Thursday, July 30, 2009

Could 2009 Be The Beginning of The End For Coach Jim Tressel?

by HD Handshoe

I consider myself to be a true, die-hard, never fairweather fan of the all sports teams I follow, especially the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Some may, and many have, even accused me of blatant, non-objective homerism!

I will admit I am kind of a homer, but I do not subscribe to the idea that being a homer means I cannot be objective as well.

And since when is being a homer fan of the team you root for a bad thing?

It doesn't mean I don't see things that I don't like or that I live in a Utopia as far as my teams go.

When there are issues, I acknowledge them and want them addressed just as much as the so-called "objective" fan, or fairweather bandwagon jumpers as I like to refer to them.

For example, I have often been critical of Ohio State's coordinators, especially Jim Bollman and their play-calling, which falls solely on the head of Jim Tressel.

It has become a common practice across the college football landscape for schools looking for head coaches to hire coordinators from successful programs like USC, Florida, etc.

Ohio State has been one of the most successful teams of this decade, yet nobody to my knowledge has inquired about hiring Jim Bollman or Jim Heacock.

There's obviously reasons no other teams have hired them away from Ohio State. I'll leave it at that.

I wholeheartedly believe that Tressel should have replaced Bollman this past off-season, and while he was at it, replaced himself as the de facto offensive coordinator with Bollman's replacement.

But alas, none of this happened, so I'll file away my off-season Buckeye wish-list until next January.

While this does worry me that we, as fans, are going to see more of the same old, tired, predictable, and uninspired play-calling of recent years, I'm not a booster, the AD, or E. Gordon Gee. I'm not in a position to implement the changes that seem warranted, so therefore, I digress.

Most sensible OSU fans will take a similar wait-and-see approach before passing judgment on our 2009 team.

But some "fans", still with 38 days to go before the start of the 2009 season, already have the Buckeyes losing three to five games, including blowout losses to USC and Penn State, and are predicting, if not outright calling for, Tressel's head on a stick.

Here is just some of the negativity our own (fairweather bandwagon) "fans" are spewing about our program, players, coaches, etc. over at my least favorite OSU site, Bucknuts.

"Since Michigan in 2006, we haven't won a big game on the national level. Some of those losses were embarrassing blowouts with the Texas game close but still a loss.

All those games were played on fields a long way from Columbus. This game will be at home and if we stink up the place, especially on offence (Tress and Bollman's department), then it will start to shake confidence in the locals about Tress's ability to match wits with the top programs."

"Beating Michigan, which is basically a MAC level team means little in 2009. Tressel is safe of course—he is a great person, good for any program but only an average game day coach.

The fact that he is 0-6 vs. the last six BCS bowl teams cannot be ignored. Objective OSU fans know something is wrong and Tressel needs better assistants and massive help in play calling. Losing to USC will not help but can be expected as Carroll and USC's talent is still better the OSU's."

"I think if we lose the USC game and our bowl game JT has one more year to get his **** together. It happens. Fulmer and Carr both won a national title early in their careers at their schools and they both became average coaches.

It's sad to say but I think the game has already started to pass JT by. How long can he live off one NC title while getting his ass handed to him year after year by the SEC and other top programs? His offensive play calling is a joke and he shows no signs of changing his mind.

I watched the Michigan game from last year over the weekend. I have never seen a team win 42-7 and look like ****. But we pulled it off nicely. The play calling in that game was awful. Tressel got lucky that Wells broke a long run or two.

Calling the same running play 5 times in 2 quarters and hoping your back finds a hole isn't coaching."

"You're right. I am very happy to win the JV conference that is the Big Ten and get our asses handed to us EVERY time we step out of conference and play a real school.

If you want to go through life with blinders on than so be it. I for one think it's alright to question the bible by Jim Tressel. I am tired of a school that makes as much money as we do, recruits the type of players that we do, and sells out EVERY home game like we do being the laughing stock of college football.

For you blind ass homers let me spell it out for you.............

Winning the Big Ten and beating Michigan doesn't mean a damn thing. It's not good enough. I would rather beat USC and lose to Penn St and not win the Big Ten. At least that way we can show we can play with the big boys.

And I hope you're right about TP changing the way Tressel calls plays. Anything would be better than the sissy playing calling we've seen since Troy left. And you can't blame it on having a bad QB. Who's fault is that? Perhaps the head coaches for not bringing in a better QB?"

There are plenty more like these but I think you get the picture.

Some of these comments are worse than others and some hold more validity than others, but here's the blunt truth as far as I am concerned:

Some of you seriously need to get a clue or get a new team if you're so unhappy with Tressel and company consistently thumping Michigan, winning at least ten games per year and winning the Big Ten title nearly every year!

There are about 115 DI FBS football programs that would love to have the "problems" Ohio State football has had since 2006.

Of course, this is just one man's opinion and I could be wrong...

Or not.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Terrelle Pryor Is Officially an "Alpha-Athlete" and Other Buckeye Bits

by Tim Bielik
BlockONation Analyst

Shaun King of ESPN's College Football Live was quoted as saying that QB Terrelle Pryor was an "alpha-athlete," and a recent piece of news might have just confirmed it.

Strength and conditioning coach Eric Lichter deemed Pryor as the fastest Buckeye with a reported 40-yard dash time of 4.33. That is not a misprint.

It's not too typical that your quarterback is faster than the defensive backs and wide receivers on your team. Then again, Pryor is not your typical dual-threat at 6'6'' and 240 pounds.

This is not to say that it means too much because the 40 time is just a stat and not necessarily indicative of "football speed," or how fast the player plays.

The one thing that will matter in Columbus is how Pryor can throw the football.

Early reports out of Columbus are that Pryor has worked hard on his throwing motion and footwork in order to try to put more zip on his throws.

Pryor can throw a decent long ball, but most of his throws seemed to sail and be soft. Then again, with the majority of plays going to Beanie Wells on the ground, the scheme didn't really give him much opportunity for repetition throwing in game situations.

With Wells gone, the offense is squarely on No. 2's shoulders. Thus, developing a better passing technique is critical to his development.

Regardless of his speed, it won't mean much if he doesn't have the throwing ability to keep defenses honest.

The player most experts compare Pryor to, former Texas superstar Vince Young, took time to develop as a passer before he became deadly.

Doing it in practice is one thing. Pryor has to prove himself in games in which he is, in his words, "a QB that can run" rather than a running QB.

Other Buckeye news

  • The three early favorites for starting linebacker spots seem to be Brian Rolle, Austin Spitler, and Ross Homan. Former teammates have raved at Spitler's ability, but that his status on the depth chart limited his opportunities.

    Meanwhile, fans have raved about Rolle's speed and his big-hitting ability and how he can be an assassin defensively for the Buckeyes in whatever role he has. Homan's experience as a starter may have him penciled in to the third spot for now.

  • WR Ray Small has the ability to be a star, but has to work on putting the mental and physical parts of the game together.

    He said that his problems are in the past and he is ready to go full gear in 2009. If he can, expect him to line up opposite DeVier Posey on the starting offense at wide receiver.

    He probably will remain the punt returner, where he excelled last season with several great returns, including an 81-yarder against Michigan.

  • Recent reports confirmed that troubled freshman RB Jaamal Berry is eligible to play in 2009. With the ineligibility of Carlos Hyde, Berry's assured status on the team ensures that the Buckeyes can be three-deep at RB.

  • Fall practice begins Aug. 10, and updates on what to expect from the Buckeyes came from the Big Ten Media Day this past Monday and Tuesday.

    Ohio State's player reps at the Media Days were seniors Jake Ballard, Kurt Coleman, and Doug Worthington. These players are expected to be favorites when it comes to deciding the team's captains for 2009.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ohio State Season Preview: BlockONation Blog Entry No. 1 for

by HD Handshoe

With only a mere 39 days left until the start of the 2009 college football season, the excitement is building across the state of Ohio and around the nation.

With the loss of Chris Wells, Brian Hartline, Brian Robiskie, James Laurinaitis, Marcus Freeman and Malcolm Jenkins, the Buckeyes have some big shoes to fill on both sides of the football.

The only team right now that possibly reloads better than Ohio State is USC and that is up for debate as the start of the 2009 season nears.

We'll certainly have many of our early-season questions answered in 46 days when USC travels to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes in prime time at the Shoe.

From all indications this spring, questions about the passing ability of Terrelle Pryor may have been answered.

In front of a record-breaking crowd of 95,722 Scarlet and Gray clad fans, Pryor fired impressive touchdown passes to Taurian Washington and Ray Small within seconds of each other.

His accuracy and mechanics, which have been his most glaring weaknesses as a passer, seemed finely-tuned that day.

That being said, it was the Spring game, verses his own teammates, in a gloried scrimmage.

Success may not come so easily when it counts against the likes of USC, Iowa, Illinois or Penn State among others.

Boom Herron, Brandon Saine, and Ohio State's top recruit from the 2009 class, Jaamal Berry should be able to satisfactorily compensate for the loss of Wells at running back.

Other than senior Ray Small, the inexperienced wide receiving corp is young and raw, but also fast and talented!

DeVier Posey, Lamaar Thomas, and Taurian Washington along with Small will most likely be the top targets for Pryor this season, but a couple other names you might possibly hear are those of 2009 recruits James Jackson, Duron Carter and Corey Brown.

The defense will be better than one might think after losing Laurinaitis, Jenkins and Freeman. Ohio State always has a deep crop of linebackers ready to step in to a starting role.

Etienne Sabino and Austin Spitler are the names to remember at linebacker and returning starter, senior Kurt Coleman will anchor the defensive backfield along with Chimdi Checkwa and Anderson Russell. 2009 recruit Jamie Wood could also see some playing time as well.

Ultimately, the off-season improvements made on the offensive line (or lack thereof) and in the passing game by Terrelle Pryor and his ability to remain healthy in 2009 will determine the fate of this years squad.

The 2008 senior-laden Ohio State team fell far short of expectations after being considered a preseason legitimate BCS title contender.

The 2009 Buckeyes may conversely overachieve and find themselves, to the surprise of skeptical football fans nationwide, and even a bit to their own surprise, right in the thick of a 2009 BCS Championship hunt.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Big Ten Media Day: PSU Fans on BSD Up In Arms AGAIN Over Writer's Selections

Ohio State has been picked to win the Big Ten by the writers, who also selected Terrelle Pryor as the preseason offensive player of the year.

Penn State was picked to finish second and PSU fans on BSD are once again fuming about that, and the fact that their vastly overrated quarterback Darryl Clark was not chosen as the preseason POY.

Sorry PSU fans but if Clark was that great, he would have been recruited heavily by Ohio State since he's from Ohio and I'm sure he wanted to play for Ohio State since he's from here and since Ohio State is the class of the Big Ten.

The fact that he wasn't is the proof in the pudding.

Try and dispute it if you want, but facts are facts. Penn State has a good season about every four to five years and a lot of mediocrity in between.

If you want to look at overall talent compared to Ohio State, you lose again, and in a landslide.

PSU recruiting pales in comparison to what Coach Tressel and company have accomplished since 2001.

It's funny that you PSU guys have a 3-star QB from Ohio who wasn't very highly regarded and Ohio State stole away Pryor, the top 5-star QB of 2008, right from your backyard in Pennsylvania.

In the famous words of Ron Burgundy, "Stay classy COUNTRY Penn State!

Do you agree with the Ohio State and Pryor picks? Let us know!

Please add your thoughts here!

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

No. 1 Recruit Seantrel Henderson Down to Top Three Schools

Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 335) told ESPN affiliate Web site, "Florida, USC and Ohio State... its going to be one of those three. They play for championships and they put a lot of people in the NFL."

"Distance doesn't matter," he continued. "It's about where I feel best about the school, the people in the program, the guys who are going to be my teammates and the coaches. If that's at a place like USC or Florida, that's fine with me. I'm going where I feel like I'm home. I'll know if it's the right place after I do my visits."

However, Henderson added, "It's not that I've closed the door on anyone. I'm still open but I've got some things that are important to me. It's going to be a tough choice but I'm going to make the right one whatever that is."

His father, Sean Henderson, previously informed affiliate Web site that Ohio State, Florida, USC and Oklahoma would be receiving official visits from his son and that Minnesota, Florida State, Notre Dame and Michigan were still in the mix.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Miami Mitch's Apology To Ohio State Fans

So there's a guy named Mitch, who's kind of a geek and not a very good writer I might add, yet somehow is a senior writer on the Bleacher Report's College Football section and he is obsessed with hating on Ohio State.

His recent Mitch's Apology to Ohio State Fans article is riddled with sarcasm, jealousy and venom.

It makes sense though since he is a Cryami Hurricanes fan.

He and I do not like each other but I couldn't help myself. I just had to repost this.

It is yet another priceless article in which he drags our beloved Buckeyes, and fans, through the mud with personal attacks, all for the sake of hit and comment counts.

For the record, whenever someone on a sports forum launches personal attacks, it's because they, their writing, their team, and their pointless and baseless points are inferior to those of whomever it is they are attacking.

Let me preface what you are about to read by being the bigger man here and reaching out to Mitch:

Mitch, I'm sorry your sad excuse for a double-digit favorite (aka 2002-2003 Cryami) in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl BCS title game couldn't convert for a touchdown on four tries with the ball inside the 2-yard line in the third and final overtime!

Without further ado, here is the hatred and jealousy that a great program like Ohio State inspires!

I'm sorry some of you aren't better at reading comprehension and can't differentiate between an article tagged opinion or history from one tagged with breaking news or the like.

I'm sorry you feel the need to use vulgarities, racism, bigotry, and other unacceptable behavior to dispute facts about your football team.

I'm sorry your athletic department has the most violations since 2000.

I'm sorry that no one in the Ohio State Athletic Department or Football Program has even a shred of accountability.

I'm sorry your team continues to restock itself with players who have run-ins with the law and most recently a drug addict.

I'm sorry your coaches can't figure out that there is a pretty big difference between a kid getting caught with 20 grams of marijuana and a guy who took a hit of pot at a party.

I'm sorry that you are forced to think that a reduction to a misdemeanor from a felony means it isn't illegal.

I'm sorry you think selling tickets and showing up in other cities is a more fitting criteria in determining the most deserving team than actual wins.

I'm sorry a portion of your fan base is an embarrassment to your once fine and proud institution.

I'm sorry that you are so delusional to think that winning one National Championship in 40 years is the mark of an elite program.

I'm sorry your football coach has no memory of what happened five minutes ago, if it was something negative.

I'm sorry you have been forced into a situation where winning a few football game and generating money from sports far supersedes your desire to be an elite academic institution.

I sorry you feel the need to make things up about other people.

I'm sorry you are too lazy to look up words like slander in the dictionary before using them.

So, after reading his tribute to OSU and Buckeye fans everywhere, what do you think of Mitch?

Please, add your comment(s) and let us know!

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Buckeye Banter: Tressel Quietly Assembles Yet Another Monster Recruiting Class

by Kristofer Green
BlockONation Columnist

The recruiting talk in the Big Ten has centered primarily around Joe Paterno and the impressive group of 13 verbal commitments he and his staff have assembled.

The talk then usually turns to Rich Rodriguez who also has one of the top recruiting classes in the Big Ten.

But don't forget about Jim Tressel and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The past two seasons Tressel has signed the top recruiting class in the Big Ten and those classes have ranked in the top five nationally.

This season the man with the sweater vest is quietly on his way toward signing another very talented class.

First came commitments from ESPNU 150 Watch List offensive tackle Andrew Norwell (Cincinnati) and ESPNU 150 Watch List linebacker Jamel Turner (Youngstown, Ohio).

Then in recent weeks, Tressel and Ohio State have landed oral commitments from one of the Midwest's top running backs—Roderick Smith (Ft. Wayne, Ind.), the top kicker in the state of Ohio—Drew Basil (Chillicothe), and a talented quarterback in Taylor Graham (Wheaton, Ill.).

Last week, Tressel added a commitment from ESPNU 150 Watch List defensive end Darryl Baldwin (Solon, Ohio). Penn State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Michigan, and many others were also in the mix for Baldwin.

Tressel now has nine verbal commitments, including five ESPNU 150 Watch List prospects and four of the top six prospects in the state of Ohio.

The Buckeyes are still in the mix and could still land several outstanding uncommitted prospects from the state of Ohio, including Under Armour All-American linebacker Jordan Hicks (West Chester) and ESPNU 150 Watch List offensive lineman Matt James (Cincinnati).

The Buckeyes are also locked in on the nation's top prospect—offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, Minn.) as well as a number of other top uncommitted prospects from outside the state of Ohio.

Tressel is assembling another outstanding class for Ohio State—one that could potentially be another top 10 class nationally.

7/29/09 UPDATE:

Florida WR James Louis has decommited from the University of Florida and has made a verbal commitment to play for Ohio State.

Louis (5-11, 178) is the No. 31-ranked receiver in the country according to and is the 12th-ranked player in the Orlando Sentinel's Florida Top 100.

This brings Ohio State's 2010 commit list to ten players thus far.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Huge News to Share With Ohio State Football Fans

by HD Handshoe

I have been selected to blog as an Ohio State football blogger by for the 2009 season!

If you're a true college football fan, then you know who Phil Steele is and you realize this almost makes me kind of a big deal!

In addition to the articles that myself and my contributors post here at BlockONation and on, I, HD Handshoe will be blogging about the 2009 Buckeyes over on

This is an amazing opportunity and a chance to gain even more exposure for this blog, as well as for myself, Kristofer, Tim, Michael, Jeremy and Kyle!

Here's the link to the Ohio State team page blog on where my season-long articles will appear!

I'll be sure to let everyone know when my articles appear on

Thanks to every Buckeye fan that has visited this site and told others about it.

You've already helped me in making BlockONation more than I ever imagined it could be in such a short time.

Thanks for your continued support! It is greatly appreciated!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sean Swarner—Beating the Odds: Don't Ever Give Up

by HD Handshoe

This article has nothing to do with Ohio State football, and EVERYTHING to do with life!

If you have never heard of Sean Swarner or his triumphant story, you're missing out!

If you've ever felt uninspired or wanted to be inspired, you need to hear his story!

If this doesn't inspire you, NOTHING ever will...

It has certainly inspired me very much recently.

Now, without further ado, I am HONORED & PRIVILEGED to post the BRAND NEW Nike, LiveStrong commercial featuring my friend and high school classmate Sean Swarner, founder of the Cancer Climber Foundation.

Please forward a link to this to everyone you know!


Keep Climbing Sean!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Buckeye Backfield: Will Three Backs Be Better Than One?

by Kyle Strittholt
BlockONation Contributor

Last season there was one Buckeye player that was certainly a problem for opposing defenses, and his name was Chris "Beanie" Wells.

This season would be Beanie's senior season, but he decided to go to the NFL and make his millions.

Without Wells, it is easy to think that the Buckeyes won't be as effective in the running game, but that is not the case for this season.

Dan Herron had a very productive season filling in last year, rushing for 439 yards and six touchdowns.

He was really effective in the Michigan game last season, rushing eight times for 80 yards and galloping to a 49-yard touchdown in the Buckeyes 42-7 victory over their rivals.

In the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Herron had a late, go-ahead touchdown that nearly won the game for Ohio State, if not for the last-minute heroics of Colt McCoy.

It would appear as if he will be the starter this season, and although he isn't Chris Wells, he will cause some problems for opposing defenses.

Wells did not have another player besides Herron to step in and take some heat off him, but Herron now has two other players that will make the Buckeyes' backfield effective.

Not only do they have an athletic quarterback who can run in Terrelle Pryor, but they also have Brandon Saine returning from injury and the young freshman Jaamal Berry who was the Buckeyes' star recruit of the 2009 incoming class.

Brandon Saine has been plagued with minor injuries that have caused him to sit much of the last two seasons, but when he did play, he was a threat in the passing game.

His biggest strength is his catching ability out of the backfield, and he can also line up in the slot if needed. This opens up the potential for a few trick plays here and there.

In 2007, he rushed for 267 yards, and like Herron last season, he was the backup to Wells during his best season in Columbus. He added 160 receiving yards in the '07 season, and he averaged 13 yards a catch.

He has not lived up to the high expectations Buckeye fans had for him as of yet, but this is the year he can show it—It's now or never!

He will not be a backup to one of the best running backs in the nation, so he should get plenty of play-making opportunities.

With the recent news about Carlos Hyde, I don't know if Jaamal Berry will redshirt this season, but it's unlikely and he would certainly be a valuable asset to the backfield.

He is a back that explodes with speed and has power to back it up. He has great vision, toughness, and power. He's essentially a smaller, faster version of Chris Wells.

Will Berry be as good as Wells was ultimately?

Maybe not, but time will tell.

Wells was a very gifted and talented back, and that kind of player is not generally so easily replaced.

The bottom line is that this year in Columbus will mainly be about Terrelle Pryor.

Teams will be focusing on Pryor and how they can hope to contain him. In a weeks time, it will prove difficult for teams to game plan for how Pryor moves in the pocket and around, and down the field.

Then there are the three running backs who all add a unique part to this offense.

I think a key to the Buckeyes' offense is to immediately take advantage of their opponents' lack of familiarity with the new Buckeye backfield.

If they make defenses fear the running backs, it opens up everything for this offense and if Pryor can replicate his Spring game performance passing the ball, watch out!

With Pryor, a preseason Heisman candidate pick by most prognosticators, and three running backs to have to prepare for, and a young, but talented crop of receivers, it will prove to be a great challenge to any and all defenses that will face the 2009 Buckeyes.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Penn State Fans Up In Arms Over Recent B.O.N. Article

by HD Handshoe

State Penn fans are getting fired up in response to the recent article here at BlockONation that was also published on the BleacherReport!

You can view all the madness and get a few good laughs (I certainly did) right here on a PSU blog known as BlackShoeDiaries.

They are fired up! I was actually emailed directly by someone from that site and that emailer suggested, in his opinion, that I wrote the article over sour grapes.

Here is the reply I sent to him:

LOL, not at all!

I have a good friend who is a PSU fan (his name is Britt Weber -- you're welcome for the shout-out Britt) so more than anything I wrote it to piss him off and to also spark some discussion for OSU & PSU fans over the dead time as the season nears!

It obviously worked! :)

In 2009, like 2008, OSU & PSU will be the top 2 teams so I figured I’d get the fans from both riled up and ready. I am here to pump you up! LOL!

Penn State and Ohio State were very similar and evenly matched last year honestly and the game came down to Pryor fumbling….it could have went either way and that night, it went PSU’s

Should be another good one this year in Happy Valley.

Good luck except for the OSU game and thanks for the publicity on BSD!

The article really was written in jest and only to spark discussion.

Could Pryor have scored the game-winning TD as I suggested in the previous article had he not fumbled?

Yes absolutely, but he didn't.

He fumbled, and OSU lost.

I for one am looking very forward to his Pennsylvania homecoming this November and I know PSU fans are as well.

It should be another battle but you know OSU will get their revenge!

Stay classy and thanks again for all the love BSD!

Becoming a Legend: What Terrelle Pryor Must Do

by Tim Bielik
BlockONation Analyst

For as much disappointment as Buckeye fans witnessed in 2008, they saw just as much promise in the nation's most hyped recruit, Terrelle Pryor. Now he returns for his sophomore season with a year's worth of experience under his belt.

With the senior class of James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins gone, the burden falls on Pryor to be a leader for this young batch of Buckeyes ready to begin a new era in Columbus.

Many feel this will be Pryor's breakout season and possibly a Heisman year for the young gun from Jeannette, PA.

Sophomores have won the Heisman in the past two years, so the trend bodes well for Pryor heading into 2009.

Though he came into Columbus raw as a passer, fans saw tremendous progression in the then-freshman week after week.

He quickly showed little fear of the spotlight, and actually little fear of anything on the field, as evidenced by his verbal tussle with USC safety Taylor Mays.

Pryor's fearless attitude serves as a new mentality for the Buckeyes, looking to inject new life into a program that has seen a failure to win big games in recent years.

He hopes to lead the charge to change perceptions and bring Jim Tressel his second FBS title in his tenure at Ohio State.

But for Pryor to succeed, he must continue to improve certain facets of his game.

Most crucial are his overall passing skills out of the pocket.

Pryor's main focus for coming to Columbus was to learn how to become a pro-style QB, and that means being a threat with the arm and legs.

He showed he could make deep throws but really lacked velocity and a fluid throwing motion last season. But over the course of this spring, he has improved the velocity and accuracy of his medium-range passes.

Critics want to know if he can make all the throws, short and long. With an offense where Pryor is surrounded with potential playmakers at receiver and RB, he just has to put the ball in places where they can make plays.

Pryor must also make sure he improves his decision making.

In some situations, he was indecisive about whether he wanted to run or pass, and that led to sacks or impossible escapes out of the pocket.

If he has a safety valve on offense such as a RB dumpoff, Pryor's life will be much easier knowing he has someone to get the ball to if protection breaks down.

No doubt he has the speed to blast through holes in the pocket and run for yardage, but he will soon learn to make safe plays and protect his body for future situations.

Going along with that is learning that sometimes the best play is just throwing the ball away and not losing yardage.

Finally, he will have to learn to manage being the team leader on and off the field.

Last season, he had the comfort of the seniors being the focal points of the team. Now the dynamic shifts, with Pryor as the face of the Buckeyes.

He might not be a captain this year, being a sophomore, but he has as much a leadership role as anyone on the team and will have to push them as hard as he can to get back to the level the Buckeyes have been at for the past several years.

Few doubt that Pryor won't work as hard as possible to be the best he can be, and possibly the best Buckeye in history, which would be an illustrious distinction.

If Pryor can lead Ohio State to an upset win over USC, there is no contention his legend will rise to new heights. If he also becomes a more complete passer, he can be one of the greatest of all time.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Ohio State vs. Penn State

by HD Handshoe

To all PSU fans that think you had the better team and that you dominated and beat Ohio State in Columbus in 2008, and those who say Ohio State was never close to winning that game.

You are truly convinced of that because you think PSU was the better team, but you are all wrong!

I'm sure you all remember when Pryor fumbled and then PSU scored what ultimately was the game winning TD, right?

Here are two things you may not know about that play.

No. 1—It was 3rd and 1 and Pryor was supposed to run up the middle or off tackle and just get the first down, but instead he saw an opening and tried to break a big one.

No. 2—You are so lucky he barely fumbled the ball PSU fans.

Here is a screenshot of the exact moment when he lost control of the ball.

Please take note of the field from where he is and then look down field all the way to the endzone.

Had he not fumbled, there is no doubt he would have scored on that play.

Seriously, thank your lucky stars that your team lucked into a win over the Buckeyes.

They will not be so fortunate this season. That's right, I'm already letting you know that Ohio State WILL win in Happy Valley this coming season.

I know some of you like to mouth off that you played better vs. USC.

Well either way, it was a thumping at the hands of Trojans and your team was completely healthy, and all your best players were on the field.

Remember, Ohio State lost to USC in Los Angeles (not Pasadena) without Beanie Wells and with Todd Boeckman at QB.

Your "We are, State Penn" chant won't save you and it is a day game.

So sorry Nits, there will be no night game whiteout either to help your clawless lions.

This year the young but mighty and talented Buckeyes are going to bring you back to reality and best of all, on your own field!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael Brewster—10 Buckeyes You Don't Know About Yet: Part V

by HD Handshoe

Welcome to Part V of this 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!

The Bucks have plenty of them on both sides of the ball!

No. 6—Michael Brewster
C/OL (6-6, 290)

Brewster, a five-star top prospect, was recruited by Ohio State and joined the incoming class of 2008 after a standout career at Edgewater High in Orlando, Florida.

He was rated as the No. 4 o-lineman in the nation and was ranked in the overall top 100 (No. 12) by all the major recruiting sites including ESPN, Rivals, Scout, PrepStar and SuperPrep.

He was the top offensive line recruit from the state of Florida in 2008.

Brewster didn't play center in H.S. but since game four of the 2008 season vs Troy, he has been the Buckeye's starting center and anchor!

When future first-round NFL pick Nick Mangold played center as an OSU freshman in 2002, it didn't happen this quickly and he had played center in high school.

Brewster enrolled at Ohio State in January for winter quarter, but was forced to sit out spring practice while recovering from right shoulder surgery necessitated by an injury suffered in his last high school game.

He participated in the 2008 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was a Parade and EA Sports All-American.

He was also tabbed All-USA by USA Today, named to the Orlando Sentinel Top 5, the Tampa Tribune Best of the South, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Super Southern 100!

He's a very good athlete, has a lot of quickness, and good size and all those things combined are what makes him so good.

The Buckeyes didn't just make a move to more athleticism at quarterback in 2008, but they've also did it other places on the field, and Brewster embodies that.

He's still not 100% polished, but he's big and fast and confident, and now he's also experienced.

Opposing defensive linemen—BEWARE!

Fans outside of Ohio may not know it yet, but the 2009 Buckeye offensive line could end up as one of the top o-lines in the entire nation and Brewster will be an important and key component of that unit.

Part III of this series focused on Justin Boren. Do not be surprised this season if Boren and Brewster are both All-Big-Ten first team selections as well as possibly named as All-Americans.

Recently, the Buckeye O-line has been considered by many fans and the national media as soft and has been accused of not being tough, mean, and nasty. Boren and Brewster are about to change that!

I don't think I'm overstating how good Mike Brewster could be two or three years from now when I say he could be the next Orlando Pace and at the very least, the next Nick Mangold.

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

Part VI: Coming soon!

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BlockONation's Expanding Web Presence


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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!

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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!

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HD Handshoe

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