Countdown To THE GAME 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hawaii Will Want To Say 'Aloha' Quickly To OSU In 2015

“The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.” ~ Ulysses S. Grant

Leave it to a native Ohioan to spell it out what needs to be done in order to win.  West Point graduate, Civil War general, and former United State President, I am willing to bet Ulysses S. Grant would have given football coaching a shot if it had been around in his day.

While counting down the days until the 2015 college football season begins, I thought I would pass the time by ranking and reviewing the upcoming 2015 Ohio State opponents, from least difficult to most difficult.  This ranking system of mine will be highly subjective, prone to possibilities of injuries, transfers, or other unforeseen events that could dramatically impact its accuracy.  As always, I encourage comments and critique about what I have projected.


Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (Game 2)

2015 OSU Opponent Ranking:  12 out of 12

Players Recruited By Ohio State:  N/A.  Former Buckeye QB Taylor Graham, who transferred to Hawaii in 2012, has used up his eligibility.

Game Date:  September 12, 2015

Kickoff Time:  TBD

Location:  Ohio Stadium

Rationale For The Ranking:  Hawaii went 4-9 in 2014 under Norm Chow, with wins over Northern Iowa, Wyoming, at San Jose State, and UNLV.  All of those teams except Northern Iowa had losing records; Northern Iowa is a FCS school.  Even the Northern Iowa victory was close, with Hawaii winning 27-24.  The best team Hawaii played in 2014 was Colorado State; Colorado State defeated Hawaii 49-22.

Prediction:  Norm Chow is one of the most respected offensive minds in college football, with legendary accomplishments as an assistant at Brigham Young and USC.  While an accomplished offensive coordinator, the results as a head coach have not been favorable, lending credence to the old football adage that sometimes the best assistants do not necessarily make the best head coaches.  Chow is on the hot seat at Hawaii, entering the 2015 season with a 8-29 record after three seasons.  Considering this is Ohio State's home opener, the significant travel distance Hawaii has to make, and the simple talent discrepancy between the two teams, let me just state that this will probably get out of hand very quickly.  

Hawaii opens up the 2015 season with a home game versus Colorado, while Ohio State opens up on the road at Virginia Tech.  As I stated up above, this is Ohio State's home opener.  It is difficult to see Ohio State coming out flat in Ohio Stadium, in front of its home crowd, in the first home game of the season.

How bad do I think it might be?  I am going to allow Travis Scarangello (@ElChibo), a Hawaii native, to give you an idea as to what he believes may happen...

Look for Coach Meyer to begin substituting liberally before the half.  This is the kind of game where Ohio State can and should rest its starters once the sizable lead has been gained, and give the backups considerable playing time experience that will be of benefit for the future.  This is also the kind of game that Ohio State critics will point to as the 2015 season progresses, with accusations that Ohio State does not play enough quality opponents.

In Hawaiian culture, 'aloha' means both hello and goodbye.  My prediction is Hawaii will be wanting to say 'aloha' to Ohio State very quickly on September 12, 2015.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Recruiting Rankings Are Great, But Give Me The NFL Draft For Results

Before getting too deep into the main subject of my post, I want to express some public support and sympathy for former Buckeye and current Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman. You may recall in last week’s article that I mentioned how I had hoped that my favorite NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, would have possibly drafted Heuerman in the 2015 NFL Draft. Only one day after I published my article, news spread quickly about Heuerman sustaining a torn ACL during his first practice that will sideline him throughout the 2015 NFL season.

Rookie TE Jeff Heuerman (3rd-Rd pick) tore his ACL in Saturday afternoon practice & is expected to miss season: []

Thank you for all the support recently, you don't know how much I appreciate it. God has a plan for us all. I'll be back stronger than ever.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Why Can’t The Browns “Steel” Some Buckeyes In The NFL Draft?

Congratulations to Devin Smith, Jeff Heuerman, Doran Grant, Evan Spencer, and Michael Bennett on being selected in the 2015 NFL Draft.  This weekend will be the first rookie minicamp for these players with their respective NFL teams.  It is challenging to refer to these players as "former Buckeyes", but they will all be moving forward in their quest for (hopefully) lengthy NFL careers.  Good luck also to Darryl Baldwin, Curtis Grant, and Steve Miller, who all were signed as free agents to NFL teams.  Jerry Emig of Ohio State had an impressive tweet that summarizes the good fortune of these players as they enter into the NFL...

Former Buckeye Rod Smith is also getting a free agent opportunity, with the Seattle Seahawks...

Remember Verlon Reed?  This former Buckeye, who left Ohio State for Findlay, is getting a free agent opportunity with the Detroit Lions...

According to Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch, former Buckeye Kyle Clinton is also getting a free agent tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers this coming weekend...

At least Clinton and Grant will have some company while in Pittsburgh - over the last six years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have drafted six players from Ohio State.

Prior to the NFL Draft, I held out hope that the Cleveland Browns, the NFL team I have rooted for my entire life, would pick two Buckeyes - Jeff Heuerman and Evan Spencer.  Both would have fulfilled position needs on the Browns, and had the skill set that would allow them to succeed in Cleveland's run-oriented offense.

I was happy for Jeff Heuerman that Denver picked Heuerman in the third round; that was a little higher than I anticipated the Browns would show interest.  I thought maybe the Browns would be interested in Heuerman in the fourth round.

As for Evan Spencer, I woke up on Saturday morning and tweeted out the following.  My man Shannon Sommers agreed with my line of thinking...

Do you know who the last Ohio State player the Cleveland Browns selected was?  Brian Robiskie, back in second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.  Prior to Robiskie?  2002, when the Browns picked Darnell Sanders in the fourth round.

Don't get me wrong - I am happy for all of these Buckeye players to have NFL opportunities, even if it is with the Cleveland Browns' biggest rival.  I just do not understand how the Browns, a team that has long been mired in the basement of its division, and is always trying to close the gap between itself and the division leaders, cannot look into scouting players from a powerhouse program only two hours down I-71.  The Pittsburgh Steelers are located further away, and have had no problem with the longer commute to scout out Buckeye talent.  Even the comments of Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer made me think the Browns would be picking at least one Buckeye...

Even Bill Rabinowitz agrees with me...Below is a tweet sent before the NFL Draft concluded regarding Darryl Baldwin, a Cleveland native, that somewhat mirrors my line of thinking ~

The 2016 NFL Draft is a year away, and I am looking forward to what promises to be an exciting 2015 Ohio State football season.  I can only hope that with a crop of players that will be heavily abundant in Buckeye talent in the 2016 NFL Draft that the Browns will "steel" some Buckeyes going forward.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Post-2015 Ohio State Spring Game: Reranking Concerns

Throughout the weeks leading up to the 2015 Ohio State spring game, I had written ten articles where I ranked my concerns about Ohio State heading into the 2015 season. These articles were written from lowest concern to highest concern, primarily based upon players lost to eligibility or injury.
A couple weeks have passed since the glorious spring game, allowing me to contemplate and reflect upon what I saw during the spring game, as well as what I had written prior to the game. Were my concerns warranted?

Here are my top three concerns as Ohio State prepares for the influx of freshman talent in their 2015 recruiting class to arrive upon campus in June, gearing up for the all-important summer workouts that will be key to the Buckeyes’ 2015 national championship hopes…

3. Wide Receiver: Corey Smith had a terrific spring game, and Michael Thomas was sidelined due to a surgery procedure. Why am I ranking this wide receiver position higher than my earlier concern? Quite simply, losing Devin Smith as a consistent deep threat is something that will need to be demonstrated in true game competition. Corey Smith had some moments in the spring game, but I am skeptical about the consistency aspect that has plagued him in the past. We shall see if Corey Smith becomes the deep threat that is necessary for Ohio State’s passing offense to flourish.

2. Tight End: Nick Vannett is the listed starter, and could be primed for a big senior year, provided he stays healthy throughout the season. Marcus Baugh would have to be considered the second-string tight end heading into summer workouts. Why am I ranking this position higher than my earlier concern? Plain and simple, Baugh did not play in the spring game, due to a stomach virus that sidelined him. The lack of experienced depth has me concerned, but incoming freshmen Rashod Berry and A.J. Alexander may have opportunities to get playing time in the early portion of the season.

1. Defensive Tackle: Yes, my earlier concerns about defensive tackle heading into spring practice remain my top concern heading into the summer and fall. Ohio State did not truly emphasize the run in the spring game, so it would be difficult to gauge how effective the interior defensive linemen are at shutting down the run. Tommy Schutt did not play in the spring game, so there is another factor in not being able to accurately see the position group at full strength. With the Virginia Tech game on September 7th, Ohio State fans such as myself are going to have to be in a true “wait and see” mode as to how strong the defensive tackles are for the 2015 Buckeyes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Look Back At The 1985 NFL Draft & How Bernie Kosar Picked The Browns

April 30, 1985.  I was finishing up my freshman year of high school, competing in varsity track, and obsessed with the NFL Draft, even though the Cleveland Browns were coming off a miserable 1984 season (5-11) that resulted in the midseason firing of Sam Rutigliano and the promotion of defensive coordinator Marty Schottenheimer to head coach.

The Browns, having allowed longtime starter and fan favorite Brian Sipe to depart to the USFL's New Jersey Generals after the 1983 NFL season, were going nowhere with Paul McDonald at quarterback.  In the video clip I have posted below, you will see a brief clip of McDonald throwing an interception from the 1984 season, as former Browns GM Ernie Accorsi is narrating about why it was so important for the Browns to land a quality quarterback.

I distinctly remember how the Browns were trying to hold onto their first pick, which was seventh overall, instead of trading their pick to Buffalo.  The Browns tried to trade linebacker Chip Banks to Buffalo, but Banks refused to go, so the Browns had to wind up giving up both their 1985 and 1986 first round picks.  No matter - the price was small, for the glory that Kosar helped to propel the Browns to from 1985-1989.  It truly was a shame that the Browns did not continue to build a quality offensive line around Kosar, as Kosar's career ended prematurely after the 1996 season.

Ohio State Video