Akron Week - Who's on First?
August 30, 2011 5:30 PM

After the 'game week' press conference, we have learned a few more details.  First, it is crystal clear that Joe Bauserman will be the starting quarterback against the Zips.  It is equally clear that Freshman Braxton Miller will get playing time.  Ohio State is NOT about a two QB system, so let this prove to be audition one.  Also, the reason we have not heard announced captains is because it appears there may not be any.  For week 1, JB Shugarts, Mike Brewster and John Simon will be the rotating captains.

I may be alone here, but I am not a fan a rotating captain process.  A team needs a clear leader and this team has enough distractions, this should be an area when we have a solid team member for the new players to look up to. At least 13 players will be starting their first game for the Bucks, we need to create unity and we need it from the first snap.

Men of Scarlet and Gray
August 24, 2011 7:15 PM 

Mike Vrabel’s addition to the coaching staff gives Ohio State six former Buckeye football players with the program led, of course, by Fickell, who still owns the school record with 50 consecutive starts between 1993-96. Other former Buckeyes on board: tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator John Peterson (1987-90), offensive quality control assistant Kirk Barton (2004-07), and strength and conditioning coaches Anthony Schlegel (2004-05) and Jeff Uhlenhake (1985-88).

OSU Should Do Well in 2011
August 22, 2011 5:00 PM

Finally the season is upon us and we can now focus our attention to what is happening on the field.  New head coach Luke Fickell has his hands full with the aftermath of all the chaos that has transpired in the offseason.  Questions at almost every position will keep the Buckeye faithful on edge this season but thankfully coach Fickell has a few creampuffs to get things started.

Akron: Don’t give me the “Any team can lose on any given Saturday” speech and start pointing to the Appalachian State victory over Michigan.  While I still point and laugh at that game myself I can promise that no such thing will happen to the Bucks on the season opener.  Akron was 1-11 last year and they have little hope of improving much on that record in 2011.  

Synopses:  Bucks break in a new quarterback and roll over the Zips. 

Toledo: Unlike Akron, Toledo has shown signs of life in recent years and has been able to upset the likes of Colorado, Purdue and (again) Michigan.  The Rockets are serious contenders for the MAC title and a post season Bowl appearance.  Another OSU home game against and in-state rival will make things interesting for a few quarters but eventually Ohio State will wear them down.

Synopses:  Toledo will have something to cheer about until early in the third quarter when OSU pulls away. 

@Miami (FL):  So you think Ohio State is in trouble?  EGAD!  The “U” is in such deep .. um ..” waters” that they may never resurface.  I’m not really looking forward to all the sports comedians as they label the game “The Cheat-o’s Bowl” or “Cheat-gate” or something stupid like that.  Both teams should have their quarterback situation figured out by now.  This will be the first big road test for the young Buckeyes and their rookie coach. 
 
Synopses: The Hurricanes have the tools to beat the Buckeyes.  If Ohio State is to win, the Silver Bullet defense has to step up and shut down the super-fast Miami wide receivers.  I’m still going with the Bucks.

Colorado: The move to the Pac-12 isn’t going to help the win/loss ratio for the Buffaloes.  The trip to Columbus will be even worse.  Giving up 30.8 points per game in 2011, the Buffs first year head coach Jon Embree has a great deal of work to do.  The big question will be whether or not the Buckeyes can focus with the task at hand knowing that they open up the Big 10 (12) season starting the following week.

Synopses: Fear not, all will go as planned and the Bucks will roll into open the Big 10 (12) season  4-0.

Michigan State: The first true test of the year is also the game where Buckeye Nation welcomes back the three suspended players that were the focal point in this summer’s drama.  You already know that MSU head coach Mark Dantonio is chomping at the bit to get into a BCS game and with 13 starters back, this is by far his most experienced and talented team since taking the position four years ago.  It’s a good thing this one is in Ohio Stadium.

Synopses: The Buckeye defense is going to have to come up big in this one.  The Spartans feature Kirk Cousins at quarterback and Edwin Baker at tailback; both legitimate first team All-Big Ten players.  I’m on the fence on this one.  Lemme flip a coin....HEADS!  CRAP!  Sparty wins.

@Nebraska: With all suspended starters back, a game under their belts and a stinging loss the previous week, Ohio State travels to Lincoln, Nebraska for the first time.  Nebraska returns home after a knock-down-drag-out-dog-fight with Wisconsin the previous week.  The Buckeyes have a chance to catch the Huskies licking their wounds but with a rookie quarterback and head coach I have a hard time picking the Buckeyes.

Synopses: When was the last time Ohio State dropped two regular season games in a row?  2004.  

@Illinois: The Illini will live and die by their quarterback Nathan “Careful Pronouncing His Name” Scheelhaase.  With questions at the tailback position, Scheelhaase (careful) is the best chance that Illinois has to get to the Big Ten Championship game.  Illinois always plays the Bucks tough in Columbus but seem to be apathetic in Champaign. 
 
Synopses: Say it with me… Scheelhaase Scheelhaase Scheelhaase Scheelhaase Shee..OOPS!

Wisconsin: The BIG revenge game!  Or is it?  The Badgers made departed quarterback Terrelle Pryor look silly last year in Madison and this was supposed to be the payback game for Pryor.  Alas!  Pryor got him, his coach and the entire program in a heap of trouble and he is now making his way to the NFL.  Depending on the outcome of the Nebraska game, Wisconsin could easily be undefeated coming into Columbus.  A lot will be on the line for this game.

Synopses: I wasn’t going to but I’m calling it.  Bucks win and I hope they leave that damn band of theirs back at home.

Indiana: I’m thinking that if the Hoosiers are 3-7 coming into this game that it might be a minor miracle.
  
Synopses: Bucks win. 

@Purdue: Man, I hate playing Purdue in West Lafayette.  For whatever reason the Boilermakers seem rise to the occasion and always give the Buckeyes their best shot.  That said, last year’s 2-6 conference record does not bode well for the Boilermakers.
  
Synopses: The Bucks get punched in the face early but eventually put Purdue in its place.

Penn State: Last year’s 7-6 season was a fluke and we will all see a much improved Penn State.  The Bucks will have trouble moving the ball through the air against the Lions due to the outrageously talented PSU secondary.  Penn State has only beaten OSU once in Columbus since joining the conference in 1993 and I expect the norm to hold true.

Synopses: I love Joe Pa.  I’m just praying that one of his players doesn’t accidentally kill him by the end of the season.  Bucks win in Columbus.

@Michigan: Honestly I’m pretty darn worried about the new Michigan head coach Brady Hoke.  He seems to have that “it” factor Jim Tressel had when he first arrived on the Ohio State campus.  While it’s yet to be seen, I can see the rivalry start gaining momentum with the new Hoke regime.  I’m not calling for a Michigan victory here but I don’t think the Bucks will be the overwhelming dominant force in this rivalry in the near future.

Synopses: Michigan gets a loss here but they will not look like the cupcake we have seen in recent years. 

Final Word:  10-2 will be enough to get the Buckeyes into the inaugural Big Ten Championship game but am I being too much of a blind homer?  Worst case I see is the Buckeyes go 7-5 (losses to Miami, MSU, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan) but I don’t believe that will happen.  Splitting those losses would give the Bucks a chance at the championship game with a 9-3 record and might save coach Fickell’s job.  We will soon see.  The season starts in a few short weeks and it can’t get here soon enough.

GOBUCKS!
Pia Pete

Half the Quarterbacks May Be Out of the Picture
August 18, 2011 5:00 PM

Just a little over two weeks before the season starts and the quarterback picture may be getting more clear.  Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller getting all the 1 and 2 reps (rotating) today.  I think those that were looking for a four quarterback rotation for Akron and Toledo will be disappointed.  Jordan Hall still seems to be the #1 tailback and Carlos Hyde his locked into the first back-up role.  Devon Smith and Evan Spencer were working with the 2's at WR.

On defense, there is a lot of rotation on the front line which is what we really hope to see all year. Doran Grant, Michael Bennett, and Steve Miller were all getting time with the 1's.  Also, Bradley Roby got most of the "Open" CB time with the 1's today.  But it is the D-Line that was looking strong and looking big on this day.  The line-up from left to right was John Simon, Adam Bellamy, Garrett Gobel, Jonathan Hankins.  You read that right, no Nathan Williams and Hankins on the end, and he even blocked a field goal.

Bring on the Zips. 

Offense Continues To Evolve
August 11, 2011 7:00 PM

Another day of practice is in the books.  This will likely be another year when the defense will need to hold serve until the offense is clicking on all cylinders.  We have talked about the line and it appears Carter is going to get a lot of reps with the first team.  At least for today, Jaamal Berry and Carlos Hyde were also with the 1's today, while Jordan Hall and Rod Smith made up the 2nd team.  Brown continues to play the role of the number one receiver but today Vernon Reed was on the other side for the 1st team.

There was a lot of pre snap motion today.  With various players in the backfield splitting wide.  Also a lot of screens with various players getting the ball including Jordan Hall and Philly Brown from the slot.  Clearly they are trying to scheme around the OL... with a quick developing passing game until they feel comfortable that they can get time and a guy to stretch the defense.

Pads tomorrow so we might get a better sense of how they are going to run block/attack on the ground.

First Practice For 2011 Is In The Books
August 8, 2011 1:30 PM

No pads yet but the first practice is in the books.  The number one question is who is going to start at quarterback.  All of them were in the mix and Coach Fickell is not letting anything out of the bag yet.  But based on the playing time today we can mock up most of the starting line-up, at least for now.  Norwell was getting a lot of reps at left tackle and could be the fill in for Mike Adams until he is able to return.  JB Shugarts was basically getting the first string snaps at right tackle and being backed-up by Underwood.  The interior part of the line across the front was Mewhort - Brewster - Hall.  We have been hearing rumors of Jordan Hall moving outside and sure enough, today he was playing wide receiver along with Corey 'Philly' Brown.

At least for the first day, the first string defense was a bit more obvious, than their counter positions on offense.  If Akron was this week, expect to see Simon - Goebel - Hankins - Williams across the front line.  Obviously Solomon Thomas will be back in the mix once he serves his one game suspension.  The starting linebackers appear to be Sabino, Klien and Sweat, and you can put Moeller in there for Klien in nickel situations.  Finally in the backfield, we might expect to see Johnson, Barnett (who had a pick six today in practice) Howard and Clarke.

Of course this is just the first day.    

2011 Buckeyes Have Arrived
August 7, 2011 8:30 PM

Saturday the freshmen reported to the team hotel and today the rest of the team joined the group.  Now all the early morning workouts and the 7-on-7 drills are over and we need to find out how much it paid off.  There are 103 players in camp which sounds like a full team however reports indicate two players we expected (hoped) would be there have yet to check-in.

One is freshman linebacker Connor Crowell, however he is still in Maryland following a surgical procedure on the leg.  Also missing is redshirt freshman wide receiver James Louis.  This continues to fan the flame of the rumors that he may be transferring from Ohio State.  The university was no ready to confirm that Louis had left the program, but did say he would not be available for fall practice.  Perhaps his placement on the depth chart has something to do with his decision if does leave the program.  As we always say at Buckeye 50, if he doesn't want to be here, doesn't want to give 100% to compete for a position, we don't need him in the locker room.

Two walk-ons have been added to the team, both on the thin offensive line.  Nick Humphries is a 6-2, 285-pound lineman from Canton’s Central Catholic High School and Tim Trummer is a guard from Kettering Fairmont. 

OSU Coaching Assignments Announced
August 4, 2011 5:00 PM

Today, Coach Fickell announced a couple of adjustments in the OSU coaching staff.  Running back's coach Dick Tressel will now also take on the duties of the Special Teams coordinator.  Could this be a sign that he will be able to stay on staff even if the offensive coaches are refreshed in 2012?  Also, Coach Haynes has been announced as the Co-Defensive Coordinator, basically taking the role that Fickell vacated when he became head coach.

Fall Schedule Released
August 1, 2011 2:30 AM

Ohio State's SID released the high level schedule for the fall, and it starts Saturday when the Freshman report in to the coaches. This is followed by the upper classmen on Sunday.  The first practice will be 8/9 and the first one with full pads is slated for 8/12. Then the fun really begins on Saturday the 13th as the first set of two-a-days begin (players love those!)  Stay tuned for more details to come right up to the opening game on September 3rd.  We will let you know if we hear any details of an open practice.

Hayward Signs NFL Contract
July 30, 2011 7:45 AM

The Pittsburgh Steelers have already agreed to terms with former Buckeye Cameron Heyward, in the first couple of days after the lock-out was 'unlocked.  They know a good thing when they see it.  The Steelers expect the 6' 5", 288 lbs Heyward to infuse some youth into an aging defense. 

He signed in time to join the rest of the team for practice Friday.  The first round draft pick follows the footsteps of his father, Craig 'Ironhead' Heyward, former NFL running back.

Buckeye Fans Are Optimistic
July 29, 2011 8:30 PM

Our Buckeye50 July Poll has concluded and the results are encouraging.  We asked you what you thought the 2011 regular season record would be for our Buckeyes.  I am certainly happy to report that 52% of you believe the scarlet and gray will win at least 10 times this year.  In fact 34% thought the Buckeyes will be 10-2 and the end of the season.  11% were really giving their all, thinking we will run the table and go undefeated.  For those that were a bit more conservative, 24% are thinking we will have an 'Earle' 9-3 season and 23% fear we are about to fall all the way back to 8-4.  The remaining 7% are thinking 11-1.  At any rate, Go Bucks!

Newsome Removed From Roster
July 27, 2011 11:30 PM

We reported the rumor a couple weeks ago and now it is official.  We still don't know for sure why though, it could be grades but as of now Jonathan Newsome has been removed from the Buckeyes' roster.

"I think that would be an indication of his status for this fall," spokesperson Jerry Emig said.

Emig said Newsome was enrolled in summer school at Ohio State.

Newsome's high-school coach at Cleveland Glenville, Ted Ginn Sr., said he believed Newsome planned to transfer but did not know where.

Newsome played in 13 games as a sophomore in 2010 and was credited with 15 tackles. He was held out of most of the spring practices this year by former coach Jim Tressel for academic reasons.  This is unfortunate as he would have played a big role in replacing 2010 starting linebackers Brian Rolle and Ross Homan.

Former Buckeyes Signed As Free Agents
July 26, 2011 4:30 PM

Now that the NFL strike has been settled, the teams have started to sign some of the best of the undrafted players.  Seven former Buckeyes have landed free agent contracts in the first day after the lockout.  Starting with defensive lineman Dexter Larimore who was picked up by the New Orleans Saints.  Also from the defensive side of the ball, Devon Torrence is now a Minnesota Viking.  Offensive lineman from Pickerington Justin Boren has gone from Michigan to OSU and has landed in Baltimore with the Ravens.  He likes the way the depth chart shapes up. Brandon Saine will get his chances with Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.  Dane Sanzenbacher turned down more money at another team to sign for less money with the Chicago Bears.  He believes he has a better chance of making the roster there. The Rams picked up two more Buckeyes by selecting offensive lineman Bryant Browning and long snapper Jake McQuaide.

On another note, from the rumor mill, Zach Domicone tweeted today that Nate Oliver has switched to linebacker, guess the defensive backfield is just too full.     

Bold Predictions - OSU and the Big Ten
July 25, 2011 2:30 PM

Bold predictions for this season: OSU makes the B10-11-12, (aw whatever) Championship game. Michigan loses to the Bucks again again, but Brady Hoke makes enough progress to resuscitate the rivalry. Wisconsin has a tough time integrating their new QB and goes 9-3.  Michigan State Wins the Legends Division. 

From Steven Smith

Ohio State To Wear Nike Pro Uniforms For Third Straight Year
July 22, 2011 12:15 AM

Nike announced at least one game in during the upcoming football season, nine college football programs will be outfitted with their 2011 Nike Pro Combat uniform system, which was debuted by the University of Oregon in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game.  The Buckeyes will once again participate but it will not be during the Michigan game as it has been the past two years.

Oregon will be one of the nine schools, as will Pac-12 rival Stanford. Army, Boise State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan State, Navy and Ohio State will also wear the uniform system, which will also feature uniquely designed uniforms that incorporate elements of each school's history.

"Nike takes pride in giving athletes an advantage by providing them with cutting edge innovation. The Nike Pro Combat system of dress uniform delivers unparalleled on-field performance benefits while inspiring the team through each uniform's unique design," said Todd Van Horne, Nike's Creative Director for Football. "It is a privilege to collaborate with the coaches and student-athletes to develop a look that's truly distinctive to each university and their teams."

On September 3, Oregon  will wear the uniforms against LSU in their meeting at Cowboys Stadium, and Boise State and Georgia will wear the uniforms in their game at the Georgia Dome. Michigan State will wear the uniform in their annual meeting with Michigan on October 15, LSU will wear the uniforms against Auburn on October 22, and Ohio State will wear them against Wisconsin on October 29.  Stanford will wear their version on November 27 against Notre Dame, while Army and Navy will both be donning the uniforms at FedEx Field on December 10.

Fewer Alumni Buying Tickets
July 16, 2011 9:30 PM

Buckeye50 was founded two months before Tressel took over as head coach.  Over our ten plus years, we have seen highs and lows for the team overall but we have had a steady readership and appreciate the support from our fans.  However, since the Tressel resignation, the site has seen a steady drop in hits. I was wondering if it was us or just a reaction to the state of the football program.  Now I think I have my answer.

According to an article today in the Columbus Dispatch, about 4,900 fewer alumni applied for Ohio State football tickets for the upcoming season than last year.  Is the scandals to blame?  Alumni association and campus officials don't think so. They suspect the drop has more to do with the fact that the Buckeyes will be playing archrival Michigan in Ann Arbor than the ongoing NCAA investigation.

Don't be so sure.  The university better listen to the message that this is not what we fans expect from the team or the school's compliance office.  Also, it doesn't help there is no headline game in the early-season schedule. A disproportionately large chunk of alumni get tickets for early games through the lottery because students aren't yet on campus for school.  

OSU officials also believe the poor economy has kept some people from buying tickets.  (So I guess the economy was just fine in 2010?)  A total of 35,490 alumni applied for the football ticket lottery, 4,917 fewer than last year, Hansen said.
 
Fewer than 10 alumni members out of the 5,200 who contacted the association for ticket issues said they planned to boycott OSU games because of the football scandal. A few dozen more griped about the black eye the NCAA investigation was giving the school as customer-service representatives helped them with their other issues, he said.

Mark Glasper, 54, of Powell has bought Buckeye tickets every year since graduating from Ohio State in 1979.

Glasper said he never considered stopping this year.

But he wonders whether more alumni would have passed if they had known that Tressel would be forced out as coach and quarterback Terrelle Pryor would also leave Ohio State. Alumni had to apply for lottery on May 27, three days before Tressel announced that he was leaving.

"I plan to watch the unfolding investigation very closely," Glasper said. "It may affect my future ticket buying."

Buckeye50 In Favor of the Vrabel Hire
July 12, 2011 6:00 PM

We have heard about the Mike Vrabel hire for a week now, yesterday it became official.  You can read a lot of blogs and fan pages for reactions.  Here at Buckeye 50, we are very pleased with the hire. Vrabel lettered from 1993-96 at Ohio State when John Cooper was the head coach. He was a two-time Big Ten defensive player of the year. As a senior in high school in Akron, his host on his official recruiting visit to Ohio State was Fickell. Here are just a few of our comments.

Pia Pete - Thoughts and predictions:

I'm pretty pumped to see Fickell coach this year.  I am also excited to see Mike Vrabel join the team.  Not because of his coaching prowess but rather that he's a Buckeye through and through and I'm eager to see the fire in his eyes on the sideline.

I am however, a little concerned that Fickell hired his long time buddy to a position.  I'm not saying Mike can't coach or won't be successful but not many programs would have given him such a high ranking position as his first coaching job.

One of the knocks I had about Tressel was that he would almost without fail, go to the YSU well and hire a questionable coach (see QB coach, Nick Siciliano).  Tress was loyal to his people and would rarely look outside the YSU/OSU family for staffing.  It appears that Fickell is following in his predecessor's footsteps. 

My secret hope is for Luke to do a great job in 2011 but not retain the head coach position and get an opportunity as head coach elsewhere, preferable a high profile school.  OSU would then hire Urban Meyer, who would only coach for 6 or so years and retire due to health reasons again.  With that time, Luke will have cut his coaching teeth, met other coaches, experienced new philosophies and seen different styles of play.  I have no doubt that Luke would jump at the chance to head up the Buckeyes again no matter where he is coaching.  That time away experiencing life outside OSU would season the young coach into a fantastic leader.  

My two cents for the day.

PJSBuck - Thoughts and Reactions:

I think speculation on coaching is very fun and interesting.  I for one would like to throw as much support publicly for Fickell as possible (not that others don’t).  

If we step back and think about the job/functions/activities a position coach needs to effectively coach/mentor/direct players under his direct report, I think it is very much a teaching/instructing role first.  A position coach more than any other type of coach, must teach/tutor, mentor and refine everything it means to play the position.  He must require mastery of the basics, then refine skills, techniques and motivation.  More than any other type of coach, a position coach must ultimately get each player to flawlessly and repeatedly execute their position.  Coordinators are more strategic, position coaches are more tactical.

So, teaching, mentoring, developing, perfecting, total game preparation and motivation are the key responsibilities.  But perhaps more than any other aspect of a position coach, they must inspire their players, have credibility with players.  If the players believe the coach, believe in the coach and that coach has credibility with them they will be the most open to learn and react the way they should.  Just think about the coaches that are known for NOT inspiring their players.  

Looking at these factors, I can’t think of a better choice than Vrabel (again, not that anyone was throwing water on him).   He will lead by example, be a tremendous motivator and instructor and the players will look up to him and respect him (in fact, they already do). Fortunately, we must remember that particular coaching position was solid prior to him as Fickell was the coach.  I know experience in any position is very important but I have seen many people who experienced and seemingly “capable” of performing their job that failed to provide the right leadership, or failed to inspire or commanded no respect.  I think we will be well served here with Mike.

ON THE HEAD COACH POSITION

I can only hope that Fickell gets a fair shake.  It is absurd to even think that one must have a perfect season to expect a permanent job offer.  If this is the yardstick, I need to switch teams.

I really hope a back-room deal has not been brokered.  If so, I would have more respect for the university if they just came out and said that and that Fickell was a one year coach.  I know the havoc it would produce, but this is not a national security issue either

I agree that Tressel used too many YSU and YSU-connections but the first thing most people in Tressel’s position does is reach out to those they know and trust.  Overall it served us well except for the above mentioned coaches.  Remember that Dantonio was also in this group.

I have never seen a season with so many major questions as this fall.  It should be fun.

This is just my two cents and not a shot at anyone or their ideas.

OSU Provides Response To NCAA For Investigation
June 29, 2011 8:30 PM

OSU has sent it's response to the NCAA.  It is long (56 pages), it is interesting and it comes with changes.

First, Coach Tressel's resignation has now been changed to a retirement.  He will get medical benefits and will not have to pay the $250,000 fine originally imposed.  Second, of the changes being made in effort to control the sale of awards, the 'gold pants' award will now be held until the player no longer has eligibility.  Also, this includes some self imposed punishments including vacating all wins in 2010 (including the Sugar Bowl), and they will place themselves on 2 years probation.

Click for Ohio State's Response to the NCAA

The University and Jim Tressel will still be meeting with the NCAA August 12th.

Now We Know Where Herbie Stands
June 29, 2011 8:30 PM

Remember the story about three months ago where quarterback and former captain Kirk Herbstreit and his family moved out of central Ohio. As we move closer to the start of the 2011 season, I was thinking how important it is going to be for the fans to really get behind the team this year.  I have historically been a supporter of Herbie and with the exception of his coverage during the 2004 Alamo Bowl game, I thought he has always been fair with his analysis of the Buckeyes.

But after has final poll for 2011, I had my doubts.  He claimed that he had pondered the move for three years, but I have a feeling a lot of it had to do with the backlash from folks over his ranking of OSU 9th to end last season.  Ninth?  For a 12-1 team that beat an SEC team to win a BCS game for the second straight year?  Seriously? Herbstreit said the move to Nashville was because of the constant criticism he has received from a vocal minority of Ohio State fans who don't understand that his job at the network demands objectivity and fairness.
 
"Nobody loves Ohio State more than me," said Herbstreit, a former Buckeyes quarterback. "I still have a picture of Woody Hayes and my dad (Jim, a former OSU player) in my office, and nobody will do more than I do for the university behind the scenes. But I've got a job to do, and I'm going to continue to be fair and objective. To continue to have to defend myself and my family in regards to my love and devotion to Ohio State is unfair."
  
"Eighty to ninety percent of the Ohio State fans are great. It's the vocal minority that make it rough. They probably represent only 5 to 10 percent of the fan base, but they are relentless."

To me, it just sounds like a guy running out when the team might need him the most.  As Dennis Miller would say, 'but that is just my opinion, I could be wrong.

The Buckeyes, The Big Ten, and the National Scene 2011 - Installment #2
June 26, 2011 3:00 PM

--Couple of the so-called “trap” games for the Buckeyes - the most concerning: at Illinois, October 15.  This game is sandwiched between Nebraska and Wisconsin on this year’s schedule.  The Buckeyes held on for an 11 point win in Champaign last year and I probably don’t have to remind people of the Illinois upset over #1 ranked Ohio State in 2007.  Ron Zook’s team will be under the radar a bit this year and that is often when they are most dangerous.  Another trap game is Toledo, September 10.  The Rockets may be the best team in the MAC West and this one comes a week after Fickell’s debut and a week before OSU travels to Miami for a rematch against the Hurricanes.  Obviously the Bucks will get Toledo’s best shot.

--Will Brady Hoke bring Michigan back to national prominence?  Rich Rodriguez never seemed to “get it”, but the early signs are that Brady Hoke does.   Hoke understands the rivalry and seems to be well liked.  And Hoke’s first recruiting class (2012) is off to a great start.  On the other hand, Hoke’s career record as a head coach is 47-50. He inherited a Ball State team that had gone 5-6 and 6-6 the previous two years, but his teams finished 4-8, 2-9, 4-7, and 5-7 in his first four seasons at Ball State.  Granted he coached Ball State to 12-2 in 2008, but his 6-year stint at Ball State, I’d have to say, was not a successful one.  Of course, Hoke did have better success at San Diego State.  So is he the right man for the UM job?  We shall see.

--Sleeper in the Big Ten this year?  Maybe they are not so much of a sleeper anymore, but if Northwestern can stay healthy, they could just find themselves at the top of the Legends division. Loosing Dan Persa last year was huge.  NU was 7-3 with Persa and 0-3 after Persa was lost for the season late in the Iowa game.  The Wildcats have 16 starters back and a healthy Persa could take home Big Ten MVP honors.  I think NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald is a 9+ win season away from hearing his name come up for many head coaching vacancies. 

-- Pete Carroll, Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh and Jim Tressel, four of the best coaches in the nation, have left the CFB world in the last two years.  Who does that leave as the top coaches in the nation heading into the 2011 season?  Like him or not, Nick Saban has the premier football program in the nation and is the only active coach with two BCS titles.  The next two names that come to my head are Bob Stoops and Mack Brown.  Stoops draws some unfair criticism in my opinion; his 12-year run at OU is almost as impressive as it gets.  Before last year’s slide, Mack Brown teams won 10 or more games 9 consecutive years.  After these three, there are a lot of good coaches that could potentially make a top 5 list, including Frank Beamer, Bobby Petrino, Brian Kelly, Chris Peterson and Gary Patterson.  

-- If the Buckeyes are going to win the Big Ten this year, the defense is going to have to bear the load.  From my many discussions with Buckeye fans about the upcoming season, I think fans may underestimate this defense, and may be naïve about the potential problems OSU has on offense.  There isn’t much depth on the D-line, but I don’t think there will be many Big Ten D-linemen better than Johnny Simon, Nate Williams and Jonathan Hankins this year.  They just need to stay healthy, knock on wood.  I think Andrew Sweat’s time has come and he will be the next All-Big Ten linebacker at OSU.  Etienne Sabino should be solid at MLB.  The return of Tyler Moeller and CJ Barnett will help this defense immensely and the Bucks are fine at corner with Travis Howard, Dominic Clarke and Bradley Roby.

-- Scouting the Huskers: One thing Bo Pelini can do is coach defense.  They are the only team in the Big Ten that has a defense on par or better than Ohio State’s.  Recruiting, on paper, hasn’t been great under Pelini, at least not what some would have expected.  Not sure Pelini has the personality to recruit with the top dogs, but he certainly can hold his own as a game day coach.  As for personnel, if QB Taylor Martinez can coexist with his coach (which is certainly not a given), Nebraska isn’t going to lose many games in 2011.  They’ve got a nice stable of RB’s, but need the O-line to step up.  On defense, DT Jared Crick and CB Alphonzo Dennard may be the nation’s best at their respective positions.  The NU defense is not going to give up many points and they have to be your favorite to win the Legends division, in their inaugural Big Ten season.

--Remember how intimidating Florida State was 10+ years ago?  I remember leaving the 1998 Sugar Bowl, shaking my head, after the ‘Noles had hammered the Buckeyes 31-14.  The score was misleading; FSU dominated Ohio State on both sides of the ball.  But after the loss to Oklahoma in the 2000 BCS title game, Bobby Bowden’s best days were behind him, and the ‘Noles went an unimpressive 74-42 over Bowden’s last 9 years.  Florida State did however finish 10-4 last year, advancing to the ACC title game, and beat a solid South Carolina team in their bowl game.  It looks like Jimbo Fisher knows a thing or two about football and with 16 starters returning, Florida State is the frontrunner in the ACC this year.   

--Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Athlon and The Sporting News are the probably the 4 most well known preseason college football magazines.  I combined the preseason top 25’s from each magazine to come up with a consensus poll, which I list below.  Keep in mind that the rankings from each magazine were put together prior to Coach Tressel’s resignation and the ensuing departure of Terrelle Pryor.

1Oklahoma (tie)
1Alabama (tie)
3Oregon
4LSU
5Boise State
6Florida State
7Ohio State
8Virginia Tech
9Texas A&M
10    Stanford (tie)
10    Nebraska (tie)
12    Notre Dame
13    Oklahoma State (tie)
13    Arkansas (tie)
15    TCU
16    South Carolina (tie)
16    Georgia (tie)
18    West Virginia
19    Michigan State
20    Mississippi State (tie)
20    Wisconsin (tie)
22    USC
23    Florida
24    Northwestern (tie)
24    Texas (tie)

From Brent Baver

Player Car Deals Appear To Be Proper
June 10, 2011 6:00 AM

Starting with the press conference back in March, a lot of evidence has been built up by the NCAA against OSU and Jim Tressel.  By the time OSU goes in front of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions August 12th, the formal charges are likely to extend well beyond a handful of jerseys in a tattoo shop.  As of this morning the charges will not include allegations that players were getting improper deals on vehicles from local dealerships, at least according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Ohio State football players did not receive improper deals when buying cars from two Columbus-area dealerships, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles said Tuesday following an investigation of 25 vehicle sales.  The Ohio BMV undertook its review following allegations that the dealerships sold vehicles to Ohio State athletes and family members at below market rates.

The BMV's 65-page report issued Tuesday said the certificates of titles for cars sold by Jack Maxton Chevrolet and Auto Direct to players and families accurately reflected the vehicles' sales prices. The investigation also rejected allegations that the sales prices did not reflect the true cost of the vehicles because players provided dealers with tickets, jerseys and other memorabilia in place of cash.

These conclusions seem to vindicate salesman Aaron Kniffin, who's dealt regularly dealt with Buckeye athletes at both dealerships over the past decade, and who said in an affidavit last month that "The deals that I did for Ohio State student-athletes were no different than any of the other 10,000-plus deals that I've done for all my other customers." The BMV says that's true, despite longstanding suspicion to the contrary on campus and specific allegations to the contrary by former players.

The lingering car-related question the BMV report leaves unanswered: What were now-former quarterback Terrelle Pryor's arrangements on the multiple loaner cars he brought onto campus throughout his career? The report goes out of its way to note that driving dealer-owned cars is perfectly legal under state law ("the statute that governs the use of dealer-plated vehicles by third parties expressly permits dealers to allow any member of the public to operate dealer-owned vehicles"), which is a pretty "duh" statement, but it doesn't address the specifics of Pryor's loaners and obviously has no interest in whether or not they ran afoul of NCAA rules. 

But again, with the paper trail leading from Jim Tressel's hard drive, it doesn't change anything about the NCAA's basic case.

The Buckeyes, The Big Ten, and the National Scene 2011 - Installment #1
June 12, 2011 3:00 PM

Tired of hearing about off-the-field issues with Ohio State football?  Me too.  I’d like to get back to talking college football, which at least for now, I still believe to be the best sport there is.  For the most part, these posts will be random thoughts about Ohio State football, The Big Ten, and the national college football scene (as the title above suggests).  The first blurb below bids farewell to Coach Tressel and touches on the ongoing media smear campaign, but this will be the last I discuss off-the-field issues.  Again, I think there are a certain amount of fans out there that just want to get back to football. 

--Tressel’s dominance over his 10-year reign at OSU?  He finished 66-14 in Big Ten conference games.  The next best is a tie between Iowa & Michigan, both of which went 50-30.  That’s a 16 game difference between OSU and the next best, over the past decade.  I don’t think I’ll be alive to see this kind of dominance by Ohio State again.  Thank you Coach Tressel for what you accomplished on the field and off the field.  The number of positive things you’ve done for your players, the community, and those in poor health cannot be comprehended by the sharks in the media.  Certainly, you have more than paid for your sins in the college football world.  As a Buckeye fan, let me again just say, “Thank you”.

--At the time of this post, it looks like Wisconsin has a decent shot of landing former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson.  NC State got tired of the time Wilson was devoting to baseball and released him from his scholarship in late April.  Wilson graduated in four years and would be eligible to play immediately if he enrolls in grad school at another university, just as Jeremiah Masoli did last year.  Wilson threw for 3,563 yards last season (at NC St), with 28 TD passes and 9 rushing TDs.   He is a great dual threat QB.  This would be a major pickup for the Badgers who had projected to start sophomore Jon Budmayr, who has thrown 10 passes at the NCAA level.  And keep in mind that Wisconsin is now in OSU’s “Leaders” division of the new Big Ten.  More on that below.

--Can Ohio State win the Big Ten?  They could, but I think they have their work cut out for them.  I think the O-line is going to struggle without Mike Adams in the 1st 5 games.  I think Boom Herron is more valuable then many fans think.  I think they have major problems at WR and really need true one of both of true freshmen Evan Spencer and Devin Smith to step up.  The good news is on the defensive side of the ball (assuming there are no more suspensions).  This team will go as far as the defense will carry them, in my opinion.

--This will be the only year Boise State and TCU will be in the same conference. Boise State joined the MWV conference this year, but TCU is headed to the Big East in 2012.  Boise State hosts TCU on November 12th, a game that will likely have BCS Bowl ramifications.  I think the Horned Frogs got some deserved respect with their win over a good Wisconsin game in the Rose Bowl last year.  But, TCU was hit hard by graduation and may find the treading a little more difficult this year.  The casinos that have early lines on their so-called “Games of the Year” have Boise State as a 13.5 point favorite.

--So who is “the man” at QB?  Good question.  Not sure if the coaching change helps or hurts Braxton Miller’s chances.  The only guy I think has little chance is Kenny Guiton.  I don’t have a lot of faith in Joe Bauserman, but if he wins the job, I will pull for him, like I would any Buckeye.  Taylor Graham’s lack of mobility limits his upside, but the kid certainly has the best arm of the bunch.  I wouldn’t be opposed to a Graham/Miller platoon, at least for a while.  Miller is clearly the future, in my mind, and has to be worked in, in some capacity this year.

--Not that anyone wants to hear this, and I’m not going to be very bold, but Alabama is my pick to win the BCS title this year.  They gave up 12.5 ppg last year and return 10 defensive starters.   And for an SEC school, their schedule lays out pretty nicely. Oklahoma is probably not too far behind.  They are loaded on both sides of the ball and if their highly touted true freshman TB Brandon Williams lives ups to expectations, the OU offense will score a bunch of points.  

--We get started with a bang the first week of college football.  Oregon plays LSU in Arlington, Texas, in a game that will feature two top 10 teams, if not two top 5 teams.  Boise State plays Georgia in Atlanta.  Phil Steele ranks Boise State #3 and Georgia #9 in his preseason poll.  Two weeks later, Oklahoma travels to Florida State, another game that should match two top 10 teams.
For us Big Ten fans, Penn State gets a shot at redemption when the Crimson Tide visit Happy Valley in week #2.

--I will post some formal predictions later, but my current thoughts are that Wisconsin is the team to beat in the initial year of the Leaders division.  The recently announced exit of Terrelle Pryor, I think, makes the Buckeyes an underdog in this division.  I expect a dog fight when they come to Columbus in late October.  Right now, I’d put the Badgers 1st, OSU 2nd and Penn State 3rd in the Leaders division.  I’ve got to go with the popular pick of Nebraska in the Legends division, with Michigan State second and Northwestern third.  Iowa, like Ohio State, has been killed by off the field issues lately and may take a bit of a tumble this year.  Michigan, I think, has way too many problems on defense to get back to where they should be, at least this year.

--How about the happenings in Morgantown?  Then head coach in waiting, Dana Holgorson, gets intoxicated and tossed from a casino a month ago, and the dominos fell.  No, Holgorson didn’t lose his job; he got promoted to head coach.  This, after (now) former head coach Bill Stewart was said to have asked the local media to “dig up dirt” on Holgorson.  Needless to say, this is an odd way to get promoted.  Holgerson, by the way, is an intriguing up and comer.  He took over offensive coordinator duties last year for Oklahoma State. Holgerson inherited 4 returning starters on offense and the Cowboys went from averaging 28.4 ppg in 2009 to 44.2 ppg last year.  Not sure about the guy’s character, but he looks like he knows a few things about football.

--The coaching search?  Tell you want….my man is Luke Fickell.  I hope he gets a fair shot.  Will he get it?  I’m not so sure.  If he gets a fair shake and cannot cut it, then I will worry about a new coach.  But for now, I’m 100% behind Coach Fickell and hope we won’t need to look elsewhere.

From Brent Baver

Time Set for Opening Games Kickoff
June 10, 2011 6:00 AM

We may not hear any additional start times into the season starts but OSU's season opener against Akron on September 3rd and the September 10th game against Toledo both will kick off at noon, the Big Ten announced today.  ESPN or ESPN2 will carry the Akron game, and the Big Ten Network will broadcast the game with Toledo. 

Five of Ohio State’s 2011 games now have start times. Start times previously announced were:

September 17 at Miami – 7:30 or 8:00 pm on ABC or ESPN 
October 8 at Nebraska – 8:00 pm on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 
October 29 vs. Wisconsin – 8:00 pm on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2

No additional start times are expected to be released before the season, the rest of the kickoff times will be announced 12 days prior to that game.

Player Car Deals Appear To Be Proper
June 10, 2011 6:00 AM

Starting with the press conference back in March, a lot of evidence has been built up by the NCAA against OSU and Jim Tressel.  By the time OSU goes in front of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions August 12th, the formal charges are likely to extend well beyond a handful of jerseys in a tattoo shop.  As of this morning the charges will not include allegations that players were getting improper deals on vehicles from local dealerships, at least according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Ohio State football players did not receive improper deals when buying cars from two Columbus-area dealerships, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles said Tuesday following an investigation of 25 vehicle sales.  The Ohio BMV undertook its review following allegations that the dealerships sold vehicles to Ohio State athletes and family members at below market rates.

The BMV's 65-page report issued Tuesday said the certificates of titles for cars sold by Jack Maxton Chevrolet and Auto Direct to players and families accurately reflected the vehicles' sales prices. The investigation also rejected allegations that the sales prices did not reflect the true cost of the vehicles because players provided dealers with tickets, jerseys and other memorabilia in place of cash.

These conclusions seem to vindicate salesman Aaron Kniffin, who's dealt regularly dealt with Buckeye athletes at both dealerships over the past decade, and who said in an affidavit last month that "The deals that I did for Ohio State student-athletes were no different than any of the other 10,000-plus deals that I've done for all my other customers." The BMV says that's true, despite longstanding suspicion to the contrary on campus and specific allegations to the contrary by former players.

The lingering car-related question the BMV report leaves unanswered: What were now-former quarterback Terrelle Pryor's arrangements on the multiple loaner cars he brought onto campus throughout his career? The report goes out of its way to note that driving dealer-owned cars is perfectly legal under state law ("the statute that governs the use of dealer-plated vehicles by third parties expressly permits dealers to allow any member of the public to operate dealer-owned vehicles"), which is a pretty "duh" statement, but it doesn't address the specifics of Pryor's loaners and obviously has no interest in whether or not they ran afoul of NCAA rules. 

But again, with the paper trail leading from Jim Tressel's hard drive, it doesn't change anything about the NCAA's basic case.

Terrelle May Be Heading to Canada
June 8, 2011 6:45 PM

It may not be the NFL but the CFL that will be a future home for Terrelle Pryor.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders have acquired the negotiating rights to Pryor and have spoken to his lawyer about bringing the former Ohio State quarterback to the Canadian Football League.

Pryor's attorney, Larry James, said Wednesday that the CFL is a genuine possibility for the ex-Buckeye.  James was in a meeting and had yet to speak with Pryor about the Roughriders, however. James said he did not believe Pryor had ever mentioned the CFL as a strong possibility in their conversations.
 
Roughriders general manager Brendan Taman told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the team owned Pryor's CFL negotiation rights and was intrigued by the 6-foot-6, 233-pound quarterback.

"He's a heck of an athlete," Taman said. "We get a lot of U.S. college football up here. We're well aware of him. With the (bigger) field up here in Canada, with the athlete that he is, he would be an interesting component to come up here and run around and do some things as a quarterback."
 
"It (the CFL) is a pass-oriented league, so that's one thing he'd have to master," he said. "But as a runner he would flourish up here, I know."

Asked if the ongoing NCAA investigation into Pryor and the fact that he was unable to complete his college career would be a concern for the Roughriders, Taman said no.

"Any time we sign a player we check into their character and whatnot," he said. "If we get these talks advanced, we'd obviously have a thorough discussion with him and get input back on exactly what went down. What little I know about him, I don't think there's anything that's a major red flag that he's just totally a kid you would ignore."

Taman said Pryor is being looked at by the Roughriders strictly as a quarterback. There had been speculation that Pryor might have to switch to wide receiver or tight end in the pros because of his footwork and arm strength.

James said he will discuss the opportunities with Pryor, possibly next week.

"We would try to get through next week in order to do our due diligence, in order to figure out where we are," James said. "No. 1, try to figure out whether the NFL's going to have a supplemental draft. If they are, what's the timetable and what's the protocol. Then we'd also explore what are the processes and procedures for the Canadian league and what would be the dates and deadlines and decisions to be made."

He added, "And any other options that might be available for Terrelle. So we're going to go through A, B, C options."

Pryor Leaves Ohio State
June 7, 2011 6:00 PM

There has been a lot of speculation around Columbus as to the future of star quarterback Terrelle Pryor.  The support for him has been mixed since the departure of Coach Tressel.  I guess we don't have to choose a side anymore.  Tonight Pryor announced through his attorney that he will not play again for Ohio State.

"In the best interest of my teammates, I have made the decision to forgo my senior year of football at The Ohio State University," Pryor said in statement released by Larry James, his attorney.

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season due to receiving improper benefits.  His departure will likely change the QB strategy for Coach Fickell for 2011.  He provided the following quote this evening;

"I was notified this evening that Terrelle has decided to pursue a professional career.  I wish him the best in his pursuits."

As for what might be next for Pryor, there is always the potential of entering the NFL Supplemental draft, if there is one.

"I think he's going to take the next couple of days to come to grips with all of this," James told USA TODAY. "Obviously, he would like (to be drafted in the NFL's supplemental draft) to happen, but right now, it is, 'What does he do next." Right now, he has an interest in staying in school and finishing. He has an interest in going in the supplemental draft if that is a probability."

More damaging evidence continued to roll in hours after Pryor's lawyer made the announcement.  First, ESPN reported on an episode of "Outside the Lines" the Pryor had made anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 for autographing memorabilia.  A former friend who claims he witnessed the transactions spoke to the network, saying Pryor signed at least 35 items and was paid $500 to $1,000 each time he signed something for Columbus businessman and freelance photographer, Dennis Talbott. Pryor's former friend asked his name not be used (and 'former' friend is the key term here).  SportsbyBrooks.com later reported that NCAA violations were discovered when Talbott's name was seen on checks that Pryor was depositing into his personal bank account. 

I Needed Something Fun - How About You?
June 4, 2011 10:00 AM

Too much negative Buckeye news for me for one week, I needed something fun for a change.  Using the top of C Deck of Ohio Stadium, they had fun with a basketball shot. Watch

Tressel's Resignation Letter
June 2, 2011 6:30 PM
                                                          
I am sure it was not easy to do, but in the aftermath of everything that has happened, Jim Tressel had no other choice but to resign. Here is the letter he sent to Gene Smith.

Dear Gene:

After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach.

The recent situation has been a distraction for our great university and I make this decision for the greater good of our school.

The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable. We have been blessed to work with the finest group of young men in America and we love them dearly. In addition, we cannot thank you enough... the high school coaches we have worked with over these many years.

We know that God has a plan for us and we will be fine. We will be Buckeyes forever.

Jim Tressel

Fickell Keeps Recruit in the Fold
June 1, 2011 7:00 PM
                                                          
Ken Gordon of the Columbus Dispatch brought us a bit of good news .  He wrote his colleague Tim May talked to Kyle Kalis, a top prospect in Ohio for 2012 and an Ohio State pledge for more than six months, earlier today, and Kalis had quite a story to tell.

He said he called newly named Ohio State coach Luke Fickell today. But Kalis, an offensive lineman from state champion Lakewood St. Edward, had no intention of delivering good news to Fickell, in his second day on the job in place of the resigned Jim Tressel.

“I already knew what I was going to say, that my family and I had reevaluated things, and that I was going to decommit,” Kalis said. 

Then a funny thing happened. He and Fickell engaged in a 56-minute call, and the word decommit didn’t come up until the end.

“I told him, ‘Coach Fickell, the meaning of my call was to decommit, but you talked me out of it,’” Kalis said.

Score that the first recruiting victory of the Fickell era.

Look for more on the state of OSU recruiting, and an update on the opening on the coaching staff, in Wednesday's Dispatch.

Coach Tressel Resigns
May 30, 2011 10:15 AM
                                                          
In the 40's, Ohio State was known as the 'Graveyard of Coaches'.  In 1947, OSU hired Wes Fesler to coach the team and four years later he left and became the last coach to leave the job in control of his situation.  That was 60 seasons ago.  Since then Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce and John Cooper were all fired from the position.  Today, Coach Tressel, who guided Ohio State to its first national title in 34 years, resigned amid NCAA violations from a tattoo-parlor scandal that tarnished the image of one of the country's top football programs. 

"After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach," Tressel said in a statement released by the university. "The appreciation that (wife) Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable." 

It is also being rumored that the timing of this announcement may be linked to the schedule release of an investigative story conducted by Sports Illustrated (Sports Illustrated article) .

Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch said he was unaware of any buyout or severance package. He added that Tressel had returned from vacation Sunday night and met with athletic director Gene Smith, who then met with staff. Tressel typed his resignation and submitted it to Smith.  Under terms of Tressel's contract, which was worth around $3.5 million a year through the 2014 season, Ohio State is not required to pay him any money or provide any benefits upon his resignation. 

Luke Fickell will be the coach for the 2011 season. He already had been selected to be the interim coach while Tressel served a five-game suspension. 

Dorian Bell Transferring - Not So Fast My Friend
May 16, 2011 8:15 PM
                                                          
It appears the Bucknuts story we brought you last week may have been pre-mature, or completely inaccurate.  The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported "Former Gateway standout Dorian Bell may indeed leave Ohio State, but there is absolutely zero chance he will end up at Pitt. I was told tonight by several sources that Pitt coach Todd Graham will not even consider taking Bell, who is suspended for next season for unspecified rules violations, or any player who has been in trouble elsewhere. So that should put an end to any speculation about Bell coming to Pitt." 

Dorian Bell Transferring to Pittsburgh
May 10, 2011 6:30 PM
                                                          
Bucknuts is reporting that Dorian Bell plans to transfer to Pittsburgh.  There is not a lot of Internet support for this story at this time and Dorian himself has not posted anything on his Twitter page.  It would make some sense though as he is from PA and he was going to be sitting out the 2012 season anyway.  This way he will not lose a year of playing time.  The Panthers were one of seven teams that offered Bell a scholarship back in 2009 when Scout.com rated him the #2 Linebacker in the country.

Bell Suspended for 2011 Season
May 2, 2011 4:00 PM
                                                          
Ohio State linebacker Dorian Bell has been suspended for the 2011 season because of a violation of team rules, coach Jim Tressel confirmed to the Dispatch today.  Bell did not make the trip to the Sugar Bowl in January for undisclosed reasons. That makes it likely that Bell is a repeat offender and drew a stiffer penalty for the latest violation.

Bell, 6 foot 1, 225 pounds, appeared in eight games last season, and at times was on the second team, backing up Ross Homan. He made nine tackles, including half a sack, and also forced a fumble.

He was competing for the starting strong-side linebacker job this spring. Other players who now could step up in that role include Storm Klein, Jordan Whiting, or incoming freshman Curtis Grant, among others.

Bell was a highly touted recruit. Rivals.com rated him a five-star prospect in the class of 2009, ranked the third-best outside linebacker nationally and the No. 33 overall prospect.



















































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