NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04: Head coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes calls out in the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by )
Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Random Thoughts: Ryan Day’s Jim Tressel tribute, the Reds active offseason, egg whites, pop music and more

These have been adding up since I went on vacation, so I thought I better get the notebook cleaned out before another Super Bowl and National Signing Day come around. 

  • One of the under-appreciated aspects of Jim Tressel‘s career at Ohio State was how he not only capitalized on John Cooper’s national success and revitalized in-state recruiting but crippled Michigan in the process. Retrenching in Ohio had the dual effect of strengthening the core of the program (though perhaps lowering the ceiling) and weakening the Wolverines, who found the ability to recruit elite players from Ohio the way they had for about 40 years seriously compromised once Tressel started cleaning up, especially in the Cleveland area. If Ryan Day is able to bring that back by hiring away Michigan assistants, he really might be a combination of Tressel and Urban Meyer. Wouldn’t that be something? 
  • Related: Northmont defensive end Gabe Newburg credited new Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington with being the first person to believe in him, offering him a scholarship when Washington was still an assistant at Cincinnati two years ago. Washington spent last season at Michigan, and Newburg signed with the Wolverines in December. 
  • People realize egg whites have no flavor, right?
  • There are many types of successful defenses, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the one Ohio State strived to play under Greg Schiano (no doubt at the behest of Urban Meyer) was the ideal one — dominate with the front four while playing man coverage behind it. The 2015 Broncos are the best example of this, but Denver fans have since learned the same thing Ohio State fans did in 2018: It requires great personnel to pull off. I would guess moving forward Ohio State’s defenses will more resemble the zone-pressure teams of the Tressel days, coordinated first by Mark Dantonio and then Jim Heacock (with a disastrous season under Mark Snyder in between). 
  • So… what is the over/under on Ohio State games before someone asks why the Buckeyes aren’t playing more man coverage? 
  • This is a little dated now, but in hindsight maybe we should have paid less attention to Tate Martell guaranteeing he would stay and win the Ohio State quarterback job than his acting like he should get the Nobel Prize for sticking it out through two whole years before maybe getting a chance to start when he should have known when he signed he wouldn’t even be No. 2 on the depth chart in the first two years and theoretically the first three or four. 
  • Of course transferring is a two-way street, and Ohio State picked up a quarterback in much the same way it lost one. I have yet to talk to Justin Fields or hear his side of why things didn’t work out at Georgia, but finding somewhere else to play after one year rather than spend two feeling like a martyr probably makes a lot more sense in the long run. 
  • I’d almost forgotten how bad pop music is until I went on vacation and had to listen to it everywhere for a week. 
  • Lots of amazement over the Patriots making another Super Bowl, but think about it: They have an offensive lineman from Ohio, a running back from Nebraska and a fullback from the Ivy League. How do they ever lose? 
  • I’ll say this for the Cincinnati Reds: Their offseason has been peak “we want you to know we’re trying without mortgaging the future plus Homer Bailey is gone sorry about that.” I’m generally not a fan of just doing stuff to create buzz, but in this case I am willing to make an exception based on how badly things have been going and how many fans are justifiably ready to cut the cord. If nothing else, what they got back in these deals should at least prevent them from being outright terrible again. That they managed to do that without giving up much of real importance (considering how many infield prospects they have) is the icing on top.
  • That said: Life is too short to ignore fast starts in baseball. Yeah your team might be faking it through June, but doesn’t that beat the alternative?
  • Ice Age: The rare movie series in which the sequels get progressively better. 
  • Don’t know what Zac Taylor will want to run as head coach of the Bengals, but the Rams offense with Andy Dalton and the current offensive line would not be very inspiring. The line’s problems are well-documented, and Jared Goff’s arm talent makes more throws available than there are to Dalton in a world where putting the ball into tight spots down the field is essential. 
  • One thing about going on vacation in January is how quickly it becomes apparent nothing that happened on Twitter or in college basketball really mattered in the long run. 
  • Would current Saint/former Buckeye Mike Thomas be as good if his Twitter handle were “OnlyOpenSometimesMike”? 
  • Very interesting read from Ken Rosenthal on the potential for an MLB work stoppage in two years. Here’s the thing: The players have few legitimate complaints about the state of the market. Assuming no evidence of actual collusion arises, the depression of the market is very easy to understand. The greed of the players and stupidity of owners led to an unsustainable market that is now being corrected by the same stats-obsessed people who are ruining the product on the field. The same cold-eyed efficiency that is reducing the game to nothing but homers, strikeouts and walks leads teams to be more ready to avoid giving out rich long-term contracts that will cripple them down the road, especially to players whose stats tell them they are not any better than “replacement level.” The only way for small market teams to compete is to build through the draft, the inevitable conclusion of an uncapped system. Deal with it.
  • Apparently the NFL could also be headed for labor trouble. Fully guaranteed contracts would be a really dumb hill to die on, and I doubt they will despite how poorly the NFLPA has always been managed. Every contract comes with guaranteed money. That is the real value of the deal, as everyone is aware (or at least should be, and if they are not, shame on them). If players perform, they get the rest of the money on the deal. If not, they get released — and probably sign another deal somewhere else with another signing bonus. That said, a player’s salary for a given season should be guaranteed once it starts (some are, some aren’t). 
  • I need an “Untappd” app for coffee and wings. 
  • The 2019 Ohio State basketball team is turning out to be what I expected: Heavily reliant on Kaleb Wesson, which is problematic since he’s good, not great, and tends to get in foul trouble. I don’t think he’s going to get consistent help this season, but there are several candidates to get hot on a given night. But hey the Buckeyes are good enough it is news when they lose, so that’s an accomplishment in and of itself for Chris Holtmann, who proved all he needed to prove in the first 18 months on the job by over-achieving with a group that had been under-achieving and then signing an elite recruiting class. 
  • In case you were wondering, the last time both Ohio State basketball teams missed the tournament was 1998. That was the year before the Schottenstein Center opened.
  • I don’t know much, but of this I am pretty certain: The harder core a fan base, the worse they are on Twitter.

“Random Thoughts” is a semi-regular feature here at blog. While most of our other coverage is concentrated on news and analysis, this is a place to share opinions and have some fun. Have your own thoughts? Send them along to marcus.hartman@coxin.com or find us on Twitter or Facebook. 

About the Author

Marcus Hartman
Marcus Hartman
Marcus Hartman has been a digital sports columnist and reporter at Cox Media Group Ohio since 2016. 
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