Countdown Until THE GAME 2018

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

[NFL Network] Good Morning Football interview with John Dorsey of the Cleveland Browns, 05/02/2018

Thursday, April 26, 2018

From The Mind Of Minnich's 2018 Mock 1st Round Draft Projections

The first round of the NFL Draft for Cleveland Browns fans is usually an exercise in frustration (2011 - see Taylor, Phil), agony (2014 - see Manziel, Johnny), and bewilderment (2014 - see Gilbert, Justin).  Depending on how many picks the Browns have in the first round, those emotions can be repeated throughout the course of the night.

For a franchise that has made repeated draft failures, especially at the quarterback position, the first pick is going to be monitored up until the moment the selection is announced.  While there are quarterbacks who may offer greater long-term potential (see Josh Allen), this is a franchise that simply needs to make a solid pick at the quarterback position (see Sam Darnold).  Using a baseball analogy, the Browns cannot swing for the fences; being content with a single will be a step in the right direction.

So much depends on what the New York Giants do with the second selection.  If the NY Giants take Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, the Browns should be content to sit tight with their pick obtained from Houston and take NC State DE Bradley Chubb.  If the Giants trade the pick to Buffalo, again, the Browns should be able to take Bradley Chubb at four.  And in my scenario...well, how about you see how I can envision this possibly turning out.

Friday, April 20, 2018

[Big Ten Network] Coach Bruce dotting the 'I' - 2016

Rest In Peace, Coach Bruce.

Monday, April 9, 2018

FW: Bruce’s Ohio State Legacy Isn’t About Results

Terrific story below about former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce, reprinted from The Buckeye Sports Bulletin

Feed: Buckeye Sports Bulletin
Posted on: Friday, April 6, 2018 10:54 PM
Author: The Webmaster
Subject: Bruce's Ohio State Legacy Isn't About Results

By Mark Rea
Editor's Note: Buckeye Sports Bulletin commemorated the life and legacy of College Football Hall of Fame coach Earle Bruce upon the 30th anniversary of the end of his tenure as Ohio State head coach with special features throughout the 2017 football season. The following is a bonus installment to the series.
What is the true measure of a coach? Is it the number of victories won and championship trophies hoisted? Or is it something more – something unable to be defined by cold numbers?
Legendary UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden once said, "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
Josh Winslow/BSB
Going strictly by the numbers, it is difficult to ascertain the place Earle Bruce should occupy in the pantheon of Ohio State football coaches. As far as character is concerned, however, Bruce is on a much higher plane according to the men who played for or coached under him.
Unlike Paul Brown and Woody Hayes before him, as well as Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer after him, Bruce won no national championships with the Buckeyes. His 81 total victories with the Buckeyes rank fourth all-time in program history, and Meyer will likely push him to fifth late in the 2018 season.
While in Columbus, Bruce's tenure was more renowned for what might have been rather than what was actually accomplished. An enviable 5-4 record against archrival Michigan was somewhat mitigated by a 4-5 mark against a mediocre Wisconsin program that produced a lowly 32-43-1 conference record during Bruce's nine seasons at OSU.
His derisive nickname of "Ol' 9-3 Earle" for his string of six consecutive 9-3 finishes from 1980 through 1985 could just as easily have been "Close-But-No-Cigar Earle." His first Ohio State team in 1979 came within a single point of winning a national championship, and his 1984 squad, thought by some experts to be among the greatest assemblages of talent in program history, lost three games by a combined total of just 10 points.
Bruce won four Big Ten championships, but only two were outright titles, a number that trails Hayes, who had seven outright championships among his 13 conference titles, as well as Tressel and John Wilce, each of whom claimed three outright league crowns.
But again, those are simply cold numbers on faded pages of dusty history books. The bottom line in the coaching profession is victories and defeats, but are those the only measuring sticks to be used to determine the true meaning of a coach and where his legacy fits among those of his contemporaries?
"If it's wins and losses and championships that determine a list of the quote-unquote best coaches, then in my opinion I think it's difficult to place Coach Bruce ahead of the men who have won national championships at Ohio State," longtime OSU football historian Jack Park told BSB.
"But there are other things besides wins and losses and championships that can establish the measure of a coach. My opinion has always been and still is that if you look a little deeper than just the numbers, I think you'll find a lot of categories in which Coach Bruce is pretty hard to beat."
To assess Bruce's rightful place in Ohio State football program history, one would have to start at the beginning of his tenure as head coach. Hayes had just been fired in the aftermath of hitting an opposing player near the end of the Buckeyes' 17-15 loss to Clemson in the 1978 Gator Bowl.
University officials had to deal with the unpleasantness of dismissing a head coach who had been the face of their football program for 28 seasons while trying to find someone who was willing to follow in the footsteps of a legend. Several big names emerged as candidates, but most dropped out for one reason or another, a situation perhaps best summed up by former OSU assistant coach Lou Holtz, who was then head coach at Arkansas.
"Nobody wants to be the guy who follows Woody Hayes at Ohio State," Holtz said. "You want to be the guy who follows the guy who followed Woody Hayes at Ohio State."
Holtz and other coaches might have been frightened away by the lengthy shadow cast by Hayes, but Bruce was definitely not in that company. Although he secretly harbored the feeling that he wouldn't get the job, Bruce aggressively pursued Ohio State to become Hayes' successor.
"Looking back, it was a monumental task for the university," Park said. "There were a lot of pretty big-name coaches whose names were mentioned as Woody's successors, and several of them found ways to quickly take their names out of consideration.
"The university president at the time (Harold Enarson) and the athletic director (Hugh Hindman) were in a unique situation. On one hand, they wanted to distance themselves from Woody by not hiring any of his assistants, but they also wanted someone they knew and someone they felt understood the tradition of Ohio State football. In that regard, I don't know that they could have made a better choice than Earle Bruce."
Many agree with Park's assessment, including Buckeye Sports Bulletin publisher Frank Moskowitz.
"In many ways, Earle was the perfect choice to replace Woody," said Moskowitz, who started BSB in 1981, Bruce's third year on the job. "The university had to have someone bridge the gap between Woody's style of doing things and the way the game of football was then evolving. Having coached for Woody, Earle was definitely seen as a Woody disciple, but he was also perceived as being a little more up-to-date in his approach."
When he got the job, Bruce kept a handful of Hayes' assistants, brought a couple of his own from Iowa State, and then turned what had been an underachieving team in 1978 to within one point of winning the 1979 national championship.
In some ways, however, coming so close to the national title that first season set the bar incredibly high for Bruce, making the remainder of his tenure as head coach – as successful as it was – something of a disappointment.
"Where to rank him among other Ohio State coaches is really a difficult decision to make because there were so many 'what ifs' connected with Earle's time as head coach," Moskowitz said. "What if he had won the national championship that first year? Would that have made a difference in his popularity and the way fans perceived him and his program?
"What if he'd had a better record against Wisconsin? Beating Wisconsin would have changed so many of those 9-3 records into 10-2 seasons. It's only slightly different, but 10-2 sounds so much better than 9-3. Would that have made any difference later on? There were so many 'what ifs,' so many little things that, had they gone the other way, would have at the time completely changed the perception people had of Earle Bruce as a coach."
Rusty Miller, who covered the Buckeyes for the Columbus Citizen-Journal in 1984 and '85 before spending the next 30 years as sports editor for The Associated Press, agreed with Moskowitz.
"Earle was always a very good coach, and I don't think you'd find many people to dispute that," Miller told BSB. "He had a winning record against Michigan, and he had a winning record in bowl games. But at the same time, you have to wonder what could have been because he never quite exceeded what was expected.
"Were those high expectations unfair? Probably, but it is Ohio State football we're talking about. High expectations go with the territory."
Shrewd Talent Evaluator
Perhaps the perception part of the equation is what separates Bruce from other coaches. After all, Ohio State fired a coach whose .770 winning percentage against Big Ten competition at the time ranked fifth all-time among conference coaches with at least five seasons in the league.
But Bruce also doesn't seem to get enough credit for being a shrewd evaluator of talent – both in players and assistant coaches.
Nick Saban, Pete Carroll, Tressel and Meyer each served as assistants on Bruce's staff at Ohio State, and that quartet has gone on to capture 16 (and counting) college football national championships between them. Add Carroll's Super Bowl XLVIII victory as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, former OSU assistant Dom Capers' Super Bowl XLV win as defensive coordinator for Green Bay, and former Iowa State assistant Joe Bugel's contributions as Washington's offensive line coach in Super Bowls XVII and XXII, and Bruce's coaching tree also enjoys four Super Bowl championships.
"I think if you would ask any of us who have enjoyed some measure of success as head coaches, each of us would tell you that a great deal of what we know and what we have learned over the years, we learned from Coach Bruce," Tressel told BSB. "Each of us has his own personality, of course, and his own way to doing things. But the little things that go into coaching – preparation, work ethic, personal relationships and things of that nature – if you look at each of us, we all share some things in common, and I think those were seeds initially sown by Coach Bruce.
"I have always felt incredibly blessed to have spent those three years as a member of Coach Bruce's staff at Ohio State."
Meyer has never shied away from his relationship with Bruce, telling The New York Times in 2007 that the coach was second only to his father as the largest influence in his life.
"They're very similar," Meyer said of Bruce and his father, Bud, who died in November 2011. "I think they both are about doing the right thing. There's a lot of things that are important, but doing it the right way is probably the most important.
"They're family guys and hard workers who don't take shortcuts."
Meyer has often recounted a story that underscores the kind of tough-love approach he received from Bruce.
During a late September afternoon in 1990, when Meyer was receivers coach under Bruce at Colorado State, he walked onto the practice field after the birth of his first child, Nicole, and was greeted by a host of hugs, backslaps and congratulations.
Later that afternoon, Bruce found the perfect opportunity to make sure that Meyer stayed focused on beating Colorado State's opponent that weekend. It came when he saw a receiver blow a blocking assignment on a screen pass.
"He just undressed me," Meyer said, still remembering the name of the play (94-I Twin Right) as well as the defensive scheme they faced (Cover 2). "He just got after me. I remember it like it was yesterday. The lesson? No matter what else is going on, focus on the task at hand. Focus on what you're doing."
That scolding, much like his father's mandate for running laps around the house as punishment or a 10-mile walk home after a baseball loss, offers a window into the two men most responsible for molding Meyer. Together, they helped forge the values and work ethic that allowed Meyer to lead Utah to an undefeated season in 2004, win two national championships at Florida and capture another national title at Ohio State in 2014.
"One thing about Earle Bruce is that there has never been any criticism about him doing things the right way," Meyer said. "He may have done some things that maybe the media or people outside the program didn't agree with, but I could go on for six hours about what he has done for me, my family and the way we run our program.
"I've said this many times. With any decisions about my career, I called two people. I called my dad and I called Coach Bruce. He's as good as it gets."
As impressive as his track record for recognizing up-and-coming coaches, Bruce also recruited some of the finest on-the-field talent in Ohio State program history.
Miller told BSB he felt Bruce was always shortchanged when it came to his recruiting acumen.
"I don't think Earle ever got the kind of credit he deserved for the players that he brought to Ohio State," Miller said. "I think you could make a case for Cris Carter, Keith Byars, Chris Spielman, Jim Lachey and Mike Tomczak being the best players Ohio State has ever had at their respective positions."
Carter finished his OSU career with 168 receptions for 2,725 yards and 27 touchdowns, totals that remain among the top five all-time in program history more than 30 years after Carter played his final game for the Buckeyes. He played 16 seasons in the NFL, made eight Pro Bowls, became one of only six receivers in league history with at least 1,100 career receptions and earned induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
Byars rushed for 3,200 yards (seventh all-time) and 46 touchdowns, which still ranks second in program history. He played 13 seasons in the NFL for four different teams, excelling as a do-everything player. Byars finished his pro career with 3,109 yards and 23 TDs rushing as well as 5,661 yards and 31 touchdowns receiving, and he threw six touchdown passes.
Spielman remains Ohio State's all-time leader in solo tackles with 283 and still ranks third in total stops with 546. He went on to a 10-year NFL career that included four Pro Bowl selections.
Lachey was a first-team All-America guard for the Buckeyes who enjoyed 11 seasons in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins. He earned three first-team All-Pro honors, was selected to the Pro Bowl three times and earned a Super Bowl championship as a member of Washington's offensive line known as "The Hogs."
Tomczak threw for 5,569 yards and 32 touchdowns, each of which ranked second in OSU history when his career ended, and then he went on to a 15-year NFL career with the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I used to kid Glen Mason when he was offensive coordinator," Miller said. "I said, 'Jeez, Mace, you must have the world's easiest job. You get to choose between Tomczak throwing to Carter or Lachey blocking for Byars. Either way, it usually ends up with a touchdown. How hard is that?' He got a little mad, but then he realized what I was saying and had to agree."
Earning Newfound Respect
As much as he is defined by his record and the number of successful coaches and players he produced, Bruce's career is inescapably linked to his firing during the week before the 1987 Ohio State-Michigan game.
The ham-handed way the situation was handled by the university contrasted sharply with how Bruce conducted himself, underscoring the coach's unbridled love for his alma mater and earning him a newfound respect throughout Buckeye Nation.
"Not that the rivalry is anything less important now, but back then, Ohio State-Michigan week was sacred," Moskowitz said, "and to be fired the week of the Michigan game – you just don't do that. What that did was turn public opinion in Earle's favor. People who were ready to run him out of town suddenly saw him in a different light.
"Then when the team went to Ann Arbor and won the game, Earle was suddenly a folk hero. And I don't think many people realize that it was another 14 years before Ohio State beat Michigan in Ann Arbor."
Bruce left Columbus after his 1987 dismissal, coaching one season at Division I-AA Northern Iowa before a four-year stint at Colorado State. But he never stopped being a Buckeye, and when in the mid-1990s he became an Ohio State football analyst for WTVN Radio in Columbus, he was greeted as a returning hero.
George Lehner, who spent 20 years as sports director at WTVN and co-authored the coach's 2000 autobiography titled "Earle: A Coach's Life," said Bruce's radio work not only introduced him to a new generation of fans, it also put the coach's passion for Ohio State and its football program fully on display.
"I know it's a cliché, but Earle truly bleeds scarlet and gray," Lehner told BSB. "I grew up in Massillon (Ohio) and was just starting high school when he was coaching there, and I never thought in a million years that I'd work alongside him one day. But those days working with Earle provided some of my most cherished memories.
"The guy is so genuine and so passionate, and I don't think you're ever going to find anyone that will be able to touch the passion that Earle has for Ohio State football. If we're going to talk about legacies, I think his passion has got to be Earle's biggest legacy. Sorry, Urban, but I don't think you're ever going to find another coach to bleed scarlet and gray like Earle does. I truly believe that."
The passion to which Lehner referred didn't come to Bruce after he left Ohio State. It was something he said he felt the first time he set foot on campus in the fall of 1949 and saw Ohio Stadium.
"Certainly, the university and the football program itself drew me to Ohio State, but it was Coach Bruce's passion that ultimately made me want to play there and become part of his program," Spielman said. "He had the capability of seeing what each individual was capable of and holding him to that level. And he had enough respect for you not to lower that standard.
"What I learned from Earle is how the team was always first. The good of the team was always first, no matter what. That was proven after he was fired and the way he conducted himself and the way he coached against Michigan – his pure passion and his love for Ohio State."
Perhaps former OSU linebacker Glen Cobb offered the best perspective upon Bruce and his place in history.
"Coach Bruce was always a man of integrity," said Cobb, a two-time captain at Ohio State who remains among the top 10 in all-time tackles for the Buckeyes. "Sure, he wanted to win, and he wanted to win with the best of them. But he wanted to win the right way. He spoke of integrity and its importance often. He spoke about how a man is known by his friends, so be careful with whom you associate. He spoke about life after football, and the need to grasp the bigger picture.
"I have the greatest respect for the man. He was a father figure to me at Ohio State and helped me even beyond my years as a football player. He took a personal interest in his players. Coach Tressel was always fond of saying, 'People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.' To me, Earle Bruce demonstrated the right balance of compassion and competition.
"I am grateful to have played for the man and know that The Ohio State University was a better place with him during his time as head coach."
This story was originially published in the January 20, 2018 edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

2018 Ohio State Spring Football Preview

(This article originally appeared on Athlon Sports)

Entering his seventh season as Ohio State's head football coach, Urban Meyer has the Buckeyes well positioned to remain in the discussion as a College Football Playoff contender. Meyer and company are coming off of a successful 2017 campaign that saw Ohio State go 12-2, win the Big Ten title and cap the season off with a dominant defensive performance over USC in the Cotton Bowl, beating the Trojans 24-7.

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