Drew Thurman (11:49 pm)
Terrelle's new tattoo is the hot topic on quite a few boards. You got to love his passion for the Buckeyes, and how he he bleeds scarlet and gray!
In this edition of the Block O Table, Dave takes a crack at answering the latest questions as provided by Our Honor Defend, recapping the Spring Game. Check out OHD for other responses, and a full recap in the coming days. Let the tradition continue...
1) Which designated starting player (offense, defense, special teams) struck you as being “better than advertised”? Why?
Tyler Moeller who is fighting for a starting spot and will surely play a great deal was very impressive and continues to get better. He has instincts and desire that don't show up when one is grading merely on size and speed. He may not get as much ink as some others on defense but he is a player. (By the way I called for Rolle to be the MVP of the game, and he did play well. I think he and Sabino need to see the field together to bring more speed to the Silver Bullet defense. I am not a huge fan of Spitler, although he didn't look bad.)
2) Which designated starting player (offense, defense, special teams) disappointed you (either mildly or beyond belief)? Why? What do you see as remedy?
I thought Chimdi Chekwa looked average at best, as he failed to make many plays and got burned badly at least once. At corner you are only as good as your last game, or even last play, so hopefully it was an aberration.
3) What is your impression of the play of the ‘meaner’ offensive line?
Hard to tell in a Spring Game when the line is divided and patched together. The running backs all had good games so that is a positive sign that the line was doing a good job of being physical. I still think the Bucks will struggle to protect the passer, however.
4) What is your impression of the reconstituted defense? Did anyone stick out?
Overall I was very impressed by the defense, with my only real question being at corner. As mentioned above I thought the young linebackers looked super - Moeller, Rolle and Sabino in particular. Gibson is a beast, and I saw him after the game walking over to the WHAC. He looks like Gholston and I think he may have that kind of a year.
5) What did you think of offensive play-calling? Were you disappointed?
For a Spring Game I thought there was a good mix of pass and run. I am still waiting to see the Bucks use the tight end, but nobody is surprised by that! Overall I was pretty pleased. Many players looked good on offense, especially Terrelle Pryor. It looks like he is going to use the intermediate pass more than we have seen the last couple of years, and that impressed me. I like how both the Scarlet and Gray threw a good deal to the middle of the field. It also appears like we will see more of the spread this year.
6) From what you saw at the Spring Game, what is your guess for how the season will unwind? Should DickRod, and whoever he decides will be the QB, be concerned?
I still believe that OSU is a one loss team, although youth may catch up to them at some point. I think they are the best team in the Big Ten, but will need to win at Happy Valley to prove it. As for the ugly helmets, I think they are in for another long season - better than last year but still not very good. DickRod will be 0-2 in the rivalry come November.
Drew Thurman (10:17 pm)
Terrelle Pryor looked sharp in his debut at the Spring Game, especially in the closing minutes of the first half. Below is a video of the highlights of the end of that half. I hope the Big Ten pays attention, because the next great Buckeye quarterback may have just started to take form!
Dave and Drew Thurman (11:59 pm)
The Gray Squad ran away with the Spring Game 23-3, despite all predictions otherwise. There were a lot of guys that looked good and bad in the process, and below are a handpicked few of those. Hit us up with your opinions on who your winners and losers were!
Terrelle Pryor - This list has to start with Pryor, who took a huge step forward on Saturday. He only played in the first half, which was all he needed, going 13 of 18 for 191 yards and two touchdowns. We have to admit that we didn't think Pryor would look as proficient as he did throwing the ball, and in fact stood in the pocket just as much with the black jersey off. There was an ease and patience about his entire performance, even behind a patchwork line, which has to make everyone smile.
Taurian Washington - Washington was one of winners on our blog last season, and he obviously didn't contribute at all when the season rolled around. It would be easy to look at his 94 yard with a touchdown day and assume the worse again, but he is a different player. Last year Washington scored twice on long bombs that were thrown up with a chance for anyone to come down with the ball. This year though, Washington looked sharp running routes and displayed great hands. He caught a couple of tough balls across the middle before reeling in a 44 yard touchdown pass. Washington was definitely a winner today, and should get some serious playing time this season, at least when the Buckeyes are in the spread.
Brandon Saine - Is there anyone that has made a bigger 180 than Saine? Last year, even in the Spring Game, Saine was dancing in the backfield while getting a yard or two per carry. Saturday though, Saine looked quick, confident, and hit the hole showing the spark he had as a freshman. Maybe he was a little more banged up than anyone knew! Anyways, his emergence is huge for the Buckeyes. He along with Boom, Carlos, and Jamaal will help make the backfield look pretty special. Let the "stable" begin!
Tyler Moeller - Moeller picked up where he left off in the Illinois game last season with a nice performance on Saturday. He led the Scarlet team with 8 tackles, two of which were for loss. His named seemed to be getting called all afternoon long, and was always around the ball. He abused the tight ends on multiple occasions when they tried to block him, and you got to love his pursuit of the quarterback. Big things could be in store for Moeller.
Brian Rolle - As equally as impressive as Moeller on the other side ball was Rolle. He racked up 11 tackles including a sack, and was probably the most impressive linebacker on the field Saturday (Sabino looked good too with 9 tackles). Rolle gets knocked on at times due to his size, but the Buckeyes need him starting on the outside this season. With his speed and hitting ability, this team will take a step forward.
Aaron Pettrey - There is no way we could do a recap on any Tressel team without throwing in at least one special teams player. Pettrey did a little bit of everything on Saturday. He was 3 for 3 on field goals, recovered his own onside kick, and even threw in a squib kick just to show off his skills. We thought Pettrey was the better kicker last year, and it nice to finally get his time to shine. He was a definite winner on Saturday!
Joe Bauserman - We aren't trying to pick on Bauserman, but it was obviously a rough day for him. He started off the game with a fumble, later he looked sporadic at best, and then threw an awful interception in the endzone. Reports out of spring practice have been positive so this was probably just a rough outing, but he came away a loser Saturday.
Tight Ends - Well, reports have been telling everyone that the Buckeyes were going to be throwing to the tight ends a lot more this season, but Nic DiLillo brought in the only reception for a whopping six yards (Some things will never change!). For the most part that isn't there fault though, just the offensive staff's brilliant game planning. What really put them in this category was the trouble they had blocking. Some of this was probably a byproduct of the patchwork offensive lines, but we watched all the tight ends get burned today on multiple occasions.
Lamaar Thomas - Thomas had a rough day in the return department, and had a botched punt and kick return. Tressel cannot stand poor special teams, and we are sure that this will be an area where he will want to improve on. Thomas obviously is going to be a good one, but at this point returning is his primary objective and he struggled Saturday.
Left Tackle - Both Mike Adams and Andy Miller left a little to be desired Saturday at the Spring Game. Neither one looked awful, but there is a lot of work yet to be done. Left tackle is incredibly important (Pryor's backside), and the Buckeyes need someone to step in that role. If nothing else, maybe Shugarts will shake some stuff up when he comes back!
* Ohio State's lacrosse team got beat by Notre Dame 14-8 in the "Showdown in the Shoe" just prior to the Spring Game. Buckeye fans were bitter too; we just hate Notre Dame regardless of the sport.
* 95,722 were in attendance at the Spring Game, which set a national spring game record.
* Linebacker Scott McVey committed to the Buckeyes prior to the game.
* The first two rounds of the NFL Draft were today with Malcolm Jenkins going 14th to Saints, Beanie Wells going 31st to the Cardinals, James Laurinaitis going 35th (second round) to the Rams, and Brian Robiskie going 36th (second round) to the Browns.
Drew Thurman (9:15 pm)
Last year the weather didn't hold up it's end of the bargain, and made the Spring Game a cold and wet mess (though Buckeye Guy and I had a great time). Though there may be some wind, we can expect 80 degree weather tomorrow. So it should be an exciting "Showdown in the Shoe" filled with warmth, and we hope to see some of you around!
Check us out after the Spring Game for our tradition of posting the winners and losers of the Spring Game, and also some thoughts on the NFL Draft. Go Bucks!
Drew Thurman (8:43 pm)
No matter what way you try to spin it, the 2010 class has been pretty slow moving. Sure the Buckeyes have four solid commits (two are studs), but things are definitely slower moving than in the last few years. I know the Buckeyes are limited on scholarships, but even the interest level of those uncommitted doesn't seem overly reassuring. The big out-of-state recruits (5 star guys), such as Jamaal Berry and Terrelle Pryor, don't seem to be manifesting themselves at this point in this class, and it has Buckeye nation getting pretty restless.
Add to that the fact the Ohio talent is being picked up everyday. Apparently Rich Rodriquez took a few lessons from Ron Zook, because every top 50 Ohio kid has an offer from the Wolverines. Now obviously some of these guys would have never sniffed a Buckeye offer with a lack of scholarships, but it adds to the frustration to watch them committing right and left. It also is troubling to see very talented guys like Andrew Donnal and Latwan Anderson who have yet to receive that Ohio State scholarship offer. Especially considering that the Buckeyes are fighting for their lives to grab up guys like Matt James and Jordan Hicks. Ohio does not even seem to be as shored up as in years past.
The Spring Game this Saturday could be just what the doctor ordered though. The list of recruits coming in is not the most impressive list in recent memory, but it is not shabby either. What is really exciting is the fact that the Buckeyes could maybe pick up some commitments this weekend, which could provide a huge spark to the 2010 class. On top of that the Buckeyes always seem to leave a lasting impression in the minds of a few wavering prospects. If guys like quarterback Nick Montana and running back Corey Brown do indeed show up, the Buckeyes could see their stock increase significantly.
Also, as aforementioned, the Buckeyes always have a chance of picking up some commitments. Some names that are floating around are linebacker Scott McVey (pictured), defensive end Darryl Baldwin, and running back Roderick Smith (who wants to come but is not sure yet). I think Smith should be a Buckeye when the dust settles, but in his most recent interview made it clear that he might be waiting until fall to pull the trigger. With him aside, that leaves McVey and Baldwin. Will the Buckeyes pick up commitments from either one of these young men? I sure hope so, because it could be the spark that really helps move the 2010 class in the right direction.
Drew Thurman (11:03 pm)
Offensive lineman James Hurst has committed to North Carolina. The Buckeye recruit also had offers from Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Mississippi State. Take one off the recruiting big board.
Family Feud is a new feature where Dave and Drew will be throwing there opinions in on various Buckeye football subjects, which most of the time are quite opposite. This edition takes a look at the upcoming Spring Game, and the issues surrounding it.
1) Based on the reports coming out from spring practice, what excites you the most about the 2009 Buckeyes?
Dave: I am excited by how physical the practices have been and how much competition there is for the "open" positions. It sounds like the coaches have amped up there intensity and that is filtering down to the players.
Drew: The best news to me is probably the progression at running back. Losing a player like Beanie Wells isn't something that is easy to swallow, but it sounds as if Boom Herron and Brandon Saine have stepped up nicely. I am extremely happy to hear that Saine has taken some steps forward, especially after much of the media and fans left him for dead. Add three talented youngsters to the mix, and the competition and talent at running back look great for fall.
2) What position has you the most worried thus far?
Dave: Left tackle. Hate to see Pryor get blasted from the blind side and it sounds like Adams isn't mean enough yet and Miller, while more aggressive, lacks the natural talent. I could also mention the o-line coaching but I've covered that before! lol
Drew: This might actually sound surprising, but linebacker has me the most worried. It Sabino and Rolle get the reps they should, then all will be fine, but there will be trouble if Homan and Spitler both find themselves starting. Speed needs to be on the field to start the year because of the USC game in week two. I really don't want linebacker this year to be like the Boeckman-Pryor incident last year. The staff needs to put the talent on the field from the beginning.
3) What do you expect from Pryor in the Spring Game?
Dave: Solid play! If they let him play "live" for a half he will make some plays. However the defense is tough and may make life miserable for him and the offensive line.
Drew: I think he will probably have an average performance. Just as you said, playing "live" makes the difference on how good or bad he looks. The black jersey will be coming off for two quarters, which should help Pryor, but I think he will just look average in that one quarter with the black jersey on. We have to remember though, he will be playing behind a mix and match line.
4) Which player(s) need to have a good showing in the Spring Game in your opinion?
Dave: Brandon Saine, to continue building back his confidence and Andre Amos, who seems penciled in at CB, as he shakes off the rust. There are others, but those two come to mind first.
Drew: I think Mike Adams needs a good showing in the game. Everyone has documented that he is very talented, but isn't playing as tough and mean as the staff would like. On the other hand, Andy Miller finds himself battling for the job solely on his grit. Obviously Shugarts return will shake everything up, but Adams still needs to show a mean streak.
5) Do you expect more offense from the Buckeyes in this years Spring Game?
Dave: Not really. Tressel usually keeps it pretty vanilla, and the defense is loaded especially on the line.
Drew: I agree, I doubt that this game is an offensive show. There will probably be some nice long balls to excite the crowd, as there always are, but I doubt we see a consistent offensive flow.
6) Predict: Who will be the MVP of the Spring Game?
Dave: Surely Solomon Thomas will be somewhat held in check this week, so I'll go with Brian Rolle.
Drew: I think Ray Small completes his turnaround with an all-star performance in the Spring Game. He had a solid performance last season in the game, and I think he duplicates that this year. With his speed and hands, I see a inexperienced cornerback unit struggling with him.
Drew Thurman (11:58 pm)
1) Open practices are sweet, and getting the updates are even sweeter. Ken Gordon of the Dispatch has a report from Tuesday's practice, and there are some interesting notes. One note was that Devon Torrence (pictured) was running with the first team at corner. Word on the street is if he passes on baseball this summer, he could very well pass Amos for the starting job. He has all the athleticism, and is even more physical.
2) Doug Worthington finally got his sentence on the DUI charges from almost a year ago. Pretty standard stuff, but I am sure he is glad it is all over with.
3) Adam Rittenberg of ESPN has a nice article on Pryor. It takes a big look into how Pryor is going to step up and be a leader on this team, and how Tressel is in fact wanting him to do so. The chemistry on the team sounds solid and Pryor speaks out on how hungry he is to be better. Get ready for TP to take it to the next level!
4) Oh by the way, Percy Harvin tested positive for marijuana!
Drew Thurman (1:02 pm)
The Buckeyes started the 2010 class off strong with four quick commitments, but the recent recruiting news has seemed pretty scarce. There are limited scholarships in this class, making the staff much more picky than in years past, which has helped with this dead period in recruiting news. With that said, the Buckeyes don't seem to have as many guys putting them high on the list, particularly out-of-state.
Obviously there is no reason to be anything but optimistic at this point, and this week was a perfect illustration of that. The Buckeyes found out they are very high on the list for two out-of-state prospects, running back Roderick Smith and tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. Either of these young men would be a big pick up for the Buckeyes (ranked 4*), so let's take a look at both of them:
Smith (pictured above) hails from Paul Harding High School in Ft Wayne, Indiana, and is one of the top prospects in the whole state. It is interesting that the Buckeyes have an increase interest in Indiana, a state that didn't produce enough quality talent for the Buckeye to offer scholarships ten years ago. Anyways, at 6'3'' 220 pounds, Smith offers both speed and size, and has showed them off the last two seasons rushing for over 1,000 yards in each. What is truly remarkable is how quick his feet are, and how well he cuts to avoid defenders.
Smith looks like an Ohio State type running back, and is actually pretty close to committing as well. As you will see in the video below, he has contemplated committing right now, but has decide to wait a little while longer. It is exciting news that the Buckeyes are clearly the favorite for Smith's services. Check out this interview:
Unlike Smith, Fiedorowicz is a little bit better known commodity, and holds offers from Arizona, Illinois, LSU, Wisconsin, Iowa, Notre Dame, and of course Ohio State. He is a 6'7'' 240 pound tight end that hails from Johnsburg, Illinois, and brought in a remarkable 63 receptions for 1,072 yards as a junior. This ESPN 150 prospect actually declared Ohio State and Iowa to be his two front runners this last week, which shocked the Irish and Illini nations. The Buckeyes have not brought in a high ranked pass catching tight end prospect since Jake Ballard, so the addition of Fiedorowicz would be sweet. Here is what ESPN has to say about him:
"Fiedorowicz presents a challenge to defenders that don't share his size or do not have excellent vertical's. The tight end prospect is a big target as he has more then ideal height and carries good bulk, with the room to add plenty more. He seems to be used as a main receiving target in high school and can be a weapon at the college level. He has good hands and consistently displays the ability to attack the ball in the air and bring it in to his body."
All in All:
Despite the lack of recruiting news for the last couple of months, this week has provided good news from both Smith and Fiedorowicz. Let's get the 2010 train moving!