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 Tim May.
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 Tim May:
12:59:40 Rob_(moderator): Hi, Tim. What's new?
12:59:45 Tim May: Hello everybody on this nice fall afternoon. Before we start, some updated news from Luke Fickell's press briefing at midday. As I reported yesterday, backup running back Jordan Hall is doubtful for Saturday after suffering a high-ankle sprain on the kickoff return which set up the winning touchdown last week. That likely means some serious action for everyone's favorite forgotten man Carlos Hyde on Saturday against the Hoosiers. With that written, let's get started.
13:00:00 gabuckeye: This Ncaa crap is killing me as a devoted fan, What is the deal?
13:01:19 Tim May: The waiting game is the deal. OSU administrators still seem confident the football team won't get a post-season ban, but I will be very surprised if they don't lose use of a few scholarships for a period of time. We will see.
13:01:35 gabuckeye: How humble is Braxton Miller? His deamonr last week was super.
13:03:51 Tim May: His demeanor tells the tale. He is nonplussed. His heroics last week weren't that much different than what he did in leading his Huber Heights Wayne High School team to the go-ahead score late in the state championship game last year, only to see Lakewood St. Ed's drive to the winning score right after. I guess what I' m saying is he ahs been there, done that, if on a lesser scale. The fellow is a quarterback.
13:04:05 denbuckeye: What does the RB depth chart look like after Boom & Hyde this week since Hall & Berry are out and Rod Smith has been moved to LB?
13:05:34 Tim May: Rod Smith. FIckell just told us he will play on special teams and be available at running back if needed. The pair and a spare theory certainly is being tested. How ironic would that be, though, Smith, from Fort Wayne, getting his first significant action against Indiana. Do I smell a story within the story?
13:05:41 Buckeye in VA: Though Indiana poses a great opportunity to improve in the pass game, do you expect the coaches to call pass plays more than 20 times?
13:07:38 Tim May: Yes. I mean, why not? It is absolutely the thing the offense needs to improve. But they also have to be careful about reading the results. They could be false positives. I mean, just turn on the video from IU's game last week against Northwestern. If the defense had shown up, the Hoosiers would have had a chance.
13:07:45 Jcroniger: Do we rest Jordan Hall this week?
13:08:51 Tim May: That's a no-brainer. When Fickell said he is doubtful, that really means he won't play.
13:09:04 woody tressel: Will Luke Fickell get a legitimate shot at being the head coach next year?
13:12:09 Tim May: Yes. He was told when he was abruptly promoted on May 30 that he would get serious consideration at the end of the season, but the school also made no secret of the fact the summer and fall would be an evaluation period for him, and that it also intended to look around the nation at other candidates. But look at the situation now -- if OSU wins its next four, there is a good chance it will be in the first Big Ten title game (unless the NCAA issues a post-season ban), and a win there would put OSU in the Rose Bowl and likely make Fickell the Big Ten coach of the year. Talk about having serve -- now he just has to hold serve.
13:12:18 gabuckeye: Can you comment on the cornerback play last week I think they were in great position all game expect late?
13:15:10 Tim May: That's the thing about cornerbacks. They can make five good plays and one lousy play, and there is no doubt which one you're going to remember. As their coach Taver Johnson said yesterday, the underneath corner needed to redirect the Wisconsin receiver who caught the go-ahead TD pass, since safty Christian Bryant had two receivers running vertical routes into his half of the two-deep zone. Then again, safety play 101 says get deep in such situations and don't come off the hash until the ball is in the air. He bit on the pump fake to the inside guy, and the rest, well, it just set up Braxton Miller and Devin Smith to be the stars of the game.
13:15:24 jim: Are we looking at lack of institutional control, since we have yet another trouble maker player, this one with 2 assaults, that was allowed to suit up for a game?
13:17:42 Tim May: Heck no. That has nothing to do with anything except the future of Jaamal Berry. As for your "facts" he wasn't charged with anything for the first situation. And he had only been named in what amounted to a civil suit this time a week ago for the second incident. If you noticed, though, Fickell did not let him play. But everyone should be accorded due process.
13:17:54 ArchAnimal57: Running up the middle seems to be a constant ? Shouldn't we get away from that to at least "bouncing" it outside more ?
13:20:08 Tim May: They have been doing a lot of both, if you are really keeping score. But I have absolutely no qualms with a team that has a good offensive line trying to punch holes in the middle, because it has always been the shortest route to the end zone. And if you remember, when Wisconsin really needed a play last week, it gave the ball to Montee Ball right up the gut. Now. 10 straight runs between the tackles would be foolhardy. I don't think you have seen that by OSU.
13:20:22 rockporttx_buckeye: what do you see as the answer to late game defensive break downs? Is it schemes (ie prevent defense), gaffs (broken coverage and so forth) No Pass rush when needed? What's the answer? Also how come even when the bucks only rush three those receivers are ALWAYs open over the middle?
13:23:11 Tim May: To answer the last question first, because when the quarterback has plenty of time, guys are going to get open. It's a 53-yard wide field. The Buckeyes were never in a true prevent until maybe that last series, and even then they sent a linebacker in to try to press the issue and make Wilson throw sooner rather than later. But man, when the ball goes in the air, it's up for grabs, and sometimes the offensive guy gets position and grabs it. That said, if I were an OSU opponent and I was in doubt, I would air it out.
13:23:17 JJcrow: Would it be better to have, say a one year bowl ban and no reduction in scholarships? Seems that would be better long-term.
13:25:02 Tim May: It doesn't matter what might feel better. I think there are going to have a scholarship penalty, no matter what, but that's just my opinion. You can always move the chairs around on the deck to make do for a while. But a post-season ban is much more public.
13:25:21 mjo2727: Speaking of Rod Smith, is the move "stop gap" or permanent? Wasn't he a very highly rated running back coming out of H.S.?
13:27:39 Tim May: Yes, he was highly regarded. Heck, he was highly regarded by his teammates and even the likes of me after last year's bowl practice and then spring drills. But remember, Hall and Berry were the veterans coming back, Hyde had a very strong preseason camp, and Herron -- a 1,000-yard rusher last year -- was always going to get the starting job once he returned from what turned out to be a 6-game suspension. To climb over all of that Smith needed to be spectacular in preseason and, well, he wasn't.
13:27:43 Earlybuck: Since OSU has become a dominant offensive running team. Why don't they use the "Screen Pass" ? Can BM throw screen passes? Seems that Bollman is missing a good portion of offense without the Screen Pass.
13:29:52 Tim May: Can he throw a screen pass? Did you see the wide screen to Jake Stoneburner at Nebraska? Can he throw the flip screen? Did you see the ... uh ... the ... uh, good question. To be a good screen team, though, you really have to show people you can throw the ball down the field with some consistency, in my opinion. First things first.
13:30:00 woody tressel: How is Devier Posey handling not being on the field?
13:31:45 Tim May: We don't get to converse with him, but knowing him pretty well, I am sure it is tearing him up inside. But if/when he does return for the Penn State game, the offense will be as intact as it has been all year. That's why I've kept telling people not to count this team out. It was always going to be better at the end of the season than at the beginning, barring injuries.
13:31:55 TimTim: Let's say Braxton Miller goes down. Who replaces him: Bauserman or Guiton?
13:32:32 Tim May: Kenny Guiton. And that's a great sign-on name.
13:32:54 denbuckeye: Does Fickell seem to be more comfortable in press conferences now than in the beginning of the season? Heard he called you out today (I'm guessing in a joking manner)?!
13:34:36 Tim May: He almost always calls me out, in a joking manner. He knows I am a long-time Alabama fan, having been born there and going to games from 1961-64 with my dad and my older brother. He knows there's a big game in Tuscaloosa this Saturday. Thank you, TV gods, for making the OSU game a noon kick and moving the Bama-LSU game to 8 p.m.
13:34:41 mjo2727: Much buzz in the interwebs about "prevent" defensive sets being the reason for the 4th Q collapses last week and at Nebraska. Your take?
13:38:42 Tim May: I corrected a fellow about that on the comment section below my notebook online yesterday, and them I was corrected by another fellow who said they weren't talking about a prevent defense per se but a prevent mindset. HUH? WHAT? At Nebraska, the defense suddenly lost its confidence when the Huskers scored so quickly from the loaded Pistol following the Miller fumble. Suddenly Nebraska got OSU going the wrong way on a one-way street, and that will make a defense get tentative. But sometimes the other offense snookers you, which is exactly what happened on that go-ahead TD pass by Wisconsin last week (chronicled above). That wasn't against a prevent defense. That was against an "Ooops" defense.
13:38:50 Buckeye in VA: We all know that the leaders division is up in the air, how do you see the legends division ending? Who is the top dog at the end of the fight?
13:41:36 Tim May: The Legends is more up in the air than the Leaders. In preseason I picked Michigan State to play Ohio State in the first B1G title game, and lo and behold, that can still happen. But Nebraska, though it has a tougher finishing slate than MSU, is playing very well right now and could win the Legends by winning out. OSU needs someone -- Nebraska, Wisconsin -- to knock off Penn State so that the Buckeyes truly can gain control of their destiny.
13:42:04 newguy: Rumors about Urban Meyers are EVERYwhere. Is this wishful thinking or is there real substance to them? Can you estimate the perrcent that they are right?
13:42:22 Tim May: 8.8 percent.
13:42:27 JJcrow: Is Fickell easier or harder to translate than Tressel?
13:44:45 Tim May: Not sure I understand the question ... LOLOLOL. They are(were) head football coaches, who try to give you as little real information as possible. But while Tressel could filibuster with the best of them, Fickell doesn't really try to do that.
13:44:51 Buckeye in VA: Up to this point, who is your offensive and defensive MVP?
13:46:54 Tim May: May surprise you, but offense it's Braxton Miller, because he made two huge plays in what thus far was the critical game of the year last week. And defense, no question John Simon, with Johnathan "Big Hank" Hankins as the runnerup. Those fellows never quit.
13:46:59 DenisonBuckeye: Ok. I am going to practice what everybody preaches and not look ahead. Who/what are legitimate threats to the Buckeyes this weekend...any offense threats, special teams, defensive players for Indiana that could cause any damage to Ohio State at all?
13:49:33 Tim May: I like Indiana's freshman quarterback Tre Roberson, and their JC transfer running back Stephen Houston. I think they could play on a lot of teams. But they have lost their top two receivers (where have you heard that before?) and their offense line is the antithesis of Wisconsin's in terms of size. Meanwhile, my favorite quip this week is OSU is playing Iniana, because I see absolutely no D of consequence when I look at the Hoosiers. They are, as is usually the case, years away.
13:49:37 ChacoAbq: I recently read "War as They Knew It", the Woody and Bo story, and was struck by the part about the 1968 championship team visiting Woody's locker room ten years later and being appalled at the lack of discipline. Comparing that with the present team, has it just continued to get worse? I mean, what was Jamaal Berry doing out and about at 2:30 in the morning? Don't they have a curfew during the season?
13:53:21 Tim May: See, painting all with the same brush is not fair. There are some really good, decent, law-abiding, they-get-it players on this team. And even on that '68 team, do you think they all walked the straight and narrow off the field? Really? Look around the country, players on teams from LSU to Alabama to Georgia to Oregon to ad infinitum (a little known private school trying to become part of the Big East) have done stupid and sometimes unlawful things just this year alone. It doesn't excuse it, but don't for one instant think a football team is -- or can be -- made up of divinity student. I mean, who would want to watch those games?
13:53:27 woody tressel: Gene Smith gets a lot of heat from Buckeye Fans, but other than botching the first couple of press conferences about....what else has he done wrong? Do you see him leaving after the NCAA issues their penalty?
13:56:32 Tim May: I don't want to issue an opinion on that, because I think he has been cast into a tough situation all the way around. What has come under scrutiny, though, is the compliance office which is supposed to be the watchdog of it all and protect the sanctity of that superthick NCAA rule book. That said, blaming the overseers for the misdeeds is like blaming the highway patrol for people who speed. When there is a lot of speeding, though, patrols become more frequent on that stretch of road, and so it will be now.
13:56:37 JJcrow: If OSU wins the remaining regular season games, will they get into the championship game (providing there is no ncaa ban)?
13:57:27 Tim May: Penn State has to lose another game other than to OSU. Penn State is undefeated in Big Ten play, and remember, it's the overall league record that matters first, not the division record.
13:57:37 mjo2727: OSU has lost out on several high profile in-state LB recruits in recent years. Will the addition of Mike Vrabel to the staff stop this trend?
13:59:22 Tim May: I don't mean to be obtuse, like the warden in Shawshank Redemption, but only time will tell. I just know a lot of folks were fired up when the three-time Super Bowl winner -- who keeps those rings in a box, not on his fingers -- signed on with his best friend Luke Fickell.
13:59:42 Rob_(moderator): Thanks, everyone. Good job by all. We'll do it again next week. Same time, same place. That's a wrap.
14:00:23 Tim May: I really enjoyed it. And I might been a bit liberal on that 8.8 percent answer. We'll see in a month or so.