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Monday, October 10, 2011

Ohio State Lawyer says NCAA Ignoring Evidence - Top 25 Rankings - 10 Things we Learned from OSU's Meltdown


10 Things we Learned from OSU's Meltdown
brandon casteel theozone.net
1. Momentum is a hell of a drug. How many times during this game did you say to yourself, or someone else watching nearby, “this thing is over with one or two more first downs?” For 35 minutes, this game was as one-sided as any in recent history. It was equally as one-sided in the opposite directions for the final 25 minutes. One fumble should not cost a team a 27-6 lead. That is called a meltdown, but the change in momentum really was palpable Saturday, especially after Nebraska turned Braxton Miller’s fumble into a touchdown. All of a sudden the crowd Ohio State hard worked so hard to silence was alive, and there is little question that it had an impact on the outcome of the game.

2. Braxton Miller had better find a way stay healthy. Watching Braxton Miller lead the offense up and down the field in the first half was reminder of all the once was great in Columbus. After being yanked late in the game last week against Michigan State, Miller looked like a new and improved version of himself out there against Nebraska. He was running, he was passing and he was picking up third downs all over the place. It was a lot of fun, while it lasted. This could be the start of something fun. This could be the beginning of another special time in Ohio State history, or it could be a tease, a glimpse at something the fans could have but never will because Miller can’t manage to stay on the field long enough to be truly great. Without him Saturday, the Buckeyes managed just 31 yards of offense.

3. Shame on the coaches for not thinking ahead. The fact Joe Bauserman’s lame duck performance was Ohio State’s only backup plan for Miller if he gets hurt is a complete testament to the cluelessness of this coaching staff. The freshman quarterback has a history of injury issues and has a propensity for throwing his body around with little regard for his health. Furthermore, they were the ones that put together a game plan that featured Miller as a runner as much as a passer. If they couldn’t comprehend that he might get hurt, then it probably explains a lot about why they are 3-3 right now.

4. There is a reason Guiton was warming up. It only took them six games too long, but the OSU coaches finally realized they couldn’t win with Joe Bauserman. It is a harsh, cold reality, but an obvious one to anyone that has watched a single quarter of football since the opener against Akron. The Zips might be the only team in the country that can make Bauserman look like a Division I quarterback. It didn’t seem possible, but somehow Bauserman managed to look worse than he had against Miami (Fla.) a few weeks back. He has completely lost any confidence he once had, and there is no reason to believe any of his teammates have much confidence in him either. How could they? The guy can’t compete a pass. His only one in 10 tries Saturday was a sliding catch by Philly Brown. Other than that, he was 0-for-9 with a pick and about five balls thrown into the stands. He somehow managed to make a 14-point lead look like a 14-point deficit. Time to move on. Ohio State can do better, they should do better, and fans should demand better.

5. Philly Brown is a difference-maker. For the first time five games, the Buckeyes had a playmaking wide receiver on the field Saturday night. He finished with three catches for 61 yards in his return from an ankle injury, but more importantly, Philly Brown just looked like a guy who defenses need to pay attention to. He can turn a short completion into a big gain, and we also saw how he can stretch the field vertically. Brown had a step on both his defenders late in the game, but Bauserman underthrew him by a yard, which happened to be the outstretched arms of defensive back Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

6. Mike Adams also provided a big boost. We kept hearing at the start of the year how this offensive line had a chance to be one of the best in the last 10-12 years. Now we know why. The return of Mike Adams has allowed the Buckeyes to substitute their best offensive lineman at the most critical position while also upgrading two other spots. Adams played lights out in his return from a five-game suspension, locking up defensive end Carmon Meredith all night. J.B. Shugarts also did a pretty good job against Jared Crick on the other side (when he wasn’t false starting), but the return of Adams also upgraded OSU’s two guard spots. Andrew Norwell’s move to left guard gives the Buckeyes two starting left tackles on that side of the line and Jack Mewhort is bit of a upgrade from their other options on the right side of the line. And that was their first game playing together with this new look.

7. This coaching staff can’t get out of its own way. They were so close to turning the corner Saturday and then they reminded us of who they really are at heart. The only reason the Buckeyes came out with all that fancy shmancy offense in the first half was the fact that absolutely nothing they like to do was working. As soon as they got the lead, however, they went right back to the junk they were trying to force-feed us before. It was like Jim Bollman showed us a glimpse of what this team could look like and then took it away and punished us for looking. There is a reason Oklahoma beat Texas 55-17 Saturday, and it is not because they went into a shell as soon as they got a lead on their archrivals.

8. Tresselball still doesn’t work without Tressel. Frustrating as it was, Jim Tressel was a master at milking out a win—and almost certainly would have gotten out of Lincoln with one this weekend. But Tressel is no longer around, and this was yet another example of how his formula for success only works when mixed with a strong does of Jim Tressel. Does anyone think Tressel would have settled for a punt when a field goal would have put his team up by two scores? Of course not! Instead of passing on 2nd and 3rd down, Tressel would have pounded the ball up the middle for 6-7 yards and set his kicker up for a much more makeable 42-yard field goal. There is a HUGE difference between seven and 10 points at that stage of the game. That’s something it takes years to perfect, but only one game to screw up. Maybe if Fickell really did things his way with a staff he had picked, things might work a lot better. Right now, he’s trying to do things his way with a staff that only knows how to do things Tressel’s way. It’s a bad combination.

9. The defense finally broke. A lot of the blame for this loss is going to go to Miller for his fumble or Bauserman for whatever he calls that showing, but it’s time for the OSU defense to shoulder some of the blame. This team blew a 21-point lead in the second half, and only one of those scores was the direct result of an offensive turnover. After looking poised and disciplined in the first half, the defense started to come apart in the second half. Nebraska could sense it and they optioned the Buckeyes right into oblivion. This OSU defense is young, but that’s not the only reason they lost Saturday’s game. This defense is also slow, at least in the front seven. Unlike great Silver Bullet defenses of the past, this team has been gashed on the outside runs this season and when one guy misses a tackle, it’s off to the races. It also doesn’t help when a sophomore safety gives up two touchdowns the way Christian Bryant did.

10. Better times are ahead, we think. All that being said, there is actually a lot of reason to be optimistic following this game. There’s a chance the coaches will just go back to their archaic way of thinking and the offense will struggle the rest of the way. There is also a chance that what we saw in the first half is only a glimpse of what this team will look like, especially when they get Boom Herron back next week.





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Giants’ Cruz makes jaw-dropping one-handed TD catch
One week after being spared the role of the would-be goat, receiver Victor Cruz(notes) was almost the would-be hero. The New York Giants receiver, who was bailed out of a careless fumble by the officials in last Sunday's victory, made a spectacular, one-handed catch late in this week's game against the Seattle Seahawks that gave New York a lead.
Eli Manning's(notes) deep throw into double coverage was tipped by safety Kam Chancellor(notes). Cruz kept his eye on the ball, reached right and made a one-handed catch, barely breaking stride and never putting his left hand on the ball en route to a spectacular 68-yard touchdown.




USA Today Poll
1 Oklahoma (32) 5-0 1434
2 LSU (15) 6-0 1409
3 Alabama (11) 6-0 1399
4 Wisconsin (1) 5-0 1244
5 Stanford 5-0 1232
6 Boise State 5-0 1170
7 Oklahoma State 5-0 1168
8 Clemson 6-0 1046
9 Oregon 4-1 995
10 Michigan 6-0 891
11 Arkansas 5-1 871
12 Georgia Tech 6-0 805
13 South Carolina 5-1 678
14 Nebraska 5-1 671
15 Illinois 6-0 634
16 West Virginia 5-1 528
17 Virginia Tech 5-1 523
18 Kansas State 5-0 462
19 Michigan State 4-1 431
20 Arizona State 5-1 343
21 Texas 4-1 243
22 Houston 6-0 200
23 Texas A&M 3-2 198
24 Baylor 4-1 185
25 Penn State 5-1 77


AP Top 25
1 LSU (40) 6-0 1450
2 Alabama (10) 6-0 1405
3 Oklahoma (8) 5-0 1382
4 Wisconsin 5-0 1243
5 Boise State (1) 5-0 1222
6 Oklahoma State 5-0 1176
7 Stanford 5-0 1164
8 Clemson 6-0 1080
9 Oregon 4-1 1000
10 Arkansas 5-1 921
11 Michigan 6-0 868
12 Georgia Tech 6-0 741
13 West Virginia 5-1 659
14 Nebraska 5-1 642
15 South Carolina 5-1 608
16 Illinois 6-0 594
17 Kansas State 5-0 580
18 Arizona State 5-1 414
19 Virginia Tech 5-1 410
20 Baylor 4-1 308
21 Texas A&M 3-2 251
22 Texas 4-1 216
23 Michigan State 4-1 181
24 Auburn 4-2 156
25 Houston 6-0 142





Lawyer: NCAA ignoring evidence

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The lawyer for several suspended Ohio State football players is charging the NCAA with ignoring documentation which he says exonerates or reduces the culpability of his clients.
"From (the NCAA's) accusations, the inference is that they had their minds made up and nobody was going to change it," Columbus attorney Larry James said on Sunday.
He said the players did nothing wrong and should not be penalized.
"This is total innocence," he said.
The NCAA denies James' charges. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment but previously called similar allegations by James "patently false."
"You read the NCAA statement (of allegations) and it says the NCAA was not provided with documentation -- now that's patently false," James said at his law firm's office in a downtown high-rise. "You can take the NCAA and me out of it. What does the paper trail say?"
James made records available to The Associated Press which he believes the NCAA did not consider when suspending receiver DeVier Posey for five games for accepting too much pay from a summer job. Last year's leading rusher, Daniel Herron, along with offensive lineman Marcus Hall and defensive lineman Melvin Fellows were held out of only the Buckeyes' 34-27 loss at Nebraska on Saturday.
Those three return this week for the game at No. 15 Illinois. Posey, who along with Herron was also suspended for the first five games of the season for accepting improper benefits from a tattoo-parlor owner, cannot play until the Nov. 19 game against Penn State -- leaving him two games in his senior season.
The NCAA determined that Posey was overpaid $728, Herron and Fellows both accepted approximately $290 in excess pay and Hall received $230 in overpayment from an Independence, Ohio, businessman, Bobby DiGeronimo. Ohio State has banned DiGeronimo, a longtime booster, friend of the program and of players and coaches, from any further contact with Buckeyes athletes and staffers.
James produced detailed records of work hours for each of the players involved, at one point correlating Posey's phone records with his work record, saying they showed that Posey was indeed on the job site and not collecting money without even appearing for work as alleged by the NCAA.
James is being retained by Ohio State with nonpublic funds to represent several Ohio State players. He said the NCAA apparently ignored material he has sent them throughout the summer and fall to back up the players' contention that they were not overpaid.
"Everything -- bank, phone and work records -- all came from me to the NCAA," James said. "Wouldn't it have been nice if they had just told me, 'Save your paper?' Instead, I'm saying, 'What else do you need?'"
The NCAA and James both say that the players said they did not know how much they would be paid, but they expected roughly $14 or $15 per hour to work in a car wash, pick up scrap metal or clean up a storage room.
The players did not receive clearance from Ohio State's NCAA compliance department to work the jobs, as required by the NCAA.
Posey told the NCAA he worked alongside union laborers. James said that was why there was such a disparity in his pay compared to the other players. The NCAA concluded that Posey worked only 21½ hours at a rate of $15 an hour, and therefore was paid for 48½ hours of work that was not performed.
James said he did not intend to sue or seek other legal recourse against the NCAA. He does not believe college sport's sanctioning body will consider reducing the penalty against Posey, Ohio State's top returning receiver from last season.
Three other Ohio State players -- running back Jordan Hall and defensive backs Travis Howard and Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown -- were suspended for the first two games this season for taking $200 in cash while attending a charity event which DiGeronimo helps run.

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