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Ohio State WR Johnnie Dixon

Greg Schiano is official, some crazy uniform ideas, a new rivalry forms and more Ohio State news

Jeremy Birmingham

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Today is Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, and it’s time to Wake Up, Sloopy.


No more shared responsibilities for Greg Schiano

When Luke Fickell tried to poach Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs from the Buckeyes in December, many assumed that — as part of Urban Meyer’s fight to keep the energetic Coombs on his staff — he’d offer up some defensive coordinator responsibilities to him.

That does not appear to be the case.

On Monday night, in an official release from the Buckeyes football program, it was announced that Greg Schiano alone will handle all the coordinating of the defense.

This year Meyer is welcoming and working with three new coaches: offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson, quarterbacks coach Ryan Day, and linebackers coach Bill Davis, while one additional staff note has Greg Schiano taking over as the sole defensive coordinator.

In 2016, Schiano’s first season with the Buckeyes, he shared that title and responsibilities with the aforementioned Fickell. This coming season, which most people expect to be Schiano’s final in Columbus, he’ll lead seven returning starters on the defensive side of the ball. Schiano’s success may very well be tied to Coombs, though. For the second straight spring, the Buckeyes will look to replace three starters in the secondary after the early departures of Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley and Malik Hooker.

One player that could help fill those gaps? 2017 signee Kendall Sheffield, who was announced officially by Ohio State on Monday, as well.

… the nine recruits from the 2017 signing class who have enrolled in school for the spring semester and a fifth defensive back, junior college transfer Kendall Sheffield, will enroll for the second session of the semester and take part in spring drills.

It’s going to be a fun spring in Columbus and despite the losses of personnel, in part because of the NFL vibe from coaches like Schiano, Day and Davis.

Uniform ideas that are both good and bad

I’m an old person, and I think it’s only fair to get that nugget out there before I go too far into this section of Wake Up, Sloopy. So there, it’s out in the public, OK? I’m old, and because of that, I am all kinds of lukewarm about the new-jersey-every-few-games trend that has overtaken college football.

Every year since 2008, Ohio State has given in to the hype and, at least once per season, donned a different jersey/uniform than normal. Some of them have been really good (the 2013 white uniforms that were worn at Michigan? These are just beautiful) but others have been less than good. It only stands to reason that in 2017, the Buckeyes will once again make a fashion statement at some point.

Andrew Lind of elevenwarriors.com, a sports-fashion enthusiast, has some ideas on what could be worn this coming season. I personally am not for, or against, anything on this list minus these band-inspired uniforms because I think they look absolutely ridiculous. I do admit, however, that some folks out there I am sure will find them “neat” or whatever the kids are saying these days.

Ohio State alternate uniform idea
via elevenwarriors.com

Check out the rest of Lind’s ideas as the link above.

I’m also kind of torn because while yes, I am old, I also cover recruiting for a living and am absolutely aware of how much recruits and the players on the football team love the chance to see new things. I want to tell everyone to just get off my lawn, but then I stop and question: is it me who’s the problem?

Nah, never.

Ohio State and Michigan battle in historic E-vent

Did you know that E-sports — or “video games” as they are more commonly known as — have become a real, sanctioned “thing” on college campuses?

It’s true. And apparently, these shenanigans have found a way to infiltrate the greatest rivalry in sports.

The game is called “League of Legends.” It’s described by its creators as “a multiplayer online battle arena video game” and has a game mode called Summoner’s Rift, which apparently serves as the basis for these organized bouts of nerd gymnastics.

The gold standard for competitive League of Legends. Action on Summoner’s Rift often progresses in unique phases, beginning with small-scale duels between lane opponents before culminating in epic, large-scale team fights. Push your way into the opposing base, destroy the enemy nexus, and achieve victory!

So this is what Ohio State and Michigan squared off in on Monday.

Apparently, though, Michigan won.

I don’t know what any of this means, but I assume Michigan fans will now stop complaining about “the spot” and focus on celebrating this monumental victory, instead.

Catching up with former Buckeyes commit Lonnie Johnson

As many of the key members of the 2014 Ohio State recruiting class are moving on to the NFL or preparing to step up into a leadership role for the Buckeyes this fall, one of that class’ earliest joiners is set to embark on his first taste of Division 1 football … at Kentucky. It’s been anything but an easy road for Johnson, the former wide receiver out of Gary, Ind., the town he refers to — and has inked on his arm — as “Scary Gary.”

From Joe Mussatto of SECCountry.com:

Johnson’s description for his hometown, “a killer’s playground,” refers to the violence that still seeps through the city. Violence that can numb ears to the point where gunshots sound normal.

“We know at any given moment you can come across the wrong street and it’s bullets flying,” Johnson says, “just because you came down the wrong street. It became so natural we go to sleep to it. I heard gunshots all my life. I lived on the block where they goin’ at war across the tracks.”

For kids from a place like Gary, you’d do anything to get out. Johnson had his chances and at almost every turn, things seemed to stack up against him. He committed to the Buckeyes in May of 2013 but was unable to qualify academically at Ohio State so he opted for Western Michigan and current Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck, instead. He was set to enroll at WMU until something insane happened.

His last name was spelled wrong on an ACT he needed to count … “How? How is my name spelled wrong?” Johnson remembers thinking. “There was two Ns in Johnson. I didn’t do that. I know how to spell my name. They didn’t really count my ACT. I think that’s probably why I didn’t qualify right there because the NCAA’s not taking it. I guess it’s considered as cheating if you spelled your name wrong. I know for a fact I didn’t spell my name wrong.”

That extra ‘N’ led Johnson on a path he never imagined, to junior colleges in California and Kansas and now, finally, to Kentucky — as a cornerback. Be sure to give Joe’s story a read, because it’s really spectacularly done.

B1G Happenings

• Inside the emotional Senior Day of Michigan State guard Eron Harris

• Penn State commitment says he’s not interested in any other schools

• Buckeyes junior Kelsey Mitchell is the Big Ten Player of the Year, again

• Jabrill Peppers is listed as a linebacker at the NFL Combine

• The Big Ten has lost its way as a basketball conference

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