georgiabuckeye: Can you talk about the current class of recruits coming to OSU and what big names are we currently trying to sign? Also do we need a big named coach Urban Meyer, I feel coach Fick is perfect, but he dosent have a big time head coaching name.
12:59:35 Rob_(moderator): Hi, Bill. Thanks for taking time during a busy week. How's the new beat been during Week 1?
13:00:55 Bill: Very busy but good. Looking forward to writing about actual football.
13:01:20 georgiabuckeye: Can you talk about the current class of recruits coming to OSU and what big names are we currently trying to sign? Also do we need a big named coach Urban Meyer, I feel coach Fick is perfect, but he dosent have a big time head coaching name.
13:02:47 Bill: Probably the biggest name still out there in Ohio is Cincinnati DE Adolphus Washington. I've got a recruiting story for this week's GameDay. Obviously, the scandal has hurt recruiting, particularly out of state. Some of the commitments are rated lower than typical ones for OSU. But it's not a bad class and there's still room to make it better.
13:03:10 woody for lori schmidt's hat: What's your favorite part of the new beat so far?
13:03:25 Bill: And while I'm sure an Urban Meyer as coach would certainly help recruiting, I think nothing breeds recruiting success like on-field success. If Fickell has that, he'll do fine as a recruiter.
13:03:44 Rob_(moderator): Sorry, Bill, I jumped the gun there.
13:03:57 Bill: My favorite part of the beat is knowing that I'm writing for a passionate fan base. People sure do love themselves the Buckeyes.
13:03:59 Rob_(moderator): What's your favorite part of the new beat so far?
13:04:05 georgiabuckeye: I am sure you have been watching Braxton play give us your honest assement?
13:05:20 Bill: We've only seen a few practices. He is very quick, has good throwing mechanics. Is still slow to recognize things in the pocket quickly, not surprising for a true freshman. His ball wobbles a bit but he has a strong arm. His accuracy is OK and will probably get better as he gets more comfortable. As a runner, he's very elusive. Pryor just ran past people. Miller will juke them.
13:05:30 woody for lori schmidt's hat: Which one of the non-conference games do you feel will be toughest? It was easy to say Miami a few weeks ago, but now I'm not so sure.
13:06:10 Bill: It's still Miami by default. Colorado is rebuilding. Toledo might -- might -- give OSU some trouble.
13:06:27 georgiabuckeye: Talk about the running backs in camp who has stood out?
13:06:37 Rob_(moderator): Need some questions, folks.
13:10:41 Rob_(moderator): You with us, Bill? Talk about the running backs in camp who has stood out?
13:10:57 Bill: Yes, I'm here. Lost the connection for a second.
13:11:35 Bill: Carlos Hyde has surprised at RB. He's big, runs hard and has deceptive speed. I'd expect him to get a lot of time Saturday behind Jordan Hall.
13:11:39 mochabreath49: A change of topic: why is Troy Smith out of work? I fail to understand this.
13:12:37 Bill: I'm not an NFL guy anymore -- thank God -- so I'm not sure. I think a lot of the same things scouts questioned before the 07 draft have proven true -- size and throwing accuracy. Also, his personality can rub people the wrong way.
13:12:43 thegreatgatzke: Why is Sabino replacing Klein on passing downs at MLB?
13:13:47 Bill: Because they want to get an additional DB on the field, primarily Tyler Moeller, and Sabino is considered faster than Klein. But with Sabino's broken hand, that might change. You kind of want to have a linebacker who can use both hands to make an interception. We'll see Saturday.
13:13:52 BuckeyeBob: What is Akron's most dangerous weapon in tomorrow's game and will our does OSU defense have the flexibility to cope?
13:15:50 Bill: I'd say Akron's top weapon is the Zips quarterback, Clayton Moore. He has pretty good talent, but has had a checkered past. He committed to Ole Miss but got into an argument with his HS coach during a game and felt he got blackballed. Went to junior college and now to Akron. I think Ohio State's defense will be plenty flexible to handle what Akron throws at it.
13:15:58 stinegolf: the Fickell doubters have forgotten that JT didn't have a big time rep when he came to the Buckeyes...and he did OK in recruiting...dont you agree?
13:16:55 Bill: Yes. It's never proven until you do it. Fickell has recruited for a long time. I can see how he'd be effective because of his passion. Right now, OSU is a tougher sell because of the uncertainty but if he gets the job full-time, I think he'll do fine.
13:17:00 OSUmav: How has the recieving coprs looked in practice...not a lot of experience there
13:18:00 Bill: The WR group made a tremendous jump from the first practices I saw to the last ones. Some of the ones who couldn't catch dropped down the depth chart. Others, like Verlon Reed, Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, rose. We'll see when the lights go on, but some of the concern should be allayed.
13:18:08 woodyhaze: each time that i saw joe come in to spell TP he was slow, and appeared shell shocked by the sheer size of the game. what do you think he has done to improve? after all, he was 24 last year. pretty mature by then, no?
13:18:46 Bill: There's a difference between being 24 and knowing you're only going to play in an emergency or blowout and knowing the job could be yours.
13:19:02 georgiabuckeye: Looking at the D-line I feel these guys Hankins and Simmons could be hell on wheels. Do you agree or not?
13:19:02 Bill: But you're right, he was hardly impressive in his limited stints.
13:19:44 Bill: You mean Simon, I'm sure. Yes, I think you're right about both of them. Throw in Nathan Williams as an edge rusher, and the makings for a good line are certainly there. Don't forget about freshman Michael Bennett. He's likely to see quite a bit of time.
13:20:13 Rob_(moderator): Via email: Will this truly be a two-QB system, or do you think one will emerge as a true starter in a few weeks?
13:20:37 Bill: It's just my personal opinion, but I think they'll settle on a starter by the start of the Big Ten season.
13:20:49 Rob_(moderator): Another via email: What's the most interesting thing about this team right now?
13:22:26 Bill: Beyond the obvious quarterback one, I think it's the receivers and how quickly the Buckeyes can mesh on defense with seven new starters. I'm also curious to see how the play-calling might change with Bollman calling the shots now. It was always open to interpretation how much of the play-calling was Tressel vs. Bollman.
13:22:34 jim: WIll Tressel be at any of the games?
13:22:50 Bill: He has not informed me.
13:23:05 millcatt: I feel like Fickell has a wishy-washy personality will that affect his ability to coach a winning team?
13:23:11 Bill: My guess is he won't because of the distraction it would cause. Maybe he'll be there in disguise.
13:23:34 Bill: I don't think anyone who's spent time around Fickell would call him wishy-washy. He's a pretty confident, straight-forward guy.
13:23:45 Casca0302: How does this years team compare to last years on both sides of the ball?
13:24:41 Bill: So much of the offense was built around Pryor, so obviously that changes. I think they'll run the ball more. On defense, I think they'll start out with more simple schemes. But I think the talent is certainly there on defense.
13:24:56 anajat1: Sure, Bauserman has been tagged as the starter in Saturday's game but are we to believe he'll take every snap? Will we get a chance to see Braxton on the field as well in game one?
13:25:34 Bill: No question that Braxton Miller plays significant time. Bauserman will get the first snap. I would think Miller would enter by the third possession.
13:25:45 thegreatgatzke: Can you describe any differences we'll see between how Klein plays MLB from how Rolle played it?
13:26:42 Bill: I can't say that much about Klein without seeing him in game action. Rolle was small for a MLB but exceptionally fast. Klein is more of a prototype MLB.
13:26:51 Dave Tax: Can you please give us a quick overview of the offensive line as you see it now?
13:28:13 Bill: One thing is for sure -- they better stay healthy. The depth behind the starters is frighteningly young. A line always starts with the center, and OSU has maybe the best one in the country in Michael Brewster. J.B. Shugarts says the foot problems that hampered him in the past have been solved. Those are two strong building blocks. They like Mewhort at guard a lot.
13:28:24 woodyhaze: trying to avoid the past, i am stoked to have a team led on the field by an athlete with integrity and humility. the past three years i have loved the wins, don't misunderstand, but i always felt a little dirty whenever the cameras were on #2 on the sidelines. have you noticed a different kind of swagger with this team or am i mostly affected by the media?
13:28:25 Bill: Again, the key is health.
13:29:53 Bill: There's no question that Pryor dominated the perception of the Buckeyes the last three years, for better or worse. This seems to be more of a "team" partly because the scandal has brought them together. As far as comparing swagger with past years, I'm new to the beat so I don't have any basis for comparison.
13:30:09 BuckeyeBob: I guess I can wait and see, but am wondering if Braxton's wobbly pass has the quick release and the speed to effectively lead the receiver or are they going to be out their fighting for position, waiting for the arrival of the ball?
13:31:33 Bill: The ball gets there pretty quickly because of his raw arm strength, particularly on short and medium throws. The deep ones I've seen have a tendency to flutter. But I don't think that's really his game at this point in his career. Again, it's tough to make definitive judgments based on maybe five practices.
13:32:11 Rob_(moderator): Via email: Has Fickell been more media-friendly than Tressel, or is it too early to tell?
13:34:18 Bill: Tressel was friendly to the media, but he was obviously guarded and seemingly scripted. Fickell is much more straight-forward. OSU has made more players available than in the past, which is greatly appreciate. Sometimes, teams think they're shielding players from the media by not allowing them to talk. What they're really doing is shielding them from their fans, keeping the fans from knowing more about the players they care about and pay to watch.
13:34:30 woodyhaze: every year there has been lip service to the likelihood that the TE's would be getting more touches. honestly, i don't see how the Bucks have been able to keep them out of the game. i think getting them more involved would be UGE! any thoughts?
13:35:19 Bill: I completely agree. I think Stoneburner and Fragel are a good tandem and I really like freshman Jeff Heuerman. You'd think with inexperienced QBs that OSU would look to throw safe passes to the tight end. We'll see.
13:35:25 firstname.lastname@example.org: What further sanctions will the Buckeyes face now that Pryor has sold us out to play in the NFL?
13:36:55 Bill: OSU doesn't think there'll be any more. Pryor certainly made mistakes, but I wouldn't say he sold out OSU. His refusal to keep cooperating with the NCAA hastened his departure. But if he had any beans to spill -- and I'm not saying he did -- not talking to the NCAA would keep it from knowing.
13:37:04 thegreatgatzke: Once Adams returns to left tackle will the young LT move over to the right side and spell Shugarts, particularly if he was effective the first 5 games?
13:37:17 Bill: I wouldn't be shocked if there was a small scholarship reduction, but I really don't see a bowl ban.
13:38:07 Bill: When Adams returns, I think Norwell will either become a backup or go where he's needed. Assuming Shugarts is healthy and productive, I don't see Norwell replacing him.
13:38:16 h: How many more days until the Bucks hire the greatest living college football coach, Urban Meyer?
13:38:27 Bill: I'm not sure, Mrs. Meyer.
13:38:50 Bill: Don't you have work to do, H?
13:38:54 woodyhaze: oh, crazy eight ball . . . i have a need to see the Bucks take the conference swiftly and with violent dominance . . . like a ninja. what are my chances?
13:40:12 Bill: OSU certainly is a leading contender. Wisconsin has some questions after losing some key players like J.T. Watt and others on defense. Nebraska has to adjust to a new league. Michigan's still in rebuilding mode. Penn State has a QB situation to resolve. So everyone has questions. OSU has more than most. They also have more talent than most.
13:40:22 OSUtodo: Will players returning from suspension need to earn their jobs back?
13:40:25 Bill: If you want me to put a number on it, I'll say 30 percent.
13:41:49 Bill: Fickell has said they have to earn their spots back. Herron might have the toughest time cracking the lineup because of the depth at his position. He'll play for sure, but how much. Posey is the best receiver on the team. Adams is the best left tackle. Solomon Thomas will immediately join the D-line rotation, but as a part-timer.
13:41:59 thegreatgatzke: Which player is obviously smaller or larger than his program listing?
13:42:53 Bill: What's Chris Carter listed at? Whatever it is, he's bigger.
13:43:05 Bill: I can't say I've memorized program heights and weights.
13:43:12 OSUmav: Knowing our defense is VERY young how have they looked so far, and not knowing Akron's offensive scheme what sould we see from defense on Sat?
13:43:32 Bill: They will play a simple scheme with an emphasis on speed and hitting.
13:43:46 BuckeyeBob: I'm part of that 10% who are always out of the know. I just realized that you have replaced the other half of the May reporting team. Just curious as to whether you can inform me of where his previous side-kick went or what he is doing now? thanks, and ... welcome aboard.
13:44:43 Bill: Ken Gordon decided that he wanted to have a more normal life. OSU football is a great beat, but it's a tremendous grind. So he has moved to our features department. He will occasionally dabble in sports, as he did today with a story on how referees prepare for the season. Ken's a good man.
13:45:18 millcatt: Did the supended players still get to practice with the team in their positions?
13:45:50 Bill: Yes, they can practice. But they will not be at the stadium on Saturday. They're practicing on the scout team.
13:46:02 woodyhaze: i love the bare knuckle attitude both coach fick and vrabel bring to the defense. is any of that rubbing off on the offense? i've always wanted the Bucks to be gentlemen, but NASTY gentlemen on both sides of the ball.
13:47:27 Bill: I think the events of the past 10 months have left a lot of nastiness waiting to be unleashed on both sides of the ball. They want someone else to take some punishment.
13:47:35 thegreatgatzke: OSU is not known as a screen team, but do you see more use of the screen pass given the new receiver coach and the ability of the RB's to catch the ball?
13:48:47 Bill: Jordan Hall is a very dangerous player catching the ball out of the backfield. I would expect they'll give him some looks that way. Whether it's on a screen pass, I can't say. I don't think they've made radical changes to the playbook with Tressel gone.
13:48:57 millcatt: u think Fickell will make a great coach? One we will remember his name years from now?
13:51:06 Bill: You'll remember his name years from now no matter what, for good or bad. OSU coaches are never forgotten. I think Fickell has a chance to be very successful. It's not as if he had to replace an entire staff. He has talented players. But with so much inexperience, particularly at QB, it'll be interesting to see how success is measured and whether OSU gives him a chance to see what he can do for a few years.
13:51:18 woodyhaze: everything i've read suggests that the offense is going to be as ho hum as it has been the past several years. has our hiring of a florida receivers coach done anything to add any pizzazz from what you've seen?
13:53:25 Bill: Stan Drayton, the new WRs coach, is a dynamic guy. He has those guys fired up. As far as jazzing up the offense, I don't think a razzle-dazzle offense with two really inexperienced QBs and the same at WR is a formula for success. Look for OSU to find a few things it can do well early and milk them for all it's worth early and then build on it. Hopefully, they can get comfortably ahead early against Akron so they can be more liberal with the playbook.
13:53:34 Ed: Any sense for Bauserman's leadership skills? Is he the type of QB that can motivate his team?
13:54:24 Bill: That's one of the big questions about him. He's not a real vocal guy. That can matter, but not as much as his performance. If he throws some touchdown passes, avoids interceptions and commands the huddle, the leadership question will go away quickly.
13:54:32 thegreatgatzke: Can we expect to see Basil kicking the ball deep into or out of the end zone, particularly against The U?
13:55:12 Bill: They'd certainly like to, after what the Canes' return units did last year. Basil has a strong leg. I'm sure that'll be Goal No. 1 on kickoffs.
13:55:24 georgiabuckeye: Talk about the cornerbacks on this team do we the speed to cover one -on-one.
13:56:22 Bill: We'll know more after Saturday, but I don't think athleticism is a concern among the cornerbacks. I think Travis Howard will step in as an impact player right away. Bradley Roby has won the job at the other corner. He's looked good.
13:56:49 thegreatgatzke: It seems that Bauserman has a bit of a sidearm delivery,, has that been a noticeable problem with deflections at the LOS in practices?
13:57:51 Bill: I noticed a few by all of the QBs. I don't recall the issue being worse with Bauserman. But yes, a sidearm delivery is not ideal, not that I think Bauserman has a pronounced one.
13:58:02 Rob_(moderator): Thanks for the questions, everyone. And thanks, Bill. Tim May will be here next Thursday at 1 p.m. That's a wrap.
13:58:25 Bill: Appreciate your time and questions, everyone.