keys to the game against Texas:

  • Make more noise than Ohio Stadium has EVER made.  EVER!!!!  People can't forget that with the playing field lowered now, if enough noise is made you literally can't communicate on the field.
  • Aggressive but smart play by our defensive front seven.  I think extensive blitzing will be expected by Texas, so we need to mix things up.  Last year, Oklahoma took away the running game, especially outside and Texas couldn't beat them.
  • We must have a ball control, sustained drive offense tomorrow night.  Keeping Young on the sidelines will prevent him from performing.  I don't want us to get into a scoring contest with these guys.  I sincerely hope we run to the outside a lot.  This will also wear down their LB's and corners.
  • We must continue to mix up the play calling.  They did a good job of this last week, and Miami was playing on their heels most of the first three quarters.
  • Cover their tight end.  Other than Young, their go-to guy is their tight end, David Thomas, is Young's favorite target - he needs his head handed to him early.  
  • NO PENALTIES ON SPECIAL TEAMS WHEN TEXAS IS PUNTING OR KICKING.  They struggled tremendously last week with their kicking games.  Special team penalties could cost us the game unnecessarily.  
  • Our offensive line will need the game of their collective lives'.  Texas' defensive front seven is big and extremely fast.  This is a major worry for Jim Tressel.  Our line must protect, but we can't run up the middle all night either.
  • Stretch the field horizontally Everyone knows and expects us to stretch it vertically, down the field.  But if we can stretch ALSO horizontally, any defense will be on their heels and wear out.
Play calling will be particularly critical tomorrow night.  We must be creative and aggressive yet smart.  This will be THE toughest test for play calling by the coaches, except for the national championship game in 2002.

Finally, our researcher, Ed, said that his close personal friend who works at the Woody Hayes center said he understood Troy Smith was going to start.  This is UNCONFIRMED, but so far his friend has never been wrong.  I guess we will see tomorrow night.

Pat


Friday, September 9, 2005

1:48 PM (Eastern) 

Later today, we will have our "keys to the game."  We will also have a brief report on the Longhorns, and one of our staff "claims" they know who is starting at QB for Ohio State.

Let the countdown continue.......

Pat

10:58 AM (Eastern) 

Just a quick reminder that our new site can help you in and out of the stadium on Saturday.  On the left, you can:

  • Check the Columbus weather
  • Get realtime traffic pictures and campus webcams
  • Check stadium seating and parking
  • Get road maps and traffic reports

We will have some final information and comments later tonight, so check back.

Pat

Thursday, September 7, 2005

11:38 PM (Eastern) 

Finally, we look at our last Big Ten team, Ohio State.   Ohio State.  LINK  Below is Andy's projected Big Ten final placements for this season:

2005 Big Ten conference projections

1.Purdue
2.Iowa
3.Ohio State
4.Michigan
5.Michigan State
6.Penn State
7.Minnesota
8.Wisconsin
9.Northwestern
10.      Illinois
11.      Indiana

Pat

Wednesday, September 6, 2005

11:38 PM (Eastern) 

Finally, some long overdue photos of last Saturday's game against the Miami Redhawks, courtesy of Gregg Watson Photography.  FYI - The Buckeye 50 Yard Line is the EXCLUSIVE home of Gregg Watson's OSU photos.  LINK


10:58 PM (Eastern) 

Andy's Big Ten preview continues with TBGUN.  LINK  Tomorrow, we wrap up the Big Ten preview with Ohio State and Andy's projection for how the Big Ten will look at the end of this season.

10:58 PM (Eastern) 

The Buckeye 50 Yard Line staff's weekly Top 25 poll is now updated.  LINK

7:48 PM (Eastern) 

Brent, our beloved founder and prototype accountant, has found an interesting connection between Ohio State/Texas/Jim Tressel/Mack Brown/Michigan.  Just WHAT COULD THIS BE?  Click here to read, "The "Michigan Effect" and Tress vs. Mack" by Brent.  LINK

Pat

Tuesday September 6, 2005

10:48 PM (Eastern) 

According to Anthony Schlegel, the way to beat Texas is to, "Saw their horns off."  This is what he said that Texas A&M advocates.  A novel idea.  Not sure how to do that on the field, but it sounds good nonetheless!  Let's make sure we leave Texas players and fans with two impression:

  • Columbus is the noisiest, toughest, hardest place to play in the country for opponents
  • Our fans showed them all sincere respect the entire evening

Finally for tonight, Jim Tressel has known Mack Brown for some time, and spoke highly of him.  Right now, the thing he is most concerned about is the overall team speed of Texas.  This factor could be critical relative to our defensive line this year.  If our D-line gets it done against their outstanding O-line, we can play with anyone this year.  We will have MUCH more tomorrow and Thursday.

Pat

8:53 PM (Eastern) 

Want to know what Texas is saying about us?  LINK  A special thanks to Forum Member (v120084) for this info.

8:29 PM (Eastern) 

Andy's Big Ten preview continues with Illinois.  LINK

My own (quick glance) thoughts on the Miami game are as follows:

  • On Zwick: based just upon this one game, I personally thought Justin Zwick was greatly improved.  He showed more confidence, more mobility, better timing and was overall more comfortable in the pocket.  His decision that led to the interception is something he probably won’t (shouldn’t) repeat. 
  • Antonio Pittman is considerably improved.  He shows more heart, determination, toughness and cutback moves.  He obviously wants to be the #1 TB and has earned it.  I saw no massive flaws in his performance. 
  • Ted Ginn was being double and triple teamed much of the game, as a LB or DB seemed to always join whoever else was covering him.  I thought our punt and kick coverage teams were C- at best.  Justin did well by going to Holmes with TG covered so much.  Still, Teddy better protect the ball better than he did at times Saturday. 
  • The offensive line.  Hmmm.  Well, they are clearly better than this time last year, but so is the economy – neither were great last Sat. though.  The fact the line didn’t get a better push at times inside the 10 was extremely disappointing to me, as well as a concern.  They better play more as a unit this Sat. or it will be ugly. 
  • Special teams.  I don’t know what happened, but it seemed to me like Miami almost blocked every extra point attempt from the right side.  The coaches better fix this, FAST.  Their performance on kicks and punts (when we were receiving) I thought also lead something to be desired. 
  • The d-line performance was much better than last year, but was still not quite where it needs to be.  They did make more tackles than I expected so I give them a good grade overall 
  • The LB’s?  Man, I am glad I don’t have to play against our guys – they are just unbelievable 
  • The corners?  They were very good Saturday.  I just pray we don’t lose either Youboty or Everett.  Why?  Backing them up are Malcolm Jenkins and Jamario O’Neal – very talented, but both freshman 
  • Nate Salley will put someone on a stretcher this season.  Just simply awesome 
  • Kicking Game.  VERY pleasantly surprised and pleased.

Clearly, this is just one game and we (like all other teams) will improve a lot from Game 1 to Game 2.  Compared to last year, this was a joy to watch.  But like Emeril says, we better kick it up a notch or four this weekend.  Miami is no Texas.  More later.

Pat


Monday, September 5, 2005

10:39 PM (Eastern) 
 
We will finish the recaps tomorrow then turn our attention toward Sept. 10, 2005, 8:00 PM in Ohio Stadium.  I understand this will be both nationally and internationally televised.  The Horseshoe, for those going, better darn well be REALLY rockin' cause these are no cupcakes coming in here.  

Just how much did Jim Tressel show last Saturday against Miami?  How much does Troy Smith now play?  What about some of the new looks we gave on offense?  Also, just how much adjustment has been made to deal with Vince Young?  Will Texas be dumb enough to double up on Ginn like Miami did at times?  We will try to answer these and many more questions this week as our beloved Buckeyes take on arguably the hottest and biggest opponent to enter the Horseshoe EVER!

Take another notch in your chin-strap this Saturday.  We are in for another War By The Olentangy.

Pat
 
8:30 PM (Eastern) 

I sincerely apologize to everyone that I was called out of town unexpectedly late Saturday night and just returned.  However, I'm BAAACCKKK!!!

I will have more on the wrap up of Miami, along with some good stuff from Joe and Gregg.  And of course, we are gettin' ready for Burnt Orange on Saturday.

Pat

Sunday, September 4, 2005

7:30 PM (Eastern) 

First off, Texas opens as a one-point favorite over Ohio State in next Saturday's marquee matchup.  Now, some thoughts on the Buckeyes performance yesterday...

--The formations on offense were more complex than what we've seen in Tressel's first four seasons.  The shotgun offense appears to be here to stay, with Ginn often lining up as a wing back.  The play where Ginn was hit for a loss (after a handoff) with seemingly every Miami defender waiting for him was a clear example of the kind of focus that defenses are going to put on him this year.  This kind of focus will open up many other doors for the Bucks offense this year.

--Tony Pittman runs like he is 215 pounds.  The added 5 to 10 pounds appears to have made a difference and I'm not sure he has lost anything in the speed department.  Pittman takes the rock, kicks it in gear immediately and hits the hole in a blink - exactly what you want your tailback to do.  And he also showed a ferocious stiff arm.  The kid is going to be big time.

--The Buckeye offensive line had a "fair" performance Saturday in my opinion.  This is one of the only areas I thought wasn't glowing.  They only gave up one sack and did give Zwick adequate protection for much of the afternoon, but will need to run block better against a stellar Texas defense.  Pittman hit the century mark in terms of yardage, but seemed to manufacture a lot of those yards on his own.

--The Buckeye defense - if there is a better defense in the country, I want to know where to find it.  It absolutely does not get better than Hawk and Carpenter on the outside and I'm beginning to think the tandem of Salley and Whitner at safety might be second to none.  The corners did a great job against a great pair of Miami receivers.  (Let's not forget that much of Miami's yardage and both of their TD's came after the starters came out with a 34-0 lead.)

--Having to put your second best cover man on Santonio Holmes has to leave a defense coordinator shaking his head.  With the focus on Ginn, the Miami coverage was no match for Holmes.

--Great game by Justin Zwick - his best as a Buckeye.  The interception was the result of a bad decision by Justin, but other than that, Zwick made good decisions and threw the ball very well.

--Erik Haw, Sian Cotton, Curtis Terry, and Sirjo Welch, to my knowledge, did not dress.  I assume Haw was held back for the incident in the early part of the summer.  There were some rumors that others were going to be held out for team infractions; maybe Cotton, Terry and Welch did not dress for this reason.  Marcus Freeman did dress and play but left the game early with an unknown injury and was in street close for the remainder of the game.

blb

8:30 AM (Eastern) The Buckeyes fired on all cylinder's yesterday in a game that could have been a 55-0 blowout.  The two Redhawk TD's came against the Buckeye reserves late in the 4th quarter and total yardage by game end was surely not reflective of Ohio State's domination.  We'll of course have more later, but I think it's safe to say that this Ohio State has A LOT of potential.  I don't care what the score was in Texas' game yesterday and what they are ranked, this Longhorn team is in trouble next Saturday night.

blb

Saturday, September 3, 2005

6:45 AM (Eastern) GAME DAY IS HERE!!  The current temperature is 65 degrees on campus with a temperature of 74 expected at kickoff.  Sun is expected with a small chance of rain and a high temperature of 79.

Quick call before the season starts.  I certainly feel that Ohio State can run the table this year if they get some breaks like they did in 2002.  The schedule however is a bit tougher this time around with #2 Texas and a top-10 Iowa team paying the Bucks a visit, not to mention a road trip to Ann Arbor where Ohio State has dropped 7 of its last 8 games.  On the other hand, the Buckeyes have a player by the name of Ted Ginn, who is unlike any player I have seen at the college level.  My call is for the Buckeyes to go 9-2.  But would it surprise me to see OSU in Pasadena in early January?  No.

Walk-ons Earn Scholarships
September 1, 2005 9:30am EST

Jim Tressel announced today that John Conroy, Steve Winner and Rob Harley are now scholarship players, and no longer "walk-ons."   This is a clear show of support for the hard work and dedication these players have provided during their time on the team.  While I don't know the others personally, I have met Steve Winner and his family and they are simply terrific people.
 
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