In spite of the fact that I had welcomed Nate (@writemywrong) on board to cover my Monday morning responsibilities with this daily feature, I’m filling in today for the ailing Charles. Charles is undergoing gall bladder surgery and could use some love on Twitter (the only form of legitimate props, or holla backs, in the 21st century) @Charles OHD.
The week has been busy, so what follows is “five in the hive” in the manner to which I am accustomed. The topics today are eclectic, but do not touch on the important issue of whether Duran Duran is either a Duran, or a Duran.
Tom Crean Has Issues with Something or Something
Tom Crean might be the least likable shooty hoops coach in the B1G from the Ohio State point of view. This is considerable, given Bo Ryan is a thing that exists and someone is coaching Those Shooty Hoops Up North at any given time point. Tom Crean has never been entirely gracious in defeat at the hands of the Buckeyes, and, apparently, he doesn’t seem to be this time either. He went on a rant during a radio show and it was the most innocuous question that set him off.
Crean was first asked about his assistant coaches and what their roles are.
“I think when you get to the game and you get out there at early at Indiana, you don’t see our (assistants) hob-nobbing with national media members and sitting on the sideline and relaxing,” Crean said. “We don’t have a team of guys that are out wearing their Beats headphones as they’re warming up. Our guys are out there working with them. I don’t have a group of guys that are grandstanders, that are looking to get an article done about them. I’ve got a group of guys that are really, really hungry to make the team better. That’s game night.”
He went on to say that the assistants help a lot with the scout, and obviously with recruiting. He then went back on attack mode and said he only had one problem with his staff.
“Our coaches, they’re very tolerant, and sometimes I don’t like that,” Crean said. “They’re tolerant of some of the things we see in recruiting. They’re tolerant of some of the negativity. They’re tolerant of some of the grandstand assistant coaches that run their mouth constantly against us in recruiting and want to talk about development, yet they’re the guys that are cheerleading and hob-nobbing and all of those kinda things. It’s about making your players better, and I don’t think there’s any question whatsoever that our coaches are making our players better. … I’m not good with silver spoon coaches. I’m not good with male models. I’m not good with guys who need to have a lot said and written about ‘em. I’m good with guys that roll up their sleeves and get to work. I think that’s what we’ve got.”
So, how does this concern Ohio State? Ari Wassserman suggests he was referring America’s assistant coach, Jeff Boals, and that the behavior to which he takes offense (e.g. “grandstanding”) describes what he sees Boals doing in pre-game preparations when the Hoosiers play the Buckeyes.
But, that’s conjecture at this point. In the meantime, it might be more appropriate for a coach whose only claims to fame are having Dwyane Wade for a few years and finishing no better than 9th in the B1G TEN to keep it on the down low. Per R. Kelly, nobody has to know. Really, we don’t have to know because we don’t care to hear it.
Plus, it my fervent belief that you diss Jeff Boals and you diss yourself. Motherf*cker, and that’s just fact.
Nick Saban Can’t Count to 85, or Chooses Not To
The latest Alabama oversigning scandal is out now, and it’s not pretty. Nick Saban and company, perhaps the face of this scourge in college football, called a recruit, Justin Taylor, who had been committed to them for almost a full 12 months and asked him to do the Rammer Jammers a solid and, you know, not enroll in college.
Here’s the problem for Alabama: new SEC band-aids on the practice of oversigning caps recruiting classes at 25 for a given recruiting cycle, though 25 x 4 = 100 > 85. Alabama is currently at 26 commitments for the class and I don’t believe any one of them has enrolled early, back counting a 2012 class against 2011. So, someone has to leave and Saban targeted Taylor. Taylor suffered a season-ending knee injury. He is also a projected tailback and Alabama recently acquired an “upgrade” at the position by poaching Auburn recruit (and likely future Heisman candidate) T.J. Yeldon this past December. So, in spite of the fact that any coach genuinely concerned about a prospective student-athlete would want the kid enrolled and in the university’s sports medicine program, Saban asked him if he would kinda not go to college for awhile, and perhaps find a job (with assistance from the University of Alabama, a legal practice, but still kinda weird).
Obviously, this did not go over well at all with Taylor’s high school football coach. Any good, caring high school football coach (and there are a lot of them) would be mortified by this and it is not helping that Taylor’s high school coach and the assistant responsible for recruiting Taylor were college friends from the University of South Carolina.
If a kid has been committed for a year, you would think the college would honor it. But I understand college football is a business. When you hit the 25-scholarship limit, the colleges have to do something. It’s a hard situation for me because I’m also the legal guardian for Justin. I have to look at it from all sides. I’m upset about it. I kind of understand where Alabama is coming from because unfortunately he hurt this knee. But I was mad when [Alabama assistant Chris Rumph] called me about it two weeks ago. He knew I was mad. We played together at South Carolina. He knows me, and he knows how I feel about this. He assured me about [signing in 2013]. I left it up to Justin. If he still wanted to go to Alabama under those circumstances, that was up to him. For me, personally, I would go to a school where I am wanted. That’s just me.”
Somehow, the band-aid the Southeastern Conference applied on the oversigning problem constitutes progress on the issue. Instead of being railroaded by Nick Saban after he had already locked into Alabama and enrolled, he’s being railroaded now. Taylor has taken the hint and has explored some options, but notice the problem here. By being committed to Alabama for almost a year now and being injured for his senior season, his options are few. Teams like Georgia and Georgia Tech that recruited him early into the process no doubt found replacements through the season and may not be looking for options at the position in the eleventh hour. Further, potential new suitors may not have great film in which to evaluate him after he had been sidelined in the all important senior year with an injury. So, Alabama still has leverage over Justin Taylor by essentially constricting his options, in spite of the SEC’s half-hearted attempts to curb oversigning.
Nick Saban and Chris Rumph promised to sign a sheet of paper guaranteeing him a spot in the 2013 class, if that non-binding pledge helps. I’m not sure why that napkin would be necessary; they already offered him a letter of intent by recruiting him in the first place.
The short term deal is this really doesn’t hurt Saban on the recruiting trail. No doubt, it’s embarrassing. The response from the greater Fulton/Gwinnett County areas has been of basic outrage, so Saban’s positioning within that talent-rich area may hurt for a little bit. Still, Saban’s NFL credentials and college success speak volumes and he will always have that lure to potential recruits who may not see how shallow his interest is in them. In the intermediate to long term, this should hurt Saban so long as it eventually forces the NCAA to do the right thing and institute, nation-wide, oversigning rules similar to what the B1G TEN has.
Whatever it is, stuff like this has to stop if the NCAA wishes to continue its make-believe that it has the student-athletes’ interests at heart. It should start with the emphasis currently on the number 25 and replacing it on the number 85.
Options to Replace Taver Johnson
The O-Zone discusses who are likely candidates to replace the open cornerback coach position. I’ll reproduce them below.
- Chuck Heater (Temple Owls)
- Troy Douglas (Unattached, formerly at North Carolina)
- Tim Walton (Detroit Lions)
- Teryl Austin (Baltimore Ravens)
- Vance Bedford (Louisville Cardinals)
- Travaris Robinson (Florida Gators)
Mind you, this is just speculation of who is accessible and who might be interested. The two front-runners are the first two names on the list. I’m really partial to Chuck Heater. A former Ohio State assistant and assistant for Urban Meyer at both Utah and Florida, I really think Meyer stands to benefit from having an assistant on defense with whom he has worked and in whom he can trust. At 59 years of age, Heater is the only name on the list that is likely to treat Ohio State as a destination and an “end of the line” appointment. Should Luke Fickell leave the nest in the next few years, a promotion for Heater to full defensive coordinator would be a seamless transition for Ohio State football.
Another candidate is Troy Douglas. Douglas has zero connections to Ohio State outside of Everett Withers, who just got here. Douglas becomes a likely candidate namely because, unlike the other candidates, he’s looking for work. There would be nothing to leave behind, unlike Heater, who just settled into Philadelphia in 2011. If Meyer privileges Ohio State connections, that Douglas has none should be a strike against him. That he has worked with Withers before and graduated college with Withers at Appalachian State (*giggle*) should help.
Walton and Austin are intriguing in as much as more NFL credentials for the coaching staff is nice and it’s something Ohio State did not really have under the previous regime. Walton might be more likely than Austin, namely because Walton is an alumnus of the university and is a former Ohio State captain. That guarantees nothing, though. In both occasions, a promotion of sorts would be necessary to drag either away from their NFL gig and that does not appear to be something Ohio State could offer.
Bedford and Robinson are just names to round out the list. The same condition regarding a promotion carrot still applies. If any one of those four becomes Ohio State’s cornerbacks coach in 2012, the probability of them staying into 2013 is probably less than .5 and decreases even more in subsequent years.
Spring Game is April 21st
Fans anxious for their first glimpse of Urban Meyer’s new offense at Ohio State should circle April 21 on their 2012 calendars.
That will be the day of the first Scarlet and Gray Spring Game under the new head coach, an Ohio State spokesperson announced Tuesday.
The University also announced that Meyer will begin his first spring practice on March 28, which is a Wednesday.
The game itself, which concludes Ohio State’s annual spring practice, will kick off at 1:30 p.m. EST at Ohio Stadium the weekend before the start of the 2012 NFL Draft.
I’ll be there. You can find me and yell at me about how bad I suck if you missed your chance at Eat/Drink Too, Brutus.
Part 1 of Gerry Dinardo’s “1-on-1″ interview with Urban Meyer
Dinardo asked a fairly pointed question about Meyer’s offense as if Meyer’s offense were Chip Kelly’s offense. I LOLed. Not all spreads are equal and Urban Meyer is not as cavalier with time of possession as Chip Kelly or Rich Rodriguez.