It's Saturday, and as always, Michigan ain't feelin' right...
Word of the Day: Fuselage.
SMARTEST MAN ON THE TEAM. Ohio State football is a small army. It features many names and faces fans love to know. However, there are hundreds of others that don't get to shine on Saturdays in the Shoe.
One such man is former cornerback Cin'Quan Haney. While he won't continue the Buckeye tradition of defensive backs in the NFL, he still graduated with a degree in physics last Sunday after appearing on the field once in his career.
Of the 189 OSU student-athletes, including 10 football players, who received diplomas at spring commencement Sunday, Haney’s playing career might have been the most modest of all of them.
But his overall achievements at Ohio State might have been surpassed by none of them.
Haney overcame a difficult upbringing in inner-city Dayton to graduate with a degree in physics, a notoriously challenging major. He also found time for various extracurricular activities, all the while becoming one of the most-respected members of the football team despite his lack of playing time.
Next week, he will start a career at Vencore, a private defense contractor in Virginia that serves, among other entities, the U.S. intelligence community. If the Ohio State football program’s ultimate mission is to develop well-rounded men and not just football players, Haney is an embodiment of it.
That's why walk-ons choose Ohio State over scholarship offers from lesser schools. An OSU degree grows more powerful the further you get from Columbus and is respected nationwide. Not a bad option for players who concede their futures don't run through the League.
WATCH WERNER. Ohio State's linebackers looked abysmal in both losses last season. Because of that, questions will linger around the 2018 unit until proven false.
One reason to be bullish is Pete Werner. He contributed to special teams last season, and that's always a key indicator of future success in the Scarlet and Gray. With Tuf Borland's injury potentially throwing positions in flux, Werner hopes to show his worth.
That playing time saw Werner become an integral part of OSU’s kickoff coverage unit last season, and all he did to get on the field was exactly what Meyer and his coaching staff preach every single day.
“Personally, I think Coach Meyer mentions going hard a lot and accelerating, but going hard at your full potential,” Werner said. “I feel like that’s the one thing I’ve been taught at an early age, from my high school and my parents, is always go hard. I think he recognizes that and likes that, as well as intelligence.
“So just going hard, because mistakes can be changed, and you can learn from that. But going hard takes a little bit longer. I think going hard is something that he really likes.”
Following Meyer's directions is also another key indicator for future success. Werner seems like a guy with Meyer's code embedded in his DNA. He'll be fine next year.
TOLEDO HONORS HARBAUGH. I know and respect Toledo, as I spent some time there while my mom completed her master's degree. Despite belonging to Ohio (and fairly won off Michigan in 1836), Michigan fans move about in daylight with seeming impunity.
Jim Harbaugh was born there, and the city honored him this week.
Tony Packo’s, the Toledo Mud Hens, Ay Ziggy Zoomba — it was a northwest Ohio paradise on Thursday for Toledo native Jim Harbaugh.
The Michigan football coach was in town to serve as the keynote speakerfor Advocates for Basic Equality and Legal Aid of Western Ohio’s Access to Justice Awards Dinner at the SeaGate Centre, where he was presented with a glass key to the city by Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.
“Every time I drive by Toledo or go across the Maumee River or go through Perrysburg, those feelings get evoked, I feel that connection,” Harbaugh said. “I’m proud to say I'm from [here], I was born [here].”
The best part, however, came when the Rivalry was broached:
Harbaughs in Ohio. So, naturally, gets an Ohio State question pic.twitter.com/Qgr51O5e2h— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) May 11, 2018
"The highest of highs and the lowest of lows." It's a shame Harbaugh's family now knows he hasn't felt true joy in over 30 years.
ILLINOIS GETTING TALENT!? Lovie Smith went 5-19 in his first two years at Illinois, which is about what I expected. Although it appears the Illini don't need to win to engender respect among Chicago's top talent—a key source for any potential Illini resurrection.
It's owed in large part to Cory Patterson, a former accountant for A.G. Edwards and Bank of America.
It’s real according to regional scouts and local recruiting reporters, whom I chatted with Sunday morning at the Under Armour camp before I had a chance to speak with the recruits. This is a skeptical bunch, who would be quick to call BS and tell me that kids are just saying nice things during talking season and then signing elsewhere. But they believe [in Illinois].
“It has a great impact on my recruiting,” four-star Chicago tight end Jahleel Billingsley, who showed up to the camp in an Illini track suit, said. “Before Coach Patterson got to Trinity, they weren’t winning. If he can turn Trinity around, why not Illinois? He wants me to come in and be a game-changer immediately.”
Billingsley also credited Illinois running back coach Thad Ward, the creator of the “#littyvILLe” and “#IllGang19” hashtags. #littyvILLe t-shirts can be seen around Chicago (I saw several at a Chick-Fil-A located 100 miles North of Champaign).
Anybody who has been to Champaign knows it's the opposite of "Littyville." So that's a helluva recruiting pitch if it can convince teenagers to spend the prime of their lives there.
MEANWHILE, AT ARIZONA STATE... Herm Edwards wants you to know he always knew Arizona State's mascot, and that he was joking that one time it looked like he didn't.
He also thinks Arizona State should bring back Sparky.
There was that introductory news conference last December, which included Edwards’ current agent taking a turn at the mic and an odd moment when a reporter introduced himself as being from Devils Digest – and things briefly seemed to spin off the rails.
“Devils Digest, huh?” Edwards asked, and then noted that he is Catholic and to “watch out for them devils.”
At that point, some wondered, in all seriousness: Did Edwards even know the Arizona State mascot?
“It’s funny,” he says, laughing, and he notes that he was recruited by Frank Kush and Arizona State (he chose California). “… I was messing with the guy. I was being funny. That’s how I am. I like to have fun. I think people that knew me just go, ‘Oh, there’s coach, he’s having fun.’”
Edwards says the only thing that threw him, just a little, was to learn Arizona State’s primary logo is no longer Sparky the Sun Devil, but instead a pitchfork (which he says “looks like a candle”). Sparky, he says, “is the best one! I mean, c’mon!”
That's... That's actually the correct #take? Maybe things are looking up for the Sun Devils after all.
THOSE WMDs. You're not a fan of the Avengers; you're their publicist... A baseball season with too many awful teams... Mexican cartel moves into northeast Ohio... 130-year-old Dutch church gets new life... New scientific study supports putting two spaces after a period.