Football and Men"s Basketball
Thinking Out Loud: Q’s Slump, Roby’s Big Decision, White As Can Be
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio - If you haven’t heard by now – and I’m not sure how closely you’re following Ohio State sports if you haven’t – the Buckeyes will be wearing white on white alternate uniforms for this year’s Michigan game.
Contrary to early reports, the all-white uniforms were not meant to pay tribute to the 1950 ‘Snow Bowl’ between Ohio State and That School Up North. You know, a game that took place in nearly subzero temperatures, and one the Buckeyes lost 9-3 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
“Ohio State is not honoring the ‘snow bowl’ or any team/game this year with their white alternate uniforms for the game,” an OSU spokesperson said Monday.
“The inspiration for the white uniforms had a climate element, but not a homage to a team or game element. Ohio State will be wearing white uniforms to stay cutting edge and take care of its players, who like wearing an alternate.”
Now that we have that cleared up, the thought of Ohio State bucking tradition to “stay cutting edge” is not exactly a new concept. In fact, the Buckeyes already wore an alternate uniform for a game earlier this season. It was a repeat of an earlier alternate jersey the team wore last season against Michigan, and this will be the fifth different alternate jersey worn by Ohio State in the last five season.
The first one was also a white alternate, intended to honor the school’s 1954 team with a look that featured a white jersey, gray pants and a white helmet that matched the number on the front and back of the jersey.
For those purists who would rather see the Buckeyes in their traditional road uniforms, especially for ‘The Game’ in Ann Arbor, don’t expect to see the alternate uniforms go away any time soon. Not as long as Urban Meyer is the head coach in Columbus.
“I love tradition, but I love recruiting better,” Meyer said back in February during the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer.
“Recruiting is really important in the game of college football. Like really important. Like more important than anything else.”
He wasn’t joking either.
“What's the most important thing after recruiting,” he asked rhetorically, “recruiting.”
Not all fans will love the decision, and there probably won’t be a single recruit who picks Ohio State just because they are wearing special uniforms, but it’s all about being the flavor of the month. Wearing an alternate jersey may not directly lead to better recruiting, but Meyer is trying to create a persona about Ohio State that makes kids feel like they have to be there.
They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Jim Tressel used to say if it ain’t broke, break it. That’s exactly what Urban Meyer is doing. In reality, Meyer has won more national championships in the last 40 years than the program he coaches, so people comparing the Buckeyes to what Alabama is doing need to realize Ohio State is not on that level right now. Meyer is trying to get them there.
Bye Bye Bradley
Photo by Jim Davidson
We all knew it was coming, but it’s at least a little curious coach Meyer decided to announce Bradley Roby’s decision to turn pro after this season with two games left on the schedule.
“We talked,” Meyer told reporters Wednesday after practice.
“He's going to move on. That's all you ask. You don't ask for five years nowadays. It's no secret. I think it's great for him and great for Ohio State.”
The fact Roby is a fourth-year junior definitely plays into this decision, which was really made back in the spring. That’s when Roby openly told us all this would be his last season in Columbus, and if we didn’t believe him then, we should have taken him seriously when he showed up in some of the senior photos on Ohio State’s Media Day back in August.
Roby redshirted as a freshman back in 2010, but he came in with guys like Philly Brown, Christian Bryant, Carlos Hyde, Drew Basil, Jonathan Hankins (already in the NFL), and Andrew Norwell. (On a side note, think about some of the other names in that class for a moment – guys like David Durham, James Louis, Taylor Graham, Chad Hagan and Scott McVey.)
One NFL Mock Draft had Roby going No. 10 overall back in October, but the latest mock draft from CBS Sports has three different defensive backs going in the first round and none of them are named Bradley Roby. I’m still not sure that means Roby should stick around in Columbus for another season. This one hasn’t exactly been a coming out party for Roby, but I’m not sure another year in school is going to dramatically boost his draft stock.
Roby is a physical freak. I’ve been impressed with his man-to-man coverage skills since the first time I saw him at an OSU practice, but his athleticism, ability to close and playmaking prowess will be what most NFL GMs are excited about. I don’t know if I see him being a first round pick at this point, but I don’t think he will slip too far down the draft because of a few bad games. He’s the type of kid who is going to make a few more memorable plays this year, wow people at the combine with his athleticism and impress coaches and general managers in the interviews with his personality.
Meyer said Thursday Roby is on pace to graduate in the spring, and there’s really not a lot more Ohio State can ask for from this kid. Timing seems right to me for him to make the jump, even if he hasn’t had the year people were expecting.
What’s Wrong With Q?
Photo by Jim Davidson
This is a question I’ve heard a lot recently, but never more so than after Ohio State’s 63-52 win over American University. LaQuinton Ross was 1-of-7 from the floor in that game with just four points in 19 minutes. Despite the fact this OSU team is struggling to put the ball in the basket, Thad Matta had Ross wasting away on the bench for most of the day.
The guy who was supposed to replace Deshaun Thomas as the team’s top-scorer this season is currently sixth on the team in scoring, averaging just 7.0 points a night over the team’s first four games. He is 9-of-37 from the field so far this season and 4-of-15 from behind the arc, some startling numbers for a kid who was being projected as a possible first round pick in next year’s NBA Draft.
At least one NBA Mock Draft has already dropped Ross into the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft, but right now Ross has bigger things to worry about. It’s still incredibly early in the season, but it’s almost unimaginable that a kid this talented could go scoreless in Ohio State’s win over Marquette.
After all, this is the same kid who dropped 17 on Iowa State, 17 on Arizona and 19 on Wichita State in last year’s NCAA Tournament. So we know he can put the ball in the basket, which is what makes this early-season slump such a mystery for the junior out of Mississippi.
At some point I would fully expect him to snap out of his funk, but I’m not quite those people who expected Ross to be a better version of DT this season are going to be satisfied with what they get from Q the rest of the year. His game is all there. He can put it on the floor, he can shoot the three, he can post up inside; I’m just not sure he has that killer mentality to be the guy who carries a basketball team the way Thomas did last year or Jared Sullinger did the year before.
To me, Ross doesn’t have to be a superstar for this team to have success, but he does have to be a consistent scorer. The Buckeyes are good enough defensively to be in every game, but they’re going to need those 14-18 points a night from Q if they’re going to win tough games in the Big Ten.