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Chicago Connection


MEMBER SINCE   June 10, 2016

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Comment 08 Mar 2019

Great point, Space. Dobbins is my cone-drill guy any day.

In fact, if they had a three-yard, jump cut cone drill, he'd be right there with the likes of Barry Sanders.

That said, Dobbins maybe needs to be a tad bit more discerning about when and where to make his jumps cuts vs. last season, but I think the latter problem was mostly a matter of him sharing limited reps with Weber (much less the passing game) and trying to do too much ASAP.

Thing is, anytime he played extended minutes, he got into a groove, so I just think he needs enough touches to get a feel for what the defense is giving him. I expect a MEGA year from him in 2019.

Comment 08 Mar 2019

Agreed, Cowcat, at least for the most part. The missing part isn't so much a disagreement over Martell's passing ability so much as it's simple curiosity. That is, while we all know Martell can run, the question is how good of a passer he might be?

To that end, Tate was a great passer in high school, and he did darn pretty well in the only game where he was given a meaningful chance to toss the ball around and get into a groove (he was 10 for 10, albeit against less-than-stellar competition).

Still, I'm not fully confident in saying either that he'll be a great passing QB at Miami or decidedly less than that, but it sure will be fun to watch. Personally, I liked Martell, which doesn't mean I disliked Haskins or Fields or Baldwin or Burrow.

I mean, hey, it all just means we're QBU, which isn't a bad reputation to have going forward.

I also see it as a big bonus for Buckeyes fans that we get to watch LSU and Miami games that are a whole lot more meaningful and fun with ex-Buckeyes playing.

There's also a kind of implied message that comes with our guys starring at other schools: If top programs covet Buckeye players, then it only makes sense that top high school recruits would want to come to Ohio State. Besides, if it doesn't work out here, they can excel elsewhere, which makes coming to Ohio State the smartest, low-risk choice.

The only way the above scenario might be a little less thrilling is if our current QBs turn out to be busts while Burrow competes with Martell in a National Championship game, as well as for the Heisman trophy, but the Vegas odds on that happening aren't especially high. 

Comment 08 Mar 2019

Agreed on Day's likely handling of QBs vs. Meyer. Plus, Day was a QB himself, so he might be a tad more sensitive to a QB's passing needs, if you will.

The other thing is that I'm guessing even if Baldwin is a backup to Fields (or vice versa), he might not only play more minutes + more meaningful minutes, he'll likely pass the ball far more often in 'garbage time" vs. calling conservative run plays (like we saw with Martell).

Much of the latter was due to a combination of Meyer's conservatism + good sportsmanship, as well as the alleged "goal line package" that was supposed to happen with Tate), and while I wouldn't say the game passed by Meyer in this respect, coaches increasingly have their backup QBs passing the ball, even  in mop-up work with big leads, because...

1) passing plays are now as common as running plays--it's just a routine part of the game; 2) it keeps the backup QB engaged, which is important if said QB has options to go elsewhere; and to that end, 3) with so many QBs making early exits to the NFL or transferring, backups need to be prepared to handle the whole playbook. Meanwhile, sadly....

4) The Playoff Committee has incentivized bad sportsmanship by rewarding lopsided wins while punishing bad losses, so coaches better tote up their scoreboards to maximize their bowl bids, even if it means running up the score by tossing long balls with seconds left on the clock.

I guess it's a video game world, and apparently, the Playoff Committee likes video game stats.

Of course, the exception to all of the above is when a backup enters it the game in a close contest where time-and-circumstance dictate being relatively more conservative with the run game. But then, in most of those situations, the starter will still be playing anyway.

Comment 08 Mar 2019

The thing about football is that passing (as opposed to running) naturally provides QBs with a "multiplier effect" that no other position offers, which is perhaps the chief reason why good QBs are so highly valued

Thing is, no matter how fast a guy like Michael Vick or any other player can run, try timing their 40 yard dashes against a football that's thrown 40 yards down the field. Basically, the ball will get there in, oh, about a second or so.

Imagine a player who can run a 40 in under one second or thereabouts.

It doesn't exist.

However, the multiplier effect goes much farther than that, because a QB has the advantage of throwing to his choice of as many of five different receivers, all of whom might run blazing fast 40 yards dashes, thus effectively multiplying the speed of the QB because, in essence, their speed is his speed.

Furthermore, a good QB can throw a football through the air to any point on the field from sideline-to-sideline, and the ball doesn't need to avoid and tacklers or evade any traffic along the way (other than the threat of a DL or DB batting down the pass), whereas a running QB has to find his space and avoid lots of speedy, bloodthirsty defenders, which can kinda slow a guy down.

Of course, I'm not saying that the ability to run can't be a huge added bonus for a QB, although it often leads to the temptation to rely on it too much, and then, almost inevitably, the speedy QB sustains an injury from it, in which case, suddenly, all of the above intrinsic "multiplier effects" of speed are tossed out the window, or as the case may be, they're sitting on the sideline.

The other factor for QBs that's so often underappreciated (at least when it comes to speed-related discussions) is hand-eye coordination + throwing motion relative to quick thinking and the ability to read and respond to defenses at lightning speeds.

Thing is, no matter how fast a defender might be, like, let's say, Kalil Mack, if a slow-footed yet fast thinking QB like Tom Brady, or Dwayne Haskins, gets rid of the ball soon enough, all of that speed simply doesn't matter.

In other words, it ALSO has a positive multiplier effect in reverse inasmuch as it can negate the speed of a defense. In fact, it can literally slow them down as defenders start guessing about what the QB will do.

Now, why do we see these advantages?

Well, simply because the QB was faster in all the ways that matter.

And yet, ironically, fans and analysts alike will persist in saying a QB's slow whereas the defender's fast. This totally regards the fact that when it comes to speed, it's RELEVANT SPEED that matters most, not simply straight-line speed with your legs.

If that weren't the case, there's be a lot of track guys making bundles of money in the NFL at the QB position.

Again, it's a nice extra weapon for a QB to have in his arsenal, but it's a far less important weapon that all of the other speed assets mentioned above.

In fact, it's probably not even as important as the maneuverability of a QB, including the possession of speedy peripheral vision that allows a QB to see a pass rusher out of the corner of his eye.

In short, IMHO, while the speed of a QB definitely isn't irrelevant, especially in certain offensive schemes, it's generally overplayed to a silly, if not absurd, degree.

Comment 08 Mar 2019

Agreed on Campbell. If he had any space on the edge, he was gone.

I agree McCall is shifty, but he seems like a guy who runs faster in games than against the stopwatch. Olave seems that way, too--he doesn't have the fastest 40 on record, but he sure looks faster on the field.

Gill is a burner with a smooth stride, but I'm not sure where his 40 stands. 

Comment 08 Mar 2019

I forgot about Williams & Young--they might join the team as the top speedsters. As for Harrison, he might never have the fastest 40 on the team, or even come close to it after he gains another 25 pounds or so, but he's definitely in 'wow' territory for a DE.

Comment 08 Mar 2019

These days, a transfer can't be ruled out for any player, especially a talented QB. That said, if nothing else, Baldwin's comments to the media today were relatively reassuring, because...

1) he recognizes that even if you only start for one year (i.e., Haskins, Murray, Trubisky, etc.), that can be enough as long as you're still in the right system with a talented supporting cast and...

2) you have an NFL-friendly coach who believes in you, and Day not only recruited Baldwin but clearly believes in his ability and is giving him a fair shot (not to mention the fact that his 'other' QB coach, Mike Yurcich, might be the top coach at his position in the country), and...

3) Baldwin seems mature enough and smart enough to realize that he's going to face top competition at any top program, so he'd face a big risk/cost with transferring, one that would be hard to justify without a change in the Buckeye's current system, coaches or some unforeseen development.

The other thing is that even if Fields starts for the next two years, Baldwin will have a virtual lock on being the proverbial "next man up," which means he's a mere injury away from being featured in the national spotlight that comes with being a starting QB at OSU.

Oh, and it's be a pretty good bet that he'd be the team's starter three years from now.

That said, all bets are off should something funky or unpredictable happen between now and the next two years combined with an "ideal" fit as a transfer to another major program that really wants him.

 

Comment 08 Mar 2019

Any guys in 4.3 range? BTW, I know speed isn't everything--I'm just curious.

Comment 04 Mar 2019

Personally, I wouldn't pencil Borland into a starting role just yet--especially not on third downs, but who knows. 

Hey, I hope Tuf proves to be an absolute stud and he's fully re-gained his speed--and then some--but that remains to be seen. Even our collective hopes for better defensive coaching remains to be seen. 

There are definitely a lot of unknowns on that side of the ball. 

Meanwhile, I think any fair observer would admit 2018 was definitely a regression for him, as well as a whole bunch of other guys, and while his injury is an obvious and fair excuse, it remains to be seen what 2019 will bring.

Whatever the case, given the new regime of coaches and the talent surrounding him, Tuf definitely will have to earn / re-earn his starting role. I could be wrong, but I doubt that anybody has any guarantees. 

In other words, if Tuff is on the field every down (or else on no downs), we'll just have to trust that the coaches are making the right decision... until or unless the results prove otherwise. 

Comment 04 Mar 2019

Point taken, Bigfry, although that's exactly why I put the term "Viper" in quotes... for now. 

Like it or not, a former TTUN guy is installing that package, and while I'm not sure if that was something he came up with, I hope he re-brands it with a Buckeye-friendly name, like, let's say, the "husk" position (or... whatever) because it sorta hardens the whole middle of the defense while hiding / protecting / covering up the Buckeye's defensive strategy. 

Plus, the position can act as a bit of a "shell game" if they rotate White back and forth from the hybrid position, and at times, slide an LB into that slot, so offenses aren't sure exactly who's doing what. 

Comment 04 Mar 2019

I know what you're saying, Rj, but the, based on the 2018 defense, I'm not sure any change--or for that matter, a lack of any change--wouldn't scare me.

And yet, personally, I kinda like the element fo unpredictability the hybrid slot "might" bring to our defense given the fact that we've got a bunch of guys who could slide into that role and confuse opposing offenses.

Maybe.

As always, it depends on how the coaches deploy the scheme and then how the players execute it. Still, I think we've got the right personnel to make it work, so for now, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. 

Comment 04 Mar 2019

It can't say it surprises me, Js, since--maybe first and foremost--the "Viper" needs to be a sure tackler, and as a matter of statistical fact, Pryor actually graded out as THE worst tackler in college football--and it wasn't even close as he whiffed on a mind-boggling 37% of his tackling opportunities.

Few players would have remained on the field long enough to garner that sort of stat, but Schiano and company were incredibly stubborn or blind, which really wasn't fair to Pryor (who just wasn't ready for primetime) and it took nothing less than Fuller being injured for White to get his chance to play. 

Of course, I really hope Pryor reveres his fortunes, and he's got the natural talent to do so, but I sure wouldn't bet on him being tabbed for a role that demands hard-hitting, sure-handed tacklers.

Then again, what do I know--they're evidently giving Wint a shot at the hybrid role, and he struggled to tackle guys almost as much as Pryor. That said, I suspect his reassignment is a function of Wint's lack of speed in the open field, whereas Prior is actually one of the fastest guys on the team--he just hasn't show it on the field yet.

Comment 04 Mar 2019

At least to a degree, isn't this a bit of an artificial distinction/discussion, because, unless I'm wrong, if they exclusively featured White in the "viper"/hybrid role, it'd telegraph the defense's strategy, whereas if they shifted him back and forth from the safety position, it'd be far more unpredictable and would force offenses to make guesses? 

In fact, to further confuse offenses, I wouldn't be surprised if Harrison, Browning or Werner sometimes snuck into the hybrid role (given their athleticism) while White dropped back in coverage based on the down, distance and related matchups.

For that matter, a guy like Wade could flip into that role.

The good news is that we've got more players with more size and speed than TTUN, not to mention, 99% of college football. IMHO, we just happen to have a bunch of guys who can slide into a "Viper" role. Heck, Hooker seems like a natural fit for this role, too. 

IN any case, our unique wealth of talent should allow a creative DC to mix things up a whole lot more. 

In short, while it wouldn't surprise me if Brendon White winds up being THE featured "Viper" specialist, I'd be surprised if this was anything close to an exclusive assignment.

That said, I think this change might open up an opportunity for someone like Proctor to get a little more playing time, especially in third-and-long situations.
 

Comment 02 Mar 2019

Bingo! It was an indeed achilles. OMG, ya' got me!  

C'mon, Bobby Boy--talk about a priceless response, cuz, ya' know, an achilles is obviously waaaay less serious than a knee injury, and well, geez, now with the benefit of your expertise, we all know that Borland apparently has ample speed, even if, well, he's 'not the fastest guy', and, my gosh, he had a fabulous year in 2018 (well, except for those darned coaches!).

No doubt, if I forced myself to watch last year's games all over again, I'd now see that Borland never missed tackles, routinely shed blockers and closed up spaces or stuffed guys behind the line of scrimmage, and, my God--I'm sure I'd discover that he was a veritable nightmare for opposing offenses on passing downs, whether rushing the passer and racking up sacks or dropping back in coverage and blanketing receivers.

I'm sure all of that happened and I just missed it, just like I misspoke about this injury. But who cares about that stuff--those are just inconsequential considerations vs. zeroing in on my oversight. 

So, yeah, I've gotta hand it to you--fact is, I have to own up to making a minor mistake per misspeaking about his leg injury (even though I actually do know what his injury was), but still, hey, I admit that technicalities and minor details matter, whereas, geez, who cares about the big picture and how the guy played, right?

I mean, who cares about his actual performance on the field or any big picture analysis? Besides, to the extent you addressed that at all, well, when it comes those minor concerns, as your response suggests, Borland's lack of speed really doesn't matter, or else his failure to read plays, play in position or take on blockers--all that's just menial stuff.  

In fact, it's so minor that all Borland needs is a little bit of coaching then.. voila! 

Why, he'll probably be a Heisman candidate!

Hold my beer while I check Vegas for odds on that happening. 

Granted, I think Bill Davis was pretty bad, but... talk about making stuff up. 

Anyway, your post is priceless, Bobby. Nothing like missing the forest for the trees, or in this case, missing the performance for the injury report. Good thing you've focused on what matters most here and set me straight.

Why, have you ever thought about going into scouting, or maybe coaching LBs, that is, when you're not pouring over health records? 

Seriously though--I stand by my assessment--I seriously doubt that Borland is the best the Buckeyes have to offer at MLB. Despite that, I actually hope that I'm wrong and you're right--I sincerely hope the guy's great and truly "Tuff" in every respect and leads the D to new glory.

Whatever the case, I hope the best LBs get the most reps and may the best man win. 

Comment 01 Mar 2019

Agreed on Werner. He's a really athletic guy--fast and strong (and getting stronger) with a big motor and experience to boot that should see him taking a big leap in 2019.

As for Borland, when you're as molasses slow as he is (and that was even BEFORE the knee injury), you just can't afford to misread plays as often as he does or get taken out by blockers as often or as easily as he does.

At a bare minimum, you've gotta close up the space in the middle, which is already crowded (especially with our defensive linemen going to work), and yet, Borland routinely left gaping holes for opposing offenses to exploit, on top of which, we all know he's hopeless on passing downs and will never pose a blitz/pass-rush threat. 

It just doesn't cut it to make an occasional big hit + padded stats earned by jumping on piles already created by our D-line. I don't care how much of a rah-rah captain Borland might be, fact is, this guy would struggle to start at most major schools, and we have too much damn talent to let "leadership" trump production. 

Comment 01 Mar 2019

I'm guessing Arnette is probably safe for spot playing because of his experience and skills, but that's sorta been the case his whole career. That said, I just don't see him as ever being an every down guy, so I'd be surprised if he didn't get a decent amount of playing time.

Still, I can't say I'd be disappointed if somebody was good enough to take all of his reps. 

Comment 01 Mar 2019

Nobody should feel safe on that defense--or for that matter, on any position on any team. That said, relatively speaking...

Okudah's fairly safe, Werner's better than he's given credit for even if Browning should push him; and for God's sake, please sit Borland on ALL downs--he's neither fast enough or Tuff enough to play on a championship defense, and Mitchell would be a major upgrade. 

I'm also pretty confident that White will start because 1) he's damned good; and 2) he offers more rotational possibilities to confuse opposing offenses. 

Thing is, I'm guessing Mattison will deploy the "Viper" at times, and White's an ideal fit. But if White isn't starting then you insert him into e game, it telegraphs your strategy, whereas if he's already on the field, you can either roll him over to the viper position, or you can even use guys like Browning or Werner to slide over into a viper role because White actually has the size/skills to roll up and play outside LB.

Again, there's just a whole lot more you can do with White.

For the life of me, I'm not sure what the coaches saw in practice that kept White out of the lineup, since by all accounts White is a great teammate and hard worker. I dunno. Maybe he's just the proverbial "game player" and doesn't shine in practice for whatever reason. My guess is that Pryor and Wint didn't 'earn' their starting position so much as were 'next up' by seniority.

They definitely struggled in prime-time, although I hope they rise to the challenge of improving their game.

Anyway, I admit that I'm a big Brendan White fan, and while I'm definitely intrigued by Proctor, I want to see a whole lot more of White. The guy brings a much needed a combination of smarts, discipline, tackling ability and nastiness to a defense that seemed to be missing all of the above in 2018--especially the DBs. 

 

Comment 19 Feb 2019

Agreed, KMP.

Granted, schools can be accused of playing hostage with players on an implied level of their own, i.e., if players pay them enough ransom in the form of a visit, verbal commitment and/or simply not committing to anybody else, then they 'just might' deliver an offer somewhere down the line. 

But then, it's not as if there isn't enough time to sort out this situation.

Whether now or later, coaches (fans, too) will need to measure the risk of action or non-action within the larger context of  total value vs. total cost. In this case, at least when taken at face value, the total value--i.e., three top 300 players in state--seems to far exceed the total cost, i.e., 3 offers.

HOWEVER...

I've gotta believe there's some critical data that we don't possess in this forum, namely, how the coaches assess the value of these players relative to others and/or relative to the calendar. 

To that end, it could be that Thomas simply isn't as high on their board as other players they covert, or maybe his value (for now) has been literally down-graded owing to academic problems.

In any case, I've gotta believe the coaches have a solid rationale behind their decision not to offer--at least not YET--even if it's a rationale that ultimately blows up in their faces. 

Yeah, they might be taking an Ohio kid for granted, and thus, by extension, possibly three Ohio kids, but for better or worse, I'm sure they're as aware of this factor at least as much as we are, and I certainly can't imagine they're casual about these decisions, as well as setting any bad precedents. 

Comment 19 Feb 2019

Call me crazy, but it sure seems like whichever kids Ohio State offers wind up getting their ratings reduced.  

Yeah, I know that sounds conspiratorial, but I'm not alone in noticing that trend, and it sure seems counterintuitive that only 1 of 18 OSU recruits moved up in the rankings.

As in, geez, what're the odds?

Then again, who knows... maybe the rankings for top SEC recruits at Bama or Georgia dipped in similar fashion, although it's  hard to imagine they matched those numbers.

Granted, there's some logic behind this trend, i.e., you'd generally expect that early top-rated recruits would tend to move downwards over time--at least to some degree--as the experts learn more about other players in the field and thus bump up their respective ratings, but still... 17 out of 18?