Special thanks to Steve Spencer of The Columbus Dispatch for use of his "Mount Buckmore" artwork.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Besides the INTs, Boeckman Looks Pretty Good

Yes, the annual Scarlet-Gray spring game this year was a bonanza and by bonanza, I mean rainy and offensively-challenged.
Boeckman, leading the Scarlet against the hated Gray, turned in a head-scratching performance: 12 for 18, 145 yards and two picks. However, Boeckman was close to perfect completion percentage when he threw his second INT. So Becks' two interceptions were close to being his only two incompletions.
As my colleague noted, Boeckman showed his flair for underthrowing the long ball (his first pick). LB Ross Homan intercepted Boeckman when he made an shaky throw in traffic at the middle of the field. However, the inceptions tarnished the day Boeckman could have had--he nailed a 48-yard bomb to Brian Hartline that set up Scarlet on the one and a TD. Additionally, he showed great skill in completing the dink-dunk short slants to Hartline which will most certainly be a part of the offensive repertoire this year.
Thus, Boeckman joins Kansas QB Todd Reesing as competent returning starters named Todd who threw two picks in the spring scrimmage. But fear not, Buckeye fans. Beanie Wells, Brian Robiske, and a few O-linesmen did not participate, which would have certainly helped out Boeckman. Moreover, the conditions were not ripe for a Troy Smith at Michigan outburst. Rain damped the ball, field (and crowd).
Bottom line: its still spring, its still so early, and its still Boeckman's team.
Res ThaSequel bleeds scarlet and gray, but that is due to a botched blood transfusion and a whole lot of food coloring.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Is that Denzel Washington?

Greg lookin' fresh in pinstripes and a clean shave

Greg Oden, despite sitting out the duration of his first pro-season, is still a media fixation and can seemingly do no wrong. Other than some minor backlash when the understandably stir-crazy 20-year-old participated in a pickup game, Oden has managed to impress his team and fans alike without ever playing an NBA match.

We won't know this winter, when the gifted center finally earns a place in the box score, whether or not a season on the bench was for better or worse, but my feeling is that a year with nothing better to do than acclimate oneself to a new lifestyle will (ironically) expedite Oden's rise to greatness.

Though it's not too difficult to loose track of the #1 pick--what with his intimidating height, ESPN commercials, campaigning for Obama and a frequently-updated personal blog--SI.com's Ian Thomsen "caught up" with Oden in this flattering piece that bookends the former OSU player's season on the sidelines.

Thomsen learned that Oden is a workhorse in the gym, putting in more hours than any other Blazer and that coaches are hoping his return to full strength will help him drop weight before next season (Oden is 10 lbs over his playing weight with the Buckeyes.)

Those in Columbus will be happy to know that the departed fan-favorite still fondly recalls his time at OSU, many, many years ago.
One year later, Oden was in his Portland home with his uncle watching the NCAA tournament final, a game his Ohio State team lost to Florida in 2007. "The first play,'' he said, "the announcer said something about me and the trouble [Memphis' Joey] Dorsey had with me [in an Elite Eight game], and that was kind of cool -- like, 'Dang, I was there just last year.' "
Need more reason to like this 7-foot teddy bear? He makes ice bags with the ball boys during half time.

PHOTO/ Richard Clement-Icon SMI

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rating The Tressel Era Games . . . So Far


It's hard to believe that Jim Tressel will begin his eighth tour of duty as Ohio State football coach this autumn. When he started, many OSU fans still smarted over not getting a bigger name coach, such as then-Minnesota man Glen Mason. I doubt you can find many now who still wish that Mason got the job.

So in recognition of the man who made sweater vests en vogue, I present my list of significant games in the Tressel era. Some are obvious, some less so, and some are losses, but all have contributed to the Tressel legacy.

Best Game: 2003 Fiesta Bowl vs. Miami (FL), 31-24 2OT, without a doubt. Also would have won awards for best bowl game, best game ever, and happiest I've ever been peeing myself. Amazingly, this game could have been won by the Bucks in regulation--the officials incorrectly thought a completed Krenzel to Jenkins third down conversion was out-of-bounds. However, the Buckeyes won after Jerry Porter's interference call--which was upheld as one of the best reffing calls in history--and a blitzing Cie Grant. If you would have told me before the game that Maurice Clarett would only have 47 yards and Krenzel would go 7-for-21 (yet still be offensive MVP because of 80 yards rushing) and OSU would win, I would not believe it for a second. Yet there it is--OSU's first national championship since '68.

Worst Game: 2007 BCS National Championship vs. Florida, 14-41, also without a doubt. Everything (besides Illinois and Michigan) came so easily for the 2006 Bucks. Most games were won by halftime, Troy Smith ran away with the Heisman, and away games no longer seemed an issue. Enter Florida, who crushed this OSU hubris like a frat boy crushes Natty Lites at a party. This debacle in the desert paved the way for ridiculous arguments on conference strength and delayed Tressel's ascension into absolute legendary status amongst Buckeye fans.
Best Michigan Game: 2005 @ Michigan, 25-22. While many would argue for next year's 42-39 offensive model, the 2005 game was far more of a struggle--capped with a great comeback. OSU had the early lead, then saw the Wolverines sprint past and lead by nine in the fourth. The Bucks really had to scrap for victory, epitomized best by Anthony Gonzalez's great grab late in the fourth. Antonio Pittman scored the winning TD with 25 seconds left.
Best Game That Was Still A Loss: 2005 vs. Texas, 22-25. In spite the outcome, this game was exciting. Vince Young played badly, then brilliantly as he rallied the Longhorns to victory. The game was back and forth as Texas led early 10-0 but the Bucks dominated the second quarter, but Texas refused to yield and instead of TDs, the Bucks settled largely for FGs. The Longhorns scored nine unanswered in the fourth en route to victory (and their National Championship). In terms of significance for OSU, this game proved that a two-QB rotation would not work as its two-quarterback platoon blew up as Justin Zwick fumbled the ball late and Troy Boy got sacked for a saftety, which ensured defeat. Troy Smith would soon seize the reins for good and OSU would get revenge the following year.

Best First Half: 2001 @ Michigan, with the Buckeyes up 21-0 (26-20 final score). This game was like Christmas. Up until this point, Tressel's first season was largely forgettable and mediocre. However with this victory in this game, Tressel became Tress and captured Buckeye Nation's collective hearts. (You may remember that in his first rally, he said that the team would make the community proud at Michigan, 310 days hence). Jonathan Wells made Tressel prophetic as he ran wild (129 yards, 3 TDs) over Michigan, who could not do anything right--fumbles, interceptions, even snapping the ball (OSU got a saftety off a bad snap in the second half).
Best Second Half: 2002 vs. Washington State, 21 unanswered (25-7). Maurice Clarett, the nation knew ye. After trailing 7-6 at the half, Clarett and the Bucks defense poured it on Wazzu led by then-Heisman hopeful Jason Gessler. Clarett racked up 194 yards in the second half (230 for the game) and two scores as Ohio State beat their first nationally ranked opponent of the year. The image of Clarett bowling over two Wazzu defenders will always make me smile, save until he holds me at gunpoint.

Game OSU Should Have Lost: 2002 vs. Cincinnati, 23-19. Coming off the big win against Wazzu, OSU came out flat versus the Bearcats. The Bucks trailed most of the game, then finally went up on a Krenzel scramble for a TD. UC receivers missed three catches in the endzone during the final minute before Will Allen intercepted Cincy's last attempt, in a move that woud become his trademark. In all of OSU's 2002 nailbitters, this one was the closet, ironically to a team that would finish unranked.

Biggest Statement Game: 2006 @ Iowa, 38-17. While the 2006 Texas game deserves consideration, that game was close in the first half. OSU unloaded on a supposedly good Iowa team (OMG, Drew Tate's back!) in primetime at their place. Troy Boy threw four touchdown passes, including the sickest play in OSU history, Gonzo's catch on a crossing route, then turning on a dime and eluding the defense for a 30 yard score. Sick.

Game That Most Epitomizes 2002: 2002 @ Purdue, 10-6. One word describes this game: CRAZY. Among the myriad of things that happened during the game: Clarett coming out due to his shoulder stinger, a last second first half FG that kept Nugent's consecutive made streak alive, a Chris Gamble game-ending interception, and Krenzel proving that he can win a game on his arm with his feet not set. Luckeyes indeed.

Res ThaSequel's favorite OSU football player growing up was SE #12 Buster Tillman, which even he admits is pretty weird.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Rich didn't get the memo

As Eleven Warriors reported earlier this week, during a press conference RichRod commented on Jim Tressel bringing to attention what a bottom feeder the new UM coach really is.

Specifically speaking, Tress, ever so delicately, called Rich out on pursuing and signing a previously committed player--within the Big Ten nonetheless.

The Palestra and it's team of Johnny-on-the-spot student reporters were on hand for said press conference and, with due respect to the printed word, it's becoming more and more apparent that a moving picture of this tactless traitor is worth 1 million words:

Uncouth, unprofessional, defensive (offensive), abrasive: these are words that come to mind when watching Rodriguez piss away the millions he's evidently worth every time he opens his mouth.

Judging by the tone and Rich's verbiage, it wouldn't be wrong to suspect that the following was edited out by a guerrilla UM public relations team before allowing the clip to air:

"Ima' pistol whip you, boy"
"I learned that rule book just like the rest of 'em, I learned it gooood."
"Spread offense"
"This here [inset noun]"
"Badeep, badeep, that's all folks!"

Stay tuned for this week's VIEW FROM THE HEDGES wherein ThaSequal pays tribute to a real coach who's about kick off his 8th (ten month long) college football season at the same school.

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