Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ohio State Football 2012: Depth Chartin' Part I — Quarterback and Running Back



Ohio State finally began Spring Football this week.

Practices under new head coach Urban Meyer have been labeled intense, but that's not exactly shocking given the annual expectation level at Ohio State.

With many early-arrivals from the highly-touted 2012 recruiting class already on campus, several position, and depth chart battles have emerged.

Just after NSD, Meyer stated that he did not recruit guys to redshirt at Ohio State — a refreshing and welcomed change from previous seasons where seemingly seniority sometimes mattered more when it came to playing time than on-the-field talent.

Jim Tressel was a great coach but most would agree that he was often too loyal to his upperclassmen.

It does not matter how long any player has been in the program. No one should earn their playing time based on seniority (cough, Joe Bauserman, cough). The best 22 players should start regardless of what class designation they belong to, period — and Meyer gets that.

By the time the Scarlet and Gray game is played on April 21st, the depth chart should be pretty firmly set. There is, however, still some time to jostle things around a bit and for guys to move up in the ranks, so with that in mind, here's a very early look at how the depth chart is shaping up at several key positions.

Quarterback


Obviously, there's no quarterback controversy in Columbus — Meyer was practically frothing at the mouth during his introduction press conference over the prospect of coaching Braxton Miller, but Buckeye fans shouldn't soon forget that Meyer played two quarterbacks while at Florida back in 2006 (Chris Leak and some guy named Tebow) and that turned out pretty well for them (41-14).

Miller is the starter, but a solid backup QB is just as important, especially when you have a dual-threat QB who's going to take some hits — which means backup Kenny Guiton and freshman Cardale Jones will both need to be game-ready.

So far, Meyer has liked what he's seen from both Miller and Guiton, saying "Both those kids, the answer is yes, they can throw." Now, there's all the other stuff that goes on, but they can physically throw the ball, both of them. I feel good about those guys."

When he's gotten the chance to play, Guiton has shown he can guide the offense, and given Meyer's comments, he could occasionally find himself on the field, if for no other reason than to mix things up and keep opposing defenses guessing, or to give Braxton a quick breather and/or some in-game coaching — something he sorely lacked in 2011.

Depth Chart

Braxton Miller

Kenny Guiton

Cardale Jones


Running Back


While the hierarchy at quarterback has been established, determining the backfield pecking order could be described as a blurry quandary — not so much because of a lack of talent or depth, but rather, a lack of "working together" experience between the new staff and the players, and because the incumbent, Boom Herron, is gone.

Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde are experienced-ish, while Rod Smith isn't — when he did play (ever-so-sparingly) in 2011, he fumbled away the ball, and his spot on the offense altogether temporarily when he was moved to defense — nor is 5-star true freshman, Bri'onte Dunn.

With the loss of Herron to graduation, no clear-cut starter returns or has emerged as of yet, so all four backs have been getting reps early on. Meyer said they have momentum and "as long as that continues the talent there is fine."

Hall is the most experienced, but unlike Hyde, he is unlikely to be a workhorse back that could carry the ball 20 times per game. Instead, dumping the ball off to him on a halfback screen or out of the slot would suit Hall's talents much better.

Hyde has drawn comparisons to Beanie Wells and even Eddie George. He's not as fast as Beanie, or as dynamic as Eddie, but he does have decent speed and power, and most importantly, he protects the football. In 2011, Hyde averaged 5.4 yards per rush and fumbled just twice in 106 carries.

While Smith and Dunn were both heavily recruited and highly rated coming out of H.S., they must both prove themselves on the field the rest of the spring and this fall.

The arrival of Warren Ball, a 4-star RB in the 2012 class, will also affect the final depth chart this fall. Between Ball and Dunn, one of them might have to redshirt this season, rather than waste a year of eligibility.

Depth Chart (subject to change)

Carlos Hyde

Jordan Hall

Bri'onte Dunn

Rod Smith

Warren Ball

Coming soon


Part II — Wide Receiver

Part III — D-Line / Linebacker

Part IV — Safety / Cornerback



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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ohio State Tops Syracuse, Headed to New Orleans With Eyes on the Final Four Prize



Four of Ohio State's five starters scored 13 or more points — led by Jared Sullinger's 19-point performance despite early foul trouble that limited him to just six minutes and change on the floor in the first half — and the Buckeyes earned a hard-fought 77-70 victory over the Syracuse Orange to advance to their first Final Four since 2007 — the 11th Final Four appearance in school history.

The somewhat surprising performance of the night goes to Lenzelle Smith Jr. who, despite leaving the game briefly after an inadvertent elbow caused a cut over his eye which required stitches, dropped 18 points on the Orange, including a couple of timely 3-pointers and a beautiful raindrop runner just over the outstretched arms of a defender.

Smith has proven to be an unselfish player that doesn't necessarily care about his personal statistics, but who is a guy that can be counted on to step up offensively when needed.

Deshaun Thomas and William Buford were the other starters in double figures, with 14 and 13 respectively.

Next up for the Buckeyes, the UNC-Kansas winner.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves here, but if UNC wins and Ohio State beats them to advance to the title game verses Kentucky, should UK beat Baylor in the other Regional Final, the Buckeyes could potentially knock off three of the tournaments No. 1 seeds en route to a national title.

That being said, my great HS basketball coach once had a motto that still resonates with me today when it comes to basketball, especially tournament basketball:

One Bite At A Time -- Bob Haas, HOF HS basketball coach, Willard HS, Willard, Ohio



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Saturday, March 24, 2012

No. 2 Ohio State — No. 1 Syracuse Clash In East Regional Final



Ohio State and Syracuse will meet Saturday night (7:05PM tip) for the right to advance to The Final Four next week in New Orleans.

Reaching the regional final was never really in doubt for the Buckeyes. The same can't be said for the Orange.

While the Buckeyes defeated Loyola-Maryland, Gonzaga and Cincinnati without too much difficulty on their journey to the East regional final, Syracuse, who beat beat Kansas State, 75-59 in the round of 32, faced serious scares from both UNC-Asheville and Wisconsin before and after beating the Wildcats.

Prior to the NCAA tournament, Cincinnati ousted Syracuse from the Big East tourney by a final score of 71-68 — the same Bearcats squad that Ohio State just defeated 81-66 in the East semi-final.

These could be signs that this matchup favors Ohio State, but regardless of those previous games, or how each got here, these are two stellar teams and nothing less than a great game should be expected.

Against the zone defense that Syracuse brings, Ohio State's senior guard, William Buford (pictured above alongside Syracuse guard, Scoop Jardine), must play well in order for the Buckeyes to win.

Buford has been inconsistent at times, and has taken a lot of heat from some unforgiving Ohio State fans. He has also often been the catalyst and unsung hero who thanklessly has led this team to victory countless times in his illustrious OSU career. He is just 42 points away from 2,000.

Both teams are solid defensively, so don't be surprised to see a close, low-scoring battle, with the winner being decided in the final seconds, perhaps on a last second buzzer-beater.

That's what makes this tournament so great. We all want our favorite teams to win, but sometimes even in defeat, great moments, great players, and great games are born.

Who doesn't remember that Duke-Kentucky regional final in 1992, when Duke's Christian Laettner hit the game winner for the Blue Devils as time expired?

We all do, and we all won that night, for having been witness to one of the greatest moments in college basketball history.

We can only hope as we watch from the edge of our seats, as the final seconds wane away, that this game will deliver a similar memorable ending — and a Buckeye victory — that we'll talk about for years to come.

This is March Madness after all — Who would want it any other way?


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Video: Sullinger, Craft Lead Ohio State Past Gonzaga, Into Sweet 16 — Can They Win It All?



Ohio State held on for a 73-66 win over Gonzaga, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year.

ESPN's College Gameday crew discusses whether or not Ohio State could win the the Title.






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Friday, March 16, 2012

The Raw Score: Talking Sports With John Pentagon, The Greek, and Special Guest, Orlando Predators QB Trevor Harris (3/11/2012)



Once again his week, I sat-in, this time as a co-host, on The Raw Score, a great new sports talk show on TalkRadio99.com that airs nightly from 6-7PM.

The show was founded by the same guys (John, Joe and Bart) that brought you TheBestDamnPoll.com. If you're looking for the best forums on the web to talk college football, get over to the TBDPITL forums now!

A lot of this weeks show was centered on the AFL and their recent player strike. We were fortunate enough to have Trevor Harris, QB for the Orlando Predators on as our guest to talk about the strike, the players reaction, and what the future holds for the league and it's contracted players.

We also hit on a few other topics — including a brief Buckeye football segment.

Check out the show right here, then post your thoughts and feedback on Twitter, or right here with LIVE, REAL-TIME commenting from Livefyre!

I wasn't on the first half of the show, but I can be heard in segment 3 and segment 4.

Segment 1


Segment 2


Segment 3


Segment 4


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Attention All Ohio State Fans Who Also Happen To Be Graphic Designers...



OK, I have a little "contest/challenge" for you Buckeye fans out there that are Graphic Designers!

I want an alternate site header in addition to the one I have up now here on the blog. Anyone that wants to submit one, please do so within the next five to six days.

The person with the best design will get a Twitter shout out and credit for their design, see their design featured along the heading of the blog, and will also get a custom, guaranteed, authentic, autographed @BeanieWells26 8x10!

I definitely still want the Ohio State Block O logo incorporated into your designs, but otherwise be creative, and be awesome!

A few ideas to possibly also incorporate: Players, Coach Meyer, The Shoe, or whatever you can think of that fits with Ohio State football and BlockONation!

Send your site header designs for BlockONation.com to HD@BlockONation.com

I plan on announcing the winning design next Saturday, 3/24/2012, so I suggest that everyone interested enter within next five to six days.

Remember, be creative and make it AWESOME, and you could win this if your design is chosen:



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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Buckeye Preview: Urban Meyer Talks About Ohio State's Upcoming Spring Practices (3/13/12)



The Ohio State 2012 Spring football game is right around the corner (April 21st), and earlier today, Coach Meyer spoke about the upcoming practices (which begin March 28th) leading up to that game, and spoke specifically about some of his players.

Here's the press conference video from NBC4:



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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Buckeyes Blast Boilermakers, Set Up Tourney Semi-Final Against Ann Arbor



The Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team pulled away in the 2nd half of Friday nights B1G quarter-final game for a much easier win over Purdue than in the last meeting in Columbus, where the Buckeyes escaped a near upset with an 87-84 win.

Jared Sullinger grabbed 12 boards and paced OSU with a season-high 30 points to lead all Buckeye scorers, followed by Deshaun Thomas with 22, William Buford and Lenzelle Smith Jr with 11 each, and Aaron Craft with 10 points, as No. 7 Ohio State dropped Purdue, 88-71.



With the win, Ohio State advances to Saturday's semi-finals where they will face that hated team from the north at 4:00PM. The season series, and more importantly, where one of the B1G Tournament Championship game finalists will be decided.

On January 29th, OSU cruised to a 64-49 home victory over Ann Arbor, but in their February 18th meeting in Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes never led and fell, 56-51, to a then-undefeated-at-home AA squad.

The public address announcer threw a little gas on the flames of the already-heated rivalry when true freshman, Trey Burke — Sullinger's HS teammate — was introduced to the fired-up AA crowd as "The pride of Columbus, Ohio."

Winning on the road in the B1G is no easy task, so it's no huge surprise the Buckeyes lost a close one in AA.

Now on a neutral court and with a trip to the title game on the line, we'll see who truly stands as the pride of Columbus on Saturday at 4PM.

Burke, like most AA players from OHIO, is very talented, but Saturday, the smart money is on Sullinger.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ann Arbor Football Coach Brady "Corky" Hoke — Interview Champion (Ahhhhhhh, not so much...)



Ann Arbor football coach Brady Hoke recently sat for this gem of an interview with the infamous blog, mgoblue.

Surely, there were questions about Ohio State and its' new head football coach Urban Meyer, and as you'll see below, Hoke was practically speechless with fear.

What ensued isn't pretty if you're an ann arbor fan, but for Buckeye fans, this is the definition of priceless — and pure, LOL, comedy gold!

Perhaps this is what Charlie Sheen would refer to as "WINNING" if he were a Buckeye fan (and maybe he is, as his family has Ohio roots)!

Keep an eye out for coach Hoke, who will be starring in the return of the popular, early-90's TV series, Life Goes On.

In the meantime, enjoy this masterpiece Buckeye Nation!



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BlockONation's Expanding Web Presence

6/05/2009

Numerous BlockONation articles have been posted on or linked to from some very well known, high-volume sports websites.

We'd like to take a moment to both acknowledge and thank those sites for their support in helping make BlockONation one of the most popular new Ohio State Football blogs on the web!

In no particular order:

CBSSports.com

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Again, thanks so very much to those sites for all their support and also, a huge thank you to the fans who have visited the site to date!

I'd also like to personally thank all those individuals who have contributed to the success of the site! I wouldn't be here without your help over the last year and a half. You all know who you are!

It is our mission here at BlockONation.com to continue to provide top-notch, fresh content for our readers and we will always do everything possible to meet your expectations!

Honestly, I really can't thank you all enough....

HD Handshoe
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