More Updates From the Big Ten Meetings
July 28, 2009 8:00 pm EST

We were not able to get to the Big Ten meetings this year in Chicago, but we will plan to be at Media/Photo Day August 13th.  Ken Gordon of the Columbus Dispatch blogged some interesting notes today in the final day of the meetings  Here are a few of the notes we we found to be most revealing.

-- Asked about the left tackle position, Jim Tressel answered with three names competing for two tackle spots: Mike Adams, J.B. Shugarts and Andrew Miller. Then he spoke of "young guys" who might try and push those three.  Now, does that mean players such as Bryant Browning or Jim Cordle are out of the tackle mix on the two-deep? Just think of all the offsides penalties that will be eliminated.

-- It seems there was a lot of mention of LB Austin Spitler, apparently this guy is seizing his long-awaited opportunity. It sounds as if he's pushing himself hard in the weight room and drills.  The defense will definitely be in need of a stand out linebacker after losing Laurinaitis and Freeman.

-- Tressel says he has to find a balance when it comes to how often Pryor runs the ball. He realizes what a weapon he has, Pryor ran a 4.33 in the 40 over the summer, but he also does not want to unnecessarily risk his franchise player.  For those of you who wanted to see the offense open up this year like 2006, you may be waiting a bit longer.  He mentioned two former QBs: Dennis Dixon of Oregon and Pat White of West Virginia, as examples of guys who were huge assets to their teams when they ran, but whose teams plummeted once they got hurt.

OSU Voted #1 in the Big Ten for 2009
July 27, 2009 6:30 pm EST

The Big Ten meetings have begun in Chicago.  The first order of business (after a trip to Ed Debevic's) for the media to rank the teams in the conference for the coming season.  OSU was picked #1 this year, followed by (2)Penn State and (3)Michigan State. The Spartans are probably the biggest surprise after losing their starting quarterback and running back.

As per comments from Coach Tressel, it appears that Jaamal Berry will not be subject to suspension from his arrest in Florida.  I guess it is considered to be part of his past, before he officially started at Ohio State.  And I am sure that the fact that Hyde was not available had nothing to do with this.

One reporter asked if Pryor would be considered a candidate for captain this year.  It did not seem like Tressel would rule it out, but did add it is a lot of extra responsibility for a player and it would be especially difficult for a sophomore.  Pryor was voted as the preseason Offensive Player of the year for the league (I wonder who Spurrier voted for?).

Toledo Tickets to Go on Sale to the Public
July 21, 2009 10:00 am EST

I guess that while trying to sell Toledo Booster memberships with the OSU game tickets, the Rockets athletic office has failed to sell out the game.  Toledo officials have announced that more than 6,000 tickets for the Buckeye's game against Toledo in Cleveland Browns Stadium will go on sale at the University of Toledo ticket office at 9:00 am, July 27th.  In the news release, they indicated tickets for the September 19th game will be available for $55 and $45. As this is considered a Rockets home game, they had originally tried to sell tickets to the public, but only if you paid $150 for a membership to the Rocket Booster organization.

Toledo students with a current identification card will be allowed to purchase two tickets for $25 each, and more at full price.  The crowd in the 73,000-seat stadium is expected to be primarily dressed in scarlet and gray. The Buckeyes last played a "road game" in Cleveland in 1991, when Northwestern allowed promoters to move a home game to the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Northwestern lost the game but got most of the gate.  Toledo is expected to clear $4 million from the gate. - Gregg

Backfield Looks for Depth
July 20, 2009 9:00 pm EST

As a school, Ohio State has had it's share of great running backs.  Some have won Heismans, one has one a pair.  Some came wanting to win and fell short.  No matter what year it is, you can almost always count on the Buckeyes 'reloading'  at the tail back position.  This year was no different.  The stable was filled with two capable running backs, Brandon Saine and Dan Herron, and two top prospects highlighted the current recruiting class.  Now one won't play this year and the other is questionable after an arrest in Florida.

Carlos Hyde still plans to play football at Ohio State, but because he fell just short on his pre-enrollment test score, he will have to wait at least until January to become a Buckeye.  He is the only member of OSU's 2009 recruiting class who is not on campus this summer. Hyde scored a 16 on his ACT test. He needs a 17 to qualify, and he can't take the test again until September.  He is considered a power back who possibly could have helped fill the void left by the departure of Chris Wells. If nothing else, he would have given the team more depth positioning in the backfield, since Daniel Herron and Brandon Saine are the only two upperclassmen returning.

Originally from Cincinnati, Hyde was sent to Naples by his family his sophomore year of high school so he could grow up in what his mother said was a better environment. He flourished in football, gaining more than 2,700 yards the past two seasons while helping his team to a state title in 2007 and to the third round of the playoffs last year.  Hyde plans to attend and play football for Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, retake the ACT and enroll at OSU in January.

Jaamal Berry is on campus and eligible to play after his charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said it was too early to speculate what role Berry might play this fall.

In the meantime Jermil Martin has moved from fullback to tailback.  I guess this will make room for all the players the coaches seem to keep trying out at the fullback position.

Fans Rush to Find Out What Tickets They Won - Cause Web Site Crash
July 8, 2009 2:30 pm EST

I guess there is no limit to the interest in Buckeye football.  I am down in Myrtle Beach this week with family and friends and every store you go to selling college merchandise has Buckeye items.  Two beach houses down from us, they vacationers are proudly hanging their Buckeye banner from their second floor balcony.  And as I sign into my computer today, I see that the rush of alumni trying to find out what home game they received this year caused the site to crash.

I guess alumni wanted to know which game they had been awarded tickets to in the annual lottery. Because of a new procedure, winners were sent an e-mail telling them to check the alumni association's Web site.  Of course thousands tried to log on at once, and the site's server crashed for a couple of hours.  OSU reported that 35,700 members were successful in gaining two tickets apiece to a home game, roughly 90 percent of those who participated. There were 11,050 big winners -- each won two tickets to the season's premier home game on September 12th against USC.  Because the USC game and the season opener with Navy (11,749 pairs) occur before fall quarter, more tickets were available to alumni. Otherwise, the breakdown went as follows: Minnesota (3,038), Iowa (2,942), Illinois (2,621), New Mexico State (2,193 pairs) and Wisconsin (2,121). - Gregg

Berry's Future Looks Brighter
July 4, 2009 8:00 pm EST

Jaamal Berry, OSU freshman running back, was arrested June 11th in his hometown of Miami and charged with possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, a third-degree felony.  Ohio State's code of conduct indicates students convicted of a felony can be suspended or even dismissed from school.  No player has ever been charged with a felony since Tressel has been here and saw the field.  For a while it did not appear he would even ever carry the ball for the scarlet & gray.

Jaamal Berry's future with the Ohio State football team looks a lot brighter now that his drug-possession charge has been reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.  It's not clear when the change occurred, but Miami-Dade County court records show the charge now is possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. That is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Now, no matter the outcome of the case, Berry's discipline likely will be almost solely at the discretion of coach Jim Tressel.  If convicted, it still would count as a first offense under the athletic department drug and alcohol policy, which means Berry would be subject to counseling and increased drug testing.

Berry, 18, reported to campus as scheduled for the start of summer quarter classes June 22.

OSU Announced as Underdog Versus the Trojans
June 30, 2009 5:45 pm EST

During Tressel's first year, the Buckeyes were coming off a bad losses to Michigan and South Carolina in the Outback Bowl the previous year.  Yet they were only underdogs at home once his rookie season and that was against the Illini, who eventually won the Big Ten.  For that game, they were on the short end of a 34-22 final.  OSU was favored in the 'shoe for all the 2002 and 2003 campaigns.  In 2004, three straight losses to start conference play knocked them out of the top 25, and when rival Michigan came to town, they came in as 5 point favorites.  That proved to be Troy's coming out party in route to a 37-21 victory.  Then again, Ohio State went two straight years where they were favored wearing the scarlet jerseys.  It wasn't until last year against Penn State that the Buckeyes were underdogs at home.  Unfortunately last year's loss to the Nittany Lions changed Tressel's record to 1-2 when he was an underdog in Columbus.  

Several Vegas lines were opened this week on the major games which includes the rematch against the Trojans September 12th.  Let's hope that Coach Tressel can even up that slate when Pete Carroll comes to town.

The last time Ohio State won when they were the underdog was in 2005 at Texas against the Longhorns.

Katzenmoyer, Colzie and LeBeau to be Inducted into the OSU Athletics Hall of Fame
June 24, 2009 8:15 am EST

An Olympic gold medalist, the school's first Butkus Award winner, a record-setting defensive back and a coach with two Super Bowl rings are among the 12-member class that will be inducted this year into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.

Linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer leads the list of athletes from the football program. He won the 1997 Butkus Award and was an All-American before becoming a first-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in 1999. His career ended when suffered a serious neck injury.  Today, he lives in Westerville and works as a personal trainer.

Defensive back Neal Colzie was an All-American who remains among the top 10 in many OSU interception and punt-return categories. Colzie, who died in 2001, was a first-round draft pick in 1975 by the Oakland Raiders. London, Ohio, native Dick LeBeau was a standout two-way football player from 1956-58, then went on to a long NFL playing and coaching career. He is credited with inventing the zone blitz defense, and was a defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers during two of their Super Bowl years.  Another former gridiron great, Pandel Savic is also with the group.  Savic was a three-time letter winner 1947-1949.

The 2009 class is headlined by Michael Redd, a three-time men's basketball MVP and NBA standout with the Milwaukee Bucks who was a member of the gold-medal winning Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  The Columbus native, a graduate of West High School, was the Big Ten freshman of the year in 1998 and helped lead OSU to the Final Four in 1999 before leaving for the 2000 NBA draft.

Also named to the class were: Robert Gary (cross country/track and field), Bob Hopper (swimming), Kaja Fiserova (rowing), Allison Hanna (golf), Vanessa Immordino (field hockey), Emma Laaksonen (ice hockey) and Jim Montrella (women's swimming coach).

The inductions will take place September 25th, and the new class will be introduced at halftime of the football game against Illinois on September 26th.

Former Buckeye Pleads Guilty
June 16, 2009 9:00 am EST

TJ Downing, former offensive lineman for Ohio State, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of cocaine.  Downing was stopped by Grandview Heights police in November because his car had tinted windows and no front license plate.  An officer said he smelled marijuana and searched the car over Downing's objections. Police said they found painkillers, a 12-inch knife, a gun wrapped in clothes in the trunk and 1.4 grams of cocaine in the glove box. A marijuana pipe was in plain sight.

Police later determined that Downing had a permit for the .40-caliber gun and dropped a weapons charge.  Franklin County Common Pleas Judge John P. Bessey set sentencing for August 6th Downing faces probation or a prison term of up to a year. He is free on bond.

Downing, an offensive lineman for Ohio State from 2003-2007, walked out of camp with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals last year, citing personal reasons.

Buckeye Recruit Arrested on Marijuana Charges
June 11, 2009 7:30 pm EST

Is this the influence we want in the Buckeye locker room?

As always, we will want to hear all the details as they unfold but stories out of Florida indicate that OSU recruit Jaamal Berry has been arrested for felony marijuana possession, court records show.  Berry, a top back from Miami and an ESPNU 150 prospect, was arrested Today and charged with possession of more than 28 grams of marijuana. The third-degree felony carries a penalty of up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Neither Ohio State nor Berry's high school coach Larry Coffey, are commenting at this time.

Berry is rated as the nation's third best running back and 22nd best player in the 2009 recruiting class, according to ESPN's Scouts Inc. He is regarded as one of Ohio State's top incoming recruit and had been expected to compete for playing time as a true freshman next season.

Spielman Elected to College Football Hall of Fame
May 1, 2009 8:00 pm EST

Former OSU Linebacker Chris Spielman became the 28th Ohio State player or coach to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, when he was announced as part of the 2009 class.  Spielman was a high school star at Massillon Washington, with his picture on a box of Wheaties, before playing at OSU from 1984 to 1987. He was a two-time All-American, winner of the 1987 Lombardi Award and is the school's third-leading tackler (546) and is first in solo tackles (283).

Earle Bruce, Spielman's coach at Ohio State, said Spielman "epitomizes a football player. He loves the game of football, no doubt about that. He was dedicated to playing hard, he was tough and he liked the game. He displayed it every Friday night or Saturday afternoon."

Spielman was drafted by Detroit in the second round of the 1988 NFL draft and played 11 seasons for the Lions and the Buffalo Bills. He retired in 1999 after re-injuring his neck while in training camp with the Cleveland Browns.  Now, he works as a college football analyst for ESPN and is co-host of the Big Show on WBNS radio.

Ohio State has had an inductee in seven of the past nine years. The other recent honorees are John Hicks (2001), Bruce (2002), Jack Tatum (2004), Jim Houston (2005), Rex Kern (2007), John Cooper and Lou Holtz (2008).

Spielman's class will be honored at a banquet in New York in December, then officially inducted in a ceremony at the hall of fame in South Bend, IN, in the summer of 2010.
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