April 17, 2014

Urban Meyer strikes again as Buckeyes also add Arkansas’ Chris Ash

chris ash wisconsinWell, well, Urban Meyer. It appears you did indeed have a few tricks up your sleeve following Thursday’s sudden departure of Mike Vrabel to the NFL.

Earlier today, we shared how revered Penn State defensive lines coach Larry Johnson Sr. is rumored to join the OSU staff in the same open position. Now, Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel has the latest scoop: Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash will be taking the co-defensive coordinator role in Columbus. The team has not yet confirmed either move, but both are expected to be made official in the coming days.

Vrabel’s position under Meyer was as defensive lines coach and co-defensive coordinator with former interim head coach Luke Fickell. Just last week, it was reported that he left to join Bill O’Brien’s staff with the Houston Texans. Now, the Bucks have seemed to replace his duties with two star-studded Big Ten staples.

Ash, 39, moved to Fayetteville along with former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema. He joined Bielema’s staff initially as defensive backs coach in 2010 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2011. He previously spent 11 combined years at Iowa State and San Diego State as secondary coach, with added responsibilities as the recruiting coordinator. Wisconsin was always a tough defensive team under Bielema and Ash. In their first year with the Razorbacks, the team struggled to a 3-9 overall record and 0-8 SEC mark. This is just another huge move for Meyer, who continues to recruit well in players and coaches alike.

[Related: Rumble, Young Men, Rumble: Ohio State Season in Review]

Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Ohio State’s Shazier to leave for NFL Draft, Miller to stay

ryan shazier buckeyesOhio State linebacker Ryan Shazier will leave for the NFL Draft, multiple media outlets reported on Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Braxton Miller will stay for his senior season, however, as reported by Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel.

The news is fairly expected for Shazier. He was a First-Team All-American this season and is likely to be a first round draft pick in the pros. It’s not a surprise that one of the most decorated linebackers in the program’s prestigious history would take the jump to the riches of the pros.

This season, before Friday’s Orange Bowl, Shazier had 134 tackles (40 solo), 22.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, four pass deflections and four forced fumbles. He was a team captain and, on the emotional side, changed his number to No. 2 in support of injured senior co-captain Christian Bryant.

Miller was not likely to be selected in the first two rounds of the draft, thus making his decision a smart one. He won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, but was injury-prone throughout and disappointed at the end of the Orange Bowl.

Overall, Miller had 2,094 passing yards, 1,068 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns. He had been undecided in recent weeks about his NFL decision. The report of him staying for one more year certainly is a huge boost to the Buckeyes’ 2014 title hopes. He’s also likely to be among the favorites for the Heisman Trophy.

OSU cornerback Bradley Roby, who missed the Orange Bowl with an knee injury, officially declared for the NFL Draft earlier in the season. He was honored among the team’s seniors during Senior Day against Indiana on Nov. 23. Shazier was not honored during that day.

Thamel also reported that tight end Jeff Heuerman will stay for his senior year.

[Orange Bowl Recap: Watkins, costly turnovers too much for Bucks to overcome]

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

Rob Chudzinski could be head coach candidate for Miami Hurricanes

chudzinskiRecently fired Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski could be a hot head coach candidate for the Miami Hurricanes, with the program likely to lose its coach as well any moment.

Al Golden, their coach for the last three seasons, is rumored to be leaving The U today or very shortly for Penn State University. Thus, multiple reports from Florida have Chudzinski, a Miami product and well-liked former assistant, as a top possibly replacement option.

Chudzinski, 45, was a three-year starter at tight end for the Hurricanes. He was a member of the 1987 and 1989 national championship teams. He then coached at the school from 1994-2003 as a graduate assistant, tight ends coach and finally offensive coordinator. He oversaw the development of pro prospects like Clinton Portis, Andre Johnson, Jeremy Shockey, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore, Kellen Winslow Jr and many more.

After several years as an NFL assistant, he then was hired by the Browns in mid-January 2013. He didn’t even last a full 12 months as head coach, however, as the team’s 1-10 skid to finish the season led to his surprise firing just hours after their Week 17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Browns have now been rumored to be interested in a number of NFL assistants and college head coaches. It’s possible they could again hire someone with no previous head coaching experience. Today, they’re reportedly meeting with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in Boston.

But for Chudzinski, it’s a matter of preference: Would he rather try to find a possible NFL offensive coordinator job again or be the King of The U? The program has had a rough last 10 years since Chudzinski was last around, so if he were to rebuild that program again, he could go down as an all-time legend.

[Related: WFNY Roundtable: The Firing of Rob Chudzinski]

Photo: Lonnie Timmons III / The Plain Dealer

NFL Draft 2014: Quick thoughts on QBs before Browns finale

campbell brownsWe’re hours away from the end of another disappointing Cleveland Browns season.

Somehow, impressively, the Browns are again 4-11 and on the verge of a top eight draft pick. It’s maddening how consistent this franchise is at being among the bottom-fourth worst teams in the NFL. And it’s time to look briefly at the quarterbacks that might be around at the top of the draft.

Today, the Browns can knock the Steelers out of the playoff race for good. That’d be fun. Winning is generally ideal. But in the Cleveland world we live in, winning might not be the preferred option for many fans as we dive into the quarterback rankings.

For the third straight season, the Browns ranked among the five worst teams in passing, per Pro Football Focus. It’s also gotten worse, from No. 28 in 2011 to No. 29 last season and No. 31 this year. That’s an issue and it’s not that surprising anymore when Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell throw 85% of the team’s pass attempts through 15 games. The quarterback position is in shambles. Is a better draft position the most important goal right now? [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Mike Brown leads Cavs turnaround

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Brown deserves credit for the hot stretch: “But stop and take a breath. Take a really deep breath and you might notice something different. Is that hints of azaleas? Notes of coffee and barnyard? Nope. That’s just new Mike Brown smell you’re smelling. So far, even as the team has gradually improved almost in spite of itself, Brown has done some things to buck what many considered the more troubling trends from his first time around.” [Robert Attenweiler/Cavs: The Blog]

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Thoughts on the state of the Cavs

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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What are the Cavs right now? Who is their core? Looking deep inside their system: “So far this season, despite a near abuse of the words ‘culture’ and ‘process’ in Mike Brown’s renewed jog with the team, the Cavs seem more like a DeMarcus Cousins Kings team than a culture team. Right now, their identity is a cult of personality… and that personality is the Rubix Cube that is Andrew Bynum.” [Robert Attenweiler/Cavs: The Blog] [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… The debate rages- Ohio State, Florida State and a one loss SEC team

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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“Auburn vs. Ohio State? I get Auburn vs. Ohio State. It’s a tough call for the second spot in the BCS title game, given that Ohio State is undefeated in a weak BCS league while Auburn has one loss in a tougher league — and has the most impressive win of the season, by anyone, with that upset of Alabama.

What I don’t get is the free pass given to Florida State. Why are the Seminoles just blithely assumed to be deserving of that first spot in the BCS title game?” [Doyel/CBS Sports] [Read more...]

BCS Standings: No. 2 Ohio State ahead of Auburn by .027

bcs rankings 120113Ohio State has jumped to No. 2 in the BCS standings released on Sunday, up by just .027 over the surging No. 3 Auburn Tigers.

OSU was up by nearly .100 over Auburn in last week’s standings. But chaos occurred this week with Auburn’s upset of previous top team Alabama, moving Florida State into a near perfect No. 1 ranking in the standings. The Crimson Tide dropped down to No. 4, just barely ahead of Missouri.

The Tigers of Auburn and Missouri will face off in the SEC Championship on Saturday. Florida State will play No. 20 Duke. OSU will play No. 10 Michigan State, with a win likely enough to clinch a National Championship Game appearance.

It had been up in the air whether Auburn — which holds an 11-1, 7-1 record in the SEC — would perhaps jump the Buckeyes into the driver’s seat for the championship. Their case certainly would be boosted with a win over fellow 11-1 Missouri, although the former Big 12 member is actually a slight favorite for the championship showdown in Atlanta. Auburn’s athletic director has already shared he thinks the the team has a better argument.

In other noteworthy BCS news, Northern Illinois remained at No. 14 ahead of No. 16 UCF. The Huskies of the MAC stay in line for an automatic bid be being in the top 14. They just have to win this week’s MAC Championship game over Bowling Green for a second straight BCS appearance.

[Related: O-H-I-Whoa! Buckeyes survive on Michigan’s failed two-point try]

Auburn AD: ‘We have a better argument’ than Ohio State

“An SEC team can’t get left out of the (championship game) with one loss. We just beat the No. 1 team in the nation, and a team ahead of us struggled today, I understand (referring to Ohio State’s 42-41 victory at Michigan). And a one-loss SEC team that wins in Atlanta — if it’s us or Missouri — you can’t get left out of the BCS after you beat the No. 1 team. We have a better argument because we beat the No. 1 team.”

– Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs, as told to USA Today’s Dan Wolken, said today about the upcoming BCS drama following the Tigers’ upset of No. 1 Alabama. Jacobs also said “it would be a disservice to the nation” if Auburn again missed out on the championship game as they did in 2004.

The BCS standings will be released tomorrow night, but lots more football is still to be played. Auburn clinched the SEC West and will play fellow one-loss No. 5 Missouri next Saturday. Florida State, expected to jump from No. 2 to No. 1, will face off against No. 24 Duke in the ACC Championship Game. The Buckeyes will play No. 11 Michigan State in the Big Ten title. FSU and OSU are the two remaining BCS conference teams.

[Related: O-H-I-Whoa! Buckeyes survive on Michigan’s failed two-point try]

BCS News: 4 Auburn upsets 1 Alabama; Ohio State on verge of moving up

In one of the greatest college football games ever, No. 4 Auburn upended No. 1 Alabama 34-28 in an epic Iron Bowl on a missed field goal return for touchdown. The upset moves No. 3 Ohio State into the BCS Championship picture.

The Tigers (11-1, 7-1 SEC) trailed the Buckeyes by a sizeable margin — almost .100 — in the latest BCS standings released last Sunday. It’s expected they still should be behind OSU and No. 2 Florida State, who defeated struggling Florida in their rivalry game.

Go find the Auburn-Alabama last play video and the Auburn radio call if you haven’t yet. It’s a sight to see, plus could move the 12-0 undefeated Buckeyes into the title if they can win one final game next Saturday in Indianapolis. OSU will face off against previous No. 11 Michigan State.

In other BCS and Big Ten news, Penn State upset No. 15 Wisconsin. Certainly, that slightly hurts the Buckeyes’ resume, but they should be able to put all concerns to rest in the Big Ten title.

[Related: O-H-I-Whoa! Buckeyes survive on Michigan’s failed two-point try]

Latest BCS Standings: No. 3 Ohio State up just .001 on Baylor

bcs rankings 111713In tonight’s updated BCS standings, the Ohio State Buckeyes edged fellow power conference unbeaten Baylor by just .001 for the No. 3 spot.

Alabama and Florida State maintained their stranglehold over the top two spots. The Tide held on in a tight defensive battle against Mississippi State, while the Seminoles destroyed ACC foe Syracuse.

But the main story is the battle after the main two. Baylor catapulted past OSU in several polls, perhaps thanks to the loss by previous No. 4 Stanford, and the computers continued to harm the Buckeyes in their quest to climb up in the standings.

Of note among the computers rankings, Peter Wolfe has OSU at No. 7 and Kenneth Massey has them at No. 6. The best and worst computer ranks are tossed out, with the remaining four averaged together, but the Buckeyes still only had the fifth-best average, behind a tie between Baylor and one-loss SEC team Auburn.

A huge Big 12 battle occurs this Saturday in Stillwater between the Bears and No. 10 Oklahoma State. Presumably, should the dominant Baylor offense remain undefeated, they’ll likely hop over the Buckeyes by next Sunday’s BCS update. OSU has another soft game against 4-6 Indiana this Saturday in Columbus.

[Related: Hyde, Buckeyes extend streak to 22, but about that defense…]

While We’re Waiting… College Football Trophies, Recruiting, and Tito’s The Man

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

WWW_Refrigerator_Indians1

Leading off, college football trophies are one of the more consistent traditions around the nation. Many of the trophies have strange origins, and nearly all of them have an interesting story behind them. Johnny Ginter at Eleven Warriors takes a look at some of them, “My favorite thing about Illibuck is that at one point it was a live turtle. Two years later, it was dead. All of the technological prowess of two of the better public university institutions couldn’t keep a turtle alive for two years. There have been ten wooden Illibucks since then, and the sad thing is that with the rearranging of the Big Ten, Ohio State and Illinois will now only play each other once every four years or so. On the plus side, given the state of the Illinois football program, we’ll get to keep the thing for a loooonnggg while.” [Eleven Warriors]

Will Leitch at Sports on Earth talks about recruiting in the Twitter age, which certainly has its drawbacks and ugly moments, “This is all ridiculous, this sad, lonely courting of teenagers over Twitter for a one-year sleepover at a college campus, but this isn’t just the new reality, it’s just the start. Alexander, Okafor and Jones, have enjoyed every aspect of this whole process, and why wouldn’t they? Forget booster alumni and back-room deals: If Cliff Alexander or any future recruit wants any special treatment, it’s just a direct message away.” [Leitch/Sports on Earth] [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Reliving the Browns video ‘Masters of the Gridiron’

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Was born after this video came out, so I had no idea about this ever. My goodness, this is glorious. “In 1985, the Chicago Bears released the iconic “Super Bowl Shuffle” rap video then went on to win an NFL title. The following year, the Cleveland Browns decided they wanted to try to follow suit, but opted to up the ante a little bit. The result? An amazingly bizarre 17-minute live action short film called “Masters of the Gridiron” that features members of the team dressed like He-Man characters fighting ninjas, bears and even an evil lord to capture an elusive ring. Former Browns center Mike Baab starred in the film and his wife, Lolis Garcia-Baab, produced it. They both spoke to For The Win about just how this offbeat piece of NFL history came to be for this week’s edition of Throwback Thursday.” [Chris Strauss/For The Win] [Read more...]

Latest BCS Standings: Ohio State slots in at No. 3

bcs rankings 111013With Oregon’s loss on Thursday, the Ohio State Buckeyes have moved up to No. 3, as expected, in tonight’s latest BCS standings update.

The Buckeyes were on a bye this weekend. Top-ranked Alabama dominated SEC rival LSU, while No. 2 Florida State routed Wake Forest. Stanford, who held on with stout defense and an efficient running game to defeat the Ducks, surpassed undefeated Baylor to move up to No. 4 in the rankings.

Only two other Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 25: No. 16 Michigan State and No. 22 Wisconsin. As it stands currently, the Buckeyes likely will face off in the Big Ten championship game against the Spartans. Upstart Nebraska also has a shot to overtake the Legends Division should they win at home against Michigan State this weekend.

The next game for Ohio State is a road matchup against struggling Illinois this weekend. OSU then will have one final home game against Indiana before the showdown in Ann Arbor against Michigan, who dropped their third game of the season on Saturday against Nebraska.

Baylor has a particularly difficult schedule remaining, with regular season tilts left against No. 12 Oklahoma State and No. 24 Texas. Many expect dominant Alabama and Florida State to remain unbeaten, which would obviously leave the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl instead of the National Championship.

[Related: Ohio State blows out the Boilermakers 56-0, now 21-0 under Meyer]

While We’re Waiting… Dion Waiters playing well early

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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This fella had a very nice game on Wednesday despite the loss: “Ideally, though, Waiters will learn to play off of Irving as more of a true shooting guard. He has to get better playing off the ball, and that will require a better understanding of space. Finding seams in opposing defenses for backdoor cuts and easy opportunities at the rim, moving along the perimeter to find the appropriate place to spot up, are skills that would allow him to be a real weapon alongside Irving.” [David Zavac/Bleacher Report] [Read more...]

Uni Talk: Threads of the Scarlet and Gray

In a multiple part series, Rick and I, two of the bigger jersey junkies at the site, have been tackling our opinions on the Cleveland teams’ uniforms, logos, and color schemes. You can find our takes on the Cavaliers, and Browns, and Indians’ uniform schemes at the following links.  As you know at WFNY, Cleveland sports are the primary focus. However, many of us have a spot in our hearts for Ohio State. With that in mind, Rick and I are going to tackle some of our thoughts on the men of the scarlet and gray, both on the gridiron and the hardwood. Here’s a look at some of our favorites and ones we’d rather forget.

ohio state pro combat 2012

Kirk: Rick, we have a lot of years to cover. Let’s start with your thoughts on the current set of uniforms for the Buckeye football team.

Rick: First, the current set includes the traditional helmet with the Buckeye award stickers which might be my favorite uniform aspect of ALL of my favorite teams. Love those helmets. The current set also keeps pretty true to the tradition of Ohio State uniforms. Bold stripes, block numerals.

[Read more...]

Martin Rickman talks media, targeting rule, and NCAA basketball – WFNY Podcast – 2013-10-24

WFNY Podcast LogoAlways good to catch up with Martin Rickman. Today we found ourselves talking about sports and media and college football.

Event at the Happy Dog

Enjoying the interview style of Scott Raab and Zac Jackson

The player interview

Trying to cover younger players

Covering Jameis Winston and how much he has it in terms of talking to the media

Interviewing vs. writing

The targeting rule and Martin’s opinion on it

The yellow card red card scenario

Roby’s celebration and reaction

Owning up to the head injuries

Getting sick when hits like that happen

Are you more basketball than football?

Check out this episode

While We’re Waiting… Uncle Drew coming back soon

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Looks like Uncle Drew will be back again shortly. Check out Pepsi Max’s teaser YouTube and Instagram videos from the other day. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Browns can’t trade Josh Gordon

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Video analysis on why Josh Gordon is untradeable: “While Gordon is one step away from being suspended for an entire season under the NFL’s substance abuse policy, he is also one step away from being an elite receiver in the league. The Browns should accept nothing less than a first-round or high second-round draft pick for Gordon. He is that good.” [Will Burge/Bleacher Report] [Read more...]

Big Ten’s Jim Delany speaks on pay-to-play NCAA regulations

“If (athletes are) not comfortable on campus and they want to monetize, then let the minor leagues flourish. Or go to IMG. Train at IMG. Get agents to invest in your body, get agents to invest in your likeness, and establish it on your own. But don’t come here and say you want to be paid $25,000 or $50,000. Go to the (NBA) D-League and get it. Go to the NBA and get it. Go to the NFL and get it. Don’t ask us to change what we’re doing, because we think there are a lot of good things to preserve.”

– Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany on the dialogue about pay-to-play opportunities for NCAA athletes, to a small group of reporters in the conference’s new offices in Chicago.

Delany’s comments strongly recommend for athletes who want to “professionalize themselves” to make the jump to professional minor leagues as opposed to college athletics, saying “Why is it our job to be minor leagues for professional sports?”

As a recommended conference model, Delany said each conference should legislate their own rules by which schools can provide more benefits to cover full cost of attendance for college athletes. Yet, he said “I feel as strongly as I did 20 years ago it’s not pay-for-play.”

[Related: Ohio State holds on for 40-30 victory at Northwestern]