Rea Chat Transcript: July 30
BuckeyeSports.com premium Internet subscribers got together with managing editor Mark Rea for an early afternoon chat on Friday. The discussion involved basketball, football and recruiting. Here is a transcript of the chat:
gbuck got things started by taking Rea to task over a Rea’s Say column he wrote just days before Thad Matta was officially announced as the new head coach of the basketball Buckeyes: You inferred that Thad Matta would not stay in Columbus for long and I have been meaning to ask how you came to that conclusion? I am trying to think of coaches that have been successful and left a job at a school in a power conference for a job in another power conference? I came up with Tubby Smith (GA to KY), Bill Self (ILL to KS), Roy Williams (KS to NC) and Tommy Amaker (SH to MI).You have to remember that if KY, KS or NC want your coach he is gone ... and Amaker just left because of the money.
That said, if Matta is not successful no one will want him and if he is successful at tOSU they can pay as much as anybody so I do not see him going anywhere and I think you were totally off base with your suggestion that he will. Let me give you analogy. Matta has moved from Butler to Xavier to tOSU. Let me put you in a similar career path. You have a job at the Peebles newspaper and then you move to the Washington Court House newspaper and eventually to the Columbus Dispatch. It is a logical career path and you would not even consider going to the Akron Beacon Journal would you?
Rea: Man, you got a lot of stuff in there. First of all, when I wrote that, I didn't know that Matta would have a $2 million annuity waiting for him if he stayed all seven years of his contract. However, to say that Ohio State can pay him as much as anyone only applies at the college level. If he is successful over the next three years, then he will be 40 and perhaps the NBA will come calling. Perhaps not and perhaps Matta will always want to coach at the college level. And you are correct when you say if UK, Kansas or UNC comes calling, he's gone.
As for the newspaper job analogy, I'm not sure there's a paper in Peebles, but I get your point. Nevertheless, money is more of a determining factor (at least for me it is) and if the ABJ were paying more, I'd probably leave the Dispatch to go there. But seeing as nearly every Dispatch sports guy has been there for 20+ years, they must pay pretty well.
gbuck: How much impact will Matta have on the 2004-05 schedule or was it fairly complete before he arrived? When can we expect it to be released?
Rea: It was fairly complete when Matta got here, but there is still a wait because the team is waiting for clarification on a preseason tournament they'd like to participate in.
OSU is hoping to participate in the Guardians Classic, but that is contingent upon an expected ruling which would allow teams to play in exempt preseason tournaments two years in a row. OSU participated in the Maui Invitational last season.
The Buckeyes are one of four teams currently slated to host two regional round games at home Nov. 15-16. The others are 2001 champion Missouri, 2002 champion Creighton, and Notre Dame, which made the '02 final. A mini-tournament featuring the four regional winners is set for Nov. 22-23 in Kansas City, Mo.
Playing in the Guardians would allow OSU to play two home games and possibly four total but have them count as just one to meet NCAA schedule standards. If OSU is not allowed to play in the tournament, it will simply replace it with one home game on the schedule.
The complete 2004-05 schedule for Ohio State will be released soon. The much-anticipated rematch with Texas Tech and Bob Knight will be sometime in December (the 16th being the most likely date) and not in Lubbock but Dallas.
OSU also will travel to LSU while St. Joseph's is confirmed on the home schedule, most likely in the first few weeks of the season. Another date that has been announced is that of Dec. 1, when OSU will play at Clemson as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. That game starts at 7:30 p.m. Eastern and will air on ESPN2.
gbuck: Saw you post that you are going to Vegas next month. Are you going to drop any coin on Bucks and a National Championship?
Rea: The sports book is not really my favorite part of the casino, but if I can get 20-to-1 or better on OSU, I've got some stashed away for that.
Challenger: Which new OL do you think will have the biggest impact this year?
Rea: By "new," I assume you mean incoming freshmen. If that's the case, I'd have to say Mitchum ... although he got schooled a couple of times in the Big 33 game by Alex Barrow. If by "new" you mean someone who hasn't played much, I still think Kirk Barton is the guy to watch. If he can stay healthy, it wouldn't surprise me if he contended for the RT starting spot.
olbuzz: I can't wait to see Mitchum play and he's my favorite. A solid high school coach in Dayton told me he looked for Person to jump out somewhat like Mangold or Hawk. They said this kid is all around solid and meaner than hungry bulldog. Very coachable, I'm curious to see if that proves to be true. It's great when the less publicized kids turnout to be diamonds
Susan: How is Barton’s rehab going from the ankle he hurt in the spring?
Rea: His rehab is gone well. I think he'll be ready for the first day of fall camp next week.
Challenger: We've got some stud O-lineman coming in. If we snag one more from Ohio who do you think we take a gamble on? There are about 4 solid O-lineman out there but none seem to stick out.
Rea: I think they're down to Haas and/or Hennis and want to see how both play as seniors.
Susan: Other than Ginn, is there a freshman who you think can play significantly this fall?
Rea: The key word here is "significantly." I think that narrows it down to Ginn, Freeman, Nicol (based on depth problems) and probably Trapasso. Depending on the health of Mo Hall, you could also put Pittman and Haw in that category. There are others who I think will not redshirt, but again, "significant" was the key word in your question.
Susan: Any vibes on who or when might be the next verbal?
Rea: There are some names out there who may commit in the next week or two, but with camps opening up (both high school and college), there may be no new commitments for awhile. Andre Amos of Middletown is down to OSU and Purdue, but recently told us he wouldn't make an announcement until at least week three of his season. He could be the next to decide.
DallasBuck: DL question for this year … I know that the team has been maligned for lack of experience at DL (even though we know that JT rotated players in), and that some publications have said that our linebackers will suffer with lack of depth or experience or talent at the D-line position. Outside of Fraser and Pitcock, who do you see stepping up and having a breakthrough year? And do you see that the inexperience (to a certain degree) of our front four will really slow down one of the best linebacking corps in all of the nation?
Rea: I've heard that "inexperience" tag on the DL for years. Will Smith, Tim Anderson and Darrion Scott were inexperienced at one time. OSU has recruited very well in the defensive line the last couple of years.
I have to say that I was never that sold on Marcus Green, but after going back and watching a couple of games, he can play. I'm much more sold on David Patterson, who I think will have a breakout year. Inside, they can go to Joel Penton and Sian Cotton also.
On the ends, the Buckeyes can run out Jay Richardson (I look for him to break out, too) and Mike Kudla. Then they have Alex Barrow and Nader Abdallah coming in and both could conceivably see playing time as freshmen.
I don't look for the DL to "slow down" the linebackers too much at all.
Susan: As the fall approaches, do any high school underclassmen come to mind that we should keep an eye on? Maybe a couple we might not be hearing about yet?
Rea: Obviously, you'll want to keep tabs on the top two junior QBs in Ohio -- Miles Schlichter and Mike Hartline. As for others, I'm assuming everyone knows about RB Beanie Wells in Akron. There is a good OL from Kenton named D.J. Burris. And my personal favorite: a smallish (5-10, 205) linebacker from Division II Louisville named Austin Power.
Johnny_Buckeye: Keep an eye out for linebacker Ross Homan at Coldwater! 6'2" 220# as a sophomore last year.
AnotherBuck: Lawrence Wilson … Rumor is that he is nearing decision. Where do you see him going?
Rea: I try to stay away from the "locks and leans" game, but since you asked ... My guess (and that's all it is) is that Wilson goes to Notre Dame. JMHO, though.
DallasBuck: I know if you had a nickel for every time you were asked this question, or read it ... but I am going to ask again anyway, so hopefully we can put it to bed. On certain other boards (not other OSU boards), people are trying to stir up the hornet’s nest about Jamario O'Neal not being such a "solid" verbal to tOSU. I know he lives with Ginn Sr. and family and has plenty of former teammates at or coming into tOSU. Can you give an update on O'Neal's status (as much of one as you can for a 17/18 year-old kid) on his commitment, and I would love to see his video again … that kid hits with bad intentions.
Rea: I just can't envision O'Neal going anywhere else but Ohio State. As you mentioned, he is like another son to Ginn Sr. and there are already a bunch of Glenville guys already here ... and when OSU gets around to offering Lenix and maybe Smith, there will be even more.
SloopySJ: Offensive line question: Last year it seemed as if the line was too slow and the RBs were waiting for them to get out of the way. Tressel commented that this year's line was "athletic." Do you think we will see less emphasis on bulk and more on speed for future classes (similar to what many NFL teams are doing)?
Rea: No doubt. There are still going to be 300-pounder that the Buckeyes track, but the prevailing thought is to go after the tall, more active linemen and let them prosper in the weight program. Kyle Mitchum and Jon Skinner are perfect examples of the prototype OL Ohio State is now looking for -- in the 6-5 or 6-6 range, 265-285 pounds with good footwork and agility.
redbux: About running backs and blocking … One of the first things we heard about Clarett when he was breaking in was how well he picked up the blocking schemes. I am not ready to say that Pittman and Haw are going to see time until I see how they handle the schemes. I hope they pick them up quick. Even though Spencer has moved on I believe their playing time is dependant on it. Thoughts?
Also, I would like to see a devastating blocking FB on this team. Do you think Joe fits that? I know not a lot has been made about D.Johnson but with the way his father played and his build, I am watching to see if he is that guy.
Rea: Pittman seemed to handle what they threw at him in the spring. I also made a note to watch Haw and how he blocked in the Big 33 game because there was no much passing. I thought he did really well ... I don't think any Ohio QBs were sacked.
As far as the fullbacks are concerned, Joe can do the heavy lifting as far as blocking is concerned but I also expect he'll get some carries at TB as a change of pace. Schnittker can block very well, too, and just needs to stay healthy. Stan White Jr. is third at the spot right now. I think Johnson will redshirt this year.
vicdaddy asked a series of questions:
1) What have you heard on Datish's development? His play could be key for a successful season for the OL, IMO.
Rea: I have heard that the coaches would like for him to play well enough in camp that he could take over the center spot and move Mangold to guard. Don't know if that happens but he certainly needs to show he can play well or the OL depth takes a major hit.
2) I think Ross will have a huge year. Your thoughts?
Rea: I said on this board a couple of weeks ago that I thought Ross could have the breakout season on offense. The talent is there. He just needs to stay healthy.
3) How do you rate our DBs this year? If they play well, it will really take the pressure off our young DL.
Rea: I guess I'm not as worried about the defense as some other people are. I've seen these guys in practice and I know what they can do. They need to do it. I like Fox a lot better than some do. I think Underwood has the makings of a great corner. I like Youboty, too. I also like the safeties Whitner, Salley, Everett and Mitchell, and I think the light has finally come on for Matthews. I don't think the secondary is going to be a problem.
4) Does OSU offer Tressel the AD's job after Geiger leaves in 2 years? Would JT be wise not to accept?
Rea: I'm probably in the minority, but I don't think Tressel is offered that job. But if he is offered, he will accept. Make no mistake about that.
buckdave: Mark, when you are talking about the athletic director's job, would that be in addition to being the head football coach or he would retire as coach and be the athletic director as his sole position?
Rea: I think if he is offered the job, Tressel would want to do both.