James Varney's picture

James Varney

New Orleans (via Princeton, N.J.)

MEMBER SINCE   January 01, 2017

Former LSU beat writer (2006-2009); Saints beat writer (2009-2013).


  • SPORTS MOMENT: With my two sons in the Superdome for Ohio State's playoff victory over Alabama.
  • NFL TEAM: Giants
  • NHL TEAM: Rangers
  • MLB TEAM: Mets

Recent Activity

Comment 08 Sep 2019

What are you guys talking about? First of all, that wasn´t on Posey in The Game, it was on Braxton. Posey had his guy beat for 6 on a great pass that at that point Braxton (wonderful Buckeye that he will always be) couldn´t make.

And Luke Fickell deserves nothing but praise and affection from the Ohio State football community. He will always be an Ohio State legend in our home. The day my first child and son was born, Fickell took it upon himself to go into the Wisconsin backfield, rip the ball out of some Badger´s hands, and take it to the house, clinching the Big 10 and a trip to the Rose Bowl for Ohio State. John ¨2-10-1 in The Game¨ Cooper blew it all the next Saturday, of course, but I´ll always love Fickell.

Comment 07 Sep 2019

Feel awful for Army to fight so hard and play so well except for one guy, their QB of all people. Quite fitting he wore #8 because not since Stanley Jackson have I ever seen a QB so single-handedly give the game to TTUN. Terrible, terrible INT thrown in the red zone when score is 14-7 Army, and then that bizarre shot put at the end that should have been an easy incompletion.

And how great was Army´s defense??!! Those 4th down stops; forcing the FG in 2OT. Man, fabulous performance by Army D!

Comment 31 Aug 2019

That´s a fantastic jacket, well tailored. Really looks perfect for an Ohio State HC. I´m betting it isn´t a suit, though. Those pants would be ridiculous!

Comment 31 Aug 2019

Bit puzzled by Wint on that FAU TD. He saw the guy coming off the line and he just sort of let him go to the flat; didn´t bite on a fake or anything, he just stood there and then reacted far too late. Weird.

The fact Lane Kiffin figured out a way to score some points on Ohio State doesn´t worry me. I didn´t expect a shut-out. But it is worrisome to see Buckeyes looking lost on the field like that.

Would also like to see us getting to the QB more. 

Comment 31 Aug 2019

And then Dobbins blasts up the middle for a near TD. Where has that been the last 90 minutes?

I think the criticism of Fields here today is unfounded. I agree he has held the ball too long a few times, but he hasn´t made any terrible throws or decisions, he throws a tight ball (a bit high, but could be adrenaline), and seems to me to have a good leadership presence on the field. I am impressed by Fields and he is only going to get better.

But if the run blocking doesn´t improve, Ohio State will not be a top 4 team at the end.

Comment 31 Aug 2019

Team overall looks quite good to me. Fields first start, after all.

BUT: Studrawa is a bad coach. The offensive linemen at Ohio State do not improve. They simply are exactly the same lousy run-blocking unit they´ve been for a long time. How is it possible that NPF is a top 10 HS talent and he can´t get on the field with this o-line? Someone earlier mentioned Miller, who has always looked phenomenal to me. Why not play him even if he is a freshman?

Thrilled to see Browning making his presence felt, same for Ruckert. I hope McCall is OK as it looked out of the gate like he might finally, at long last, be ready to have an impact on some games. Since he took that late hit, however, he has disappeared.

Comment 01 Aug 2019

Well, I´m certainly not broken-hearted about it, NorCal, but I´m sure Vols fans would love to differ with you! Seriously, these Tennessee teams the last several years aren´t up to snuff and we all know it. Their snuff isn´t Ohio State/Bama/Oklahoma/SC stuff, but they should be roughly like Auburn and they aren´t.

Comment 01 Aug 2019

I think a lot of us aren´t being fully honest about that 12-1. Yes, the wonderful annihilation of TTUN made it great, but it was also a team that looked rotten in so many weeks, including the week before that @ lowly Maryland. People saying just in and you´re in are correct, but if you are going to battle other teams with a loss or two, it helps if a. your loss was to a good team and b. a lot of your wins don´t look so shabby.

Comment 01 Aug 2019

That´s an excellent point. I realize this is a coaches´ poll; still, you´d think it might give some of the many, many writers who seem ready to hand the Big 10 trophy right now to a team *that has never even played for it before!!!!* pause.

Comment 01 Aug 2019

If what you say is true, EZE, it still makes zero sense to have TTUN @ No. 7. I´m offended by that. I hope Day and the staff have plastered stuff like this in the locker room, because I want to beat them in TSUN this November *even more!!*

Comment 01 Aug 2019

We aren´t going to win many scheduling arguments this year. Bama plays Tennessee every year because that is its ¨permanent opponent¨ in SEC East (LSU gets Fla.; Georgia plays Auburn, which is actually the oldest rivalry in the conference). Tennessee isn´t supposed to be lousy year after year after year. Bama will also play LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn in its conference; LSU plays Bama, Texas A&M and Auburn (plus Texas in Austin) so, yes, their schedules in 2019 are *much* tougher than Ohio States.

The bigger problem is the Big 10 needs to win more of these games. TTUN is ranked *ahead* of Florida, which is a joke, considering those teams played each other a few months ago and the Gators crushed them 41-15. If Wisconsin and Nebraska are better this year, and if Penn State doesn´t have a big drop off year then the Big 10 will look much tougher in November than I think it does in voters´ minds today.

Comment 26 Apr 2019

Don't forget Washington's secondary was the strength of that team. I think they had defensive backfield guys who will play in the NFL. And Haskins had no problem a'tall with them. Not only did the Giants (my team) bum me out by picking Jones over Haskins, they didn't even have to do that. If Jones is really your guy, I'm willing to go down betting no one else was going to pick him before #17. So for God's sake take a defensive stud and *then* come back for your QB since he's not Haskins. IMO, Haskins *was* the best QB in the draft.

Comment 25 Apr 2019

You're right about the consistently great pass protection last year, too, Samaritan. I guess you can't expect to be that clean all the time in the NFL. Of course, I live in New Orleans and used to cover the Saints and I don't see Drew getting knocked on his ass much! So the good NFL teams (which, alas, Haskins won't be on, initially) *do* offer excellent pass protection.

Comment 25 Apr 2019

Get what you're saying Sanitarian, and would agree the only 1-year hurts him. Against that, compare the run he made in The Game in 2017 to his alleged lack of athleticism now. And I don't think Haskins had much trouble when pressured. Guy threw very few interceptions. He had drops to go with some amazing YAC TDs, e.g. Victor's season and his Penn State game. It seems to me, too, that Ohio State's struggles in the run game last year would have hurt a QB. As I mentioned in a comment on a Fields post, nothing would help him more than a big year from Dobbins, and the same could be said about Haskins in '18. Indeed, I argued with my sons that Haskins deserved the Heisman if you take the whole season into account, as you should. Bama would have been great with either Hurts or Tuga - maybe not annihilating people the same way, but more than likely undefeated. And while Murray was good all year, I don't see him as more spectacular than Haskins from September through December (there should be no voting until after the Army v. Navy game). Finally, ask yourself this: does anyone think Ohio State would have been 12-1 and Rose Bowl victors with last year's performances *without* Haskins? I don't. He was superb. And now they're kind of knocking him a bit, talking as if he's the 3rd best QB in the draft. Not buying that.

Comment 25 Apr 2019

Speaking strictly as a Giants fan, I hope they take Haskins and maybe pass on Prince. Speaking as a longtime Giants fan, I'll bet they pass on Haskins and take Prince. I don't understand the mixed feelings in the NFL about Haskins (except for their overinflated love for combine numbers; he's not that fast). IMO, he can be a truly great QB; I think he's the complete package. Just throws the ball beautifully, seems to have a great disposition and work ethic, and is tough. I think he's the best QB in the draft, though as a Buckeye I'm not objective on that, I know. Best of luck to every Ohio State player the next 3 days!!

Comment 24 Apr 2019

There's a name I consider critical to this discussion that rarely gets mentioned: Dobbins. Wouldn't a great season from Dobbins do more than anything to improve Fields' chances (and the Buckeyes') for success since it would open up passing lanes and protect Fields? Thus, a healthy Dobbins having big Saturdays would do wonders for both. And I see no reason why that can't happen. If I were Dobbins, I'd be playing every Saturday this fall with a huge chip on my shoulder. Guy has 1,000 yards as a true freshman and all anyone talks about is that kid at Wisconsin. Then, bit of a sophomore slump - maybe that was odd time share with Weber, maybe too heavy, I dunno. But if I were as good as Dobbins - and he's damned good - and I was this overlooked and forgotten about, I'd want to make my mark in 2019. 

Comment 19 Apr 2019

It's a minor point, I know, but am I the only one who thinks Zwick's career might have been different at Ohio State if that TE catches that pass right in his hands in the end zone v. Texas? Of course he's no Troy Smith, I get that. It's just that Zwick's a guy I always felt bad for as that play seemed to change the arc of his career forever.

Comment 19 Apr 2019

That may be true, just as I wish Haskins had played in the Big 10 championship game v. Wisconsin after winning The Game.

The reason that Clemson loss still rankles - despite the truism of being content with Meyer's great tenure - is the fact Clemson then waxed us to completely a couple of years later. In other words, the Orange Bowl just deepens the perceived gap between Ohio State and Clemson. Clemson, for God's sake! They're a terrific team now, no question about it, but Clemson?

Comment 19 Apr 2019

It's a tad troubling to me that Baldwin was a Day recruit. Martell was always a better fit for Urban's offense, and he was an Urban recruit, so while I think he'll be an exciting player and would have been very successful at Ohio State, his leaving makes a lot of sense.

And, as someone up the chain noted, Fields coming as a transfer is different than a new recruit - which, everyone seems to understand, is going to be part of life at elite programs. But you can't blame Day for wanting to reel in a guy who became the highest rated recruit ever at Ohio State (btw, am I the only one surprised by that? I know ratings like today's haven't been around forever, still...). Any coach would love to get a QB like Fields.

The "this is the current landscape" argument gains some credence, I think, when you look at Hurts, Bryant - even Murray was a transfer from A&M. And we should absolutely count Joe Burrow in that - last time I saw him play, he threw 4 TDs and LSU won the Fiesta Bowl. Not too shabby.

So, the important thing, IMO, is that recruits don't think Ohio State and/or Day is a place that will screw them over. I think given Fields' spectacular recruiting hype, it's something of a special case. So long as the coaches can convince a player they won't go hunting for *transfers* vs. new recruits for competition, I think Ohio State and the handful of schools with the Buckeyes' history and accomplishments will be just fine.

Comment 18 Apr 2019

This isn't good news - the guy just looks like a QB to me and I thought he was impressive in the Spring Game even with the 2 picks.

That said, I wish him well and hope a. that Fields is as good as advertised and that b. this kid Miller in 'Zona sticks with his commitment and is as good as advertised.

I would have liked to see Baldwin compete through the fall camp, although I suspect he - like, let's be honest, everyone here - thinks the job is Fields. So you can't blame a guy for wanting to *play,* even if that means playing at some place not as cool as Ohio State. But it seems to me calling him a wimp or saying it should be a "contract" when you sign are bad reactions and would be out of line.

Best of luck to Baldwin somewhere outside the Big 10 - and Go Bucks, Fields and Miller!