Jeremy Birmingham/Landof10
Ohio State freshman J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State didn’t really throw a jab at Tom Herman, Woody’s offense, Kaleb Wesson talks Buckeyes rebirth

Jeremy Birmingham

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Today is Tuesday, March 21, and it’s time to Wake Up Sloopy.


No, it wasn’t really a shot at Texas

There’s no other way to look at it, at least from the outside.

Last week, Tom Herman, the new head coach for the Texas Longhorns and former national championship winning offensive coordinator at Ohio State, tweeted that he was glad he no longer had to live in Ohio and deal with the “snow” that falls in March. Ohio, if you recall, had a two-day stretch with snow this month and it brought back some memories of colder weather for Herman, apparently.

Well, on Monday, Ohio State’s social media team lobbed back what appeared to be a Texas-sized response to Herman’s tweet.

That tweet is from Buckeyes freshman LB Baron Browning, out of Kennedale, Texas. He was a 5-star prospect in the 2017 signing class and he left Texas for the cold of Ohio. Beyond Browning, the video featured J.K. Dobbins, a freshman running back from La Grange, Texas, who left his home (about 40 minutes from Austin) for the chilly Midwest. So … the video has two Texans (two of the five that signed with Ohio State from Texas in this past recruiting cycle) riding around a sun-drenched Columbus in a convertible, with the top down, in March. The song? “Wanna Be a Baller” by Houston born rapper Lil’ Troy.

Herman, of course, left Ohio State for Houston. It sure feels like the Buckeyes were issuing a not-so-subtle response to Herman’s weather-related jab.

But they weren’t, I promise. Shortly after the video was released, Land of 10 received a note from one of Ohio State’s most important people and he wanted to clear up any confusion about the timing of the video.

“That video was shot a month ago,” the source told Land of 10. “It took forever for compliance to approve (because of the car). It wasn’t a response to Tom.”

This tweet from Buckeyes sophomore-to-be Jordan Fuller does indicate that it wasn’t just shot a week ago, especially because Ohio State was on spring break at that time.

Alas. The dream of a big-time social media war between Ohio State and Texas lives on, even if there’s no fire behind this specific smoke.

Woody’s offense was something to watch

As the Buckeyes prepare to usher in a new era of offensive creativity under the watch of new coordinator Kevin Wilson, the fine folks at elevenwarriors.com were working backward and showing us that what is considered today as a “boring” offensive approach was once cutting edge.

From Kyle Jones of the aforementioned 11W:

Much the same way Meyer is credited with developing the “Spread” offenses that proliferate today’s game, (Woody) Hayes held a similar association with the old ‘T-formation’ that dominated both professional and college football in the 1940s and 50s.

Though originally invented by Walter Camp in the late 19th century as one of the original formations in American football, the “T” had fallen out of favor in the first few decades of the 20th century, as Pop Warner’s Single-Wing shotgun set became the norm. But once coaches realized they didn’t have a Jim Thorpe of their own to feature as both a runner and passer, the T-formation’s systematic approach came back into popularity after George Halas’ Chicago Bears pummeled the Washington Redskins 73-0 in the 1940 NFL championship game as Sid Luckman took the snap from under center with three backs behind him.

Mr. 3-Yards and a Cloud of Dust was pushing the envelope of offensive ingenuity decades before he became an Ohio State hero.

Although the formation didn’t appear to offer much in terms of versatility, Hayes had three distinct approaches to attacking the defense, although the “Inside Belly” series became the most prominent. Hayes looked to attack the defense between the tackles, setting them up with misdirection in the backfield and relying on his quarterback to carry out a series of fakes while handing the ball to the assigned ball-carrier in stride.

With such little space to carry out a dozen or so different concepts, Woody’s linemen were drilled to recognize defensive fronts and adjust as needed. The tackles on either side were tasked with calling out these adjustments, looking to create better angles on their targets or gain an advantage by throwing a fourth blocker at three defenders, a philosophy that remains at the core of offensive football strategy today.

These real-time tweaks became the foundation of Hayes’ offense, which he’d detail in his 1957 playbook.

But the Buckeyes couldn’t pass the ball down the field. In 2016, as Ohio State led the Big Ten in total offense, social media venom was spewed every time the ball hit the ground rather than J.T. Barrett’s intended receiver. Hayes knew his offense had shortcomings but surprise: He didn’t care.

Hayes wasn’t afraid to admit his shortcomings as an aerial architect, as evidenced by an interview former star tackle Jim Parker gave to the Columbus Dispatch when asked whether his former coach would ever consider coaching at the professional level.

“He talked to me about it,” Parker said. “He said the only way he’d go was if I’d go with him. Then he said, ‘But, hell, I don’t know enough about the passing game.’ Passing game? Hell, we were lucky to pass 40 times a season.”

Ahh the good old days.

Kaleb Wesson wins Gatorade Player of the Year award, talks future of Ohio State basketball

For those of you who believe Ohio State never recruits Ohio’s best basketball players, this may be a bit hard to hear: Buckeyes signee Kaleb Wesson was named Gatorade’s Player of the Year in Ohio on Monday.

Wesson averaged 22 points per game while pulling down 12 rebounds per contest to lead Westerville South High School. His brother, Andre, signed with Ohio State last year and contributed more than expected as a freshman for the Buckeyes. Now Kaleb, whose father Keith also played for the Buckeyes, is ready to help lead the revival of Ohio State basketball. He told Land of 10 that he and fellow 2017 signee Braxton Beverly are planning to bring some new energy to the Schottenstein Center and Value City Arena.

“We are going to try and bring more energy to the practices,” Wesson said. “Keep everybody energetic all the time.”

Wesson could play a larger role than anticipated in 2017-18 with the recent announcement that Trevor Thompson would not return for his senior year of eligibility. The 6-foot-9, 270-pound Wesson says his focus and plans for the offseason and for his freshman year at Ohio State will not change.

“My role is still the same as far as coming in and giving my all every day for playing time,” he said. “I’m working on my rebounding and more on my body.”

Rarely has there been such pressure on an incoming freshman at Ohio State. But the reality is this: If the Buckeyes fail to hit the program’s expectations next season, Thad Matta is likely to be replaced as the head coach. That isn’t something that sits well with Wesson.

“Everybody is just a piece (of the puzzle) and (people want to) blame Thad for the unsuccessful seasons,” he said. “I feel like it’s on everybody to get back to the success that was in the program before. (We) are very excited to get back on the floor, especially after coming up short this past season. We’re very hungry.”

B1G Happenings

• Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley lead what should be a loaded Penn State offense in 2017

• Minnesota reinstates five players who were suspended during December madness

• Tom Crean’s dismissal leading to Indiana basketball signers wanting out of Bloomington

• Greg Frey could be the missing piece of Michigan football’s offensive development

• Details on the six-year contract for new Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood