Monday Morning Kickoff

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Last updated: 08/20/2012 10:20 AM
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Football
Monday Morning Kickoff: Whining, Pining, and D-Lining
By Tony Gerdeman

Recently, Urban Meyer and Ohio State gave full access to ESPN camera crews to follow them around and film meetings, practices, car rides, and the like. It made for some very interesting television. Fans got to see things that they rarely ever get to see.

Last night, the BTN aired the Ohio State preview special that was filmed on Saturday when they were granted access to a closed scrimmage. It also made for a good watch.

I think it's safe to assume that fans were pleased with both opportunities to get an inside look at the Buckeyes because people want to know as much about their team as they possibly can.

Few fanbases want to know as much about their favorite team as Buckeye fans do. There are currently four pay sites covering Ohio State football—five, if you include the Columbus Dispatch, one free site, and a dozen blogs, including one of the most popular in the business as evidence.

Basically, Buckeye fans just can't get too much of a good thing.

It's this same love for the Buckeyes that makes some fans irate whenever the local media make comments about a lack of access.

When members of the BTN road crew were tweeting from a closed Ohio State scrimmage, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that there would be some ruffled feathers within the local media. If some are allowed in, why not all?

Tweets from members of the football beat started popping up on Saturday concerning their not being allowed to attend a scrimmage that was being covered by the BTN. Those tweets were quickly responded to with disdain from a good number of Buckeye fans.

Can you identify this writer on the OSU beat?
Photo not by Jim Davidson or Dan Harker

Fans should want the media to have 24/7 access because they would then be able to digest so much more information that the media would pass along. But they will never place that desire for data over the desire to defend their program when it comes to the "whining" media complaining about their university.

Ironically, it's that same insatiable desire and dedication to their program that also buys the subscriptions and provides the clicks that make paydays for everybody on the Ohio State beat possible.

You can't have one without the other, and our goal to get you as much information as possible coincides perfectly with your own desire to have as much information as your Scarlet and Gray-filled brain will allow.

Can you identify this OSU fan that is upset with the media?
Photo not by Jim Davidson or Dan Harker
OSU Fan

I understand having distrust for the media, everyone should employ that distrust, but getting upset at local media who tweet that they would have liked to have attended a scrimmage is like a hand getting upset at a glove for complaining about the cold.

The glove is working to provide the hand with what it needs, and when it's cold out, it's harder to provide what the hand needs.

When our job is easy, you get exactly what you want and more. When our job is difficult, you still get stuff that you want, but it's probably not as good as it could be.

Our job is to feed you. Sometimes you get steak, sometimes you get scraps. But when we see somebody else giving you scraps that we could have turned into a restaurant-quality dish, it can be a little frustrating.

The point that certain media members were making on Saturday was simply, "If you've already got television cameras there, what's the harm in letting others in?"

Closed practices are a way of life in sports. Open practices are as well. But practices that are open to some and closed to others will always bring out some frustrations.

Noah Spence
Photo by Jim Davidson
Noah Spence

In an effort to get back to talking about football, I have to say that I'm beginning to think that any superlative or expectation that you want to heap on freshman defensive end Noah Spence will be matched and then some.

He is moving at a trajectory right now that has a very high ceiling. He is successful against first-teamers and unblockable against second-teamers. Spence will be given an immediate opportunity to show what he can do, and you should expect big things.

It also doesn't hurt that he has Ohio State's all-time sack leader coaching him every day. By the way, if you're interested, Spence would likely need to average twelve sacks per year in order to tie Mike Vrabel's school-record of 36.0 sacks.

The more I hear the Ohio State coaches talk about receiver Philly Brown, the more I think that he is going to be more than capable of handling the ball in a myriad of ways.

"Philly" Brown
Photo by Jim Davidson
Corey Brown

Offensive coordinator Tom Herman said that he didn't see Brown as a guy who was capable of carrying the ball inside like Percy Harvin used to, but both Herman and Urban Meyer have raved about every other one of Brown's abilities.

The good thing for the Buckeyes is that not only is Brown catching the ball, but he's also carrying it out wide, and he's been effective doing both. There's no point in giving somebody a role if they can't turn it into something productive.

Brown's speed and athletic ability are why Meyer recruited him when he was at Florida, so obviously he's had some ideas in mind for Brown for a few years now. We will finally get to see those ideas realized this season.

If Ohio State fans think they are excited about the Buckeyes' new offense this season,
then they should hear receiver Devin Smith.

Devin Smith
Photo by Jim Davidson
Devin Smith

Talking to Smith last week, he was like a dog barking at the door waiting to go out.

"Very excited," he said about the upcoming season.

"Very excited. A lot of throwing. As receivers in this type of offense, that's what we need, and that's what we're looking forward to."

And if you thought it seemed like the Buckeyes ran the ball a lot last season, you are not alone.

"That's what it all was last year it seemed like was blocking," he said. "We just never really got the passing game going.

"It was like we were only out there for blocking because we always ran a lot. But now we've worked very hard to install this offense, and it's helped the receivers really value the game. The offense is just great."

And even if that offense has trouble completing passes, it should still be well-populated with receivers who are very adept at run blocking.

Consider it a fall-back plan that you never want to implement.

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