"OSU" tag

Withers to JMU; change coming for OSU

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The first change to Urban Meyer’s coaching staff at Ohio State is coming. The two-year commitments all have been fulfilled, and Everett Withers became the first assistant to leave for a head-coaching job elsewhere on Friday when he accepted the position at James Madison after serving as the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the No. 7 Buckeyes.

The move perhaps comes as no surprise, since Withers has made it well known even before coaching a down and helping lead a 24-game winning streak at Ohio State that he’d like to take over another program after leading North Carolina on an interim basis in 2011. But now that it’s official, there’s a chance it might benefit both parties as Meyer evaluates a defense that struggled mightily against the pass last season and looks to make his first new hire since taking over the Buckeyes.

Meyer indicated Wednesday, as Ohio State practiced for the Discover Orange Bowl against No. 12 Clemson, that changes could be coming, both because the defense needs to make improvements and because his staff was stocked with coveted commodities after stringing together two consecutive regular seasons without a loss.

“Whenever you have a season, the last two seasons like we had, they’re hot guys,” Meyer said. “I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls about our guys, head-coaching opportunities. What happens — nothing has happened yet.”

That changed when James Madison dialed Withers gave him an offer he’s wanted since getting passed over by North Carolina.

Meyer asked all of his initial hires with the Buckeyes to give him two years with the program, and Withers held up his end of the deal while serving as one of the top recruiters on the staff. He was highly praised by Meyer for his work in landing touted safety Vonn Bell a year ago, and Withers long has been respected by his peers as one of the top defensive minds in the country.

SportsNation: Who wins the Orange Bowl? Will Ohio State and Clemson shake off in-season disappointment to turn the Orange Bowl into a shootout? Vote! » And despite some rough patches this season as the Buckeyes fell to No. 102 in the nation in pass defense and never could quite overcome a significant injury to senior safety Christian Bryant, he still emerged as a viable candidate for a Football Championship Subdivision program that has won a national title as recently as 2004. “Ohio State was the best opportunity for me going into this year,” Withers told ESPN.com last season. “That’s why I feel like I’m here…

ESPN’s "Youngstown Boys" Tells Maurice Clarett’s Story as Clarett Wanted It Told

“Youngstown Boys,” the newest installment of ESPN’s esteemed 30 for 30 documentary series, premiered Saturday night following the 2013 Heisman Trophy ceremony. While the documentaries consistently draw national audiences for their intriguing storylines and high quality, Saturday’s film was of considerable interest to the Ohio State community. It set out to tell the story of two former Buckeyes greats, running back Maurice Clarett and coach Jim Tressel, from their rises to fame in northeast Ohio to their glory and subsequent downfalls in Columbus. Or at least that was how it was promoted. Though the pluralized title of the film and the hype leading up to it gave the impression that it would delve into detail about the stories of both men, it focused on Clarett. Tressel was an important character in that story as the head coach of OSU, but the film’s inclusion of Tressel came within the context of Clarett’s story. As for the story of Clarett’s rise and fall, it was well assembled by the film’s directors, brothers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist. One of my favorite parts about the film was its use of various footage, from game highlights to press conferences, to capture the emotion from the championship to the controversy. I appreciated that the highlight package shown from the 2002 OSU-Michigan game was assembled entirely of video and audio clips from the game itself, not littered with retold stories of the game. Footage of that season’s BCS National…

OSU’s Shazier weighing possible return

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The process of gathering information has essentially just started, and Ryan Shazier isn’t going to rush to a decision about his NFL future. But if the junior had to make a decision right now, Ohio State might be retaining the services of the All-American linebacker for one more season.

His decision-making process begins with discussions with his family and the coaching staff and includes a look at how much school he has left before graduating and, of course, projections of where he might land in the draft in April.

+ EnlargeAP Photo/Jay LaPreteOhio State linebacker Ryan Shazier is weighing the pros and cons of turning pro.Shazier made it clear he has plenty to think about before deciding to either skip his final year of eligibility or come back to the No. 7 Buckeyes. And while the positives and negatives on both sides made that decision difficult, Shazier did offer a narrow nod to sticking around as of Friday afternoon. “Right now, I’m dead flat in the middle,” Shazier said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. If I would say anything, I’m probably leaning toward staying, but I don’t know what I’m doing right now. I’m just really focusing on this game the Discover Orange Bowl vs. Clemson right now.

“I’m just going to talk it over with my family and the coaches and just try to get the best analysis that I can, so when I do make a decision, it will be the best decision for me.”

His choice will have a significant impact on the Buckeyes either way. Replacing Shazier will be no small task if he elects to turn pro after another wildly productive season at outside linebacker.

The dynamic athleticism and uncanny instincts that make Shazier an appealing option for NFL scouts makes him just as valuable to an Ohio State program that will again have national championship aspirations next season after coming up a game short in 2013.

Considering the lack of depth the Buckeyes showed at linebacker late in the season as injuries took a toll, continuing to rebuild with one of the nation’s best defenders would clearly be beneficial in 2014. After replacing every other member of the front seven — aside from Shazier — a year ago, the Buckeyes would have starters back at every position around him next fall if he elects to return, including fellow linebackers Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry and a defensive line that developed into a strength this season.

On the other hand, Shazier could be a first-round pick in the draft and might not have all that much room to boost his stock while risking injury in another season with the Buckeyes.

And while he’s weighing those pros and cons, one thing Shazier apparently won’t be factoring in is the disappointment he’s feeling after the Buckeyes’ loss in the Big Ten title game last weekend.

“To be honest, this season is not really playing much of a role for coming back,” Shazier said. “That last game is not going to be decision-maker for what I’m going to do.

“I’m just going to look at all the evaluations and whatever we feel is the best decision, how much school I have left, what is the best circumstance — I’m going to look at everything before I make a decision. …

The Craziest Tradition in College Football Is OSU’s Mirror Lake Jump

The craziest tradition in college football witnessed this fall had to be the Mirror Lake Jump at Ohio State University.

Auburn states case, hopes for FSU, OSU to stumble

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference has stated its case. Now all Auburn can do is watch, wait and hope for No. 1 Florida State or No. 2 Ohio State to stumble.After a week of lobbying by the SEC to have its champion play for the BCS national title ahead of an unbeaten team, No. 3 Auburn (12-1) won the conference with a wild 59-42 victory over No. 5 Missouri. It was quite a show, but it’s unlikely to be enough to jump the Seminoles or Buckeyes if they stay undefeated.So it’ll be up to No. 20 Duke or No. 10 Michigan State to pave the way for Tigers to get a chance in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 6 to run the SEC’s streak of consecutive BCS titles to eight.Florida State was a four-touchdown favorite heading into the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against Duke in Charlotte. Ohio State had what looked like a much tougher task – No. 10 Michigan State and its top-ranked defense.The Buckeyes have been the target for the SEC supporters, who have insisted that their champion’s one loss is as good as the Buckeyes’ none because they played a tougher schedule.Still, Ohio State held a solid lead in the BCS standings coming into the weekend, and the chances of the Buckeyes beating the Spartans and blowing that lead, seems remote.A loss is what Auburn, which was third in the BCS coming into this weekend, needs. As SEC Commissioner Mike Slive told FoxSports.com earlier this week: ”I’ll be a Spartan for a day.”And why stop there? If the unthinkable happens and Duke pulls the upset, along with Michigan State, a second all-SEC BCS championship game in three years is probably in the cards, with No. 4 Alabama getting a shot at its third straight national title.Yes, a rematch of the Iron Bowl in the Rose Bowl.The Big 12 also settled its BCS business on Saturday. No. 9 Baylor (11-1) won the conference and locked up an automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl, with some help from Oklahoma. Before the Bears beat Texas 30-10, the 18th-ranked Sooners upset No. 6 Oklahoma State 33-24 in Stillwater to keep the Cowboys from winning the Big 12. Baylor will play No. 15 UCF (11-1), the American Athletic Conference champion, in its first BCS appearance.—Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAPSports & RecreationAmerican FootballSoutheastern Conference

OSU didn’t miss beat without Marcus Hall

After nearly two full seasons always knowing exactly who was on his right, the familiarity was suddenly gone for Corey Linsley. With almost no warning and without an injury to perhaps brace for what was coming, the chemistry between the Ohio State center and right guard Marcus Hall was gone thanks to an ejection for fighting, a senior replaced with a redshirt freshman who certainly and perhaps justifiably looked a bit overwhelmed with the situation.

+ EnlargeGregory Shamus/Getty ImagesBraxton Miller and the Ohio State offense didn’t slow down with redshirt freshman Pat Elflein (left) in the game at Michigan.But any nerves in Pat Elflein seemingly disappeared quickly at Michigan. And any concern Linsley might have had about a new partnership in the trenches vanished with it. The No. 2 Buckeyes will need Linsley and Elflein to team up again with Hall sidelined for an indefinite period of time by the coaching staff for Saturday’s Big Ten championship game against No. 10 Michigan State. “It was kind of fun,” Linsley said. “Marcus and I have a really good relationship, but I have a really good relationship with Pat, too. When Pat came in, he was a little wide-eyed there at first, but I kept looking over to my right just on pass protection to make sure that was OK, and he was fine.

“That was pretty fun, and after a couple series in the game, I didn’t have to think about him anymore. He did a heck of a job, and he’s going to be one heck of a player.”

Elflein might already be one for the Buckeyes, though the sample size is obviously still small.

Given the stakes in a rivalry game, the stout defense Ohio State was facing, the bizarre circumstances that put him on the field in a hostile environment and, of course, the national implications for a team in the thick of the national championship race, it would have been understandable for there to be some drop-off between Hall and his replacement.

But the Buckeyes didn’t miss a beat in the final three quarters, and the rushing game was every bit as dominant with Elflein on the field as it had been with Hall and the normal collection of starters. In fact, after rushing for 125 yards on 15 carries in the first quarter with Hall in the lineup, Ohio State’s production actually slightly improved — 8.6 yards per rush — for the rest of the afternoon as Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller kept taking advantage of huge holes up front to gain 268 more yards on 31 attempts.

SportsNation: B1G Championship Game Ohio State faces Michigan State with its No…

OSU didn’t miss beat without Marcus Hall

After nearly two full seasons always knowing exactly who was on his right, the familiarity was suddenly gone for Corey Linsley. With almost no warning and without an injury to perhaps brace for what was coming, the chemistry between the Ohio State center and right guard Marcus Hall was gone thanks to an ejection for fighting, a senior replaced with a redshirt freshman who certainly and perhaps justifiably looked a bit overwhelmed with the situation.

+ EnlargeGregory Shamus/Getty ImagesBraxton Miller and the Ohio State offense didn’t slow down with redshirt freshman Pat Elflein (left) in the game at Michigan.But any nerves in Pat Elflein seemingly disappeared quickly at Michigan. And any concern Linsley might have had about a new partnership in the trenches vanished with it. The No. 2 Buckeyes will need Linsley and Elflein to team up again with Hall sidelined for an indefinite period of time by the coaching staff for Saturday’s Big Ten championship game against No. 10 Michigan State. “It was kind of fun,” Linsley said. “Marcus and I have a really good relationship, but I have a really good relationship with Pat, too. When Pat came in, he was a little wide-eyed there at first, but I kept looking over to my right just on pass protection to make sure that was OK, and he was fine.

“That was pretty fun, and after a couple series in the game, I didn’t have to think about him anymore. He did a heck of a job, and he’s going to be one heck of a player.”

Elflein might already be one for the Buckeyes, though the sample size is obviously still small.

Given the stakes in a rivalry game, the stout defense Ohio State was facing, the bizarre circumstances that put him on the field in a hostile environment and, of course, the national implications for a team in the thick of the national championship race, it would have been understandable for there to be some drop-off between Hall and his replacement.

But the Buckeyes didn’t miss a beat in the final three quarters, and the rushing game was every bit as dominant with Elflein on the field as it had been with Hall and the normal collection of starters. In fact, after rushing for 125 yards on 15 carries in the first quarter with Hall in the lineup, Ohio State’s production actually slightly improved — 8.6 yards per rush — for the rest of the afternoon as Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller kept taking advantage of huge holes up front to gain 268 more yards on 31 attempts.

SportsNation: B1G Championship Game Ohio State faces Michigan State with its No. 2 spot on the line. Will the Bucks win and play for the BCS? Vote! » That doesn’t mean the Buckeyes won’t welcome Hall back when his punishment from coach Urban Meyer for a pair of obscene gestures and a bench-kicking, helmet-throwing incident expires at some point Saturday…

With Full Seasons Who’d Be Better OSU Heisman Candidate, Hyde or Miller?

The 2013 college football season has seen just about everything and it’s left Heisman voters waiting until the final seconds tick off the clock of championship games to figure out who will get their votes. Two players in Columbus, quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde, have made compelling cases for consideration for the stiff-armed trophy, but both are also hampered by missing games this season. It’s left us pondering, what if Miller had stayed healthy? What if Hyde had never allegedly slapped a woman and got himself suspended for three games? Could either of them be a true Heisman Trophy candidate with a full season on their belts? Over the past month, both have put on great cases for consideration no matter the situations both faced earlier in the year. Hyde has put up 700 yards and seven touchdowns in the last four games, rushing for over 200 yards twice in that four-game span. Miller, on the other hand, has put up 676 yards passing, while completing 58 percent of his passes and 10 touchdowns over that same four-game span. He also added 488 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. So, how would these two stack up with a full 12 games worth of stats to look at? Let’s explore the two options. We can look at how each have fared and apply their averages to the missing games. We can also look at how the replacements (Kenny Guiton and Jordan Hall, respectively) did in those games and add it to…

Big Ten reprimands OSU, Marcus Hall after fight

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Big Ten has publicly reprimanded Ohio State offensive lineman Marcus Hall and the Buckeyes’ coaching staff for their actions in the wake of a fight during Saturday’s game at Michigan.Hall was ejected from the game for coming onto the field to participate in the skirmish. As he was leaving the sideline, he angrily threw his helmet to the ground, kicked the team benches and then held up both hands in an obscene gesture.Coach Urban Meyer has said he will issue punishment within the team to Hall and kick returner Dontre Wilson, who was seen throwing a punch.Hall later apologized on his Twitter account.No. 2 Ohio State (12-0) takes on No. 10 Michigan State (11-1) in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday in Indianapolis.Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballMarcus Hall

BCS: OSU in position for BCS title game

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The faith never wavered within the locker room that the help Ohio State needed would eventually arrive, and the Buckeyes certainly celebrated when it did. But after spending about 15 minutes partying on the team buses on Saturday, coach Urban Meyer dramatically cut down on the amount of time spent addressing things outside of his control one day later.

The team met on Sunday afternoon, just five hours before it would officially move up to No. 2 in the BCS standings and into position to play new No. 1 Florida State for the national title. But Meyer had barely any plans to talk about that possibility, instead focusing all of his energy on surging Michigan State, which climbed up to No. 10 on Sunday evening to set the table for a marquee showdown in the Big Ten title game this weekend in Indianapolis.

“We’ll spend about six or eight seconds on that,” Meyer said. “There will be no conversation about it, no social networking about it. Our focus is on this game and that’s it. “It would be a disservice to our players if I went and worried about it, and I’m certainly not.”

The Buckeyes may not be worrying about the polls or computer formulas, but that won’t stop the speculation about their case for playing for the national title despite finishing off a perfect regular season with a thrilling 42-41 win over rival Michigan.

Still on the highway on the way back home, the Buckeyes watched on televisions in their caravan as Auburn pulled off a miracle to upset previously top-ranked Alabama, rocking the buses when the score went final to put them in position to play for the crystal football. But even before they arrived back at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the comparisons of Ohio State’s resume to Auburn’s had already started.

There still remains a .027-point margin between the teams heading into the respective conference title games on Saturday, with Ohio State holding an edge over Auburn in both human polls and in the average computer rankings. On top of that, a one-loss team has never jumped an undefeated squad from a major conference in the history of the BCS, and another win would figure to be enough to keep the Buckeyes in the title game.

Michigan State isn’t in the mix to play for a national crown, but it solidified its candidacy as an at-large BCS selection with another dominant defensive performance in a 14-3 win over Minnesota. Of course, it can also punch a ticket to the Rose Bowl by knocking off the Buckeyes, though the Big Ten would still be in good shape to earn two spots in the BCS lineup despite Wisconsin losing to Penn State and falling to No. 21.

But before either Michigan State or Ohio State can think about where it’s headed for bowl season, there’s still some pretty significant business to take care of in Indianapolis.

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