Friday, June 26, 2009

Etienne Sabino—10 Buckeyes You Don't Know About Yet: Part IV

Welcome to Part IV of this ten-part series.

No. 7—Etienne Sabino
LB (6-3, 235)

Sabino, a five-star top prospect, was recruited by Ohio State and joined the incoming class of 2008 after a stellar career at Dr. Michael Krop H.S. in Miami, Florida.

He was rated as the No. 2 overall linebacker in the nation (No. 1 MLB) and was ranked in the overall top 100 by all the major recruiting sites including ESPN, Rivals, Scout, PrepStar and SuperPrep.

He was an All-Dade County and All-Florida first team selection in 2008 after posting 146 tackles, seven QB sacks, five forced fumbles and one interception.

He was named an EA Sports All-American and was invited to play in the 2008 US Army All-American game in 2008 as well.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tabbed him in their Super Southern 100.

Sabino played in all thirteen games for the Buckeyes in 2008 on special teams.

Sabino has great size and athletic ability. He has the speed to play sideline-to-sideline and the strength to stuff the run.

He's very fluid and he flies to the football and punishes runners. Against the pass, he has shown solid athleticism and range. His ability to pressure the quarterback in blitz packages is nearly unmatched.

Sabino plays extremely well in traffic and his blitzing skills are incredibly impressive. He can find his way around or through blockers and bodies on the field as well as any linebacker in the nation, playing low and balanced in and around the big uglies.

Ohio State has consistently produced many great linebackers over the years and sent them on to NFL stardom.

With James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman continuing that tradition of moving on to the NFL after last season, look for Sabino to assume the role of the next great linebacker at Ohio State.

He certainly has big shoes to fill, but don't be shocked if and when you see him meet, and even exceed the expectations that are undoubtedly going to be placed upon his shoulders.

As always, thanks for reading—Please post your thoughts!

Part V: Coming soon!

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Jim Tressel: The Grace Period Is Over

by Michael Periatt
BlockONation Analyst

Every Buckeye fan remembers the 2002 Championship.

It was the fulfillment of our dreams. Like McLovin getting with that girl in Superbad. No one thought he could do it, but when it happened, it was the underdog story of the year!

Then the Bucks won two more BCS games in three years. They were labeled a top tier program and Jim Tressel was an elite coach.

The following year all the hype and excitement was thrust upon the 2006 season. The 2006 Bucks were pre-ranked No. 1.

They had not one, but two Heisman candidates and a seemingly unstoppable offense.

The Bucks went through the season unscathed and made an appearance in the Championship where they preceded to get flattened by Florida.

I was upset, devastated actually. But I put my hopes into next year's team.

Well, different team, different opponent, same result.

That's when things started getting dicey. The inevitable questions came to mind, but I decided to block them out.

After all, they did win in 2002.

Next year's team put up a fight against a heavily favored Texas team, but fell in the end.

And, yet again, I found myself making excuses.

They fought hard.

One missed tackle.

Heacock couldn't make a good defensive play call if someone pointed a gun to his head. (Partially true.)

But bottom line, I was blaming anyone and everyone but Tressel.

So I spent some time wondering "Why?" Why was I so hesitant to blame the man in charge?

Then it hit me.

The grace period.

What's the grace period you ask?

Here's how I'll define it...

An amount of time following a notable event in which a person or group is exempt from criticism or penalty.

It's like when George W. Bush after September 11th, even though he pushed through one of the most unconstitutional laws in the history of the nation (The Patriot Act).

Or when a kid gets out of chores for a couple extra days after he's sick because he's still "recuperating."

In this case, it was Tressel. He was in a grace period after he won the championship. For some OSU fans, that time is long gone and for others, he may never leave it.

Not for me.

LET THE RECORD SHOW my Tressel Grace Period is officially over as of June 25, 2009.

I'm no longer making excuses for the man in the sweater vest.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want Tressel to be fired (or anything close to that), but he's officially open for criticism.

No more excuses for repeatedly losing big games.

No more immunity when his team is completely out-coached.

No more looking the other way when he runs on first and second down, then attempts a desperation third down pass four times in a row.

And no more defending that hideous Spring Game Hawaiian Shirt.

It's all open now.

I'm not going to go back and nit-pick previous mistakes, but from this point forward I encourage all Buckeye fans to watch with a more critical eye and stop making excuses for Tress.

He is human, and he does make mistakes.

Let's put it this way...If I know Tressel is going to run up the middle on first down 80 percent of the time (I made that number up, but Buckeye fans no what I mean), then you can sure as hell bet the other coach knows.

And he can get away with it against inferior opponents where the Bucks are straight up bigger, faster, and stronger, but against other big time opponents (Florida, LSU, USC, Texas) it just doesn't work.

There are certain people Buckeye fans just can't criticize, the untouchables.

Woody Hayes, Archie Griffin, Eddie George, Craig Krenzal, etc...

Right after Tress won it all, he was in that group and I have no doubt he'll be in that group when he retires (hopefully a long time away), but for now, I think we have to temporarily make a withdrawal.

I'm not saying Tressel is a bad coach. Tressel is the perfect guy to run any program because the only thing he knows how to do is win.

If you think about it, it's not really fair to criticize him. OSU was good with Cooper, but Tressel raised the program to another level.

And now the expectations are through the roof every single year.

He's a victim to his own success.

You see, times have changed.

Teams used to have their goals like this...

1. Win your Conference championship (Big Ten)

2. Beat your arch-rival (Michigan)

3. Win your bowl game (Rose Bowl)

Then if you were really feeling good about yourself and had the guts you put..

4. National Championship

But coaches were always really wary of putting that down. Some felt it took away from the focus on those top three goals.

And if you look at it, Tressel has done the top two things on that list better than any Ohio State coach ever as far as consistency goes.

He's won five Big Ten championships in seven years and beaten Michigan an unprecedented five times in a row and seven out of eight.

So why am I done going easy on this obviously successful coach?

Because times have changed.

Like it or not the BCS has completely changed the landscape of college football.

Teams have the pressure to go Championship or bust.

Then, if that fails, they sure as hell better win their bowl game.

Conference championships have become secondary goals.

Today, coaches for elite programs are judged on the following things IN ORDER.

1. National Championships

2. BCS wins

3. Conferences Championships

4. Rivalry wins

And really if you look at it, Tressel is still in the top tier even with the new hierarchy of priorities, but today's world is all about one thing...

What have you done for me lately?

And since 2006, the answer is zero for the top two categories on the list.

Ohio State is a finely oiled machine.

As evidenced by the past three years, OSU can cruise through the season and win nine or more games without winning any marquee games.

Reaching that point is an accomplishment in itself. Most teams would kill for that consistency.

But just because other programs would be happy with it, doesn't mean we should be.

To avoid complacency, the Buckeyes should be pushing to get even better.

By ending Tressel's grace period, it pushes him and therefore, pushes the team to get better.

It can and hopefully will elevate them to another level.

So don't chase Tressel out of town just yet, but let's not be afraid to offer some "constructive criticism."

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Friday, June 19, 2009

From A to Z: The Greatest Buckeyes of All-Time

by Jeremy Jeffries
BlockONation Contributor

             #27 EDDIE GEORGE

Ohio State has had some of the best players to ever step foot onto a college gridiron.

As you can imagine, this was very hard to pick just one player to represent each letter. I hate to leave any player off the list, because there have been so many great players at Ohio State.

Some of these players everyone has heard of and gotten to see in action, but, there are a few that played so long ago nobody remembers.

Believe me, guys like Chic Harley and Wesley Fesler were amazing players who just happened to play many years ago before there was a Heisman Trophy or huge television deals.

I hope you enjoy the list, and I hope it brings back some memories for my fellow Ohio State fans.

A—Warren Amling

Warren Amling played for Ohio State from 1944-1946. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

Amling was an All-American at guard for the Buckeyes in 1945, than moved to tackle in 1946 and was once again named All-American.

Amling also played basketball for the Buckeyes. He is the only member of the College Football Hall of Fame to start in an NCAA Final Four basketball game.

Honorable Mention: Tim Anderson, Will Allen

B—Keith Byars

Keith Byars was an excellent tailback for the Buckeyes from 1982-1985. In 1984, Byars finished second behind Doug Flutie in the Heisman voting.

Byars gained 2,441 all-purpose yards, including 1,764 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in that outstanding 1984 season.

Byars finished his career at Ohio State with 4,369 total yards, 3,200 rushing yards, 50 touchdowns. His 50 touchdowns remain second most in OSU history.

Honorable Mention: John Brockington, David Boston.

C—Howard Cassady

Howard "Hopalong" Cassady played for the Buckeyes from 1952-1955.

Cassady won the Heisman trophy in 1955, and was selected as a consensus All-American in 1954 and 1955.

The Buckeyes went 10-0 in 1954 and won a consensus national championship.

Cassady scored 37 touchdowns in only 36 games, and he was also a very good defensive back—a pass was never completed on him in his career at OSU.

Cassady held many records while at Ohio State, including the career rushing record (2,466 yards) which Jim Otis broke in 1969, the career all-purpose yards record (4,403 yards) until he was surpassed by the great Archie Griffin in 1974, and the scoring record (222 points) broke by Pete Johnson in 1975.

Honorable Mention: Cris Carter, Tom Cousineau

D—Mike Doss

Mike Doss was an excellent safety at Ohio State, Doss was a three-time All Big Ten selection and a three-time All-American choice by the Sporting News. He amassed 331 career tackles, eight interceptions, eight fumbles recovered, and six sacks.

His senior season the Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Miami Hurricanes in the Fiesta Bowl to win the national championship.

Doss was a consensus First Team All-American, a Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.

Honorable Mention: Na'il Diggs, Van Ness DeCree

E—Bruce Elia

Bruce Elia played fullback and linebacker for Ohio State from 1972-1975. Elia was recruited by Woody Hayes as a fullback than was made into a linebacker.

After an injury to Ohio State's starting fullback Champ Henson in 1973, Elia was moved back to offense and he led the Bucks in scoring (14 touchdowns for 84 points).

In 1974 he was moved back to linebacker and led the team in tackles (144—74 solo, 70 assisted ).

Honorable Mention: Jeff Ellis

F—Wesley Fesler

Wes Fesler was one of the greatest players ever to play for the Buckeyes if not the best to play college football.

In the days before the Heisman Trophy, Fesler was a one-man wrecking crew, playing on the line, and sometimes lining up at running back, wide receiver, and even a little bit at quarterback.

In 1930, Fesler was voted the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten. He was a three-time All-American (1928, 1929, 1930).

After graduating, Fesler served one year as an assistant on the OSU staff and then was head football coach at Princeton and Penn.

In 1947, he returned to his alma mater as head coach and spent four years at OSU, compiling a 21-13-3 record and winning the 1949 Big Ten Championship and the 1950 Rose Bowl.

Honorable Mention: Luke Fickel, Ken Fritz, Greg Frye

G—Archie Griffin

"G" was tough but ultimately, Archie Griffin gets the nod.

He played for the Buckeyes from 1972-1975 and won the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and again in 1975.

Griffin won four Big Ten Conference titles with Ohio State and was the first player ever to start in four Rose Bowls (Brian Cushing is the only other player to accomplish that feat).

Archie Griffin was so good, his coach Woody Hayes said of him, "He is a better young man than he is a football player, and he's the best football player I've ever seen."

Griffin rushed for 5,589 yards on 924 carries in his four seasons with the Buckeyes.

He had 6,559 all-purpose yards and scored 26 touchdowns. In the four seasons Griffin played for the Buckeyes they went 40-5-1.

Griffin rushed for at least 100 yards in 34 games, including an NCAA record 31 straight games.

Honorable Mention: Eddie George, Joey Galloway, Chris Gamble, Terry Glenn, Ted Ginn

H—Chic Harley

Chic Harley was hands-down the best Ohio State football player ever.

The only problem was Harley only played three seasons and they were back in 1916, 1917, and 1919. Had the Heisman Trophy existed when Harley played, he surely would have won the honor at least twice and perhaps three times. Harley was a consensus All-American all three years he played.

It would be 16 years after his last season that the Heisman Trophy was first awarded to the nation's outstanding college football player.

In 1950, when the Associated Press selected its All-Star college football team of the first half of the 20th century, the well-known running back great Red Grange from Illinois was a second-team selection. The first-team running backs were Carlisle's Jim Thorpe and Ohio State's Chic Harley.

Harley only played in 24 career games for Ohio State but, he scored 23 touchdowns, 39 PATs, 8 fieldgoals for 201 points.

Harley missed the 1918 season to fly a fighter plane during the first World War.

Honorable Mention: The great Les Horvath, A.J Hawk

I—Derek Isaman

There has only been one Ohio State player with a last name starting with an I that I know of, so Derek Isaman, the honor is yours.

He may have been a better professional boxer than football player.

Isaman was the 1988 National Golden Gloves Heavyweight champion. He also lost a points decision to Mike Tyson in a National Golden Gloves semi-final bout.

However, he wasn't a bad football player either.

He was a team captain in 1989, where he played linebacker for the Buckeyes. He was also voted team MVP that season.

J—Vic Janowicz

Victor "Vic" Janowicz was the 1950 Heisman Trophy winner as a junior at The Ohio State University. Vic was a true "all-purpose" player in every sense of the word.

He played running back, quarterback, placekicker, punter, and safety on defense.

Vic's coach Wesley Fesler said, "Vic excelled in every phase of the game. He not only was a great runner, passer, and blocker, he also did all of our kicking, including punting, field goals, quick kicks, kickoffs, and extra points. He was one of the finest, most versatile athletes I have ever seen."

Janowicz had his best year in 1950, accounting for 16 touchdowns and 875 yards in total offense. He also led the Buckeyes in scoring with 65 points.

In an 83-21 win over Iowa, he ran for two touchdowns, passed for four more and set a Big Ten record with 10 extra points. He completed five of six passes for 128 yards against the Hawkeyes (talk about doing it all).

Honorable Mention: Pete Johnson, Malcolm Jenkins, Pepper Johnson, Michael Jenkins

K—Craig Krenzel

Craig Krenzel played quarterback for Ohio State from 2001-2004.

In his first start in 2001, Krenzel led Ohio State to a 26-20 victory at Michigan.

It was the Buckeyes first win in Ann Arbor in 14 years.

In the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, Krenzel led the (14-0) Ohio State Buckeyes to an incredible 31-24 double-overtime victory over highly favored Miami to claim a national championship in what is called by many one of the greatest college football games of all-time.

He capped his career with a second Tostitos Fiesta Bowl victory in 2004 and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for the second time as well.

He finished his career at OSU with a 24-3 record as a starter.

Honorable Mention: Andy Katzenmoyer, Ike Kelley.

L—James Laurinaitis

James "Little Animal" Laurinaitis played linebacker for Ohio State from 2005-2008.

Laurinaitis was awarded the 2006 Nagurski Trophy, the 2007 Dick Butkus Award, was a two-time Jack Lambert Award winner, and a three-time All-American selection.

2008 was indeed Laurinaitis' best season as a Buckeye.

On top of the numerous awards Laurinaitis received as one of the nation's top linebackers, he also started all thirteen games and became only the fourth player in school history to lead the team in tackles three times in his career.

He ranked second in the Big Ten with an average of 10 tackles per game. He recorded a career-high 130 tackles (52 solo) that included four sacks, seven stops for losses, caused a fumble, deflected four passes, and picked off two others.

Honorable Mention: Jim Lachey

M—Marcus Marek

Marcus Marek played linebacker for Ohio State. A four-year starter from 1979 through 82, Marek made 572 career tackles, edging Tom Cousineau for the all-time lead.

Marek recorded 178 tackles in 1982 (third on the All-Time tackles for a season list), earning him All-American honors.

On senior day against Michigan, Marek made a career-high 21 tackles and intercepted a pass to set up the Buckeyes final score in a 24-14 win.

Marek ranks first in all-time assisted tackles at Ohio State with 316, and his 256 solo stops place him third in that category.

Honorable Mention: Jim Marshall, Tom Matte

N—Mike Nugent

I wouldn't normally add a kicker as one of the greatest Buckeyes ever, but Mike Nugent wasn't just your average run-of-the-mill kicker.

In his four-year career (2001-2004), he broke or tied 22 school records, including most points in a career by any player ever (356), breaking big Pete Johnson's record of 348.

Nugent was a consensus All-American and won the Lou Groza Award in 2004 as the country's best kicker.

Mike Nugent was also a huge reason the Buckeyes captured the national championship in 2002.

Honorable Mention: Donnie Nickey

O—Jim Otis

In all three of his seasons at OSU (1967-1969), Jim Otis led the Ohio State Buckeyes in rushing.

In 1969 he was a consensus first-team All-American.

Otis is second to only Archie Griffin in career rushing yards per game.

He rushed for 2,542 yards in his career, he also scored 102 points in 1968.

The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry was in full swing in 1968 and Jim Otis left his mark. Ohio State took the lead late in the first half and went into the locker room up 21-14.

In the second half, Otis took over the game, rushing for 143 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Bucks to a 50-14 win.

That victory sent Ohio State to the Rose Bowl, where they thrashed O.J. Simpson and his Trojans 27-16, en route to yet another National Championship.

Honorable Mention: Ed Orazen

P—Orlando Pace

Big "O" was/is the best offensive lineman in the history of college football without any doubt.

Pace was only the second true freshman to ever start on opening day for The Ohio State University.

Pace won the Outland Trophy in 1996 for the best interior lineman in college football.

He also won the Lombardi Award for the best college lineman or linebacker in 1995 and again in 1996 (only player ever to win it twice).

He finished fourth in the Heisman race in 1996.

Pace played in 158 games as a Buckeye and he started 154 of them.

He also played on the defensive line in some goal line situations.

Pace was well-known for his "pancake block" as he knocked many a defender on their backs.

He did not allow a sack in his final two seasons at Ohio State.

Honorable Mention: Antonio Pittman, Jim Parker, Bo Pelini

Q—Quinn Pitcock

There are no players in Ohio State history with a last name that starts with a Q, so I had to use a first name.

Quinn Pitcock was a defensive tackle for the Buckeyes from 2003-2006.

Pitcock was a captain for the Buckeyes in 2006 as the Buckeyes went undefeated in the regular season and lost to the University of Florida in the national championship game.

Pitcock was a first team All-American in 2006 and he earned first team All-Big Ten honors the same year.

R—Leo Raskowski

An effective player on both offense and defense, Leo Raskowski played for the Buckeyes from 1926-1928.

He was an All-American for OSU in 1926 and 1927 and was team captain in 1928.

Honorable Mention: Lydell Ross, Ken-yon Rambo, Jerry Rudzinski

S—Troy Smith

Like "G", "S" was also tough to choose the No. 1 guy.

As much as it pains me to say that Troy Smith was better than my personal favorite Buckeye of all-time, Chris Spielman, I have to give Mr. Smith his due.

Troy Smith played QB for the Ohio State Buckeyes from 2003-2006. He took over the starting job in 2004 when Justin Zwick was injured halfway through the season. Smith won four of five games he started in 2004, including a victory over the hated Michigan Wolverines.

In 2005, as the starting quarterback on Jim Tressel's Buckeyes, the team only lost two games, the first to the eventual national champions, the Texas Longhorns, and the other to Penn State.

Smith threw for 2,282 yards and 16 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions. He also rushed for 611 yards and 11 touchdowns.

In 2006, Smith threw for 2,507 yards, with 30 touchdowns and five interceptions. His 2006 season earned him the coveted Heisman Trophy. Smith received 87.7 percent of the first place votes, a Heisman record.

Troy Smith became the first starting OSU Quarterback to beat Michigan three straight times.

Smith earned numerous awards as the Buckeye quarterback including: '06 College Football Player of the year, '06 Fiesta Bowl MVP, '06 Walter Camp Award, '06 Davey O'Brian Award, '06 NCAA quarterback of the year, and '06 Heisman Award.

Honorable Mention: Chris Spielman, Robert Smith, Jim Stillwagon, Art Schlichter, Alonzo Spellman, Korey Stringer

T—Jack Tatum

Jack Tatum played defensive back for the Buckeyes and his ability to lay out a player with devastating authority earned him first team All-Big Ten honors in 1968, 1969, and again in 1970.

In 1969 and 1970, Tatum was a unanimous All-American. In 1970, he was selected as the National Defensive Player of the Year and was in the running for the Heisman Trophy.

In his three seasons at OSU, the Buckeyes went 27-2 and were crowned National Champions in 1968.

With the Oakland Raiders in the NFL, Tatum earned the nickname "The Assassin" because of the unbelievable hits he put on receivers.

Honorable Mention: Steve Tovar, Tom Tupa

U—Jeff Uhlenhake

Jeff Uhlenhake was a four year starter for OSU (1985-1988), playing left guard as a freshman and sophomore and center as a junior and senior.

In his senior season, he was team co-captain and the only Buckeye player to be selected an All-American in 1988.

Honorable Mention: Donald Unverferth

V—Mike Vrabel

A 1995 and '96 All-American defensive end, Mike Vrabel was an excellent player at Ohio State.

He held the OSU record for most sacks in a season (13) until Vernon Gholston recorded his 14th in the 2008 BCS Championship Game against LSU.

In 1995, Vrabel recorded 26 tackles for a loss, the most ever in a season.

He ended his career with a Buckeye record 66 tackles for a loss and the most quarterback sacks with 36.

He was named All-Big Ten in 1994, 1995, and 1996.

W—Bill Willis

Bill Willis was a member of Ohio State's 1942 national championship team. He also earned All-American honors in 1943 and 1944—the first black player at Ohio State to earn such honors.

Willis was a three-year starter playing both on both the offensive and defensive lines.

The Columbus native was a devastating blocker on offense and a punishing, relentless tackler on defense.

“Bill Willis is an inspiration to all Buckeye fans and football fans in general,” said current Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel.

“His career was unparalleled and the class he has always demonstrated is extraordinary. It has been an honor to get to know Mr. Willis.”

Honorable Mention: Chris "Beanie" Wells, Paul Warfield, Dan Wilkinson, Antoine Winfield

X—Rex Kern

Because there has never been a Buckeye player or coach with a name starting with X, I decided if there was one guy who was so close but wasn't quite the top guy under his letter, it had to be Rex Kern.

Kern played quarterback for the Buckeyes from 1968 to 1970.

He led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season and the AP National Championship in 1968.

Kern was the Most Outstanding Player in the 1969 Rose Bowl as his Buckeyes beat O.J Simpson's USC Trojans, 27-16.

Kern was third in the Heisman race in 1969 and was voted an All-American.

He may have actually won the Heisman Trophy in 1969 had the Buckeyes not been upset that year by Michigan in a game in which Kern threw four interceptions and the Buckeyes lost, 24-12.

Kern was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

Y—Ashton Youboty

As a true freshman for the Buckeyes in 2003, Youboty notched 14 tackles while playing behind starting cornerback Chris Gamble.

In 2004, Youboty put himself on the map as a bona-fide NFL prospect. He started nine games, intercepting four passes for 89 yards, leading the Big Ten Conference in that category.

Youboty's production dipped in 2005, as he only intercepted one pass, but he still did enough to be honored as an All-Big Ten first-team selection, and he was drafted in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.

Z—Larry Zelina

Zelina was part of three Big Ten title teams, including the squad that won the 1968 national championship.

He played tailback in 1968 and 1969 alongside the great Jim Otis and in 1970 shared the backfield with John Brockington.

Ohio State's 1969 football team was dubbed by the media as the "greatest college football team of all-time", with a handful of proven All-Big Ten players and All-Americans.

Zelina played with great players such as quarterback Rex Kern, running backs Jim Otis, and John Brockington, wide receivers Jan White and Bruce Jankowski, middle guard Jim Stillwagon, and defensive star Jack Tatum.

Honorable Mention: Justin Zwick

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Sunday, June 14, 2009 Doin' Work—Squashing the Rumor Mill

by HD Handshoe

Recently, a handful of Ohio State message boards and blogs have reported that 2010 Buckeye recruit David Durham may re-open his school search even though he has already verbally committed to Ohio State.

David is originally from the state of North Carolina and his family is moving from Texas back to North Carolina due to his dad being transferred there by his employer.

All of a sudden, the rumors are flying that Butch Davis and UNC are major players in the running for David and the reason he and his famly have moved back to North Carolina.

Rather than engage in pointless and baseless bickering among a select few ill-informed Buckeye fans on those "other" sites, we here at BlockONation, instead prefer to deal in the facts!

We bring you the EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS right here and now to put these unfounded and untrue rumors to rest!

Fortunately I interviewed David a few months ago after he committed to OSU and he let me know I could contact him anytime.

After hearing about these rumors, that is exactly what I did!

Here a screen shot of a short excerpt from that exchange between David and myself from Sunday June 14, 2009.

(I tried to enlarge the image but the text became distorted.)

There you have it, courtesy of, straight from the source David Durham himself!

David is, and will remain a Buckeye—end of story!

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Friday, June 12, 2009

2009 Top Recruit Jaamal Berry Arrested on Possession Charges

Breaking News

by HD Handshoe

Many a Buckeye fan might think Jim Tressel has a huge decision to make concerning the future of Ohio State football and that of his top running back recruit Jaamal Berry.

I am not in that likely majority and if you read on, you will see why.

Direct from the In Case You Missed It Department, top 2009 Ohio State recruit Jaamal Berry was arrested and charged with possession of more than than 28 grams of marijuana on Thursday.

Police stopped Berry around midnight for running a stop light in a silver Nissan Altima. Officers noticed a bag of marijuana in the prep star's backseat, according to a Miami-Dade Police Department report. The report said the bag contained about 28 grams of marijuana.

The report said Berry told police he had purchased the drugs an hour earlier and had planned to smoke them with friends. He was arrested and taken to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, where he was later released on an undisclosed bond. Charges are pending, and no court date had been scheduled as of Thursday night.

So, what are the repercussions for Berry's future at Ohio State?

Unlike a lot of Buckeye fans and scouts, I have never personally been very "high" (pardon the intentional pun) on Jaamal Berry.

By that, I don't mean he isn't talented or a worthy recruit, but rather that I can't help but compare him to Mo Wells.

Both were highly recruited during and after outstanding H.S. careers in Florida.

Once Wells arrived at Ohio State however, it was clear he would never be the No. 1 guy as he was buried on the depth chart behind Antonio Pittman and Beanie Wells.

When he did get in the game on a rare occasion (mostly as a third down back), he was either blocking or if he did take a hand-off, he was on his back faster than an opponent of old school Mike Tyson, circa 1991!

I envision much of the same for Jaamal Berry, or as I like to call him, Mo Wells, Version 2.0.

The only exception being Wells, unlike Berry, to my knowledge never missed any time because of an injury. Then again, it's hard to hurt yourself watching from the sidelines!

I had the chance to interview Carlos Hyde a few months back and I love this kid's upside for the OSU program.

To me, he's a mix between P.J. Hill, Ron Dayne, and Beanie Wells!

I can barely contain my excitement knowing this situation opens the door even more for Hyde!

I think he can handle the full-time running back duties or at the very least, share time with Boom starting in 2010 and eventually assume the starting role full-time.

If Berry is still allowed to come to Columbus this fall, or if his scholarship is pulled, I honestly do not see it as having a huge impact one way or the other.

Right now, Dan Herron and Brandon Saine are the top two backs and Berry was not going to displace either of them.

In 2010, Herron will still be the back to beat and Berry and Hyde would have to go through him for playing time, and while I think Hyde has the ability to push Herron, I'm not convinced Berry could.

Realistically, barring injury, the Buckeyes don't even need to have the next star running back on-campus until 2011.

It's not like OSU wouldn't be able to land a top running back in 2010 or 2011 should Tressel and company feel the need to if Berry is sent packing.

Roderick Smith and Corey Brown are both four-star top level backs from the 2010 recruiting class that are interested in the Buckeyes.

Buckeye running backs don't seem to have any trouble making it to the NFL via Columbus so recruiting a replacement for Berry won't be a hard sell.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recruiting Shorts: Four-Star QB Nick Montana Makes Choice

by HD Handshoe

Four-star quarterback Nick Montana (6-3, 186, 4.6) from Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian made one school very happy Tuesday night as he has made his college decision.

Montana had plenty of options as he had offers from the likes of Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, Washington, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, Florida State, Maryland, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

"Nick committed to Washington tonight," Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell said. "I think Nick made a great decision, and I think his family is happy with the decision."

The decision can be traced to the efforts of Washington's head coach. Montana had just taken an unofficial visit to Seattle this past weekend.

"Steve Sarkisian did a great job recruiting him," Redell said. "Getting Nick is great for the future of the Washington program.

"Not only do the Huskies get a great quarterback in Nick. But they get a great family, too."

Montana is the son of NFL legend Joe Montana.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Justin Boren—10 Buckeyes You Don't Know About Yet: Part III

by HD Handshoe

Welcome to Part III of the ten-part series.

As previously stated, I will continue to repost the opening few paragraphs from Part I in all ten segments in the event that a new reader who may have missed a previous segment begins to follow along so if you've been following from the beginning, please bear with me and thanks!

First off, let me say this article is not for die-hard Ohio State fans. I suspect you will know the players I highlight.

Instead, I wrote this in response to my recent preview article about the OSU/USC football matchup in Columbus this fall. A lot has been made by non-OSU fans of how USC will be reloaded as usual, and thus, many of these people believe that Ohio State will have zero chance of beating the Trojans.

Pretty much everyone who isn't a Buckeye fan seems to believe this, but the problem is, they are overlooking the fact that USC lost far more than OSU and OSU reloads just as well as USC!

They are also making a generalization about how good or how not-so-good the Buckeyes will be based on Ohio State's big-stage losses, starting with Florida in the 2006 BCS title game and culminating with their lop-sided loss in Los Angeles last September.

They are also focusing on the players OSU is losing and aren't looking at the players who are here and ready to start, including a several key guys from the last two highly-regarded recruiting classes, and that's where I come in!

To help educate those doom-and-gloom prognosticators who make those type of general statements about the Buckeyes 2009 season outlook, I've decided to create a 10-part series to spotlight 10 players who will make a name for themselves nationally and step in for Ohio State and sufficiently fill the holes left by the likes of Beanie Wells, James Laurinaitus, Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Freeman, Alex Boone, Brian Robiskie, etc.

Obviously, no Buckeye fan, player, or coach will deny that losing Beanie Wells is beyond huge—but remember, Terrelle Pryor is an amazing dual-threat quarterback who will carry the load more often in 2009 if needed, but he's not the only potential game-breaking playmaker that will see action for the Buckeyes!

No. 8—Justin Boren
OL (6'4, 315)

It's likely that not many fans outside of Ohio and Michigan know a lot about Justin Boren.

He is from Pickerington, Ohio, near Columbus, where he was a four-year varsity starter and letter winner, a two-time All-Ohio selection in 2005 and 2006, a Parade Magazine All-American, and a participant in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in 2006.

He was rated the No. 1 center prospect in the nation by, a five-star and top 25 recruit by, and was considered the fourth-best overall player in Ohio. He was also listed in both the Rivals and ESPN Top 100.

He is probably one of the most hated players that will ever wear the Scarlet and Gray, and I suppose with good reason.

If you are unfamiliar with the story, the long and short of it is, after H.S., Boren signed to play football at the University of Michigan. He was a starting O-lineman for the Wolverines in 2006 and 2007, earning varsity letters both years.

Soon after Rich Rodriguez was hired in 2008 to replace the "retiring" Lloyd Carr, Boren decided he did not want to play for Rodriguez, and so he chose to transfer, to of all places, Ohio State. You can see why this doesn't sit well with UM fans.

His brother Zach, a LB, is a member of OSU's 2009 recruiting class. I'm not sure if Zach came to OSU because of Justin, or if Justin came to OSU because of Zach, but I'm happy to have them both!

After sitting out the '08 season per NCAA rules, Boren is poised and ready to anchor a young, but very highly touted offensive line for the Buckeyes in 2009!

Alongside Jim Cordle, Michael Brewster, Bryant Browning, Mike Adams and possibly J.B. Shugarts who returns from injury, Boren should be the leader of this Ohio State line—A line that could end up being one of the best in the nation!

The last couple of seasons, the Buckeye O-line has greatly underperformed, so it's exciting to have Boren here.

His attitude and nastiness are a welcome change and he should be able to teach, mold, and lead the other talented, but young, aforementioned linemen who will line up beside him this season in Columbus!

As always, thanks for reading—Please post your thoughts!

Part IV: Coming soon!

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Friday, June 5, 2009

How Does Jim Tressel Compare to Other Top Coaches?

by Tim Bielik
BlockONation Analyst

Any fan of college football cannot deny that Jim Tressel has returned Ohio State football to the powerhouse program status that has not been there since the Woody Hayes era.

He brought the Buckeyes their first national title since the Hayes era.

He made Ohio State the most dominant team in the Big Ten consistently during his tenure.

He has brought excitement back to Columbus and even created a cult following.

He has even popularized the sweater vest, something thought to be impossible in this fashion era.

But where does he rank among the best coaches in the country? Based on his record, some will argue that he belongs in the class of Pete Carroll and Nick Saban among others.

Others feel that the talent he has recruited has made him look better than he is.

But some factors contribute to making him one of the most talented and respected coaches.

One thing he does very well is managing egos. Except for Maurice Clarett, not many people get into off-field altercations in Columbus.

Tressel is well-recognized as a class act and often takes players to help give back to the community that supports the football program so much.

And in the state of Ohio, where football is most important, that means a lot to the fans.

Another thing he does well is recruit. Being the best football team in a state with an abundance of talented high school teams means that Tressel usually gets his first choice of in-state recruits.

Lately, he has made his strongest pushes out of state, challenging for big recruits from other states including Pennsylvania and Florida.

As a result, Tressel has pieced together such a talented group of young players that the Buckeyes reload constantly. This year could very well prove to be no exception.

Something else he has been able to do is adjust his style to his personnel, rather than the other way around.

A perfect example is differentiating 2006 with 2007.

In 2006, The Vest had Troy Smith at the helm, along with a slew of talented receivers including Ted Ginn Jr. That year, they had one of the more prolific offenses in the country for 12 of their 13 games of the season (obviously excluding Florida).

2007 was much different. Todd Boeckman took control of the huddle, and OSU had super sophomore RB Chris Wells ready to light up the Big Ten—and he did.

That year, OSU went back to their running roots, although they did air out deep bombs with some consistency.

Even defensively, he has made adjustments within the season. The beginning of 2008 saw a very passive defensive unit which did very little blitzing.

Midway through, the switch flipped and the defense changed personalities, become way more aggressive with the improved play of the defensive line.

Obviously, Tressel has not performed all that well in games against BCS teams in recent years. However, one can argue that Ohio State did not have the personnel to compete with those better teams.

Other coaches have cemented their reputations on winning countless titles and having dynasties.

Tressel has lost his last three BCS games. The only other coach that has lost more in a row among the recognized elites is Bob Stoops.

Meanwhile, for example, Pete Carroll has lost only one BCS game, and Urban Meyer remains undefeated in BCS games during his total coaching career at Utah and Florida.

But still, no one can deny that since Tressel has come to Columbus, Ohio State has been one of the best teams in the country in the past decade.

In the mind of this observer, coach Tressel clearly belongs in this elite tier of coaches in college football, right up there with the Pete Carroll's and Mack Brown's and Nick Saban's of the world.

His recent run in big games has hurt his reputation slightly, but he still among the best because of his image and how he has consistently turned out stellar teams.

One thing is for sure—He has already cemented his legacy in Ohio State football lore and might one day have a street named after him just like Woody Hayes.

Who knows, maybe there already is one...

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Five Top 10 Teams—Five Strongest 2009 OOC Schedules

by HD Handshoe

This is the follow-up to my "vastly popular" Five Top Teams—Five Pathetic OOC Schedules.

Now the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak.

These teams I have selected here, once again must be a projected top ten to fifteen team heading into the 2009 season.

There were some other teams close but that just did not quite make it.

You can't do a worst-of, without a best-of can you?

Of course not!

No. 5: Oklahoma Sooners

9/5/09—vs. BYU
9/12/09—vs. Idaho State
9/19/09—vs. Tulsa
10/3/09—@ Miami-Fla

BYU, Tulsa, and Miami are all better than average teams, so despite Idaho State, OU ranks No. 5.

I'm not sure that OU will score as much as they did last season and Miami is the x-factor.

If Shannon has them prepared, they certainly have enough talent to possibly pull an upset at home.

No. 4: Oklahoma State Cowboys

9/5/09—vs. Georgia
9/12/09—vs. Houston
9/19/09—vs. Rice
9/26/09—vs. Grambling State

The Cowboys check in at No. 4 on the top five.

Obviously, Grambling State is no match for OK State, but even in a retooling year, Georgia could surprise the Cowboys and make it close, but I do expect them to win their home opener.

Houston and Rice from Conference USA, are teams that may not impress the casual fan but they are teams that both can score a lot of points so the Cowboys can't overlook them!

I still expect OK State to win both of these games by two touchdowns or more.

No. 3: Ohio State Buckeyes

9/5/09—vs. vs. Navy
9/12/09—vs. USC
9/19/09—@ Toledo (in Cleveland)
10/31/09—vs. New Mexico State

Navy is no Youngstown State and will provide an opening day test for the young Buckeyes.

The Midshipmen have led college football in rushing the past two seasons and could give the inexperienced Buckeye defense trouble early.

I really don't have to say anything about USC other than they will be reloaded as usual and the Buckeyes will need to pressure and force new USC starter Aaron Corp into mistakes, as well as have an A+ effort on offense to come away with a win.

Toledo is a borderline cupcake that should be improved from last year, when they did become the first MAC school to ever beat Michigan in of all places, Michigan Stadium. Don't look for a Rocket victory at Cleveland Browns Stadium though!

New Mexico State is a true cupcake, but overall this schedule still earns OSU the No. 3 slot.

No. 2: Oregon Ducks

9/3/09—@ Boise State
9/12/09—vs. Purdue
9/19/09—vs. Utah

Because of the round robin, the Pac-10 teams only play three OOC games, but not one of these three that Oregon scheduled are cakewalks.

Purdue, from the Big Ten, and the only BCS team of the three, looks to replace QB Curtis Painter and RB Kory Sheets, but could still win as many as 7-9 games and could keep it close.

Boise State and Utah are the Kings of BCS busting and a year ago, Boise went 12-0 during the regular season, including a win over the Ducks in Eugene, and all Utah did was go 13-0 and finish No. 2 in the final AP poll.

Even with only three OOC games, Oregon is easily in this top five at No. 2.

No. 1: Virginia Tech

9/5/09—vs. Alabama
9/12/09—vs. Marshall
9/19/09—vs. Nebraska
10/31/09—vs. East Carolina

Va Tech's 2009 OOC schedule brings to mind thoughts of hidden landmines, just waiting to blow up in your face!

There are no cupcake, warm-up games to ease into the season this year for the Hokies.

Right off the bat, they kick off in Atlanta vs. the Crimson Tide. Alabama is a top 10-15 team that could derail the Hokies season before it ever gets started.

Marshall should pose little threat but they aren't from the FCS either!

Nebraska, another team that should appear in the top 20-25 could also be the downfall for the Hokies. I would lean towards saying I doubt it though.

Skip Holtz can coach and his East Carolina Pirates are no cupcake! Va Tech lost at home to ECU last year and will have to travel to Greenville for this one! The Hokies better watch out once again!

Every season, Va Tech seems to always get national recognition in the polls early in the year, but then falter somewhere along the way and fade from our collective memories.

With this schedule it could happen once again, but I absolutely applaud them for their 2009 OOC schedule and award them the No. 1 spot on this list!

I really wish all the top teams in the nation would schedule this way, but I won't hold my breath, well, because I like breathing and being alive!

Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section!

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Five Top 10 Teams— Five Pathetic OOC Schedules

by HD Handshoe

This isn't just a Buckeye site.

We follow the college football scene across the board and when something catches our eye and we believe it's worthy of bringing it to you, that is what we do!

After researching the 2009 out of conference schedules of several of the top teams in college football, I have compiled a list of what I believe to be the top five weakest, most pathetic OOC schedules for 2009.

The teams I have selected are all teams that will be in, or very near the top ten of the AP poll to open the 2009 season.

I think I speak for many, if not most, college football fans when I say teams need to start "manning up" and stop playing I-AA or DII teams and start playing other top teams on the road, during the season!

Follow the example set by Ohio State and USC last year and this year. Hopefully, they do it again soon because the big time games during the season are amazing!

They can be high-risk in terms of a BCS title run, but with high risk comes high reward for the team that wins!

Now, on with the show!

No. 5: Texas Longhorns

Texas has a great coach in Mack Brown and a Heisman contender at QB in Colt McCoy. They also have loads of talent on defense so they could probably beat just about any team in the top 25, but scheduled these OOC games instead:

9/5/09—vs. University of Louisiana Monroe

9/12/09—@ Wyoming

9/26/09—vs. UTEP

11/7/09—vs. Central Florida

No. 4: Penn State Nittany Lions

It's not Lewis & Clark, it's Royster and Clark! JoePa has another talented squad one year removed from a Big Ten title and a near miss at a trip to the BCS title game.

Penn State's schedule got even weaker in 2009 so will we really know how good they are before the bowl season? Not against these OOC opponents we won't, and they're even all home games of course.

9/5/09—vs. University of Akron

9/12/09—vs. Syracuse

9/19/09—vs. Temple

10/10/09—vs. Eastern Illinois

No. 3: LSU Tigers

Charles Scott should be the best back in the SEC and the Tigers should be improved over last years team.

They don't dodge the bullets in the SEC, but they play these teams out of conference, so they're another team we may not know much about outside of the SEC until their bowl game.

9/5/09—@ Washington

9/19/09—vs. Louisiana

10/31/09—vs. Tulane

11/14/09—vs. Louisiana Tech

No. 2: Ole Miss Rebels

In their defense, Ole Miss hasn't been a top team since Eli Manning left in 2004 so the reason they have a weak OOC schedule is acceptable.

But, it still ranks at No. 2 on my list because they are very good now even if they, or nobody else saw it coming!

The OOC opponents they will be facing however; not so much!

9/5/09—@ Memphis

9/19/09—vs. Southeastern Louisiana

10/17/09—vs. University of Alabama Birmingham

11/7/09—vs. Northern Arizona

No. 1: Florida Gators

It was tough narrowing this list down to the top five.

It was not tough putting Florida at No. 1.

They have arguably one of the best coaches in the game in Urban Meyer, a two-time BCS Championship and Heisman winning quarterback in Tim Tebow, and they have all eleven defensive starters and all eleven back-ups to those starters back from last years SEC and BCS championship team.

I didn't think it was possible for their OOC games in 2009 to be even more pathetic than 2008, when they played a down and rebuilding Miami Hurricanes team along with home games vs. Hawaii and The Citadel.

Then, I looked at 2009 and realized I may have thought too soon:

9/5/09—vs. Charleston Southern

9/12/09—vs. Troy

11/21/09—vs. Florida International

11/28/09—vs. Florida State

All four of these games are home games and even though it's a traditional rivalry game, Florida State is not what they once were.

I wanted to address that in case anyone tried to defend UF's OOC games by saying FSU is a good team.

No, they are not!

Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ohio State--USC: Apples to Apples, Who Has the Advantage?

by HD Handshoe

Let me say this right up front.

I'm a Buckeye fan but I have done my damnedest to provide my absolute objective view on the game, all bias aside.

I've researched both teams and have previously written a couple of articles about them and this game so I feel pretty confident in what I'm about to post.

OSU backfield vs. USC backfield

Pryor is in year 2 and has vastly improved his passing skills. Boom and Zoom will be just fine taking over for the departed Beanie Wells. Aaron Corp will make his 2nd career start in front of 105,000 fans and against one of the nation's best season to season defenses...

You can bet that OSU loads the box to stop the USC trio of backs and challenges Corp to beat them....I'm not sure he's ready to step up to that just yet....

Advantage - Ohio State (slightly)

OSU WR's vs. USC WR's

Both teams have fast WR's. Individually, Williams is the biggest name on both teams but as far as depth, OSU has just as much, albeit young.

Advantage - USC (slightyly)

OSU O-line vs. USC O-line

The Bucks O-line will be much better than last years group (especially now that dead-weight overrated Alex Boone is gone), but USC's guys have all played together for a full season so and are probably the best unit in the nation.

Advantage - USC

OSU D-line, LB's and DB's vs. USC's D-line, LB's and DB's

OSU is stronger on the front line, OSU & USC are pretty even at LB and USC gets the nod in the defensive backfield, primarily because of Taylor Mays!

Advantage - Push

OSU Special Teams vs. USC Special Teams

The Buckeyes have a solid kicker in Aaron Pettrey and they get a lot of practice kicking FG's. He has a powerful leg too and can kick from distance.

In the return game, I think both teams will have speed guys and are pretty even so only b/c of the kicker....

Advantage - OSU (slightly)

Tressell vs. Carroll

These are the top 2 winningest coaches in College Football since 2001 but Pete has more big wins and an AP title to go along with his BCS title and Tressel has more to prove, hopefully starting with this game...

Advantage - USC

X-Factor: The Shoe at Night

Just like last year in L.A., the Buckeyes defend their home turf just as well.

In the last 47 home games vs. OOC opponents, the Buckeyes are 46-1

Advantage - OSU

Overall, it looks pretty even to me. OSU has the talent to compete vs. USC and they have the home field this time.

USC is extremely talented and they always reload and always shows up in bigtime national stage games.

Something has to give, but it's really too close to call IMO...

I hope for and expect a battle and for this one to live up to the "Game of the Century" hype!

6-03-09 EDIT/UPDATE:

I received an email from what I gauge to be a USC fan, although he does say he is from Ohio.

What he had to say about this years game is, I'm sure, similar to what most of the nation probably believes as well.

The perception is that USC, even with their in-conference failures the last several seasons vs. teams that most fans and analysts believed have no business beating them like Oregon, Oregon State and Standford twice, is still going to come to Columbus and crush the Buckeyes.

Here's the email:

Read your post on USC-Ohio St. matchup. Nice analysis. I grew up in Ohio, so I may be biased as well, but here goes.

Having attended the last year’s game in L.A. I have to tell you: USC is going to wipe the floor with Ohio St. this next September. The kids at USC live to wreck other people’s days in their house. I’ve seen this in Nebraska, Fayetteville Arkansas, Auburn Alabama, Provo Utah, Champaign, Illinois, South Bend Indiana…the list goes on an on. Check it out 36-6 on the road their last 42. Indeed, USC hasn’t lost a non-conference road game since 2002.

The scouting reports from people I trust advise me that USC’s defense is even faster than last year’s version. Believe it. The Trojan D-line is actually upgraded and its linebackers are all blue chippers who saw extensive playing time last year. Time to reload.

My prediction: USC wins by two touchdowns – minimum.

USC has much more depth at wide receiver than for which you give them credit. The Trojans lost one senior – Patrick Turner – who, from a talent perspective, should have been 4th on the depth chart last year. The truth is he was always a great “practice” player, but underperformed in the game. His dropped balls ended many a Trojan drive the last few years. The word was that he got much of his playing time by virtue of his senior status and hard work in practice. The WR who was 4th on the chart – Vidal Hazelton – transferred out because the kids below him were even better than he was. In short, USC will field 6 receivers that could all start at 119 other programs.

USC’s problem isn’t a lack of depth – it’s managing all the talent and spreading the ball around.

USC quarterback Aaron Corp will likely have all day to do so: all 18 USC offensive linemen return from last year. Moreover, Corp is in his 3rd year of the system (same as Matt Leinert when he won the Heisman) and is fresh off of having beat out the #1 ranked QBs from the high school classes of 2005 and 2008 (Mustain and Barkley). Did you know that there are 5 USC quarterbacks collecting paychecks in the NFL right now? They may not be All-Pros, but it shows you the type of kids that go to USC. The Buckeyes would be making a big mistake if they’re counting on Aaron Corp to be intimidated by a road game.

I was at last year’s game. 35-3 with 3:00 minutes left – in the 3rd quarter. I’ve been watching Ohio St. football for a fair number of years. I recall only one beating that was worse – by Penn St. a good while back. In all honesty, USC took its offensive foot off of Ohio St. ’s throat at the end of the 3rd quarter or else the Trojans would have scored 50 had they been so inclined.

The only difference this year is a new quarterback. Whether it’s Corp. or Mustain or Barkley; Ohio St. didn’t show me anything to suggest that one of them won’t be able to get the job done – not with every running back, every linemen and 6-8 returning WR’s back.

Personally, I’d like to see the Buckeyes make a game of it, but I don’t see it happening friend.

First of all, I am being objective and unbiased in this article so I'm not sure why he starts with "I may be biased as well but here goes."

Anyway, moving on....Is he right?

Is USC going to wax the field with us?

I'm fairly confident he is way off but I get why he believes what he is saying.

The absurd national perception of Ohio State is they are a punching bag from the weak Big 10 that NEVER wins big games.

Ohio State has lost some big games vs. some great teams but over the past few seasons, they've also won a few too.

Michigan State in 2008, Penn State in 2007 and both Texas and Michigan in 2006 were all National stage games where OSU was predicted to lose by some of the so-called experts—Mark May, Trev Alberts, Pat Forde among others, and Ohio State won them all!

Of course, afterwards, those same "experts" then declared MSU, PSU, Texas & UM were all overrated. How else could they explain away the fact that they were wrong?

It couldn't be because Ohio State was good, but rather the other teams weren't.

Everyone likes to blast us for beating lesser OOC opponents and the "supposed weak" teams of the Big Ten b/c we have then went on to lose to some of the nation's top teams.

The Bucks last 8 losses (since 2005) have all come against top 20 teams.

Seven of those 8 were in the top 10 and 6 of those 7 were in the top 4.

Also of those 8 teams, 3 went on to win the BCS title the year the beat tOSU....

So the perception of OSU is skewed as you can see.

That's fine though.

I'm sure USC thought they could travel to Corvalis last year and thump the Beavers.

I'm sure they expect to travel to Columbus and thump the Buckeyes this year.

If Sanchez couldn't beat Oregon State in front of a whopping 45K last year, how in the world do these people seriously believe that it's a given, that Aaron Corp, in his 2nd career start, can come to OUR HOUSE, Ohio Stadium, aka the Shoe, in front of 105,000+ and beat the Buckeyes?

USC is a great team and of course they could and maay win the game but it's not a lock, it's not a given and it WILL NOT be a blowout if USC does win.

Just because last year in LA, without Beanie and sadly for us, with Boeckman instead of Pryor, it was a beatdown doesn't mean this year will be as well.

Again, USC may win, but they'll have to earn it and it won't be easy like so many seem to think.

Fight on in your dream world, I guess..........

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A Look at the Buckeyes Receiving Corp for the 2009 Season

by Jeremy Jeffries
BlockONation Contributor

You are not going to hear names like Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline, Teddy Ginn or Anthony Gonzalez.

For the first time in quite a few years the Ohio State Buckeyes will be starting the season without a proven star at wide receiver.

The Buckeyes have always had great receivers names like Carter, Glenn, Galloway, Boston, Jenkins, Germany, Gamble, Holmes, and the before mentioned Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez.

The 2009 Ohio State Buckeye receivers have not yet made a name for themselves. But, you can bet that at least one of them will be added to that list of great Buckeye receivers. Let's focus on the four players I think will see the most action.

The group will be led by senior Ray Small. Ray really hasn't had a chance to show what he is made of yet, He played behind a talented group of players in his first three seasons.

Ray caught 8 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown his freshman season. He did slightly better in his sophomore season catching 20 passes for 267 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the midst of controversy regarding Small and coach Tressell in 2008, he was suspended and had a horrible season. He finished the year with only 18 receptions for 149 yards.

Sophomore DeVier Posey will battle Small for the number one receiver honors. Posey is a big, fast receiver from Cincinnati, Ohio. Posey caught 82 passes for 1,518 yards and 16 touchdowns for LaSalle High School in Cincinnati.

With the Buckeyes in 2008, Posey caught 11 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. He and quarterback Terrelle Pryor showed great chemistry at times.

Dane Sanzenbacher was ranked as the 13th best prospect overall in the state of Ohio coming out of high school. Dane was an outstanding high school football player. He caught 65 passes and 16 touchdowns as a junior and was named first team all-state and as a senior, Dane had 61 receptions for 1,079 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Dane was the ultimate big game player in high school. In seven career playoff games, he had 40 receptions for 842 yards and nine touchdowns. He also collected 40 solo tackles and eight interceptions. he helped Toledo Central Catholic win the 2005 State Championship with two touchdown receptions.

In his freshman season with the Buckeyes, Dane had 12 receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. Dane's TD came on his very first reception as a Buckeye. In his sophomore season, he caught 21 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown.

Junior Taurian Washington from St. Mary's High School in Orchard Lake, Michigan. This 6-2, 179 pound receiver was the No. 8 overall recruit in Michigan and the 23rd best receiver nationally.

Taurian caught 40 passes for 893 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior at St. Mary's High School. In his injury shortened senior season, he caught 30 passes for 500 yards and eight touchdowns.

As a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Taurian saw some action in 2007 catching 3 passes for 46 yards and one touchdown. In 2008, Washington seemed to disappear, catching not a single pass.

Taurian couldn't have started his junior season off with the Buckeyes any better.

In the Buckeyes spring game in front of a record crowd of 95,000+ this season, he showed why he was the eighth ranked player in the state of Michigan coming out of high school.

His routes were crisp and he displayed above average speed en route to four catches for 92 yards, one for a touchdown, in just a matter of five minutes.

Whether it is one of the four talented receiver's mentioned in this article or one of the other receivers on the Buckeye roster, perhaps: James Jackson, Jake Stoneburner, Lamaar Thomas or Duron Carte—One (or more) of these guy's will indeed be the next great receiver(s) in a long line of great receivers to hone their craft at "The" Ohio State University.

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BlockONation's Expanding Web Presence


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:

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 8+ years. You all know who you are!

It is our mission here at 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

Thanks for visiting BlockONation
Copyright © 2004-2012 All rights reserved. Site powered by Blogger. Site design and layout by HD Handshoe. This web site is not affiliated with or endorsed by The Ohio State University. Logos, helmet and uniform designs are registered trademarks of the teams indicated. Some photos on this site courtesy of the Associated Press, and Getty Images under the Fair Use Doctrine (Sections 107-118) of the 1976 Copyright Act.