Each Thursday at 1 p.m. during the college football season, "Dispatch" OSU football beat writers answer readers' questions about the Buckeyes, Big Ten and college football in general during an hourlong chat. Here's the transcript of today's Q&A session with Bill Rabinowitz.
Each Thursday at 1 p.m. during the college football season, Dispatch OSU football beat writers answer readers' questions about the Buckeyes, Big Ten and college football in general during an hourlong chat. Here's the transcript of today's Q&A session with Bill Rabinowitz:
13:00:27 Rob_(moderator): Hi, Bill. How was your "off" week?
13:01:08 Bill: Funny
13:01:27 Rob_(moderator): Let's get to the questions ...
13:01:28 buckeyeindayton: What's your thoughts on bye weeks? It seems we play sluggish after taking a week off.
13:02:12 Bill: That was the case with Tressel. We'll see if it continues. I think it came at a good time for OSU this year. Got some confidence after Illinois. Get to work on things, such as passing game. Watch Wisconsin suffer a heart-breaking loss.
13:02:21 ChicagoBuckeye: What is the over under on how many passes are thrown this game?
13:02:51 Bill: By OSU? I would guess 16. For Wisconsin, 24.
13:03:02 jim: According to Gene Smith, the only way to be removed from the team is if you are arrested. Am I correct in that?
13:03:32 Bill: No, you're misreading it. What he said, in reference to Jaamal Berry, is that if he is charged, he'll be suspended. He didn't say he wouldn't be suspended if not charged.
13:03:54 rockporttx_buckeye: conversely, don't you think it will take a small miracle for wisky to get up emotionally after last weeks' gut wrencher?
13:05:08 Bill: Well, it is Ohio State. Teams always get up for Ohio State, whether it's to pull an upset when the Buckeyes are great or to add to their misery in their rare off years. But for a team with national championship aspirations, to have that dream end because of a Hail Mary leaves open the question about residual effect.
13:05:40 Rob_(moderator): A question via email regarding Berry: Are you surprised he's not been kicked off the team, if only to send a message internally (and for the public) that the ship is being tightened? Isn't not doing anything sending the wrong message?
13:08:59 Rob_(moderator): Bill lost his connection but is back.
13:09:08 Bill: I was trying to send my answer. Here's the abridged version: OSU doesn't want to jump the gun with punishment. But they are monitoring the situation closely. Berry is on thin ice, I'm sure.
13:09:18 jim t: Carlos Hyde hinted on Twitter that he might leave Ohio State after getting so few carries against Illinois. Do you think that is possible?
13:10:17 Bill: Highly doubtful. He was just speaking -- or Twittering -- from frustration in the moment. Boom Herron is a senior. He'll get his chance for the starting job next year and is still important this year.
13:10:22 rockporttx_buckeye: OK so is there any way we beat wisky without notable uptick in the passing game?
13:11:22 Bill: I don't think so. They have to keep Wisconsin honest. It worked against Illinois because the Illini were a pretty weak No. 16 team. Wisconsin's a pretty darn good No. 15 team.
13:11:28 jt: With Rod Smith moving to LB, what does that now do to Curtis Grant's playing time? It seems as though he is going to be redshirted this year
13:12:49 Bill: Curtis Grant is now listed as the second-team SAM linebacker on the depth chart. That may be a function of needing more linebackers vs. Wisconsin's power running game. Grant has played some on special teams this year. Etienne Sabino said he's really picking things up now and has the potential to be a great player.
13:12:54 ChicagoBuckeye: If OSU comes out and "punches the Badgers in the mouth" at the start of the game will we get the same advantage as the Badgers did when they did that to OSU last year? And is that enough to win the game?
13:14:34 Bill: Depends on if they keep punching for four quarters. I'd have never thought in the middle of the third quarter at Nebraska that OSU would lose. But a quick start is crucial -- both to reinforce Wisconsin's MSU hangover, if that's what they have, and also to give the Buckeyes confidence. Let's face it, OSU doesn't want to have to play catch-up with its passing game.
13:14:40 jim: Are there any games left you think the bucks have a chance at winning?
13:14:58 Bill: I believe they have an outside shot at beating Indiana.
13:15:14 Rob_(moderator): lol
13:15:16 buckeyeindayton: How do the players cope with night games? As a fan, I prefer playing early and not waiting all day for the game.
13:16:06 Bill: I think on the day itself, they get very antsy. I also think that when the schedule comes out and it's a night game, they love it. They love knowing they're playing in prime time on national tv. Fickell is not a fan of night games, however.
13:16:31 Rob_(moderator): Why does Fickell not like them?
13:17:17 Bill: He gets too antsy. Doesn't like waiting around all day. Coaches don't get to hit people after the long wait, so they don't get that release of pent-up emotion.
13:17:23 denbuckeye: Bielema seems to thrive on beating us so I believe he will have his team ready. With that said, what does the Buckeyes offense have to do to stay in the game (besides more than one pass completion)?
13:19:28 Bill: Yes, OSU needs to pass effectively, but its foundation will be the run game. Boom Herron looked great against Illinois. The line will have to open holes for him again. Defensively, the young linemen can't be overpowered. Linebackers have to be in the right gaps. And when opportunities for turnovers are there, they need to capitalize.
13:19:33 terrelle: Do you think we will see Guiton on the field at any time Saturday night?
13:20:14 Bill: Unless Miller gets hurt, no. He'd actually been on some special teams lately, but I can't see OSU risking an injury to him by exposing him there.
13:20:26 nmfwabash: It seems to me that the defense is going to have win this game. The defense has has really good (Illinois, Mich Sate) and really bad(Miami and Nebraska). What OSU defense will show up in your mind? Thanks
13:21:45 Bill: It goes back to my previous answer. OSU's defense has generally played well, and considering it's playing with as many as nine new starters from last year, that's pretty impressive. But they haven't been tested the way Wisconsin will. Every team they've played so far has had a significant flaw on offense. The Badgers don't.
13:21:54 DenisonBuckeye: Give me a surprise player for the Bucks who could help us pull the upset.
13:23:01 Bill: Not sure he's a surprise, but I think Carlos Hyde could be a big factor. On defense, I keep waiting for Ryan Shazier to get significant playing time. He's a playmaker.
13:23:17 Rob_(moderator): Via text message: It's Halloween 2012, is Gene Smith still the AD at Ohio State? in your opinion, of course.
13:25:11 Bill: I have no idea what Smith is thinking. Nor do I know what school officials are thinking. I'd think if the NCAA really hammers OSU, which is possible but unlikely, Smith might be more inclined to leave and might be encouraged to by others because of public pressure. But that's just a pure guess. Smith has given no indication that he's thinking of leaving.
13:25:21 jt: How has Guiton looked in practice? Do you think it would be a big dropoff if he had to play?
13:25:58 Bill: The media is not allowed to watch practice. From what I've heard, he's looked good. But let's face it, he's now the backup because Bauserman has regressed.
13:26:28 buckeyeindayton: Wisky had alot of disasters on special teams last week. Is Fickel planning anything special to extend those disasters?
13:27:32 Bill: OSU's special teams have been a real strength this year after struggling badly last year. If the Buckeyes can get the edge in that phase against the Badgers, it would be a huge help. Does Fickell have a trick up his sleeve? If he does, he's not going to share it with people like me.
13:27:38 denbuckeye: Fickell has mentioned that the suspended players had been selfless at practice, leading the young players, etc -any word if that is still the case with Posey?
13:28:45 Bill: I believe it is. I haven't heard anything to the contrary. But it has to be demoralizing for him to be stuck playing scout team for an extra five weeks. He wouldn't be human if he weren't, especially because of a violation that seems trumped up.
13:28:53 Rob_(moderator): Via email: Were you surprised that Dick Tressel stayed at OSU after his brother's exit? Do you see him being on staff next season?
13:30:11 Bill: I don't know him well, so I'm not the best person to ask. I'm sure it's awkward. I'm also sure it's a job with a decent paycheck. I think his chances of being on the staff next year depend completely on who the coach is. A new coach will probably want his own staff.
13:30:20 jt: So you think Guiton is the backup because Bauserman has regressed and not that Guiton has improved? I thought he was the 2nd best QB at the Spring game - behind Miller.
13:31:52 Bill: I think Guiton has gotten better. From all accounts, he's an upbeat guy with a positive attitude. I wouldn't base too much from the Spring game. It's a controlled environment. There have been plenty of guys who were April marvels who never amounted to anything in the fall, and guys who showed little in the spring and became players.
13:32:31 Rob_(moderator): Hey, we're halfway through the chat and no Urban Meyer questions yet. Nice job, folks.
13:32:34 gabuckeye: Tim there alot of questions floating around about head coachs for next year. Bucknuts and I have heard you ask some questions on this issue what can you tell the Buckeye nation?
13:33:20 Bill: You'll have to wait till next week to ask Tim. You're stuck with me this week. Gene Smith is in charge of the coach search and he's not tipping his hand.
13:33:37 rockporttx_buckeye: from a defensive standpoint, even though MSU gave up 31 points, do you think that is a blueprint for success against a highly overrated Russel Wilson and do you think the silver bullets will attempt more of the same?
13:36:07 Bill: The Spartans did a great job in the middle quarters against Wisconsin, no question. But the Badgers drove seemingly at will on their first two and last two drives, so any blueprint from that is flawed. I wouldn't say Russell is overrated. The one interception was his fault, but the other looked to be because of a bad route by the receiver. Ohio State doesn't have to do anything fancy on defense. Just be stout and physical at the point of attack and be disciplined in their gaps. If they can hold Wisconsin under 28 points, I'd say they've done their job.
13:36:23 denbuckeye: Do you think the improvement in special teams play is due to the kicking game, having one coach responsible, other personnel?
13:37:36 Bill: That's a good question. Ben Buchanan has a year under his belt as a punter. Basil has bounced back from a shaky start. Jordan Hall is a dangerous return guy. But in terms of coverage, yes, I'd give some credit to having one guy -- Dick Tressel -- in charge. It's always better when it's not a hodge podge.
13:37:46 gabuckeye: This game is all about the horses on the line of scrimmage both teams both sides of the ball how do our guys match up?
13:38:57 Bill: On the offensive line, I think the Buckeyes are pretty solid now that Mike Adams is back at left tackle. I'm not as confident on the defensive side. Hankins is a beast and Simon is relentless. But the other guys -- and they're almost all young guys -- have to prove they're up to the challenge. That's probaby the single biggest key to the game.
13:39:08 jim t: Will Montee Ball get his 100 yards this game? He scares me.
13:40:48 Bill: Depends on how much James White plays. Ball suffered what may have been a concussion -- or something like it -- last week and had to leave the game a couple of times. I'm assuming he's fine, but you never know about these things. No question that Ball and White are a formidable duo. If they hold those guys and Wilson to under 150 yards total, OSU will have a real shot.
13:40:53 jim: You really think the bucks are pretty solid on the offensive line?
13:42:02 Bill: If you can forgive the false starts, yeah. They've run pretty effectively even though opponents are daring them to throw by stacking the line. It's not a line that always dominates, but on balance I'd give them high marks this year.
13:42:10 michbuki: last year we read from Buckeye players that they were 'looking forward' to Wisconsin's smash-mouth football and went out and had their mouths smashed. do you see it happening again.
13:43:29 Bill: It could. Wisconsin does what they do very well. They're not fancy, though Wilson gives them another dimension. But other teams have known what was coming and couldn't stop it. I'm not saying it will happen. Just saying it can.
13:43:37 gabuckeye: Its easy to side line coach why are we not putting Jordan and Jake in the Slot to open up the wideouts more?
13:44:44 Bill: I agree with you. With the young WRs OSU has, I'd scheme to try to get the ball to Hall and Stoneburner as often as possible. Who knows? Maybe that's what OSU spent its off week incorporating into the offense.
13:44:56 michbuki: Thought rule stated if player had concussion he must sit out a game. Is that not the case?
13:45:22 Bill: I'd have to look that up. I'm not sure Ball was ever definitively diagnosed with a concussion.
13:45:43 Rob_(moderator): Folks, if you have any more questions, now's the time to send them.
13:45:49 gabuckeye: I have been watching OSU football since 67 can you ever remember when we were underdawgs 4 weeks in a row?
13:47:36 Bill: I was only 3 years old in '67 so I can't say for sure. But I bet you're right. There have been only a few truly bad years since then, but I doubt OSU was the underdog in four straight. I can't imagine any other year in which I pick against the Buckeyes four straight weeks, either.
13:47:46 michbuki: i realize the correctness of hindsight, however it seems as though coach Bollman is like a kid with a new toys. he wants to use it until it's broken, ala Miller at Nebraska instead of Hyde, et al
13:49:34 Bill: I think the offense has been in such flux that Bollman is just trying to find out what works, and if he finds something, he rides it. That's what a smart coach does. There's been so little continuity that it makes finding an identity hard. But I think that's finally being established with Miller settling in and Adams and Herron back.
13:49:39 reddosu1: Is there any mismatch our defense has to worry about? Do they have another athletic TE our LBs will have to cover in space alot?
13:50:58 Bill: Wisconsin always throws effectively to its tight end. Jacob Pederson has 19 catchs and six touchdowns this year, so yes, that's a concern.
13:51:04 gabuckeye: I was impressed with the secondary 2 weeks ago they showed a sense of urgencey will they play man more and see if these guys can shutdown the Badgers wideouts?
13:52:03 Bill: I asked Travis Howard about my impression that Buckeye corners were using more press coverage and not playing as soft. He said they have made that change. I'm sure a lot of it is coaches finally becoming confident that the young corners are up to the task.
13:52:23 reddosu1: Is there any possibility the team has a trick play or 2 up its sleeve for this weekend? Maybe Jordan Hall throwing it to Miller?
13:53:15 Bill: Well, the best time to install something like that is when there's ample time to work on it. With OSU off last week, you'd think that'd be something they might have worked on. As far as specifics, your guess is as good as mine.
13:53:25 Rob_(moderator): Thanks, everyone. We'll do it again next week. Tim May will be here to take your questions. That's a wrap.
13:53:33 Bill: Thanks, everyone