Thursday, July 30, 2009

DON'T MISS OUT ON THE BUCKEYE TIMES THIS FALL

This fall, The Bryan Times will once again provide coverage from kickoff to the final play of the Ohio State Buckeyes football season, with The Buckeye Times preview page which will be featured every Friday in The B.T. throughout OSU's 2009 regular and bowl campaigns.

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EYES ON THE BUCKS

BUCKEYES BAG FLORIDA ATHLETE — James Louis (5-11, 180), a multi-talented athlete from Delray Beach, Florida (Atlantic H.S.) has given his verbal commitment to the Buckeyes over the likes of Florida, Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss.

Louis, who is rated as a four star wide receiver by Scout.com, hauled in 56 receptions as a junior at Atlantic for 1,128 yards. As a cornerback, he intercepted 10 passes in 2008.

Louis is the 10th player in the 2010 class for OSU.

PRYOR TAKING UP GOLF — OSU quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, has become "addicted" to playing golf, according to Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel.

"(Pryor's) gotten this sudden urge to take up golf," Tressel said. "He's addicted to golfing."

Tressel stated that playing golf can help Pryor become a better quarterback, because of the mental game it takes to play the sport.

"If you don't forget the last shot, you are not going to have a very fun day. Same thing with playing quarterback. You have to have a short memory, but you have to learn. If I went out and golfed, I wouldn't know why I hit it in the woods. So you have to know why what happened, happened or why you did what you did. And then you have to focus on the next moment and the only way to develop that is through experience.

"So if he can develop perfection in his feet and the ability to move on from one moment to the next, that would be great."

Tressel said that Pryor can drive a golf ball 350 yards. Whoa!

BALLARD ON MACKEY LIST — Ohio State senior Jake Ballard has been placed on the 2009 John Mackey Award "watch list" for the nation's best collegiate tight end.

Ballard has recorded 20 receptions for 227 yards and three touchdowns in his career at OSU.

The winner of the award will be announced on December 10.

NO PUNISHMENT FOR BERRY — Buckeyes incoming freshman, Jaamal Berry, will not be suspended by the team for his June arrest in Florida for possession of marijuana.

Berry's charges were reduced to a misdemeanor, meaning more than likely he will not serve any jail time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

PRYOR, BUCKEYES SELECTED TOPS AT BIG TEN CONFERENCE MEETINGS

CHICAGO — If the Big Ten meetings in Chicago tell us anything about the 2009 football season, it's the Buckeyes are 'expected' to do big things.

The Buckeyes were selected by the media as the favorite to win the Big Ten championship in 2009, over the likes of Penn State and Michigan State, while sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor was voted the preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

OSU head coach, Jim Tressel, was a little surprised that his team which lost 31 players — including James Laurinaitis, Beanie Wells, Malcolm Jenkins, Brian Robiskie and Marcus Freeman — was placed at the top of the conference. It's the third time in the past four seasons the Buckeyes have been tabbed as the best in the conference.

"From a team standpoint in the preseason rankings, even with 31 guys gone, it's a reminder of the proud history that Ohio State has and the expectations that people have. So yeah, it was a little bit of a surprise (being ranked No. 1 in the conference)." Tressel said.

It wasn't much of a surprise to Illinois head coach Ron Zook.

"I don't think there's any question. You can't argue with the success that Ohio State has had," Zook said. "Coach Tressel and that staff have done a great job recruiting. They've got great players, also ...

"Obviously, we're all chasing Ohio State right now."

Pryor, who led the Buckeyes to an 8-1 record as a starter in 2008, has worked diligently to become a more complete player under center. After his performance during the spring game, the media has taken notice that the talented QB could make some real noise this season in Columbus.

"I think the experiences that Terrelle got last fall were very, very valuable. I think it's tough when you step in and take over for a guy like Todd Boeckman, who was our captain and who had done a lot of good things," Tressel said. "That's a difficult assignment and I thought he handled it well.

"(Pryor) has a real passion to do well. He wants to make sure that he can do all of what the team needs and I thought for a freshman he was pretty careful with the football and grew to learn with every experience that he had. There were some tough experiences along the way. I thought his bowl preparation was very, very good, and then of course we're playing against a very good team in Texas. That was another lesson that he had a chance to be a part of."

Tressel noted that Pryor's hard work this offseason will pay off huge dividends this season and in the future.

"I thought his preparation this spring was excellent," Tressel said. "He's a guy that is passionate about being good and he's very serious about the game. He studies the game extremely hard. He loves to study film with his DVDs and grow as a quarterback.

"But not unlike our entire team, the maturity level in September is going to be a great challenge. I think that will be a real plus for him to face the challenges that we have. We feel real good about him."

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez stated that Pryor — a player he recruited heavily just a season ago — is the focal point of the Buckeyes offense.

"I think (Pryor) is a great player," Rodriguez said. "Terrelle, we recruited him and played against him last year. He's a tremendous athlete. I think a quarterback in any system is going to be a focal point, particularly of your offense, and he's the guy that's certainly the focal point of theirs.

"He can beat you in a lot of different ways."

Friday, July 17, 2009

IS TERRELLE PRYOR 'OVERRATED?'

The 2009 season hasn't even kicked off yet, and there are already critics piling on Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Brian Stubits of CBSSports.com wrote:

"I can hear Buckeyes fans everywhere in an uproar, but I'm in the show-me camp with Pryor. My eyes scan stories with him appearing on Heisman watch lists for the coming season. I put on my glasses. He's still there. That's where I get overrated. He still has to prove he can do an essential part of quarterbacking -- pass effectively. In his first season he only attempted more than 20 passes in one game. Not to mention, I'm still having a hard time ignoring back-to-back 5 for 13 games against Michigan and Texas to close out his freshman campaign. Can he be as great as the hype? Surely, but right now I don't see how people get their expectations based off his college track record."

Sure, he has some points. Whenever you're a highly publicized freshman who signs with an elite program like OSU, you are bound to receive more than your fair share of criticism. I think TP himself would agree with that.

However, to just discount a player because his first season wasn't what YOU expected it to be, is just bad evaluating.

Pryor chose to play at Ohio State because he wanted to become a better passer. An NFL-type passer. Pryor didn't need to be a great passing quarterback in high school, because he was such a superior athlete in comparison with those he played against that he could simply get away with just his unbelievable athleticism and strong, but unpolished arm.

His mechanics were robotic during his freshman season in 2008, which suggests that he wasn't comfortable with what he was doing. And when things broke down in the pocket, instead of buying himself some time with his legs to make plays with his arm, he would simply take off down the field.

He also had problems reading defenses, another aspect that he didn't need to learn in high school.

"It just disgusts me," Pryor said, about watching footage of himself from a season ago.

But here's the thing — he is learning. He is working hard to become a more polished passer and a smarter player. After observing Pryor during the spring, he seems to be well on track. But it will still take time, and even though Pryor will probably look more polished this season, he will only be scratching the surface of what he will ultimately be. It doesn't take one off-season to become Dan Marino or John Elway. Of course, the critics — as always — do not understand that.

When Troy Smith first came to Ohio State, he in no way resembled a polished quarterback. He had all of the skills, but he needed to learn the position (seeing the field, reading defenses and using proper mechanics).

Early on as a starter in 2005, Smith showed the signs, but like Pryor last season, he seemed a bit uncomfortable. There were many writers (including myself) asking Jim Tressel when he was going to pull the plug. Tressel always responded by saying that Smith was working hard to become a great passer and that he wasn't far from accomplishing his goal.

Well, Smith proved why Tressel is wearing the headset on the sideline and why us writer's are munching hot dogs up in the press box. Smith's diligence helped transform himself from a struggling quarterback into perhaps the greatest signal caller the school has ever possessed.

Observing Pryor's work ethic and determination, I forecast the same happening for him. HE WILL BECOME A GREAT QUARTERBACK!

As for being a Heisman candidate this season? Who cares?

I think Pryor is more concerned with getting OSU over the BCS title hump. He's more concerned with USC, Penn State and Michigan than where he's positioned on a Heisman forecast chart.

And, to Mr. Stubits of CBSSports.com — do you actually think it takes a great quarterback to cop a Heisman?

Well "put on your glasses" because you will see names like Chris Weinke, Geno Torretta and Jason White on the list of those who snared a bronze stiff-armer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

OSUAA SELECTS ALL-ALUMNI FOOTBALL TEAM

More than 1,400 members of the Ohio State University Alumni Association selected an All-Alumni football team to recognize the 100th anniversary of the "Ohio State Alumni Magazine."

The team consisted of 26 positional players — 12 offense, 11 defense, 2 specialists and a coach.

The leading vote getter was former linebacker Chris Spielman, who received 1,240 out of the 1,439 votes casted.

"No school has a tradition like Ohio State and a look at this team tells you why," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "Amazing players from all eras at every position and these are just the tip of the iceberg.

"This is a fantastic list of memorable Buckeyes. My only question would be: Who were the folks who didn't vote for Archie (Griffin)."

Obviously, the selections for the All-Alumni team will create great debate, but then again, when you have so many tremendous players to choose from, arguments will surely follow.

Listed below are the 26-member All-Alumni squad:
OFFENSE
QB- Rex Kern, 1968-70 (Sorry Rex, but Troy Smith should be in this spot)
RB- Archie Griffin, 1972-75; Eddie George, 1992-95
FB- Pete Johnson, 1973-76
TE- John Frank, 1980-83
WR- Cris Carter, 1984-86; Paul Warfield, 1961-63
OT- Orlando Pace, 1994-96; John Hicks, 1970, 72-73
OG- Jim Parker, 1954-56; Jim Lachey, 1981-84
OC- Nick Mangold, 2002-05
DEFENSE
DL-Mike Vrabel, 1993-96; Jim Stillwagon, 1968-70; Bill Willis, 1942-44; Will Smith, 2000-03
LB- Chris Spielman, 1984-87; A.J. Hawk, 2002-05; Randy Gradishar, 1971-73
CB- Antoine Winfield, 1995-98; Shawn Springs, 1994-96
S- Jack Tatum 1968-70; Mike Doss, 1999-2002
SPECIALISTS
K- Mike Nugent, 2001-04
P- Tom Skladany, 1973-76
HEAD COACH
Woody Hayes, 1951-78

Thursday, July 9, 2009

OSU FRESHMAN RUNNER WILL NOT BE ON FIELD (OR IN SCHOOL) THIS FALL

Less than a month after Ohio State incoming freshman tailback, Jaamal Berry, was arrested on drug charges in Miami, the Buckeyes found out that another frosh running back is in hot water, albeit, not with the law.

Carlos Hyde, a 6-1, 240-pound wrecking ball of a runner from the "Sunshine State," recently recorded a 16 on his ACT, one point below the minimum requirement for admission to OSU. Unfortunately, the freshman-to-be who has drawn comparisons to Beanie Wells for his great size and brutish style of running, will not be able to re-take the ACT until September, meaning that he'll be ruled ineligible to play in the 2009 season.

Hyde rushed for 1,653 yards and 16 touchdowns last season for Naples High School (Naples, Florida). Hyde selected to play football at Ohio State over the likes of Florida, Florida State, Miami, Fla., Alabama and Auburn.

Hyde said that he still plans to attend Ohio State once he scores high enough on his ACT. He said that he will enroll in January if he scores a 17 or higher in September.

With Hyde's 2009 season dashed and Berry's status still a bit in the air, it looks like the Buckeyes' backfield will headlined by sophomore Daniel "Boom" Herron and junior Brandon Saine. Senior Marcus Williams will most likely begin the summer as the third back on the depth chart.

OSU ANNOUNCES FOOTBALL STAFF CHANGES

Ohio State's sideline will look a little different this fall, as the school announced some football staff changes Wednesday.

The most notable move was at quarterbacks coach, as Nick Siciliano takes over the position for longtime QB mentor, Joe Daniels, who becomes the associate director for personnel development.

Siciliano has been on the OSU staff since 2005 serving as a offensive quality control coach. Siciliano coached at Youngstown State under Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel. He also worked on the coaching staffs at Oklahoma, Urbana and North Carolina A&T.

Siciliano has been working with Buckeyes star quarterback Terrelle Pryor this spring and has done an admirable job thus far fine tuning the sophomore's mechanics.

Keith Uecker will take over for Siciliano in the offensive quality control role this season.

As for the popular Daniels and his new position, the 39-year veteran coach will be working with the community outreach program, serving as liaison to NFL scouts, high school coaches, as well as other organizational duties.

Daniels was known for his passing development skills, working with such players as Ken O'Brien, Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, and hall of famer Dan Marino.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

DRUG CHARGES REDUCED FOR BERRY

Ohio State incoming freshman tailback, Jaamal Berry, had his drug charges reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor in a Miami-Dade (Florida) circuit court last Thursday.

Berry, who has been in Columbus attending summer classes at OSU since June 22 didn't appear in court. His case will be moved to a county court in Miami, where minor infractions are heard.

This is encouraging news for the star back, who was arrested in June for possessing more than 28 grams of marijuana in his car. However, there is no word as to whether any punishment will be delivered on Berry by the school or the team.

The Buckeyes begin summer practice in August.

BUCKEYES LAND TOP INDIANA BACK

Roderick Smith, a 6-2, 215-pound tailback out of Ft. Wayne, Indiana (Paul Harding High School), announced that he would be playing his collegiate football for the Ohio State University.

The class of 2010 product, who is rated sixth among all running backs in the nation (according to Scout.com), rushed for nearly 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior and has amassed more than 5,200 yards thus far in his high school career.

"They've always been my frontrunner," Smith said about the Buckeyes.

To listen to comments from Smith following his commitment, click here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

FIVE KICKOFF TIMES ANNOUNCED

Kickoff times for five 2009 Ohio State football games have been announced by the university. The following times are listed below (television):

Sept. 5 vs. Navy 12 p.m. (ESPN)
Sept. 12 vs. USC 8 p.m. (ESPN/ABC)
Sept. 19 vs. Toledo* 12 p.m. (ESPN-Plus)
Oct. 3 at Indiana 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Oct. 24 vs. Minnesota# 12 p.m. (N/A)
* at Cleveland Browns Stadium
# Homecoming