B1G Leaders Division Teleconference

By Johnny Ginter on April 11, 2012 at 12:59p
Tim Beckman in the offseason.

Okay the title is a bit of a misnomer because I hung up in horror right after Kevin Wilson's sultry tones started to make their way through my receiver.

In any event, today the coaches and one select player from their teams held (and actually, are currently having) a teleconference where members of the media ask them questions via phone and everybody listens and it's a grand old time. I didn't ask any questions because of my thick French accent (which has led to my fall into obscurity due to talkies), but other people did and those questions were answered by Urban Meyer and Zach Boren. Here's a quick rundown:

  • In his intro, Meyer said that he was "very encouraged" by the progress the team has made so far this spring, and that apparently "try hard" mode has been activated.
  • He's also impressed with Braxton as a football player and a person, citing his work ethic and competitive spirit, but maybe not quite yet as a quarterback. Meyer mentioned that the "perimeter run game will be a very big part of what we do," and Braxton has impressed in that regard, but also he is somewhat "behind in the throw game."
  • The ol' playmakers on offense canard popped up again, and later Meyer included some names that he felt were standing out, including: John Simon ("He is Ohio State football," "Tebow-ish"), Zach Boren, Jake Stoneburner, Mewhort, Hankins, Barnett, Roby, and Hall. Not particularly surprising names, except for maybe Barnett.
  • Meyer did say that the offense in general needs to step things up a bit, especially at the WR position.
  • Also interesting: early on Meyer and his staff did a breakdown of every B1G team they'd face next season, and it was surprising to him the amount of teams there were that utilized the spread.
  • Finally, Meyer was asked to address the Matt Hayes article which he surprisingly didn't handwave away and actually answered (I probably would've screamed THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER and smashed my phone, but that's just one of the side effects of this platypus venom supplement).
  • Anyway, Meyer fully admits that some players get preferential treatment, but it's all reward-based, not because he plays favorites.
  • "Circle of trust?" Never heard of it.
  • Meyer also wanted to emphasize that under his tenure at Florida there were no major NCAA violations. Also he didn't oversign, lie to NCAA compliance, have an improper relationship with an employee, or cover up for a pedophile. So there's that.

Boren was next.

  • When asked about the difference between this year and last year, Boren said that there'd be more more of an emphasis on getting guys into space and a lot more "vertical plays," which could mean about a billion different things.
  • OSU will still have elements of the power game, just run out of different formations.
  • Urban preaches "competitive excellence" in everything that the team does.
  • Considers the OSU/UM game to be the best rivalry in college sports, and that Tressel's emphasis on that game is something that Meyer has upheld.
  • There are apparently videos playing in the lockerroom on a loop showing OSU/UM highlights, and players are reminded of the game "every single day."
  • When asked who he thinks the team to beat was in the Leaders division, Boren named basically everybody, including Illinois. Then I laughed pretty hard.
  • Boren does consider OSU a team that can compete for a division title, "110%," and also said that he's never seen a team work as hard as OSU has during this spring.
  • Final note on Jacoby Boren: had a torm labrum, coaches told him to get it taken care of ASAP so that he'd be ready to play (since he's already in the two-deep).

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M Man's picture

At some time in Zach Boren's Senior year, I hope 11W will profile him.  I will be really interested in reading it.  I suspect that there is a good chance that he will be a Buckeye team captain, making it all the more pertinent.

Michigan fans seem as interested in Zach Boren as some in Ohio.  And there's history.  Short version: Zach wanted to follow Justin to Michigan.  Wore M-logo stuff all through high school.  Went to every Michigan camp.  Then Carr retired, Bill Martin brought in Rich (no fullbacks) Rodriguez, and Zach never got the offer he wanted.  Mike Boren freaks out, pulls Justin out of school, saying "I won't have my two sons playing at two different universities."

At that point, Boren had not been recruited by Tressel.  But Justin's, uh, availability changed the landscape.  They both end up wearing scarlet and gray (and guaranteeing the later commitment of Jacoby).

And more than anything, Zach has really had the last laugh.  A solid career as a solid contributor to Ohio State football.  How he figures in an Urban Meyer offense is to me going to be one of the most interesting things to see this year.

And it wouldn't be a good OSU-Michigan story without a healthy mixture of excellence on the field along with very bad blood off the field.  I won't ever forget that Boren family press release when Justin left, with the preposterous claim about an "erosion of family values at Michigan."  It led to people speculating about wildly silly stuff about too much yelling and swearing in practices, and a too-brutal Rodriguez regime.  It led to (basically false) rumors that Justin didn't want to run and work hard.  It risked staining the Zach Boren commitment to OSU along with Justin.  (The Boren Bros.' football abilities and work ethic answered that one.)

But the close observers of high school football in the Columbus metroplex knew there was a lot more to consider; how Mike pulled Zach out of Pickerington North before he pulled Justin out of Michigan; how Mike screamed at his offspring football players when they were young (not that Mike is a bad father -- clearly he isn't -- but it's just crazy-stupid to think that any Michigan "erosion of family values" had anything to do with Justin's departure, apart from the missing legacy scholarship for middle-brother Zach); and the infamous rumors of Zach's rough exploits as a linebacker versus Dublin, etc. 

Last year, at the end of the game in Ann Arbor, I was a little dismayed at the celebration by Michigan's guys.  It was no big deal; some of the comments at the time were a bit hysterical, and I was an eyewitness, behind your bench.  My one lasting memory wasn't that the Michigan guys misbehaved, but rather that Zach Boren was a real gentleman.  He took his helmet off, he extended his hand to shake with Michigan guys.  The one guy with the most reason to loathe the opposition was one of the classiest.

texbuck's picture

Well said, M Man.

741's picture

Another example of why M MAN makes the 11W community better. Interesting post!

tennbuckeye19's picture

I always read the 'erosion of family values' as Rich Rod's failure to reach out to the Michigan community or embrace former players and the traditions of the program. I know lots of people spoke unfavorably about Rich Rod and his handling of everything from day one of his tenure. 

M Man's picture

Mike Boren never explained what it meant.  And to be perfectly honest, it was the Michigan fan base, more than any rivals', that flipped out with speculation over what it meant.  But the sequence of events with the Borens told me everything I needed to know.  There were rumors (untrue) that Justin wasn't working hard enough; not only was that untrue, but it was remarkable how things changed, suddenly, after offer letters went out for Zach's recruiting class, and Zach didn't get one.  Within 48 hours, Justin was gone from Michigan.  That was before Rodriguez had coached a game for Michigan.

For their own part, the Brothers Boren have done just fine, letting their football-playing do their talking for them.  I say again; the last laugh on recruiting should go to Zach (who probably wouldn't have ended up at OSU if Justin hadn't transferred) who became a solid Big 10 player.  But I know that Zach's success is not something that would have bothered Rodriguez because his spread option just doesn't use a fullback.  Maybe Zach should have been offered at Michigan as a linebacker.  But he was a low 2-star ATH in his graduating class if memory serves me.  What were his other offers?  Kent St. and Ball St.?  I think so.

I try to be careful about harboring any anger at the Boren kids; but their dad Mike (a real good player under Schembechler) did some real harm to Rodriguez in the early days of his tenure in Ann Arbor.  A lazy and disinterested local press let this story slide, serving no one's best interest.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

Loved The Artist reference

Alex's picture

Jacoby Boren....will be the best Boren...write it down

Ethos's picture

he has a tough line of brothers to follow.  Zach is going to be an incredible NFL player.

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

Big Swede's picture

Look I'm a fan of Zach Boren and appreciate everything he's done and will continue to do at OSU, I think you're getting a bit carried away proclaiming that he'll be an "incredible NFL player". FB is easily the least valued position in football and teams are using them less and less. More than likely his biggest contribution at the next level will be as a special teamer. I'm not trying to bring the kid down or anything just pointing out the reality at the next level.

Maestro's picture

Agree with Swede.  A fantastic college football player.

vacuuming sucks

Troy0782's picture

"Write that down."

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I LOVE hearing Urban preaching about The Game every single day!!!  That is a classic Woody Hayes tactic that was embraced by Jimmy T!  Toss in Kyle Kalis and the fact that our bowl game will be The Game, it is at The Shoe for Urban's first tussle with AACC and you've got a huge smashmouth game brewing!!!  I'd say if Urban lays on a good ole fashion woodshed beating on AACC - the hatred factor gets amped up a ton!!!  Going to be one helluva game!!  I am making every attempt to get my butt on a plane and in the Horseshoe to witness it in person!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

pcon258's picture

honestly, with the way he's been talking about the game, and the way the assistant coaches' twitters blew up on the day they learned about the history of the game, i could definitely see them running up the score and then going for two. 

dbit's picture

Should is be considered bad sportsmanship if you run the score up on your rival?  Running it up against MAC teams, etc should be considered poor sportsmanship.  But can you ever say its poor sportsmanship to run it up against "the winningest college football program"?


I vote no

RBuck's picture

More here from Rabinowitz on Urban's response on the SN hack job:


Long live the southend.

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

Don't make fun of Illinois. I'm rooting for Beckman, the former head coach at my alma mater Toledo, to pull off a huge upset of the Mustard and Blue. Of course, I won't root for him when he plays the Buckeyes.

Johnny Ginter's picture

i actually like tim beckman a lot, but illinois is so screwed this year

William's picture

If Scheelhaase were on a decent team, he'd be one hell of a player by now. 

Johnny Ginter's picture

agree, and i feel bad for the dude because this year he's got pretty much no offensive weapons around him. beckman will help him out as much as he can, but zook really left that program in disarray

NoVA Buckeye's picture

if he didn't get zooker'd his first 2 years, he'd be a hell of a player right now. tim beckman should give him an upgrade

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

Agree that the Illini will have a losing season, but I will always hold out hope for them against the Mustard and Blue.

Kurt's picture

I can't believe how little Urban seems to know about the Big Ten.  Yes, by my count 8 teams (counting OSU) run some variation of a spread offense.  Comparatively speaking only 4 or so run a form of spread offense in the SEC.

For one this makes me think that coaches and part-time commentators really are quite myopic... all of his comments thus far about SEC speed will perhaps be proven untrue by the end of the season when he sees that speed is everywhere, not just in the south.

Colin's picture

SEC speed isn't about the location so much as the style. Play fast, get after the quarterback as often as possible. Obviously the north has speed, and OSU is fortunate to get the best players the northern states have to offer. They are just bred differently. Instead of an immobile, run stopping wall on the d-line Urban would rather have a herd of stampeding bulls.

Gobucks22250's picture

Yeah idk about all that. Yes the BIG 10 has fast players but the SEC is a faster better league and i think 6 NC in a row proves that. When someone says SEC speed most of the time they are talking about the defense. Top to bottom the SEC has faster defenses point blank 100% the only teams that can compare are OSU, Michigan and maybe PSU and thats if they keep recruiting well. It all comes down to recruiting and the BIG as a whole dont recruit well compared to the SEC.

William's picture

That may have been a viable statement 6 years ago, but now it's not. There's no difference in speed between B1G LBs and DBs than there is with SEC LBs and DBs. The difference was in the DEs, which I would say has changed considering the amount of high quality defensive ends the B1G has put out recently: Heyward, Clayborn, Kerrigan, Watt, Graham, etc.

BrewstersMillions's picture

I'll take it a step further, William. The whole notion of "SEC Speed" is a mythto me. I've watched dozens of SEC games and I won't say the quality of football isn't better because the tiitles clearly indicate that it is. The SEC teams play a better 11 on 11 game than any other conference-that is why they win. SEC Talent is a more appropriate word because they simply have more of it per capita than other teams.

Now of course, I won't state the obvious as to why that is the case....