Drew Thurman (7:15 pm)
1) Well just when it looked like the Big Ten was going to take another year of media heat, in walks the ACC. Yesterday was a very hard day for Atlantic Coast Conference in every way. Let's take a look at a few of the scores...
East Carolina 27
#22 Virgina Tech 22
#3 USC 52
South Carolina 34
NC State 0
#24 Alabama 34
#9 Clemson 10
This is a list of just the bad loses. This does not even include Maryland's 14-7 slim victory over Deleware. The ACC got punished in the opening weekend of college football. As Big Ten fans I am sure we feel their pain, but we will happily pass on the criticism from the media.
2) Watching Michigan yesterday was incredibly weird for me, and I am guessing it was for many Buckeye fans as well. On one hand I wanted to pull for the Big Ten, and this would be helped by a Wolverine victory over Utah. On the other hand, I just could bring myself to root for Rich Rodriquez and the "winged helmets." Anyways, here is what Adam Rittenberg on ESPN had to say on the matter.
Other quick observations:
* LSU looked really impressive. Like many top teams, the Tigers don't rebuild they reload.
* Even though they played Coastal Carolina, Penn State was much better than I thought they might be. It looks like the transition at quarterback might be smoother than many believed.
* The SEC of course got most the media spotlight this weekend after dominating on all fronts. Outside of Mississippi State, the conference looked explosive!
The OSU-YSU game observations:
1) The special teams looked very good yesterday. In 2007 the special teams was something that always left you on the edge of your seat, and the Buckeyes did not leave much confidence this season after the Kick Scrimmage. Yesterday though they seemed to be hitting on all cylinders. Pretorious went 4 for 4, with a 50 yarder made. Pettrey hit his lone field goal of 54 yards, and looked solid on all of his kickoffs except one.
The return game looked much better as well. Saine took the only kick return 28 yards, and had a nice burst. Ray Small was impressive returning punts; an area where he was very hit or miss last season. I think the blocking was more solid, but Small looks like he has a better grasp of his role as a return man.
2) If the youth the Buckeyes showed off yesterday does not get your blood pumping, you might want to check your pulse. Many of the young guys got a chance to show their skills against the Penguins, and they did not disappoint. The young offensive line, "Block O," looked sharp all day. I realize that the played a weak opponent, but we have some incredible linemen for the future.
The young wideouts looked sharp as well. Thomas only had one catch for 9 yards, but his speed is exciting. Then there is Posey! He had 4 catches for 47 yards with a touchdown, and looked like the real deal. It's rare to see a wideout who can be a possession receiver and stretch a defense at the same time, but Posey looks to be capable of both. I am excited for his future!
Above all, no young guy looked better than Terrelle Pryor. He was posed, calm, and made plays all afternoon long. He did just enough through the air (4/6 35 yards) to make the defense respect both his arm and his legs. On the ground though, Pryor showed off some serious skills. He had 52 yards rushing with one touchdown, and his long run was one of 21 yards. He is such an incredible combination of size and speed, and I cannot wait to see him become a major part of our offense. He lived up to the hype in his debut!
3) Then there is Beanie Wells! I do not think there is much I can say that has not already been said in the last 24 hours, but it is terrible news. Every Buckeye fan will be all ears tomorrow as the official word comes out about how severe things are for him. More than just the team outlook, I feel for Beanie. No one wants something like this to happen to such a good young man, I hope everything is ok!
4) I thought Todd had another very solid performance. He had 187 yards with 2 touchdowns, and was very efficient doing it (14/ 19). Boeckman will always be an easy target, but I feel this is unwarranted. With that said, Boeckman is going to have to step up majorly if Beanie is out for any amount of time. Especially in the area of leadership. Boeckman will have to lead with his play on the field, but this wass an area of weakness for him last season. Let's hope he steps up!
Drew Thurman (10:15 am)
Nickname: Penguins (Click here for story behind nickname)
Stadium: Stambaugh Stadium (20, 630)
Head Coach: Jon Heacock
Basic Offense: Spread
Basic Defense: 4-3
Returning Starters: 15 (Offense - 8, Defense - 5, Specialist - 2)
2007 Record: 7-4 (3-3)
2008 Outlook: Youngstown State is coming off a very disappointing season considering their past success. This season things do not look that much brighter for the Penguins. Four year starter at quarterback, Tom Zetts, graduated last season leaving a major vacancy at that position this year. Add that to the fact that YSU is introducing the spread this year, and you have lots of inexperience at quarterback.
So look for the Penguins to run the ball a lot out of the spread, and look for to the defense for help on momentum. Especially from their defensive line, which was one of the best in the Gateway Conference last season.
Youngstown State gave the Buckeyes more problems than expected last season in the opener. In fact the score was 24-6 entering the final quarter. Beanie struggled in the game, and only had 46 yards (2nd worst performance of the season). The quick defensive line of the Penguins was able on several occasions to wedge themselves inside and run stop.
This year I think things will be much different. I expect to see a big game from Beanie, and out of our running game. I also think we will see our defense take advantage of an inexperienced passing attack, and will have a few take aways. Pryor plays, and Boeckman has success throwing the long ball. The Buckeyes will struggle a few times though due to missing players and experimentation of new things on offense. So all in all, the final score will be 42-10.
*Team information courtesy of YSUsports.com Media Guide.
Dave Thurman (11:40 am)
It has often been said that the quarterback at Ohio State is always on the hot seat. His is the most scrutinized and analyzed position on the field, and while it can be glamorous it can also be hazardous to one’s health and psyche. Those with a poor self image need not apply for signal caller in Columbus.
Returning starter Todd Boeckman can attest to all of this, as he has been under the microscope this offseason, with many fans calling for Tressel to consider benching Todd in favor of Joe Bauserman or Terrelle Pryor. Well, I’m here to tell you it ain’t going to happen! Not just because Boeckman is older than some starting quarterbacks in the NFL or because Tressel is stubbornly loyal, but due to the fact that Todd is a pretty darn good quarterback.
Most first year starters at OSU experience some ups and downs and that was certainly the case in 2007 for Todd. But overall he exceeded expectations and took a young team to the National Championship game. Most of the year, he did a good job of dissecting the defense and throwing the deep ball, although he seemed to struggle a little against the three-deep zone.
Now I know there are plenty of critics out there who point to Todd’s performance against Illinois, which was certainly lacking, and then throw in that he played poorly against Michigan and LSU. Before I analyze those three games, though, let me remind you of a few of the good things he accomplished last year:
-In the opener against Youngstown State, when the undersized but speedy Penguins shut down Beanie and the run, Todd threw the ball masterfully, completing 74% of his passes.
-At Washington, facing a halftime deficit and a hostile crowd, he came out and took over the game in the second half, starting with a beautiful deep ball to Robiskie.
-He threw four touchdowns against Northwestern in little more than a half of work.
-In the personal highlight of his year, Todd picked apart Penn State on the road, making a joke of the vaunted PSU whiteout. Now remember that a couple of years earlier another touted junior quarterback, a guy by the name of Troy Smith, struggled mightily facing the Nits at night. Most analysts thought Todd would face a similar fate, but he completed 73% of his passes that evening and threw three touchdowns to help the Bucks blow out their rivals to the east.
That’s some pretty heady stuff for a first year starter, especially when you consider that he had to deal with the early departure of the team’s two star receivers. Lest we forget, TB had a lot more highlights than low spots during the ’07 campaign.
But there were those dreaded late season letdowns. So briefly let’s examine them one by one.
The Illinois game was a huge shock to a lot of folks, and Todd was certainly a big part of the problem with no touchdowns and three interceptions. The truth is, however, that it might have been a different day if the defense had shown up at all, and if the referees had decided to call holding and/or review an obvious fumble by the Illini. Ironically, the Illinois fans had a quarterback controversy of their own brewing as they entered the OSU game, with many wanting to bench Juice Williams in favor of Eddie McGee. But then the Buckeye defense made Williams look like Vince Young, and the debate quickly subsided.
In “The Game” up at the world’s largest toilet bowl, I contend that Todd played just fine. It was an impossible day to throw the ball, as evidenced by UM completing less than 33% of their throws for a measly 76 yards. Todd did what he needed to do, we got the W, and that’s all that matters in my opinion.
Playing the biggest game of his life, Boeckman’s performance was a mixed bag. He had 2 TD’s and threw 2 picks, at times looking pretty good, and at other moment’s developing happy feet that led to nervous decisions. Still, I point to two important facts: 1) The defense had a terrible scheme which was exploited by LSU – the single greatest contributing factor in the loss; and 2) Had the usually reliable Robiskie held on to a sure TD early in the game, the Bucks might not only have eventually won, but some of the pressure would have been taken off of Boeckman, and he might have played a pretty good game. So, I don’t think Todd played as poorly as many would have us believe.
Of course we don’t live in a could-have or might-have-been world. When a team loses a game, the quarterback takes the most heat other than the old ball coach. Without doubt the year didn’t end as well as Boeckman would have liked, so here’s hoping that Todd will learn from his mistakes, and become a better quarterback in ’08.
If you look down through the annals of OSU football, you will notice that senior quarterbacks who return as starters generally make large improvements and have excellent seasons. Tressel is counting on that kind of progression for Boeckman. No doubt, Pryor will get some chances to run the “Tebow spread” on occasion. And, Bauserman looks like a keeper, possessing both a live arm and legs. But make no mistake about it: TB is the starter in Columbus. There is no quarterback controversy in Tressel’s mind whatsoever.
Drew Thurman (6:19 pm)
College Football kicks off this weekend, and there is a ton of news and opinion coming out. Of course the Buckeyes are at the center of a lot of that! Here are some the big things I have found:
1) Like him or hate him, Herbstreit has come out with his latest predictions. In the "Eighth Annual Herbie Awards," he names his top players at each position. I think this is one of the better things I have seen Herbstreit put out for awhile, and it is very fair to the Buckeyes. Some of the notables...
-Beanie is #1 running back
-Robiskie is the #3 wideout
-Saine is the #5 hybrid running back
-Alex Boone is listed on the dream offensive line
-Boeckman is listed the #2 QB (What a year a difference can make section)
-Freeman is #2 outside linebacker
-Laurinaitis is the #2 inside linebacker
-Jenkins is the #1 cornerback
-Pryor is listed as one of the top true freshmen
-Hartline is listed in the section of players who don't get enough respect
Pretty fair eh? He has plenty more opinion and information, so hit that link up for sure.
2) Adam Rittenberg of ESPN, has a short write-up on his blog about the Buckeye's depth chart that was released today. He has a few interesting things to note, including the fact that Brandon Saine is not even listed on the depth chart at running back. This is not great news for OSU, and hopefully he can get healthy soon. He is still on the kick returner depth chart. The depth chart also has Brandon Smith listed as the starter at fullback. As many suspected, Terry is not playing fullback.
3) The quarterback situation at Ohio State is an interesting one, and it is now getting some national attention. Mark Schlabach has written a very interesting article about Pryor, Boeckman, and the history of others in Pryor's shoes. Schlabach really highlights the identity of this role at other programs, and what Buckeye fans might expect this coming season. We have some interesting things to watch for in the coming weeks.
In other news...
*Oregon's QB Costa is out 8-10 weeks knee injury. Purdue should be helped with this news!
*Ragone (TE Notre Dame) is out for season.
*ESPN just signed a 15 year deal with the SEC. I guess it pays to dominate in sports like they have of late.
*More bad news for Michigan; Grady is out for Utah game. This is due to his DWI in July. Things are not getting any easier for the Wolverines.
Drew Thurman (4:07 pm)
It's Friday, which means it is time for the video of the week. The video this week is a preview of Ohio State football in 2008. This one of the better videos I have seen on YouTube, so please enjoy...
Drew Thurman (8:18 am)
One of the best things about being a Buckeye fan is the amount of information and blogs out there for us. I do not think there is another team in the country that has the amount of information and opinion hitting the web as Ohio State. With that said, I get very frustrated with having to check all the different websites all the time. Enter BuckeyeDome.com! What I love about Buckeye Dome is that it is a one-stop shop for blogs, information, videos, and forums.
They are trying to create a Buckeye community, and in the process they offer a place with the latest blog articles, OSU headlines, and videos. This is why here at The Silver Bullet we are so pround to announce a linkage with BuckeyeDome.com! We have already added Buckeye Dome to our linkage, and we display the widget below. They have already added us as one of their blogs, and you will be able to see our latest information over there. This is good news for both websites, so check both places out!
Drew Thurman (5:35 pm)
The open practice last night really did offer some interesting moments. I obviously have only been blessed one set of eyes, but these were some of the things I noticed...
- Dane Sanzenbacher blew me away. I had continually read the rave reviews on him this spring and summer, but he really impressed me live. First of all, he has some of the best route running skills on the team, and I would say he is only second behind Hartline in this area. He broke ankles all night long, and looked especially impressive in the one on one drills. Second, Sanzenbacher showed some real speed. I don't care what his 40 time was coming out of high school, he has a serious motor. I think we will being seeing a lot of Sanzenbacher this season.
- Terrelle Pryor was the center of the spotlight for most of the night, even though he took reps with the third string. Pryor is interesting to watch becuase he is so hit or miss. At times he does not look like a freshmen at all, and this is especially the case during a broken play. His instincts and athleticism are of the charts, and he throws pretty well on the run. On the other hand though, Pryor will frustrate you with the lack of mechanics. He is very inconsistant with his accuracy, and constantly throws off his back foot. I don't care what others have said, Pryor will probably not be getting used for much outside of his running ability this season.
- The tight ends looked to be a very active part of the practice. Nicol was very much in rhythm all night long, and had a few spectacular catches across the middle from Todd Boeckman. Brandon Smith was also was on the receiving end several times. It looks like they want to use Smith in a similar role as they did Stan White Jr. in the past.
- The defensive line looked very solid all night long. Gibson and Heyward were both sharp coming of the ends for the first string, and Gibson looks to have taken some steps forward since the spring game. Terry also spent his time at defensive end, and had some very solid moves during one on one drills. The most impressive DE to me had to be Solomon Thomas. His combination of size and speed were too much for the guys on second string that faced him. I seriously blinked, and he was in the backfield. I worry with him a little versus the run, but he will have no problem getting to the quarterback. The defensive tackles also look good. Denlinger and Larimore were two of the hardest workers out there, and the offensive line struggled with them on multiple occasions. I think the defensive line will be one of the strongest aspects of this team in 08-09.
- Beanie of course looked good, but he always looks good. With that said, it was nice to see him healthy again. Beanie looked as quick as I have ever seen him, and he is hitting the hole very fast. He looks to be in Heisman form.
- I was a little disappointed with the offensive line at times last night. I don't think there are any huge concerns, but I think we will have to watch the right side of the line. Person looked a little a slow on several occasions, and he shares the right side with first year starter Bryant Browning. I am not criticizing either guy, instead I am just saying it is something to watch.
- Some other observations:
1) Bauserman looked solid all night, and there was a great rhythm with him under center.
2) Posey, Stoneburner, and Thomas all three made some solid plays. Posey is obviously looks the best of the trio, but they all have bright futures ahead.
3)Boeckman was solid. He was not flashy as usual, but he has the best accuracy of anyone we could throw out there.
4) Jermale Hines played the two deep at safety all night long.
5) I saw Storm Klein and some other recruits present at the practice.
6) Robiskie, Herron, and Saine all was absent from the drills.
7) Taurian Washington played both first and second string in Robiskie's place.
Drew Thurman (1:18 pm)
1) Just a reminder that tonight is the open practice at Ohio Stadium. The gates open at 6:30 pm, but practice does not begin until 8 pm. Admission is free, and participants are encouarged to park on the lots adjacent to the Schottenstein Center.
2) We will have a full write up of the practice tomorrow, so please check us out then!
3) Also, just another reminder about the Silver Bullet Editorial Contest. The more that enter this contest the better. We want to hear your voice! Click the link above for details...
Drew Thurman (11:26 am)
10) Notre Dame will improve on it's 3-9 season last year, but will fight to barely get over the .500 mark.
Everyone seems to be jumping on the Irish bangwagon these days. In fact, Mark Schlabach has predicted a bowl game for Notre Dame this season. I am not so optimistic! I realize that the Irish have lots of talent, and I also realize that they will be more experienced this season. With that said, I am not so impressed with Weis' coaching style, and I think he is overrated. So, the Irish take a step in the right direction and finish just above the .500 mark.
9) After a disappointing end to the 07-08 season, Boeckman will be the Big Ten’s top performing quarterback.
Boeckman was the highest rank passer in the Big Ten a season ago, but really took a few steps backward towards the end of the season. He started to get "happy feet" in the pocket, and looked very rattled on several occasions. I look for him to get his confidence back, and to improve on his 2379 yards and 25 touchdowns a year ago.
8) After a zero win season in the Big Ten, Minnesota will become this year’s “sleeper team.”
Minnesota was the laughing-stock of the Big Ten last season. This was because of a 1-11 record, and 0-8 record in the Big Ten. I first look for the Gophers to have some early non-conference success. Second, look for Minnesota to suprise a few teams in the Big Ten this season. Just when someone overlooks the Gophers, look for them to provide a shock.
7) The coaches in SEC will have an press conference battle, to see who has the biggest ego.
Urban Meyer, Les Miles, Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, and Phil Fullmer just to name a few. Wow, the SEC has some high profile, high ego coaches! Believe me, Les Miles rapping for Snop Dogg is just the beginning. I expect to see quite a few high ego press conferences coming from the SEC this year. I am not sure how all of them coach in the same conference together!
6) Clemson will win the ACC, saving Tommy Bowden’s job.
Clemson has been a disappointment for the last several years, and Bowden is on the hot seat. I expect Clemson to finally pull out the ACC this season, and save Bowden's job. The ACC looks weaker and weaker every year, and this season I do not see a team that is stronger on paper than the Tigers.
5) Tiller's Boilermakers will have one upset in his honor, but will not fight for much else in the Big Ten.
Tiller and his Boilermakers could go in several directions this season. I personally do not think they will improve much on their 7-5 campaign a year ago. The Boliermakers could very easily be a 8-4 team, but they may just have one suprise in store. Look for the Boilermakers to have one upset (Penn State, Michigan, Michiagn State) in Tiller's honor.
4) Michigan State will win in Ann Arbor, and will also finish ahead of the Wolverines in the Big Ten.
"That State Up North" has a serious battle on its hands this season. Michigan and Michigan State will both be fighting for position in the Big Ten standings. You better believe that that the game in Ann Arbor on November 1st will be a heated one. I expect the Spartans and their superior running attack to defeat the Wolverines, and to also finish ahead of them in the Big Ten.
3) The Big 12 will have it’s representative in the National Championship Game, Oklahoma.
The Big 12 was probably the second best conference in football last season behind the SEC. Teams like Kansas and Missouri suprised the college football world, and helped put the Big 12 on the map. I look for the Big 12 to have a team in the National Championship Game this season, regardless of what goes on in the Big Ten and SEC. Oklahoma is the favorite in the Big 12, and looks to have the best shot to get to National Championship Game. It will be interesting to see!
2) In what many call the year of the quarterback, a running back will steal the Heisman.
College football is loaded with quarterbacks this year. Guys like Tim Tebow, Chase Daniels, Pat White, Graham Harrell, and Matthew Stafford look to shine in the the 08-09 season. Even with all of these studs at quarterback, I look for a running back to win the Heisman trophy. Beanie Wells and Knowshon Moreno are the easy favorites to win.
1) Ohio State will win yet another Big Ten Title, but not without a major challenge from Wisconsin, Penn State, and Illinois.
The Buckeyes seem to be two or three steps above everyone else in the Big Ten right now. With that said, anyone in the Big Ten could play spolier like Illinois did last season. I expect Wisconsin, Penn State, and Illinois to challenge and push the Buckeyes, but in the end it will not be enough. The Buckeyes will win their fourth straight Big Ten Championship!
Here at The Silver Bullet we believe in the opinion of the fan. We also realize that many of you are good writers, and have some great things to say. This has become evident thanks to the many OSU message boards out there, and websites like the Bleacher Report. So we would like to announce our first ever Silver Bullet Editorial Contest.
Submissions are due by August 24th, and need to obviously focus on some aspect of Ohio State Football. The only thing we ask is that foul language is left out of these submissions. Besides that we are giving you the freedom to write whatever is on your heart.
We will announce the winner on August 29th, and their editorial will be posted on our website along with the websites that syndicate us. What better way to enter the 2008 season than by hearing the voice of the fans. So good luck in writing...
Email questions & submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org