Dispatch OSU football beat writer Bill Rabinowitz answered your questions about the Buckeyes, Big Ten and college football in general during our weekly chat.
Dispatch OSU football beat writer Bill Rabinowitz answered your questions about the Buckeyes, Big Ten and college football in general during our weekly chat.
13:06:46 Rob_(moderator): Hi, Bill. Thanks for joining us.
13:07:03 Buck-I-Nut: What do you think about the move of boren to lb. I don't believe it was a bad move per se cause the kid plays his but off. Guess they didn't have a whoule bunch of choice at this point, but he did help with cructial blocking on the offense.
13:07:12 Bill Rabinowitz: Sorry for the computer problems. I'm here. Thanks for your patience.
13:08:05 Bill Rabinowitz: It was a matter of numbers. Sabino is hurt as are a bunch of other guys, including some of the freshmen. Meyer looked around, was desperate for healthy bodies and asked Boren. Boren was recruited as a LB and likes the position, so it wasn't much of a stretch.
13:08:11 VABuckeye: Hot topic this week seems to be defense.....or lack of it. Do you think next year Meyer will settle in on just one D-Coordinator and is that person on the OSU sideline right now?
13:09:22 Bill Rabinowitz: I think a lot will be determined by how the defense plays the rest of the year. I don't think the problem is having Fickell as DC and Withers as co-DC. Titles don't really matter too much. But performance does. Meyer never changes his defensive staff his first year because it would be too much change. But all bets are off for Year 2.
13:09:35 Buckeye in VA: Meyer still seems to be high on the young linebackers. But he doesn't seem to be willing to put them in the game. Do you think that OSU is in danger in future seasons with this group?
13:10:31 Bill Rabinowitz: It's too early to tell. I think he likes the potential of a lot of them but is disappointed that some guys -- he's specifically mentioned David Perkins -- have been slow to grasp the defense.
13:10:45 worthingtonbuck: If Ohio State wins out, Do you think he has a good chance for the heisman over a 1-2 loss Geno smith or Collin Klein?
13:12:25 Bill Rabinowitz: I know you're talking about Braxton Miller. I still think Gene Smith is the clear front-runner despite last week. Klein is ahead of Miller now, I'd believe. It'll be hard for Miller because I think some Heisman voters will be reluctant to give it to a guy who plays for a team ineligible for the postseason -- fair or not -- and who plays in a league that is considered not nearly at the level of the SEC and probably not the Big 12.
13:12:37 Buck-I-Nut: Do you know if Hall is back for this game? I believe Williams is back but can't remember reading about Hall's status.
13:13:04 Bill Rabinowitz: Jordan Hall will not play against Purdue. His return from a PCL injury is going slowly. Williams is back.
13:13:10 Skippy15: So, we know someone will ask so I'll do it. Who's fault is it in your opinion for the defensive issues? Fickell (and the rest of the coaching staff who doesn't seemed to be given any blame) or the fact that we have a linebacking core depleted by injuries, a lack of good coverage MLB who are ready to play and while the safties are very talented the can be very undisciplined. Is it coaches or the players on field
13:13:34 Rob_(moderator): We need questions, folks.
13:14:44 Bill Rabinowitz: I think it's both. Ultimately, how players play is the coaches' responsibility, but they can't do it for them. You're right about the MLB. That position has been a problem and it's tough to be dominant without a leader there. Curtis Grant simply hasn't done the job. Storm Klein is what he is, but he's been nearly indispensible considering the alternatives.
13:14:58 Buckeye in VA: Have you noticed an increase in the buckeye leaves on the helmets. Braxton Miller doesn't have much room left, and there are a lot of games remaining. Any thoughts?
13:15:52 Bill Rabinowitz: I can't say I've noticed. Honestly, the press box is so high above the field that I can barely see the players sometimes. I believe Meyer did detail what it takes to earn a buckeye earlier in the year but I can't remember what the protocol is.
13:16:03 Skippy15: Who do you see playing in the Rose Bowl and the NatChamp game this year? Obviously won't be the Buckeyes but I still enjoy bowl season all the same, Rose Bowl especially
13:17:37 Bill Rabinowitz: If I had to guess right now, I'd say Alabama and Oregon. Alabama is clearly the best team in the country, though getting through the SEC is obviously no cakewalk. Oregon's got some tough games left so the Ducks are no lock. But that's my guess. I know, really going out on a limb with Nos. 1 and 2.
13:18:08 Rob_(moderator): Thoughts on the Rose Bowl, Bill?
13:18:14 Bill Rabinowitz: Forgot about Rose Bowl. I'd guess Michigan from the Big Ten at this point. Then maybe USC if Oregon is in national championship game.
13:18:22 Buckeye in VA: How would you grade the receivers at this point in the year?
13:18:25 Bill Rabinowitz: Or Oregon State. that'd be a cool story.
13:19:56 Bill Rabinowitz: I'd give the receivers a C-plus. That's not great but it's better than the F from last year or the F it looked like we'd see in the spring. Devin Smith is a home-run threat, but drops too many balls. Philly Brown is a nice possession receiver, but doesn't break many tackles. Stoneburner has been forgotten at times in passing game and no one else has really emerged.
13:20:06 lakwahoo: Recruiting has been slow lately with no recent commitments. Your thoughts?
13:21:21 Bill Rabinowitz: This is usually not a big time of the year for announcements. HS players are heading into their home stretch. Those who haven't decided want to concentrate on that. Trust me, the Buckeyes coaches are going hard on the recruiting tail. Meyer said just now on his radio show that their "hair is on fire" with recruiting. But this is a lull.
13:21:36 crease23: Hey Bill - Any chance the Browns look into hiring Tressel?
13:21:49 Bill Rabinowitz: I would be shocked.
13:21:56 Jeff K: I can see Purdue giving us some problems but I don't see OSU losing to them at home. Do you? Also, Wisky will be a tough game but if we get to Nov. 24th at 11-0 do you see OSU having issues handling TTUN's offense? I know it's a ways off.
13:22:02 Bill Rabinowitz: As head coach, that is. Some role, who knows?
13:23:40 Bill Rabinowitz: Purdue has tanked the last two weeks. Indiana showed that you can never assume anything, but this should not be a tough game. Penn State next week is intriguing because the Nittany Lions are playing pretty inspired ball. As for Michigan -- am I allowed to even spell it? -- at this point, OSU's defense can't be expected to stop anyone.
13:23:52 Buckeye in VA: Why does Purdue always give OSU a hard time?
13:24:42 Bill Rabinowitz: Not always, and when they do, it's usually at Ross-Ade. But their spread system -- all those bubble screens -- traditionally has given OSU problems. They don't try to run power football at the Buckeyes like some teams do, usually unsuccessfully.
13:25:12 snakerstar: Anything from the Big Ten Elite documentary stand out or surprise you when you watched it in its entirety?
13:25:22 Bill Rabinowitz: I didn't see it.
13:25:36 Jeff K: Roby specifically mentioned that the defense took their foot off the gas in the 2nd half. But then it also seemed they couldn't step back on it towards the end. Do you think Meyer's involvement this week will be enough to send the right message & do you expect a better overall defensive effort Sat.?
13:26:58 Bill Rabinowitz: I think their pride was wounded by allowing 49 points to Indiana. I think Meyer's stern message to them Sunday was heeded. Getting Nathan Williams back and maybe having him play some outside linebacker will help. But some of the issues the defense has are long-standing.
13:27:06 Skippy15: I don't know if you are from Ohio and grew up an Ohio state fan or if you came here from somewhere else but Do you enjoy covering the Buckeyes?
13:29:04 Bill Rabinowitz: I'm from Dayton. My parents are both alums who met at OSU. My dad took me to games as a kid. I went to school in St. Louis. The day I took over the beat is the day I stopped being an OSU fan. As a journalist, that's the way you have to be. Period. It is fun covering a beat that readers are so passionate about. It's also the first time I've covered a team that wasn't 2 hours ago, so that's good for me and my family.
13:29:22 VABuckeye: It seems as though the defense is playing with a fundamental lack of being in position and not tackling and taking good angles to the ball....especially the back seven. I also see way too many personal fouls being called on the defensive unit. Do you feel that these players are undisciplined and if so, shouldn't the coaches have a better grasp on this seven weeks into the season?
13:30:43 Bill Rabinowitz: The personal foul penalties are a problem -- no question. So are the bad angles and shoddy tackling at times. What was really glaring last week was that the players were so out of position on some of Indiana's big plays that they didn't even have a chance to miss a tackle. Is that a concern and reflective of coaching? Yes.
13:30:50 Skippy15: Is Tressel done a college football coach? I think yes.
13:32:01 Bill Rabinowitz: The 5-year show-cause penalty would make it very hard for a college to hire him. Lot of hoops for a school to have to jump through. With his job at the Univ of Akron, it seems Tressel has moved on, as well.
13:32:08 Buck-I-Nut: Why isn't the D playing a little closer to the line? It seems that every pass underneath is getting about 7 yards or better when they play so far off. And then the tackling is letting the receivers gain way too many YAC.
13:33:40 Bill Rabinowitz: Meyer noticed that, too, and beseeched the defensive coaches to play more aggressively. Which they have. But there's also the belief that if you play press coverage, it's a lot harder to get an interception. You'd rather play off the ball a little and be able to see a play develop and react to it. I think they're trying to strike a balance.
13:34:05 worthingtonbuck: Stan Drayton stated they have never had the big bruising backs that they are seeing in Hyde and Smith. Do you see them recruiting the big guys in the future, or do they look for a 190 lb shifty back
13:35:11 Bill Rabinowitz: I think there's a place for both. I think they really want that shifty Percy Harvin-type back. That's the prototype for this offense. But a Hyde who can punish defenses with power runs is also a big part of this offense. Meyer has said repeatedly that his spread is not a finesse offense but a power one.
13:35:18 Buck-I-Nut: On that Roby comment, It seems that even when JT was coach the Buckeyes had the tendency to back off when they had a good size lead. I would think under the Meyer era this wouldn't be happening. But eveidently this is still a problem, do you see that being a consistant and recurring problem?
13:36:53 Bill Rabinowitz: It's not in Meyer's makeup to play passively. He is a pedal to the metal guy. I think it was more the mindset that the Buckeyes eased off the throttle. They thought the game was decided. Also, fatigue plays a role. With the quick pace of snaps now, players are getting tired, no matter how good their conditioning may be.
13:37:03 jt: Do you think Grant will be on the team next year. I can't imagine him still having a scholarship
13:37:52 Bill Rabinowitz: Yes, I think Grant will be on the team, unless he chooses not to. Meyer has said nice things about him personally. I think they think he's too good a talent not to give him more time. But he's got to start showing something.
13:38:05 Skippy15: With the question of buckeye leaves, who decides how those are distributed? I know it's changed over the years. But is it the coaches or someone else with the university
13:38:31 Bill Rabinowitz: I think it's the coaches. I can't remember that question being specifically asked since I've been on the beat.
13:38:43 Buck-I-Nut: With the run game looking pretty good do you think Hall really adds a lot to the scheme of things? Really looks as if Hyde and Smith are coming on strong. I know Hall is the shifty type of back, but has it got to the point that he might be taking the back seat to Hyde?
13:40:03 Bill Rabinowitz: Jordan Hall has the shiftiness and quickness that Hyde and Smith don't have. Hyde and Smith might actually be faster than Hall -- it's probably close -- but they don't have the wiggle Hall has. But if he's not fully healthy, it's a moot point.
13:40:22 Buckeye in VA: Have you been impressed with the evolution of OSU's offense? Do you think they are ahead of schedule?
13:41:37 Bill Rabinowitz: It's hard to watch 63 points against Nebraska and 52 against Indiana and not be impressed. It certainly helps to have someone as uniquely talented as Braxton Miller running the show, but the offensive line/RBs and even WRs have come a long way. So yes, I'd say they are ahead of schedule, though Meyer would probably tell you they're behind it.
13:41:45 Skippy15: In your opinion, before he Miller is done at OSU will be he a Heismen trophy winner? He has possibly this year and 2 more years and I don't think anyone could pick out a more exciting player in college football. Every time he drops back it could be a touchdown from any point on the field. The guy is incredibly productive and exciting. Something that seems to really make Heisman trophy players stand out
13:43:01 Bill Rabinowitz: I don't think he has the passing numbers this year to win it, but in the next two years, he'll be among the leading contenders if he stays healthy. I have very little doubt about that. The guy is a human highlight reel and in this age, that's a very big plus.
13:43:30 Rob_(moderator): This question is via email: For a typical OSU home game, how many members of the media are in the pressbox?
13:44:47 Bill Rabinowitz: There are two main press boxes -- for those covering OSU and for opposing media. I'd guess there are probably 100-150 in the OSU box and maybe 25-50 in the other one. But I'm really just guessing. I've never tried to count.
13:44:56 Rob_(moderator): Another question via email: How is Kenny Guiton's attitude? With the development of Braxton, he has to realize his chances of seeing much time are limited.
13:44:56 Bill Rabinowitz: The Dispatch usually has 6 writers.
13:46:08 Bill Rabinowitz: Kenny Guiton's attitude has been tremendous. That's why coaches love him so much. Meyer says all the time that his attitude has turned 180 degrees since he arrived. And Meyer is trying to find him some playing time. OSU has scored touchdowns on all three possessions he's played in.
13:46:18 Buck-I-Nut: If Miller (God forbid) gets hurt, do you think the Buckeyes will be ok with Guiton. Haven't seen him play enough to know if he can even be the type of qb as Miller, I mean as far as the feet. I think he throws the ball pretty well, maybe even better than Miller.
13:47:35 Bill Rabinowitz: Guiton would be serviceable. A major upgrade from Bauserman last year -- hold the jokes. He'd be pretty decent in the passing game, but he's not close to the runner Miller is. Then again, not many are.
13:47:43 Skippy15: With how good Carlos Hyde has been this year do you think this is his ceiling or do you think he can be even better next year a senior? He seems to be just hitting his stride
13:48:58 Bill Rabinowitz: You're talking about my GameDay cover subject. Hyde is really hitting his stride. I don't ever think he'll be the perfect prototype for Meyer's offense because he's not that elusive. But he's a very good player and there's a big place for anyone who proves he's a very good player.
13:49:21 Rob_(moderator): One more via email: Do the Buckeyes bus or fly to Big Ten road games?
13:50:05 Bill Rabinowitz: They usually fly. But they did drive to Bloomington last week. I'm sure they'll fly to Penn State and Wisconsin.
13:50:11 Skippy15: Do you feel like there is any major differences between the players attitudes and how they act under Meyer and when they were under Tressel
13:51:29 Bill Rabinowitz: I didn't cover the team under Tressel. Last year was my first on the beat. I think they were probably a combination of thrilled and scared of Meyer at the start. They knew he was a winner but he's very demanding. I think the idea of having someone like Meyer lead them after going 6-7 last year quickly won them over and they bought in pretty quickly.
13:51:40 ncflash: on a scale of 1-10. how shocked would you be if OSU lost one of the next 3 games?
13:52:37 Bill Rabinowitz: Purdue a 9. Penn State a 6 or 7. Illinois an 11. Yes, a Spinal Tap reference.
13:52:48 Rob_(moderator): Any final thoughts before we wrap this up, Bill?
13:53:25 Bill Rabinowitz: Thanks for all your questions. It's been an interesting season, no question, and I think OSU fans would agree it's been a fun one to watch, if maddening at times.
13:53:32 Rob_(moderator): Thanks, everyone. We'll do it again next week. That's a wrap.
13:53:45 Bill Rabinowitz: Thanks, everyone.
13:53:50 Bill Rabinowitz: Sorry for the early problems.