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TomD


Member since 13 January 2014 | Blog

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Comment 06 Feb 2016

I also think part of the change in the secondary is in the current offensive approach to the game and the skill-sets of many of today's offensive players.  While the health (injury) situation at safety may have something to do with the interchangeability of cornerbacks and safeties for next year's team, there has also been a trend, as a response to the increasing complexity of offenses in football, to change up the approaches and looks in the secondary, to give the opposing offense something different to look at.  It is a little harder for the offense to attack a specific position in the secondary, such as exploiting a faster receiver against a safety in man coverage in a three/four wide receiver set, if the DBs, whether there are 4 or 5 of them, are employed in a more interchangeable manner.  Just as offenses are blurring the traditional distinctions about positions, becoming more flexible, so have defenses begun to respond.

As today's football players, especially at the offensive "skill" positions, have become more athletic and versatile, the traditional distinctions concerning defensive positions have been adjusted to respond.
 

Comment 04 Feb 2016

You're right.  One thing I would add, without having specific numbers to back it up, is that we lose very few of the top Ohio players to schools out of the region.  Our principle recruiting competition, certainly for the top in-state talent, has primarily been Notre Dame, Michigan (but not so much lately) and Michigan State and, quite frankly, we haven't lost large numbers of Ohio players that we really wanted.  Some, but not many.

In 2016, the only top Ohio player to leave the region was Prince Sammons to Auburn, which I don't think anyone had predicted much in advance, and he is going there to play on the offensive line, not the defensive line.  And we had decided, for some reason(s), to stop pursuing Sammons.

The coaching staff has done a very good job, with a few exceptions like Kraemer and Eichenberg in 2016, to get most of the in-state talent that "fits."  The coaching staff deserves much credit for this.  For the immediate future, with so few highly-ranked DTs in the Midwest, we need to develop a strategy to get a few DTs from other regions of the country, especially the south.  I'm confident that the coaching staff will do just that.

Comment 04 Feb 2016

Great point.  Looks like 2017 will, overall, be a good class from Ohio.  As for DTs, here is 247Sports breakdown of the top 2017 DT national recruits. 

Jerron Cage comes in at #14 nationally, with none above him from the Midwest, with Fred Hansard and Corey Bolds from New Jersey and Eric Crosby, Breyon Gaddy and Darnell Ewell from Virginia in the top 15 nationally for 2017 DT recruits.  Oddly, Nevada has 2 and Utah has 1 in the top 15.

There are 22 total 4-star or higher DT recruits in the 2017 class . . . let's go get 1 or 2 more. 

Comment 04 Feb 2016

According to 247 Sports, Ohio State already has verbal commits from 6 of the top 12 2017 recruits from Ohio, and 4 of the top 5 in the state, all of them 4 or 5-star recruits, with a few others also targeted.  It is a matter of in-state talent balancing team need, coupled with players available at key positions from other states.  But, as the OP says, with a smaller likely class in 2017, some talented players will chose, as some always do, to play elsewhere.  Realistically, the top young football players from Ohio, who "fit" with the team, should be most actively pursued.

Comment 04 Feb 2016

According to 247 Sports, the 2016 Ohio Class had 2 5-star recruits (Tommy Kraemer and Jonathon Cooper) and 10 4-stars.  Ohio State got "only" 5 of the 12 4/5-stars from Ohio:  J. Cooper, D. McCall, J. Hausmann, T. Gerald and L. Farrell.  For contrast, Lousiana had 3 5-star and 11 4-star recruits, 14 total 4/5-stars, 11 of whom chose to attend LSU.

Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg chose Notre Dame, Brendan Ferns chose West Virginia, George Hill chose Pitt, Justin Layne and Messiah deWeaver chose Michigan State and Prince Sammons chose Auburn (where, reportedly, he will be playing on the offensive line).

I assume we would have liked Kraemer, Eichenberg, Ferns and Layne in this class, where Hill, deWeaver and Sammons, for various reasons, didn't "fit,"  although Keandre Jones may have been preferred to Brendan Ferns and, with both Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor, Layne may not have preferred (?).

Comment 28 Jan 2016

There was an attempt in the pre-launch meeting, reported here (30 years after) and here (20 years after in 2006), by the Morton Thiokol engineers directly responsible for the shuttle booster rocket design, to delay the launch to another day, due to concerns about the low temperature conditions the night before the launch.
 

Comment 22 Jan 2016

GoldenBear, I agree that Larry Johnson deserves a lot of credit for getting us serious looks from so many talented out-of-state DT prospects.  Too bad we can't close the deal.  Need to re-examine the approach regarding the tendency of DTs who choose to stay close to home.  How can we compensate for that factor in the future with regards to our recruiting approach?

As far as closing out the 2016 class, I assume that if Jamar King wants in at DT, we take him, but I suspect he ends up at Alabama, or perhaps even elsewhere.  Even though we have two highly-regarded DB prospects who project at safety in the 2017 class, Isaiah Pryor and Brendon White, I think we also take Jordan Fuller and/or Carlos Becker in 2016.  Depth at safety is a major concern going into 2016.  And Sam Bruce is, I assume, an automatic take if he wants in.  Then there is, as a very outside shot, Mecole Hardman.  Not sure if that leaves much in the bank for 2017, in fact all those takes might be a stretch given the current scholarship numbers.

Whatever happens with the remainder of the 2016 class, I'm actually quite optimistic about next year's team and the challenges for the coaching staff to develop a talented but young, inexperienced team at many positions.

Comment 22 Jan 2016

It's very disappointing but, realistically, we probably never really had a good shot at either Antwuan Jackson or Rashard Lawrence.  Both of them, as expected, elected to stay close to home.

Most of the high-level talent at DT is, and has been, in the south, where it has been very difficult to recruit at that position.  Probably best for the defensive staff at this point to re-evaluate the approach and come up with some new ideas on recruiting high level DT talent from the south.  It seems that, more than other positions, DTs almost always elect to stay close to home, and the stay-at-home impulse needs to be factored in when recruiting DTs from the south.  How to approach it needs to be adjusted early in the recruitment cycle.

Comment 22 Jan 2016

I think you take Jamar King at DT if he wants in . . . if not, then, in order of need, Jordan Fuller, Carlos Becker and Sam Bruce.  We need big DBs to add depth at safety before we need to recruit more DTs at this point.  Sam Bruce is an automatic take if he wants in.  Unfortunate that we just missed on Antwuan Jackson and Rashard Lawrence, but now, pending Jamar King decision, time to move on at DT.  Finally, Mecole Hardman is too talented to leave out, if he wants in and we still have room in the 2016 class, but I don't think that is very likely.

Comment 21 Jan 2016

As a Michigan Tech undergraduate from some years ago -- Tech is in Houghton on the Keweenaw Peninsula in the UP -- two/three feet of snow overnight is no big deal.  One year while I was there they recorded 300+ inches of snowfall.  On the roads, they don't clear the snow, they either load it up into dump trucks with front loaders or pack the snow on the roads and sprinkle sand.  Even with many steep hills on the road adjoining the main street down town, I never saw anyone driving crazy or stuck or an abandoned car.  Everyone knew how to deal with it.

And my first year at Tech, in the first week in October, I was awakened in my dorm room by a sound outside that I couldn't quite make out, got up, opened the curtain and it was a snow blower clearing what turned out to be over two feet of fresh snow from the sidewalks . . . in early October.  Welcome to the UP.

Comment 21 Jan 2016

Not unreasonable to put the percentages at about 75-25, a 25% chance that the Buckeyes land Rashard Lawrence tomorrow.

Based on the DL performance against a pretty good Notre Dame offensive line in the Fiesta Bowl -- with Adolphus Washington out and Joey Bosa out for most of the game -- the situation on the DL is actually pretty encouraging for next year.  We need more depth at DT, and Lawrence would be a very high talent addition, but the DL performance against Notre Dame should encourage us about next year.  Rashard Lawrence, if he so chooses, can be a significant part of a very good DL for 2016.
 

Comment 21 Jan 2016

Beyond 2016, aren't there already two commits for 2017 projected at safety, Isaiah Pryor (a 4-star 84) and Brendon White (a 4-star 80)?  So, beyond next year, the depth at safety will improve.

But for 2016, you're right that with the current 2016 class commits, safety would appear to be the position where we most need more depth.  Jordan Fuller may be the most critical "get" remaining in the 2016 class with relation to position depth and need, while Rashard Lawrence provides a very high-profile talent at DT, where we also need it.  Any of the other DBs being recruited who are most suited to play safety would appear to be the most critical position need remaining in the 2016 class.

Comment 19 Jan 2016

Agree, some of his tackles were high hits and that will need to be corrected into a more disciplined athleticism when tackling, an athleticism which is obvious from his highlights.  Also, could he, at a listed 5' 11", 186 pounds, add a few pounds and be moved to safety, where his athleticism and physicality is needed on the depth chart?
 

Comment 19 Jan 2016

Buckeye Phi, I think the idea of Hardman at S is not stretching it too much, if he is open to the idea.  He is so talented and athletic.

He played both offense and defense in high school, didn't he, and I think, probably due to his size, he played CB on defense.  Does he prefer playing offense or defense?  If he can add 30+ pounds and tackle like a safety needs to tackle, and is open to the idea, he would be a great fit in this class.  Athleticism at safety, as the "last line" of the defense, is a critical attribute.  And safeties need a certain "I-own-this-place" physicality and attitude, which it appears Hardman has.  If not Fuller or Hardman in this class, moving someone like Marshon Lattimore or Damon Arnette is also a good option, if they can adapt to the increasing need to tackle well and decisively in the open field as opposed to the CB position.  Is there anyone else out there being recruited or looked at for safety if Fuller doesn't commit?  Again, that seems to be the most pressing need in this class.

Comment 19 Jan 2016

Interesting how the 2016 recruits match up with the needs.  Looks like somebody in authority knows what they are doing.

Safety, with both starters leaving and a rather thin, injury-prone scholarship group remaining, is the one position where depth still seems to need to be addressed.  Damar Hamlin is projected as a CB, I assume.  Jordan Fuller could play S, but Mecole Hardman, who is listed at 5'10", 169 pounds seems a little small for the position.  If he joins the class and can bulk up 30+ pounds, and wants to play the position, that is a possibility.  He certainly has the athleticism to play anywhere he wants, and/or is needed.  As another option, are there any corner backs or linebackers currently on the roster who project to safety or walk-on safeties on the roster who might step up to the leadership group?

In terms of filling needs, Jordan Fuller seems to be a great fit for the class.  Add Rashard Lawrence or Jamar King at DT and Mecole Hardman and we'll be in a very good position with the 2016 class, if it isn't too many.  Inexperienced at many positions but lots of talent for the coaches to develop next year.  Next year's team will be fun to watch, especially with the more challenging schedule, and I suspect they will really surprise more than a few national pundits who, due to losing so many starters, project a "down" year for Ohio State.  Don't believe it.

Comment 13 Jan 2016

It would be great to get an elite prospect at DT out of the south . . . but this has, for multiple reasons, been very hard to do.  Perhaps, Rashard Lawrence will "buck" that trend.

Without Aldolphus Washington, and Joey Bosa for much of the game, the defensive line played very well against a good Notre Dame offensive line.  With the 2016 additions of Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper and Malik Barrow, the Buckeyes, although young, will have loads of talent on the line.  Rashard Lawrence would add to that talent level immensely (;) and contribute immediately.  The talent on the DL will need to be coached, but the talent is there and Coach Johnson is the man for the job.

Comment 13 Jan 2016

The Massey College Football Ranking Composite is a compilation of all the college rating systems that are out there (currently 122 college football ranking systems make up the total) and -- with 82 systems having been updated as of this moment -- has:

Alabama #1, Clemson #2, Ohio State #3, Oklahoma #4, Stanford #5.

Rounding out the Top 10 are, Mississippi #6, Michigan State #7, Texas Christian #8, Michigan #9 and Notre Dame #10.  With 3 teams in the Top 10, the Big Ten is well represented.  The SEC has 2 teams in the Top 10.  It is in the middle of the conference, where the relative weakness of the Big Ten against other Power 5 conferences becomes apparent.

Other Big Ten teams: Iowa is #14, Wisconsin is #21, Northwestern is #30, Nebraska #48, Penn State #50, Minnesota #59, Indiana #65, Illinois #70, Maryland #85, Rutgers #92, and Purdue #97.

Here is more information about the Massey ranking composite.

Comment 05 Jan 2016

It's a minor detail, but it is Mike Weber, who's name is frequently misspelled, as is Ed Warinner.  I hesitated to mention it, but we should strive to get their names right.

And you're right, the returning talent is there to be developed, and the 2016 class will end up a very good one too.  Given the schedule and the lower experience level, next year will be a very challenging one for the coaching staff.

Comment 03 Jan 2016

Although this is only one metric, albeit a well respected one, the latest F/+ rankings, as of the completion of all games through 1/2/2016, has Alabama as #1, followed by Clemson #2, Ohio State #3, and Oklahoma #4, with, in order, Ole Miss, Stanford, Notre Dame, Michigan, LSU and Michigan State rounding out the top 10. 

Most likely, unless Alabama routs Clemson, or even more so vice versa, Ohio State stays at #3 after the Championship Game.  Ohio State won it's bowl game decisively against eventual F/+ #7 Notre Dame.  Oklahoma lost decisively, but to current #2 Clemson, probably accounting for it's #4 ranking, even after the loss.  Stanford routed an Iowa squad that is currently sitting at #47 in the F/+ ratings, thus most likely accounting for Ohio State still being being ranked ahead of Stanford, at least according to F/+.

Given the outcomes of the bowl games, and the underlying analytics per F/+, there is a strong case for Ohio State to remain ranked ahead of Stanford, as #3 in the nation, pending the outcome of the Alabama-Clemson game, with a very slight possibility of the Buckeyes eventually being ranked #2.

Comment 02 Jan 2016

The situation at DT, the seeming inability to recruit the higher-rated talent level only at that position, has been and is a key concern, although it was encouraging to see how well the defensive front played against Notre Dame -- limiting ND to 121 yards and keeping Kizer to only 21 yards on 15 carries -- without Adolphus Washington and, most especially, after Joey Bosa was out of the game.  The defensive coaches had a good game plan and, for the most part, made very good adjustments during the game.  Next year the DL will be a challenge, but the talent and the coaching is there.

The key issue for next year, IMHO, is to clarify the coordination of the offense - both the who, and most especially, the how.  The adjustments made after the MSU debacle, and the ensuing offensive improvement, shows that the coaching staff can make the proper adjustments.  Now the issue is, with a younger, less experienced team next year, there is much less room for "error" in how the offense is coordinated.  Pre-game offensive coordination and game planning with multiple inputs is not really the problem.  It is in-game, where, at least IMHO, there needs to be one, dedicated person, who is the focal point, responsible for calling the offense, reacting to the defensive alignments, and making in-game adjustments.  The preferred position is from the booth, with no outside distractions during the game from the task of OC.  He receives constant input and feedback from other coaches/players on the sidelines, but he is "shielded" from all other in-game distractions.  Coach Warinner's move to the booth late this year worked in large measure because of the relative experience of this year's OL.  Next year will be a different matter. 

The details regarding the functioning of the OC, especially during the game, needs to get sorted out over the off-season.  Ideally, the dedicated OC would also be the QB coach and he would coordinate the offense from the booth.  Next year, Coach Warinner's expertise will be needed on the sidelines with his OL. That's my take.

Sorry for the long response Buckeye Phi, but your usually insightful take on things spurred my response.

Comment 22 Dec 2015

Ó, tagaig' uile is adhraigí
An leanbh cneasta sa chró 'na luí
Is cuimhnígí ar ghrá an Rí
A thug dár saoradh anocht an Naí.

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God's angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Prepare and go, the angels said
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you'll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born

With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God's angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife