There were not many
surprises at the Big Ten kickoff luncheon on Thursday. The media picked
to win the conference, followed by
State. Buckeye strong safety Mike Doss was selected as the preseason defensive
player of the year and Spartan wide receiver Charles Rogers got the nod on
It's interesting that the
league only reveals the top three teams. Maybe the media has been burned too
many times when teams like Northwestern are picked to finish 11th
and end up taking first or second.
I wonder where
would have been on the list. The Illini are not getting much respect, due to
the loss of Kurt Kittner, but if one of their QB's step up, they will once
again be a good team. Ron Turner is one of the better coaches in the league
and you know he is always going to put a good defense on the field. Also,
the tandem of Iowa
transfer Jon Beutjer and Dustin Ward might be better than people think
behind center. Both are juniors with a little more overall experience than Ohio
State's Craig Krenzel and Scott McMullen. Beutjer once threw for over 300 yards
in a game against Indiana as a freshman and Ward got his feet wet on
occasion the last two years at Kittner's backup (like when Mike Doss ended
Kittner's junior season a tad early).
Purdue is my other
darkhorse team. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Orton is suited very well for Joe
Tiller's pass-happy offense and the Boilers have a league-best 17 returning
My stab at the league
standings? Here we go...
(tons of talent, just think Bobby Williams will screw it up somehow)
State's starting offensive line (LT Shane Olivea, LG Adrien Clarke, C Alex
Stepanovich, RG Bryce Bishop, RT Ivan Douglas) has an average combined
height/weight of 6-foot-5, 313 pounds. Olivea is listed as 6-5, 310, Clarke
is 6-5, 325, the beefed up Stepanovich is 6-4, 310, Bishop is 6-3, 315 and
the svelte Douglas is 6-8, 305.
Remember, these are media
guide listings, so they are always subject to exaggerations, both ways.
Olivea is about two inches short of 6-5 and Clarke is about 10 double
cheeseburgers over 325.
There's also some good
ones on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Jim Heacock told me that tackle Marcus Green is close to 330 pounds, but Green is still listed at his
high school weight of 300.
Oh well, any way you want
to look at it, the Bucks will field a pretty big offensive line this year.
Now let's just hope they stay healthy.
IT ONE STEP FURTHER
named its first female president earlier this week when Dr. Karen Holbrook
was hired to replace Brit Kirwan. Holbrook, 59, was the Senior Vice
President of Academic Affairs and Provost at the
. It didn't take Holbrook long to try and warm up to the OSU football
faithful. During her press conference, Holbrook made the following
statement... "I never dreamed that I would be fortunate enough to
return to the
and cheer for the Buckeyes as they clean
's clock 121 days from today."
Wow! The new prez just
one-upped Jim Tressel. All Tress said during that now infamous OSU/UM hoops
game was, "I promise you will be proud of our young people, in the
classroom, in the community... and most especially... in 310 days... in
Ann Arbor, Michigan
on the football field."
Don't forget about running
back Ja Ja Riley. The redshirt frosh from San Diego
might not get too many chances this year, but he looked good last spring and
could be a very important player later in his career. If Maurice Clarett
turns pro after his junior year (I know, it's silly to say something like
that about a kid who hasn't even played a snap of college football, but word
is Clarett wants to be a three and done guy), that will mean Clarett, Lydell
Ross and Maurice will all be leaving the program at the same time. That
would leave Riley as the only senior running back on the roster in 2005. You
can bet running back will be priority No. 1 for Bill Conley and the rest of
the staff for the '04 recruiting class.
Also, and I hate to say
this, I will be somewhat surprised if Clarett, Ross and Hall are all still
on the team next year. I hope I am wrong about this, I want all of these
guys to stay in the program. With injuries, all of them will be needed, but
I just think egos will get in the way if one of them doesn't get the carries
they want this year.
Here's three more samplings
of the "Bucknuts 10." This time we quizzed Doss, Clarett and
cornerback Harlen Jacobs.
1. Favorite Buckeye
Doss: Senior Tackle
Clarett: ("I haven't
been here long enough to say.")
Jacobs: Skull Session
2. Largest figure in OSU
Doss: Woody Hayes
Clarett: Archie Griffin or
Jacobs: Woody Hayes
3. Strangest thing an OSU
fan asked you to autograph?
Doss: Popsicle stick
Clarett: Torn napkin at a
Jacobs: Their stomach
(unfortunately, it was a guy)
4. Favorite NFL team?
5. Favorite pro sports team
not including football?
. Reds, Indians, Cavs.
Jacobs: LA Lakers
6. If you could go on a
date with anyone, who would it be?
Doss: Alicia Keys
Jacobs: Alicia Keys
7. If you could go on a
free two-week vacation anywhere, where would you go?
Doss: Bahamas or Florida Keys
Clarett: Back home for some
8. Favorite type of music?
Doss: Rap/Nelly, Jay-Z,
9. Favorite food?
Clarett: Tootsie Rolls
10. Favorite Hobby?
Clarett: Video games
Jacobs: Watching TV
Doss: The Game/Martin
Stay tuned for more from Dave Biddle next week!