April 24, 2014

While We’re Waiting…Fujita Says Colt’s a Young Drew Brees, and DET Eliminates NY

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Scott Fujita calls Colt McCoy a young Drew Brees on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland:  “I think last season when Colt McCoy first got the nod as the starter and it wasn’t so much the play at that point it was just watching the way he commanded the huddle and the way he commanded the respect of the guys in the lockerroom and the way he was such a natural leader.

That was the thing that struck me the most being similar to Drew Brees. Drew is one of my best friends down there and played against his former team when he was with San Diego and I was with Kansas City. I got to know him really, really well over the years and Colt McCoy just reminded me of a young version of Drew Brees.

Obviously he is going to keep growing as a player and keep getting better and better, but in terms of those intangible leadership qualities? Colt has got that.”  [Sports Radio Interviews/ Steve Cuce] [Read more...]

History Repeating? Braxton Miller Starting This Weekend for Buckeyes

Obviously it isn’t a weird cosmic connection where history repeats itself and Joe Bauserman is Todd Boeckman and Braxton Miller is Terrelle Pryor.  On the surface it seems rather convenient that way, though.  In 2008 the Buckeyes started Boeckman and played Pryor in the first two games of the season against Youngstown State and Ohio.  Then, Ohio State got pasted 35-3 by USC out in California and the Buckeyes turned the team over to Terrelle Pryor.  This season the Buckeyes under Luke Fickell started Joe Bauserman and brought Braxton Miller off the bench.  Well, technically he forgot to bring Miller off the bench for game two.  Then Ohio State played both QBs in Miami where they were pasted 24-6.  Now, much like Tressel concluded after the third week in 2008, Fickell has concluded after the third week in 2011.  Braxton Miller will start this week against Colorado like Terrelle Pryor did in 2008 against Troy.

Granted the history had an extra high chance of repeating itself just because of the way Ohio State schedules every year with a couple of warm-ups before presumably testing themselves against a tough out-of-conference opponent.  And certainly Braxton Miller choosing Ohio State had a lot to do with the timing of Terrelle Pryor’s eligibility (the original eligibility, not post-controversy.)  So it isn’t the most bizarre thing ever.  Still, it is a bit eerie when you read Doug Lesmerises’ article from back in 2008. [Read more...]

Ohio State Coach Luke Fickell Watches the Inevitable Become Reality

“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” – Common misquote of Grantland Rice

“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” – Red Sanders, often attributed to Vince Lombardi

“Just win, baby!” – Al Davis

What matters more than anything in sports? Integrity? Principles? Playing the game the “right” way? Or is it simply winning?

I suppose it depends on who you ask. When it comes to the Ohio State Buckeyes, winning tends to be the only standard. Oh, make no mistake, for years OSU has tried to get away with the ruse that they do things the right way, that there’s some kind of standard of excellence that applies to a more broad stroke than simply winning.

But when it all comes down to it, Ohio State simply stands for one thing and one thing only in terms of their beloved football team: Winning. And if corners are cut in the name of winning, well, Ohio State hasn’t shied away from their share of shortcuts. [Read more...]

Ohio State and Might Just Have Been the First Domino

There is no gloating to be done by Ohio State fans today.  Alabama might be in trouble for having players involved with a memorabilia scandal and now the University of Miami potentially in big trouble with a rogue Ponzi scheming booster, but these two situations – and any others that might arise – don’t absolve anyone or anything at Ohio State.  Sure, it might add some perspective to the things Ohio State and its players were involved with, but it will hopefully be good for everyone in the end.  Ohio State fans (this one included) largely sounded like babies when they said, “Oh come on!  You know everyone is doing exactly the same stuff.  The NCAA is a broken system.”  That’s the pain of being the first domino to fall.

Some will want to point at everyone else and say how much worse someone else’s violations were, but that ignores the larger point.  The NCAA has a system where the goals and benefits are so apparently misaligned that rule-breaking has become the norm, not the exception.  You can blame the players.  You can blame the boosters.  You can blame the NCAA and the schools.  At the end of it all, if this many big programs can’t figure out how to create an environment where players aren’t doing the wrong things, then it is the whole system. [Read more...]

Browns Training Camp Notes – 8/16/2011 – Jim Tressel and Lloyd Carr Edition

Berea was buzzing because Jim Tressel and Lloyd Carr were visiting Browns practice.  It was actually quite funny to me that everyone was dying for a photo op of Tressel and Lloyd Carr talking to each other as they were about 40 yards apart for most of practice.  I’m not sure what, exactly, they thought was going to happen.  When Tressel found his way to Lloyd Carr, he smiled, shook his hand, patted his shoulder warmly with the other and they chatted pleasantly.  Not sure why anyone expected anything else other than that.  Then again, here I am talking about it.

As for the Cleveland Browns and what is happening there, we’ll start with the injuries.  The Browns have a lot of minor injuries that are affecting the practice field.  Usama Young, Scott Fujita, and Chris Gocong were all out today.  Fujita and Young are nursing minor leg injuries and Gocong continues to rest after his week-old stinger.  Coye Francies was banged up in the first pre-season game and he appeared to be fighting hard through some limping on the practice field.  With the exceptional amount of competition among the corners, it makes some sense.  Mohamed Massaquoi was in regular shoes again today and doing lots of pushups, for whatever reason. [Read more...]

Outside the Lines Updates Its Report on Ohio State Football

This morning, ESPN’s Tom Farrey and Outside the Lines updated their reporting on the great Ohio State memorabilia scandal of 2011. The report focuses on the the market for NCAA athlete signed memorabilia. It paints the OSU autograph seekers as particularly intense and aggressive.

It also claims “Ohio State ceded the marketplace inviting fans to public events…where they could obtain signatures.” OTL quotes former AD Andy Geiger as saying they “created this monster” by backing autograph events and promoting a market for memorabilia.

There was nothing earth-shattering or revealing in the new report. Jim Tressel continued to take a beating for much of the clip but it was really nothing new. The OSU beat reporters and journalism community implored that it changed nothing and took some shots at ESPN. And they’re right – it does little to alter the NCAA’s investigation, which is where Ohio State’s attention is focused. This is now a pretty antagonistic relationship so I would imagine ESPNers will continue to see what they can dig up.
[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Symon On Cleveland Sports, Terrell Owens, The Problem With Urban Meyer

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

Feature on Michael Symon and his Cleveland fandom: “Symon isn’t just a fan; many of the Browns players are regulars at his restaurants. He says he was never concerned about the lockout because he had inside info. Nevertheless, he’s ecstatic that no games will be missed. He’s ready for Colt McCoy and company to hit the field again. Speaking of the young quarterback, Symon is drinking the Kool-Aid. ‘I’m in. I’m pot committed,’ he says. ‘I don’t know if it’s cause I’m a Browns fan, but McCoy has that spark and swagger. I think we’re gonna go good places with him.’” [Adam Watson/ThePostGame]

[Read more...]

Terrelle Pryor Comes Off Fine on ESPN

I watched Terrelle Pryor go one-on-one with Jon Gruden last night on ESPN.  I didn’t even really plan on watching it, but then I saw it was coming on and decided to watch.  There were a lot of details of Terrelle Pryor’s end at Ohio State that were left out, but honestly, what’s the point anymore?  Once a guy leaves school, who really cares about what kind of arbitrary NCAA rules were trampled?

Pryor’s one statement was that of sorrow that it ended like that, but also that he had no other choice but to leave with the growing distractions.  I think there was a lot of selfish motivation in moving on, but he isn’t wrong in saying that it would only continue to harm his former team and teammates if he had stuck around.

Once it got down to football with Gruden, I thought Pryor came off reasonably well.  He said all the right things about being competitive, loving his teammates, wanting to lead, but being willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field.  As with anyone, it could have been all lip service.  At this stage, though, why wouldn’t you take Pryor at his word?  He should feel pretty desperate right now as he stares at the supplemental draft and an uncertain future with more doubters than he’s ever seen in his entire life. [Read more...]

Flier on Pryor? Browns Should Say “No!”

I never thought I would seriously have to address this.

Then ESPN’s James Walker wrote a piece about it. And Fox Sports Ohio’s Zac Jackson tweets about the piece and calls it ‘interesting’. Then I find myself getting asked questions through twitter about the suggestion. So here I am.

The headline from the Walker piece? “Browns should take flier on Terrelle Pryor.

Um, no.

And not just no. No with hair on it. No with the stench of a dead woodchuck rotting under the porch. (A little Dilbert reference for you this morning.) I can’t emphasize the no enough here. [Read more...]

Gordon Gee Says NCAA Investigation is Complete

One of the strangest parts about the events of the last few weeks with Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor is that neither one will actually be around for the NCAA ruling.  It still seems backwards to me that media scrutiny over a set of rules that are stricter than the criminal laws in the state and nation could yield more change than the organization itself.  But so it goes.

ESPN’s report from Gordon Gee indicates that the NCAA has completed its investigation and left campus.  In the report he also indicated that despite his resignation Jim Tressel will not be able to skirt that little issue of the quarter of a million dollars that he was fined by the university before he tendered his resignation. [Read more...]

Maurice Clarett Talks Ohio State Troubles with Dan Patrick

Maurice Clarett had an exceptionally interesting interview with Dan Patrick this morning.  The former Ohio State Buckeyes runner-turned-prisoner-turned-UFL-er has a lot of experience with the sometimes problematic culture surrounding NCAA football.  There were more than a couple of revelations delivered during the fifteen minute conversation.

When talking about Ohio State’s problems, Clarett didn’t really blame anyone specifically as he cast a shadow over everyone.  “In Columbus Ohio you’re treated like a celebrity,” he said.  “So, it’s not a Terrelle Pryor problem.  It’s not a Jim Tressel problem… It’s just the culture of the whole system.”

When digging deeper though, Clarett did end up pointing the finger mostly at players and boosters who would meet individually throughout a typical NCAA career.  “There’s no secret regime.  There’s no secret congregation of people who sit around at Ohio State and gives young guys money… Anything that a player goes and gets is based on him and who he meets in the community.” [Read more...]

Terrelle Pryor Leaving Ohio State Football Team

If the landscape of Ohio State football wasn’t going to be different enough with Jim Tressel gone from the sidelines, then how about the exit of what could be the highest profile recruit in Ohio State history?  Terrelle Pryor is forgoing his senior season.

According to Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Pryor is reportedly leaving the team with his teammates in mind according to Pryor’s attorney, Larry James.

“In the best interest of my teammates, I have decided to forego my senior year of football at the Ohio State University,” James said, reading a statement on behalf of his client.

James said Pryor had been considering this option for several days and made the choice this evening, leaving James’ office in Columbus just before 6 p.m. [Read more...]

WFNY Podcast: Tressel and Tribe Troubles

Hey, did you hear about Jim Tressel?

Well, with Craig, Rick and Andrew offering their most-excellent thoughts on all things Ohio State earlier this week, TD and I pulled up our respective e-chairs with Dan Labbe over at Cleveland.com to discuss our takes on the matter as well as the future for one Luke Fickell.

If college football isn’t your bag, other topics of discussion ranged from Grady Sizemore’s spot in the batting order (surprise!), who or what is our biggest concern – defense versus pitching – and just who in Double- or Triple-A do we feel will make an impact with the big league squad before the season is all said and done.

As always, you can listen to the podcast over at Cleveland.com, download the mp3, or catch in our fancy embedded media player after the jump. Do enjoy. [Read more...]

Blaming Terrelle Pryor is Misguided

(Note: WFNY doesn’t have a singular editorial voice.  Today we will obviously have a lot of Ohio State posts as it is such big news.  Remember that each writer’s opinion is their own.)

Terrelle Pryor will probably go down in history, at least in some fans’ minds, as the guy who ended Jim Tressel’s career at Ohio State.  Fact is, Pryor was one of a few whose actions were the catalyst for this whole mess.  Being the catalyst isn’t really a reason for blame as much as it is just bad luck, though.  Being the catalyst will end up causing Pryor to go down in history as “the guy,” but putting all or even most of the blame on Pryor is far too simplistic.

Obviously, blaming Pryor relieves Jim Tressel of his part in lying to the NCAA.  That is unacceptable all by itself, obviously.  Tressel made his bed by how he reacted to the situation.  I want to focus on Pryor though.

Like many things, I have been on a journey with the Terrelle Pryor situation.  I have learned over the years not to always trust my most reactionary of thoughts, especially when something makes me angry or sad.  Over time, my opinions become far more substantial when they are firmly planted in between intellect and emotion rather than swimming exclusively in the latter. [Read more...]

Ohio State and Jim Tressel Just the Latest Victims of a Flawed System

(Note: WFNY doesn’t have a singular editorial voice.  Today we will obviously have a lot of Ohio State posts as it is such big news.  Remember that each writer’s opinion is their own.)

Throughout history there have been cycles. Empires have risen, and inevitably, they have fallen. The same can be said of sports, to a certain degree. In particular, in major college athletics, the system ruled the most by money, profit, and power, you can only experience so much success before your success begins to attract unwanted attention.

It’s a pattern that plays itself out far too often. University is successful, media begins to focus on program and inevitably finds loose ends, University stands behind coach, more media info comes out, boosters and donors get nervous and begin to melt under intense scrutiny, University parts ways with coach in an effort to keep their hands out and their palms up. And life goes on.

That’s the way college sports tend to work, and it’s the way the Jim Tressel era has ended at The Ohio State University. In many ways, this ending was so spectacularly destructive that it seems like this was really the only way this ever could have ended. Like the brightest star imploding into its own violent death, so too has arguably the most glorious era of Buckeye football been crushed under its own weight. [Read more...]

SI: Ohio State Scandal Dates Back to 2002, Involves At Least 28 Players

After hours of speculation and boundless conjecture, Sports Illustrated has lifted the embargo on the much-discussed report penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer George Dohrmann. With the curtain now lifted, we receive a report that the Ohio State “memorabilia for tattoos” incident that has been well-documented stretches back to 2002 and has involved at least 28 players.

Ohio State’s head football coach Jim Tressel submitted his resignation early Monday morning ahead of the Dohrmann “special” report which discusses an entire history of issues surrounding the various programs led by the now-former play-caller.

It was earlier this week that former Ohio State wide receiver, return specialist, and all-around failure Ray Small went public with a dissertation that painted all Buckeye football brethren with a scarlet letter – pun fully intended.  In the wake of said interview, several former Buckeye football players have come out in defense of the program[Read more...]

Jim Tressel Resigns at Ohio State

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Jim Tressel has resigned as the head football coach at Ohio State.  The Dispatch is reporting that it was a situation where the University forced or encouraged the resignation, after scandalous headlines continued to pile up.  Luke Fickell, who was named interim coach for the first five games of the 2011 season while Tressel served a suspension, will now serve as interim coach for the duration of next year.

The Dispatch also obtained a memo school President Gordon Gee sent to OSU trustees:

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Cavs Draft Strategies, Indians Draft Prospects, Actaball

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

More on the Cavs draft: “If the [trade exception] is going to be used, I continue to think that will happen on Draft Night.  So what does all this trade talk mean at this point for the Cavaliers? To me it’s exactly what I thought the night Nick won the lottery.  The Cavaliers are good with Irving at 1, as they should be.  Beyond that, they are exploring every - and I mean each and every single - trade opportunity out there with respect to both the TE as well as that 4th pick overall.  I continue to think they will not pick 4th on Draft Night.  All the smoke that appears to be coming off the keyboard of Chris Grant’s blackberry seems to support this too.  Cavs don’t look too content at that position.”  [Bowers/Stepien Rules]

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Analyzing Indians’ Success, Browns Free Agency Targets, Drafting Derrick Williams

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Great Sunday read on the Tribe, with analysis of the magic of Brantley and Asdrubal: “To watch the current team and to know the pain that came pouring upon Indians fans’ (particularly in that fateful week in July of 2009) is to gain some measure of respect for the Front Office realizing what needed to be done and to go about doing it. Granted the compelling reasons to make some of those trades were self-inflicted (Mike Aubrey, Jerry Sowers, Crazy Eyes Crowe, Beau Mills…you want me to keep going), but in those mid-season moves, they unquestionably have had more hits than misses and as much as the questions were flying back then (and here’s another piece from yours truly attempting to rationalize what seemed irrational back then) as to what the organization was even doing or what direction they were headed, the Indians asked themselves the hard questions, realized that there were hard answers, and didn’t shy away from what that meant.” [The DiaTribe/Paul Cousineau]

[Read more...]

Ray Small Back in the News: Ohio State Paper Twisted His Words

Ray Small put himself in the headlines this week, telling The Lantern he had sold his Big Ten title rings for cash.  The Cleveland native said he knew it was a violation of NCAA rules but he needed the cash to make ends meet.  He also indicated that this practice was pervasive among OSU players while he was there.

The backlash from OSU fans and players was immediate.  Players denounced the statements and excommunicated Small from a brotherhood.  Well, it looks like Small is back on a media tour but this time to “retract” some of his statements and blame The Lantern for mischaracterizing his words.  Prepare for an appearance on Outside the Lines.

[Read more...]