2011 Jersey Scrimmage
April 27, 2011 6:15 pm EST
There has been a lot of speculation that Urban Meyer has moved to Columbus and is positioning himself to be the next coach at Ohio State.  No one knows for sure but according to his daughter, he is not heading to OSU.  Nicki Meyer is a student and volleyball player at Georgia.  She recently posted on Twitter: 

"Stop txting me abt my dad. HE IS NOT repeat NOT, GOING TO OHIO STATE. Thanks," 
2011 Jersey Scrimmage
April 17, 2011 4:00 pm EST
I had a chance to attend the OSU jersey scrimmage yesterday.  Some notes and thoughts..... 

I usually try not to get too worked up about what appears to be the good and the bad in one small look at the team, but I can’t help but come away with some real concerns about the offense. I have probably seen a dozen or so jersey scrimmages in the Tressel era and realize that the defense is always ahead of the offense at this stage, but I’ve never seen an OSU offense look this bad in one of these scrimmages.  I can think of maybe 5 or 6 decent plays that offense had….out of about 60. It was an utter beatdown by the defense. 

Can’t say that any of the 4 QB’s played well. Would have to say Taylor Graham looked the best – definitely showcased his big arm, but really struggled with the short range throws. Reminds me of Robby Schoenhoft, although I think Graham has a higher ceiling. Lack of mobility isn’t going to do him any favors in this QB race. 

Thought Kenny Guiton looked the worst of the four. Looked like he’s regressed since I saw him last, although I’m sure he’s better than he played yesterday. Can’t find many things he or Bauserman did well as they both struggled in just about every phase of their game. 

Braxton Miller has a long way to go and I have to wonder if he is a lock to play this year as he was supposedly promised. The back-to-back QB sneaks that failed to get a foot, with Miller behind the 1st team O-line, can’t do much for his confidence. I still love the kid’s upside and think he will eventually be a good one. Pryor was on the field, standing behind the offense, coaching Braxton whenever he was in the game. Other than the sneaks, I can’t remember any called keepers with Miller in the game. It appears that the coaches are intent on mentoring Miller much the way they taught Pryor, a strategy I think has yielded very good results with Pryor. 

As bad as the QB’s looked, the WR’s may have looked worse. I will say that Posey beat every DB that tried to cover him in the 7-on-7 portion of the practice, but just about every other WR struggled big time. Countless dropped passes and were pretty much blanketed by the CB’s all day. The passing game as a whole was as bad as it gets, but the defensive pressure obviously had a lot to do with that. 

Johnny Simon and Big Hank had huge games. Simon’s strip of Guiton and subsequent coverage of the fumble was quite impressive. Simon had fallen to the ground as he stripped the ball from Guiton, but got up and still beat everyone else to the ball that had squirted about 5 yards away. My buddy and I just shook our heads, saying “wow”. Jonathan Hankins played about twice as many plays as I thought he could play and disrupted things all day long. As critical as I’ve been of the offense, these two and the rest of the defense did make life hell on the O most of the day. 

And I have to give kudos to the corners. Howard looks like he’s in midseason form and I don’t think the Bucks can go wrong with Clarke, Roby or Dionte Allen, for that matter, at the spot opposite Howard. 

Other misc tidbits/comments: 

--CJ Barnett participated in non-contact drills and is running very fluidly. I have to think that, barring any setbacks, Barnett has a good chance of reclaiming his starting safety job in August. 

--I can’t help but envision an OSU offense (in September) that resembles the Clarett-less 2003 offense that went multiple games without scoring a touchdown. I don’t think it’s going to be pretty. 

--Didn’t see Zach Domicone, although I may have missed him. I didn’t hear anything about him being hurt, but maybe that’s why I didn’t see him. 

--As much criticism as JB Shugarts got last year, the O-line looks like they really could have used him yesterday. Shugarts was on the sideline with ice on his shoulder and I don’t think played at all. 

--Hard to judge the RB’s, as they were often immediately met by multiple defenders when they got the ball. Jordan Hall did impress, and man, does it look like he is getting up to full speed quickly. Rod Smith is quite the physical specimen and moves very well for a big RB. 

--The KO coverage unit got torched three or four kickoffs in a row before the jersey scrimmage really got going. Jamaal Berry took one to the house and can flat out fly. Not sure I’d read too much into the coverage woes as there may have been three or more dozen guys used on the different KO coverage units. 

--Many guys were held out yesterday for injury or precautionary reasons: Tyler Moeller, CJ Barnett (as mentioned), Storm Klein, JB Shugarts (as mentioned), Terrelle PryorChristian Bryant, and I’m sure there are others I am missing. 

--Simon played both inside and outside and was effective wherever he lined up. 

--Other than Adams at left tackle and Brewster at center with the ones, lots of mix and match with the other three O-line spots with the first team. 

--It looked to me like Dominic Clarke played with the ones at CB a bit more than Bradley Roby, but Roby was quite impressive when he was in there.

-From Brent Baver

Vegas Pawning Off OSU's Gold Pants?
April 5, 2011 10:00 pm EST
Ever want to buy your very own pair of Gold Pants?  Awarded to Buckeye football players for a victory over Michigan, it used to be a cherished keepsake.  Now you can buy them at a pawn shop.  Two of the most recent pants for sale were actually available on television.

Pawn Stars is an American reality television series on the History Channel. The series is filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it chronicles the daily activities at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, a 24-hour family business operated by patriarch Richard Harrison, his son Rick Harrison, and Rick's son Corey.  Last night two pairs of 'gold pants' were up for sale.  This does not seem too surprising any more considering the current stories of OSU awards being sold by players.

A seller, identified on the show as ‘Bob,’ said a charm from 2008 once belonged to former Buckeye defensive tackle Doug Worthington.  Another charm, from 2002, has the initials ‘L.B.’. The seller said he does not know the player’s first name. There are no players on Ohio State’s published list of letterwinners with the first initial ‘L’ and last name ‘Boone,’ but it could be from  LeAndre Boone, a defensive back, was part of the program in 2002 and 2003.  The seller received $2000 for the charms. 

For the record, Doug Worthington has said he still has his 2008 gold pants.

Carter Enrolls at Alabama
April 3, 2011 7:00 am EST
It appears there is one less receiver option in the Buckeye future.  For those that were holding out hope that Duran Carter, son of Buckeye great Cris Carter, would return to Columbus, that seems to be less likely now.  Young Carter plans to enroll at Alabama in June to play for the Crimson Tide next fall, this according to reports from his father.

Duran played as a freshman at OSU in 2009 and had 13 catches for 176 yards.  However he ran into some issues academically and decided to leave Ohio State for Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.

OSU Announces Interim Coach for 2011 Season
March 30, 2011 4:00 pm EST
Not a huge surprise but the coach which will start the 2011 season has been announced.  AD Gene Smith announced that Luke Fickell has been promoted to assistant head coach for Ohio State football.  In that role, he will serve as interim head coach for the first five games of the Buckeyes’ 2011 season. He will also retain his role as linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator.
“Luke Fickell is a Buckeye to the core. He has earned this promotion to assistant head coach through his hard work, dedication and performance,” said Smith. “ We have great trust and belief in Luke’s ability to work with our entire coaching staff to lead our young men through the first five games this fall. I have confidence our entire football family will work together to maintain our standard of excellence.”

I do believe this is the best choice from the current staff, I just hope the defense will not suffer.  I really thought there was a tangible difference when Fickell left the press box and returned to the field during the 2010 season.

Fickell is in his 10th year on the Ohio State coaching staff. He coaches the Buckeyes linebackers and is co-defensive coordinator, a role he assumed in April, 2005. In 2010, he was selected as the AFCA’s Assistant Coach of the Year for FBS schools, and was also named Linebacker Coach of the Year by Football Scoop.
During his first two years at Ohio State, Fickell was in charge of the special teams and assisted with the defensive front. In his role as special teams coordinator, Fickell had specific responsibility for the punting team. Under his tutelage, that unit excelled, leading the Big Ten in net punting in three of the past six years. 

Fickell played for the Buckeyes from 1992-96, redshirting the first year and then starting the next four seasons at nose guard. He started a school-record 50 consecutive games between 1993 and 1996.
Luke -- May the Force Be With You

Hooley No Longer at 97.1 : Station Can't Handle the Truth?
March 17, 2011 9:30 pm EST
As most of you Buckeye fans have noticed, Bruce Hooley is no longer at 'The Fan'.  Steven Smith came across the blog below which gives a great rundown of the life and death of Hooley in Columbus.  It comes from 'SportsbyBrooks' a page by Brooks Melchior, who has experience with WBNS radio.  The post:

In the late ‘90 I worked at WBNS radio in Columbus, the flagship station for Ohio State football and basketball. My duties at the station included hosting an afternoon drive talkshow and the pre- and postgame shows for Buckeye football broadcasts. I had nothing but good times in Columbus and at WBNS. I left the station for a job in Kansas City in 1999, but will always cherish my time in central Ohio.

I don’t envy the talk hosts currently in the business of giving their opinions on WBNS, for obvious reasons. Ohio State’s bungled response to football coach Jim Tressel’s confirmed major NCAA violation - which includes a contradictory defense from the coach himself - leaves any talk host with a fiber of integrity no choice but to criticize the school’s mishandling of the affair.

During my years doing a weekday talkshow at WBNS, there were many times that I would’ve been remiss had I not been critical of something involving the Buckeyes. On more than one of those occasions, Ohio State Director of External Affairs Larry Romanoff called the station to complain that I was being too negative about Ohio State.

Before today, I couldn’t begin to conceptualize how difficult it must be for current WBNS hosts thanks to Ohio State’s multiple, admitted NCAA and ethical indiscretions. Though from I’ve been told happened at WBNS the past week, I now have a pretty good idea.

Today the highest-rated talk host at WBNS, Bruce Hooley, announced that he was leaving the station. A station source told me today that Hooley’s January monthly ratings were higher than the station’s Ohio State football-bolstered fall ratings. With the winter radio ratings period ending shortly, Hooley was likely in line for a ratings bonus from WBNS.

In a blog entry on his personal site, Hooley wrote:

My employment at 97.1 The Fan ended Thursday, March 17, after nearly six years years when I reached a mutual agreement with the station to part ways.

If you would like to know the station’s rationale, you will need to contact General Manager Dave VanStone davevanstone@radiohio.com and Program Director Jay Taylor jay.taylor@radiohio.com

I did my final shows Wednesday and Thursday of last week in the aftermath of the press conference at Ohio State announcing head coach Jim Tressel’s NCAA violations in the Tattoo-Gate case. My show was pre-empted Friday by Ohio State’s opener in the Big Ten Tournament. 

Late Friday afternoon, my attorney, Bret Adams, received a call telling me not to report to work on Monday. Mr. Van Stone said he wanted to meet with Bret to discuss re-assigning me to other duties. That’s when Bret and I suggested we explore a separation that would be satisfactory to both parties. Bret and Mr. Van Stone handled it from there. I’m very thankful their talks were both professional and productive.

When I was in Columbus in the ’90s, Hooley was the Ohio State beat reporter for the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER. At that time, he was known as the most aggressive guy on the beat, often breaking OSU stories. As a Columbus talk host, his reporting was a must-read in my daily preparation for the show.

Long after I left the station, Hooley joined WBNS as a fulltime talk show host, quitting his job with the Plain Dealer in 2005. Until today, Hooley had co-hosted weekday talkshows on the station with Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Spielman, while also going solo at times.

I’ve never met Hooley but from what I’ve heard of his WBNS work over the years, he’s the same direct, informative and honest guy about Ohio State as he was in print. Sometimes brutally honest.

In other words, a rare breed in the ultimate college town.

As someone who has basically done the same job as Hooley, though during a different era at Ohio State, I have a lot of admiration for someone who is willing to take the hits that often accompany an objective opinion on what is perhaps Ohio State’s highest profile house organ. So it’s a shame for Buckeye fans that Hooley has decided to leave the station one week after - perhaps not coincidentally - Buckeye icon Kirk Herbstreit announced he was moving his family out of Columbus because of harassment at the hands of Ohio State fans.

So why did Hooley walk out on WBNS?

A station source told me today that Hooley was called into a meeting at WBNS last Wednesday. The meeting was expressly timed by station management to catch Hooley before he was able to first comment on Ohio State’s press conference the day before in which it announced its NCAA violation. I was told today that Hooley was instructed by WBNS management not to “scorch the earth” when giving his thoughts on what turned about to be an OSU public relations botch job of epic proportion.

In listening to a portion of Hooley’s subsequent Wednesday show, I heard him say that as an Ohio State alumnus, he was tired of Tressel’s program embarrassing the school. Hooley then listed other past NCAA violations on Tressel’s watch at OSU (Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith, Tattoogate) and Youngstown State. (YSU QB Ray Isaac testified in federal court under oath that a booster Tressel introduced him to, Mickey Monus, gave him $10,000 and “2-3″ cars why he was playing for the Penguins.)

Also during the Wednesday show, Hooley noted a comment his former radio partner Spielman made on an OSU fundraising cruise in February in which the Buckeye legend pointed out that the school is not just the football program .. “it’s the cancer hospital, the business school .. it’s a lot bigger than football.” (Spielman’s wife Stefanie died of breast cancer in 2009.)

Speaking of Spielman, at the end of 2010 the OSU icon himself left as a regular WBNS presence after most recently co-hosting a weekday talkshow with Hooley. Before effectively leaving the station, Spielman had appeared on the station regularly for the previous 10 years, even as his wife Stefanie endured her excruciating, protracted battle with cancer.

A station source told me today that WBNS station manager Dave Vanstone rewarded Spielman’s loyalty with an initial “hardball” contract negotiation approach with the Buckeye icon last September. Hooley was also provided the same treatment by Vanstone at the time.

It was that, Spielman’s family obligations and Vanstone and WBNS Program Director Jay Taylor’s micromanagement of the on-air approach by Spielman and Hooley that caused the Ohio State legend to re-evaluate his relationship with the station.

Despite what I’ve been told are recent claims to the contrary by station management, Spielman will now only make limited appearances on the station going forward. The new deal he has in place calls for him to make one appearance per week on the station’s two local shows and occasional appearances on a weekly show about OSU football.

Losing Spielman’s regular presence is, of course, an enormous loss for WBNS in more ways than one. No former Buckeye, save perhaps Herbstreit, is higher profile than Spielman thanks to his stellar football career and national television broadcasting work. And Stefanie Spielman’s inspirational battle with cancer is known by millions not only in Ohio, but nationally. The Stefanie Spielman Breast Cancer Research Fund has raised over $7 million for Ohio State James Cancer Center.

After losing Spielman, Hooley’s importance to WBNS was doubly important. When Hooley entered WBNS, Herbstreit and Spielman were an everyday radio staple for Columbus Buckeyes fans. Now with Herbstreit and Spielman essentially gone from the Buckeye flagship, Hooley was by far the highest-profile and most credible personality at the station.

But - from what I’ve been told by a station source - Vanstone’s tone deaf managerial style along with onerous on-air oversight by station PD Taylor, as with Spielman, is what caused Hooley to also leave the station. Station source:

“This is a huge loss for us. Bruce gave us credibility. He’s covered Final Fours, national championship games. No one else here has his background. The implied message to our listeners is, ‘If you say something bad about Ohio State, you’re gone.’ It makes us all look bad.”

Having worked essentially the same job at WNBS I can confirm that with Ohio State bracing for what could be the worst NCAA violations it has ever faced, now is exactly the wrong time for WBNS to lose the most experienced, credible voice on all things Ohio State.If Hooley indeed left the Buckeye flagship radio station because of, in part, comments he made about Jim Tressel, it’d be rather ironic.

Knowing what I know about the NCAA’s case against Ohio State, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that much like Hooley covered the Buckeyes long before Tressel arrived in Columbus, he’ll still be covering them long after Tressel is gone.

NCAA Denies OSU Request to Reduce Player Suspension Tressel Adds to His Suspension
March 17, 2011 8:45 pm EST
Coach Tressel and the university have been widely criticized in the wake of that news conference for what many perceive as a soft stance against the 11th-year coach. Tressel was found in violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1, which requires coaches and others to be truthful and forthcoming about possible NCAA violations.  Since 2006, the NCAA has sanctioned 27 schools for violating bylaw 10.1. Of the 12 coaches involved, only one kept his job. The others either resigned or were fired by their schools.

Stories from inside the program indicate that Tressel has suggested to the university he serve the same length of suspension as the players, five games.  OSU is still waiting for the official NCAA ruling on the matter.

It appears the player's status is now official.  Tonight, Ohio State found out the NCAA held up the initial ruling on the five suspended players.  The team was hoping the suspension would be reduced.  Besides missing the first five games of the season, Adams, Herron, Posey, Pryor and Thomas must also repay money and benefits ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.

"While we are disappointed that our appeal request was denied, we respect the NCAA and accept its ruling," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. "The players are sorry for the disappointment they have caused, will learn from their mistakes, and will strive to earn the confidence and support of everyone associated with the university through their future conduct."

Football Team Mourns the Loss of Student Assistant
February 26, 2011 9:30 am EST
Buckeye fans were saddened as the university announced Jake Nickle, a volunteer assistant with the Ohio State football strength and conditioning program passed away.  He was playing a pickup basketball game at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Friday morning when he suddenly fell unconscious to the court. He was quickly transported to the Ohio State Medical Center but was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.  
The specific cause of death has not yet been announced.
A native of Marysville, Ohio, Nickle played Capital University.

Spring Game Date Set
February 7, 2011 10:30 pm EST
The 2011 Ohio State football spring game is scheduled for April 23rd at 1:30 pm.  For the second straight year, the Ohio North-South Classic high-school all-star game will be staged late Friday afternoon on April 22nd. The next morning at 11:00 am, the Ohio State men's lacrosse team will take on Fairfield. The spring football game will follow. One ticket will gain admission to both Saturday games, and advance-purchase tickets are available for $7 each, plus a $2 per ticket surcharge at ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Tickets purchased the day of the game at the gate will be $15 each, cash only. OSU students and children 6 and under will be admitted free

Sanzenbacher Gives the Big Ten 11
January 25, 2011 6:00 pm EST
There is one more name from the Big Ten at this week's Senior Bowl.  The only question is why was Dane not considered earlier. 

Wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2010, is a late addition to the North team roster. Sanzenbacher joins Buckeyes teammate Ross Homan in Mobile, AL., and gives the Big Ten 11 participants in the game. The Big Ten group would be larger, but Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn has opted out of the game and two OSU players, cornerback Chimdi Chekwa and defensive lineman Cameron Heyward are injured. 

Sanzenbacher led the Big Ten in both receiving yards (948) and touchdown catches (11). 
No Buckeye Juniors in the Draft this Year
January 19, 2011 4:00 pm EST
For the first time since 2003, Ohio State will not lose any underclassmen to the NFL draft.  This was not a major surprise since we have been hearing from each of our primary to-be-seniors since late December that they intended to return.  Of the five players who are suspended to start the 2011 season, all had verbally committed to remain on the squad.  With the announcement last week that Mike Brewster would return as well, it completed the story.  Now the only question will be if their suspension will be reduced by the NCAA.

In a related story, a record 56 juniors declared early entry to the NFL.  Will be interesting to see how they feel about that if there is a lockout. 

Homan to Play in Senior Bowl
January 17, 2011 1:00 pm EST
97.1thefan has reported the 62nd Senior Bowl will have linebacker Ross Homan on the North squad in the Jan.29 college all-star game in Mobile, Ala.  The North will be led by the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff, including head coach Marvin Lewis. 

Homan, from Coldwater, Ohio, was voted by the coaches as first team All-Big Ten in 2010, a season he capped with a nine-tackle effort in the Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas.
OSU cornerback Chimdi Chekwa had been expected to play in the Senior Bowl, but he had to bow out after suffering a dislocated right wrist in the Sugar Bowl, an injury that needed surgery to repair.

Ten Years of Tressel
January 17, 2011 12:00 am EST
It is ten years later and we are still 'proud of these young men' and their performance against Michigan this past decade. This was certainly an example of one of the things Andy Geiger got right.

Mike Brewster Plans to Return For the 2011 Season
January 10, 2011 5:30 pm EST
According to the report from Tim May today posted on dispatch.com, center Michael Brewster said today he will return for his senior season at Ohio State.

"I want to be a leader on this team in the 2011 season, and I think I'm ready for that," Brewster said.

Leadership will be important in 2011 as the Buckeyes will start the season without the services of quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron, receiver DeVier Posey, left tackle Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas.  As everyone knows by now, they each presently face a five game suspension to start the season, pending the appeal process.  All five are allowed to work out and practice with the team.

Brewster was named first team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America this season.  NFLdraftscout.com had rated him No.1 out of a 74 possible centers who could have been in the 2011 draft.  Along with being named All-American by the FWAA, he was voted first team all-Big Ten by the media that covers the league, and second team all-Big Ten by the coaches.

Happy New Year From Buckeye50!
January 1, 2011 12:00 am EST
From all of us at Buckeye50, we hope you had a great 2010 and an even better 2011.  Nothing would bring in the new year better than a victory in the Sugar Bowl over the Arkansas Razorbacks.  We again want to thank you for your continued support and loyalty to our site.  We had another record breaking year in terms of traffic (100,581 hits for the home page) and hope to make your experience even better in the future.  Go Bucks!

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