In my last post about offensive linemen I said we needed tackles in particular. I don't like that we are looking at natural guards to play tackle for us in Cordle and Browning. I don't like that we see so few faces out there. Adams and Shugarts were the only tackles who came in here specifically to play tackle. Miller is there now. He started well this spring but by the time the spring game ended, there were too many eyebrows raised as to whether he could help us at tackle. Recent news has me thinking more about this. One, Reid Fragel is now a tackle. Many of us knew this was a mere formality. Now it is official. Added a tackle there. I was not excited about Mewhort when I first saw him. I saw a 6-6 center. That is highly unusual. Rare might be a better word. But all the film was of him playing center so I could not see him out in space. See how he moves. So I could not project him as a tackle. Now that we have seen more of him in all-star games, I think he could be a kid in the mix at right tackle. Look at his body. He has the body of a tackle. He is long with an impressive wingspan. He has shown the feet. Lets go back to spring. Several contacts told me that I need to look at Cordle with an unbiased eye. Most guards can't play tackle. Cordle was solid out there. My argument for any number of other players to kick out there is anybody was better than Browning. That is the bottom line on Cordle. Whether he is a good right tackle or not, Cordle is an improvement. He likely stays at tackle. Since the first time I saw him on tape on him as a juniorI have wondered why Corey Linsley was not playing defense. He played defense as a senior and impressed. In the Big 33 I kept seeing the same player inside causing all kinds of problems for the offense. It was Linsley. An etched in stone rule is, if a kid can play defensive tackle you let him play defensive tackle. I think if the staff gives him a chance to practice on defense, he is unlikely to end up back on offense. Now, look at your offensive depth chart. I will wait until you call it up. Got it? Look at your 3 inside spots on the offensive line with Mewhort, Linsley and Cordle no longer there. You have 6 players. That 6 includes Connor Smith who is headed into his 4th year and has allowed every guard who has come into the program behind him to pass him on the depth chart. Some like Blankenship. Others have questions about him including his size, will he ever be big enough to be effective here.no comments
1 - William Gohlston to Michigan State. A bonafide nationally ranked talent,with the offers to match, picks the home state ugly cousin over some of the nations elite schools. Great get for Mark Dantonio. Bigger schools will be paying attention to recruiting wins like this one.
2 - David Durham to Ohio State. When I first saw him there was talk of him being a defensive end. I saw a Texas/LSU caliber middle
linebacker. That was until I saw film of him as a defensive end. He is just as likely and maybe more likely to be an impact defensive end. A definite candidate for most underrated player in the country list.
3 - Adrian Coxson to Penn State. JoePa goes into Maryland and pulls out a receiver who I wold say is the most underrated split end in the country, one who sports offers from Florida and Georgia. JoePa still has some magic left.
4 - Ricardo Miller to Michigan. National kid with an offer from Florida as well as Tennessee. I think Michigan needs to rebuild its overall athleticism and speed. This is the kind of player who can help them do that.
5 - Andrew Donnal to Iowa. Ohio has a great OL class this year. Matt James is everyones #1 LT but I would say he is 1a and Donnal is 1b. I like him that much.
6 - Gerald Robinson to Michigan. Whether you believe the Buckeyes told him they would not be offering or whether you believe he always wanted Michigan, this is a great looking athlete. I don't know if he is fast enough to be a wide receiver but I am sure he is fast enough to be a safety, something that is a need here.
7 - C.J. Fiedorowicz to Illinois. I know he is from Illinois but it looked like he was headed anywhere but Illinois.
8 - Taylor Graham to Ohio State. His dad is a former Buckeye but the Buckeyes had him down their board. He had some great offers on the table, is not from Ohio, and Ohio State was not his dads first choice. We came in late. Great get on one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country in a down year for quarterbacks.
9 - Courtney Avery to Michigan. He was committed to Stanford. I did not know he changed his mind until I started putting this together. Great looking little player. I wonder if not for such a successful haul last year would he have seen a Buckeye offer.
10 - Josh Davis to Purdue. Don't look at what kind of player he is. Just look at how big he is and how athletic he is for his size. You can find a place for that somewhere. You can find a few things for him to do. no comments
We keep coming back to this problem with offensive line recruiting. Some will come back and say they trust the coaches. If we had a good offensive line year in and year out you could say trust the coaches. We are not a good offensive line year in and year out. We are not a good line every now and then. There is no reason to put any faith in Jim Bollman with offensive line recruiting. It comes back to him. You think Jim Tressel is the one sitting down and going over all these players? He is going with the recommendations from his position coaches and the recruiting coordinator. You can't lay this at the feet of Peterson either. We are in the discussion for Wide Receiver U, Cornerback U, and Linebacker U., so he seems to be making the right calls at other positions. Our offensive line is chronically lacking and it starts with recruiting. When Keith Uecker was hired I speculated that he would step in and Bollman would retire in a year, maybe 2. Every day I am hoping more and more that it is a year. I think we get closer every day to an offensive line class of one. no comments
Yes, it is high praise and I am saying that with a very passionate voice. I am tired of this. Every year what do we see? Everyone rating these Reggie Bush type "satellite guys" over running backs like Smith. The kid from Texas that Rivals has #1 is going to catch alot of passes but he is not going to get me 3 on third and 2. That is what a back does. Catching the ball is extra. I have receivers to do that. We don't recruit receivers to be great runners but we seem to want to rank backs at the top of the RUNNING back list who are more receiver than back. I remember back when Ralph Sampson was in his heyday in college. He had some range and big men who could step out were all the rage. I know Dick Vitale has as many critics as fans. I am one of his fans but he drove me nuts with his fascination with these guys. Keith Lee was another he was really high on. Sampson was a solid pro but never lived up to the hype. Lee was a bust. Why is that? They could not play around the basket well enough. Everyone was excited about Reggie Bush coming out of college. I know there are a good number of Bucknutters stopping by. You may remember how many arguments I had with people about Reggie Bush. He is going to be a good pro but he is not going to live up to the unrealistic expectations. Bill Parcels coined the phrase "satelllite guys" for players like Bush. He came up with it to describe backs who need to be out in space. That is what Bush is. That is what I was arguing back when everyone was losing their minds about him. A big man must be good around the basket and a back must be a good runner before he is anything else. You need big men around the basket to rebound, defend and put those high percentage shots down. You need a back to run the ball. If a big man can step out and drop the 15 footer regularly he is going to help his team more. A back who can catch the football makes his team that much more potent because teams have to watch him coming out of the backfield, not to mention offenses not showing their hand by changing personnel to put a better receiver out there in odds-on passing situations. You don't put what amounts to a utility guy at the top of the want list. The only situational football players that are worth it are pass rushers. Why we keep getting excited about these kinds of guys who cannot excel at their primary responsibilities is beyond me. You would not go out and deliberately recruit a left tackle who is better as a run blocker. You are not going to go out and recruit a defensive tackle because he is a good pass rusher. Why is college football recruiting backs who cannot run between the tackles effectively and get you 3 on 3rd and 2? A big back is not going to be a gamebreaker in the open field like one of these scat backs. To say that would be absurd.What they can be is effective. They are going to move the chains and they are once in a while gonna get away from a linebacker and much smaller guys are the only thing between him and a big play. In contrast, a scatback is not going to be effective between the tackles and on short yardage. All the years I have been watching football I can count on 2 hands the number of smaller backs who were effective inside runners. Add another category for these backs. Do anything you want with them. Just don't try and sell them to me as guys who can be a lead back like a Rod Smith, the nations #1 running back.
Duane, what do you think the chances are that Hyde ever plays here, doesn't JT have a tendancy of not giving guys who don't make grades a second chance? I sure hope he comes here, but that doesn't seem to be the trend.[/quote]
I can't get that question out of my mind. Hyde is going to be away from football for a year while Rod Smith, no question a better back and more important to this situation specifically a better big back than Hyde, will be coming in off a full football season. We could use another scholarship in this class. The year away from football is a huge factor. You have to be concerned about his weight too. He does not have the team surrounding him to push him. He does not have a coach calling him to make sure he is in the weightroom. I loved the kid. I thought he was much underrated. Think about it this way. We hear about comebacks. How many comebacks are successful? That is what this amounts to. I love Carlos Hyde coming in off a year of football. I don't like any player coming in off a year layoff. I think for me the question is more one of, does he have an impact if he comes here? I say the odds are not good. The other question is, how much of a chance does a kid with such borderline academics have of making it once he does come here? He will also have been away from being a student for a year at that point too. I say that makes his chances of ever having an impact here all the more suspect. That leads me to the biggest question. It is hard to argue with the points I make here. Based on that, do we still want to see him here?
Here is the one thing that about guaranteed Hyde would play as a freshman whether Berry did or not. Who are you going to on 3rd and 2 who can get you 3? We know we are running the ball. Any offense under Jim Tressel is going to run the ball on 3rd and 2. Hyde would be the logical choice. Yesterday I was watching the NFL Network and Warren Sapp, who I really enjoy, was doing his segment called "The Playbook." It featured Michael Turner. Sapp focused on YAC, yards after contact, being so important to being a great back. That is why I prefer big backs. There are no what I call "high school holes" at this level. Backs are never going to see a clean hole with nothing but green in their line of sight. There are going to arms in there. Strong arms, attached to large men. All the open field stuff that gets fans, and too many people in this business, all worked up is extra. First and foremost a back has to be able to hit that hole and rip an arm off instead of being ripped down by that arm. The one back on the roster who can surely do that is Carlos Hyde. That is, until yesterday.
I know we might see a different offense this year. I have talked about where Jordan Hall lining up, whether it be at RB or flanker, being a very telling move, but we still need to be able to convert short yardage plays. The best player for that was going to be Carlos Hyde. Someone is going to have to step into that void. It is going to be huge for this football team to have a short yardage back. I don't see an obvious candidate. no comments
Quarterback - B+. I know I am going to get feedback that that is too high. Well, I almost gave an A. Two factors determine most recruiting races. Love of school and NFL success. We have no NFL success but the bigger problem is the lack of homegrown talent. The overwhelming majority of kids who grow up loving a school grew up in that state. Ohio is not producing homegrown talent. I know the argument is going to come back around to the MAC showing so much success. I think we need to overhaul the quarterback recruiting template but that is for another blog. Right now the template is what it is and those kids ended up in the MAC because no other Big Ten programs saw them as Big Ten caliber.
Defensive End - A. A couple of years ago I would have said B but right now I see so much talent stacked that the staff has the luxury of being able to tell a talent like Keith Wells to go home and gets his priorities in order, if they choose to do so. We are seeing 4-3 base ends as well as edge guys. We want to switch to the 3-4? The players are here, and it is going to get better. Steve Miller is the best I have seen in this state at his age. Better than Ben Martin and Melvin Fellows. We are so loaded that a talent like Kenny Hayes from Toledo Whitmer is not being recruited yet.
Defensive Tackle - B. I know some are going to disagree with that but I am again factoring in the talent level available. These big boys are the rarest of the rare. Just as rare if not moreso than quarterbacks. They are even more rare here in Ohio. If there are 10 elite DTs with size in the country every year, it is a great year. We just don't see them around here and with little NFL talent out there to draw the national kids, I think the staff is doing the best that they can with what they have to work with. I think a different strategy could be something to consider.
Offensive line - D. I am sure there are some that would say F. A couple of years ago so would I but the last couple of classes give me hope. The recruiting strategy is not working. The talent in the state has been outstanding the entire time JT has been here. John Cooper would give up a major organ to have had half the talent in the state that Jim Tressel has had. To recruit these small classes means having to have a very high level of success, and have that success at a place where lower success rates are the norm. Development of talent is another matter. We could be Wide Receiver U. We could be Cornerback U. There is a strong argument for Linebacker U. We are not even in the discussion for Offensive Lineman U. no comments
So much of it is about keeping down the dead weight. At every other position on the field, even quarterback to a certain extent, there is the possibility of moving a player to another position. Football is such a physical game so we think of strength so much but it is a game built around speed and quickness. That is never more apparent than with recruiting. Some schools, especially those in the south, built recruiting around the "move down" theory. Most schools now subscribe to it to some degree or another. Corners move down to safety, safeties move down to linebacker, linebackers move down to defensive end, defensive ends move to defensive tackle and defensive tackles move to the offensive line. All of it built around speed and quickness. The slowest guys on any football team are offensive linemen. That is why offensive line is referred to as the "last stop." Often players are recruited with the expectation that they are going to move down right away. Others move down because they get bigger and/or slower. A good example of that is Darrion Scott. He came here as an LB. In a couple of years he was a defensive end. By the time he left Ohio State he was a defensive tackle. He just kept getting bigger. There was no anticipation that he would do that. It just happened. Other times it is a matter of a player not finding his place on the roster. He is not moving up the depth chart. Move him somewhere else and see if he can find his game. Most of the time that ends up being futile but there is a chance a player can find a position. Think about Tim Cheatwood, the all-time move down champion. He played about 5 positions here before finding himself being a contributor at defensive end. That can't happen with offensive linemen. There is nowhere to move them except the bench. No chance to get something out of that scholarship.We have at times had more safeties on the roster than offensive linemen. We currently have 11 scholarship linebackers on the roster to 13 scholarship offensive linemen. I understand the thinking. It has a sound basis but I think that is something you have to accept with offensive linemen. To get the depth you are going to have to accept some dead weight on your roster.