Ohio State’s Last Media Session Before the Navy Game

Ohio State players and assistants met with the media Wednesday for one last session previewing their season opener against Navy. Here are Michael Bennett, Curtis Grant and our favorite “Rocket Surgeon” Tom Herman.

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Browns Respond to Gordon Suspension

Statement from Browns General Manager Ray Farmer on Josh Gordon Suspension

“While we may have strong feelings on the timing and the process of this decision, we have also consistently communicated that we will focus on what we can control in our day to day approach. Right now that is preparing our team for the 2014 season and at the same time, supporting Josh however we are able under NFL guidelines during his suspension.”

Statement from Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine on Josh Gordon Suspension

 “We will continue to support Josh and we understand that there is accountability for one’s actions. Our job and that of the team is to focus on what we can control. Our philosophy in building this team and the mentality we’re establishing is that we’re going to have to overcome challenges and situations throughout the course of a season. We’ll continue to be relentless in our approach, in how we work and focus on our goal of returning winning football to Cleveland.”

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Ohio State Response To Call For Name-Clearing Hearing

This week, Ohio State band alumni shared their experiences under former band director Jon Waters, while Waters’ attorney sent a letter to the university demanding a “Public Name-Clearing Hearing.”

OSU has issued the following response:

We will not be revisiting this decision. It is closed, and it is time to move on. Jonathan Waters was not forthcoming or truthful with University personnel on multiple occasions. The former squad leaders in their release yesterday corroborate this dishonesty. The culture created by these and other issues detailed in the university investigative report necessitated a change in leadership of the Marching Band.

We are sensitive to how some current and former band members feel about the leadership change, and we understand that some are now stating that their experience with the band is at odds with what is reflected in the investigative report. We are encouraged by and appreciate hearing about positive experiences; however, the report’s basic conclusions about the specific complaints and the culture are not refuted by anyone:  

  • Sexual nicknames, which Waters acknowledged were given to approximately fifty percent of Band members, and were “offensive” and improper, have not been denied;
  • Tricks, sexually explicit and connected with nicknames, have not been denied;
  • Rookie Introductions with sexual content have not been denied;
  • Rookie Midterms and Physical Challenges with sexual content have not been denied;
  • Trip Tic, a newsletter with sexual content has not been denied;
  • The Songbook, with 124 different songs full of grotesque lyrics, has not been denied, and is included as Exhibit B to the report.  Waters and his assistant director acknowledged that students were still singing such songs in September 2013;
  • Other Bus Misconduct, including “flying 69s” and excessive sexual language in September 2013, has not been denied; 
  • Changing Clothes on Buses, has not been denied;
  • Alcohol abuse has not been denied;
  • Verbal abuse and intimidation has not been denied.

In fact, the statement released yesterday by 2012 and 2013 squad leaders further corroborates and confirms the objectionable traditions and practices detailed in the investigative report.  Their statement also highlights additional dishonesty by Jonathan Waters: 

  • For instance, the squad leaders discuss the Songbook being used in 2012 and 2013 and state that Waters found a copy during a 2012 bus trip.  When interviewed by investigators, however, Waters denied ever seeing the Songbook as a staff member of the Band and said that he had only seen it when he was a student. Waters stated that he “would be shocked” if the Songbook was still circulated.   
  • Furthermore, the squad leaders describe meeting with Waters about poor behavior on buses, including flying 69s, after the Cal game trip in September 2013. Yet during the investigation, Waters denied this behavior on that trip, and in his statement on the Band’s culture provided to university leadership wrote: “No questionable behavior was reported, and as a result, no disciplinary action for inappropriate bus behavior was taken in 2013.”   

The investigation determined that the former director was aware or reasonably should have known about this culture but failed to eliminate it, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.

Our focus and our actions have been and will continue to be about our students and the imperative to ensure that every single person on our campus is able to learn, grow and experience Ohio State in a safe and positive environment. The university remains in full support of the band and is committed to making sure that the right structure and resources are in place for any student who feels threatened or harassed in any way. We are moving forward.

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Ohio State Depth Chart-Navy

The Buckeyes have just released their game one depth chart. You can see it here.

If you’re interested in seeing Navy’s depth chart, it’s here

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Manziel is Pulling for Miller

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller had surgery to repair a torn labrum this morning.

“Everything is good. He just sent me a picture of him and the doctor and his dad, so it’s very positive,” said coach Urban Meyer, “All reports are there were no surprises, and everything went well.”

Happy to hear the news was Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who joined the list of Miller’s well-wishers.

“It’s tough to see a friend like Braxton…I mean, it’s rough. I don’t wish that for anybody. I don’t wish that for him especially. Hopefully everything in that situation works out for him,” Manziel said.

Miller has said that his plan is to graduate in December and then attend graduate school, thus returning to the Buckeyes in 2015.

“I hope he can…because first and foremost, I’m a fan of Braxton,” Manziel said. “I think he’s incredible for college football. I think he’s incredible for Ohio State and the state of Ohio.”

While Miller is out, redshirt freshman JT Barrett is expected to take over, and Manziel had some advice for the young signal caller.

“I think more than anything, he needs to depend on Coach Meyer, who’s been through it all. Their quarterbacks coach is a very creative guy, who is a standup guy as well. I would say lean on those guys. Lean on the older players that have been there. They have a lot of playmakers, so you get the ball to those guys in space, and they can really do a lot with it. Don’t try to do too much. I would say rely on your coaches. Rely on what they’re telling you, and most of all, have fun and go out and play football like you did in high school and like you’ve been doing your whole life.”

In the end, what Manziel would like to see is pretty simple.

“Man, I really wish them nothing but the best,” he said, “And I hope Braxton is OK.”

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Ohio State Looks Ahead to Navy

The Buckeye football team held their first weekly media availability today. Hear from Coach Urban Meyer and his players:

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Get to Know: Navy

One expects discipline of the service academies. Even so, Navy’s streak is impressive. Since 2004, they’ve always ended the season as one of the three least penalized* team’s in the country. And back in 2003 before that streak started? Well, then they dropped all the way down to fourth.

With that type of self-command, Navy tends to be the type of team the Buckeyes saw in 2009: A pesky squad that just won’t go away. That season, OSU relied on an intercepted two-point conversion that was returned for two points in the final minute to hold on 31-27.

More than just putting a scare into teams, though, the Midshipmen are known for pulling off the occasional upset. Since 2003, Navy has racked up 21 victories over the members of the so-called Power 5 conferences.

Keenan Reynolds, who owns a 15-6 (.714) career record as the starting quarterback, already has two wins over a Big Ten opponent. (Both times it was Indiana.) Five of his wins involved fourth-quarter comebacks, including the 2012 match-up with the Hoosiers.

Plus, Reynolds has a little extra motivation Saturday. He told The Baltimore Sun the first time he ever saw the Midshipmen play was that close call in 2009.

On top of that, “Growing up I was a Gator fan, when Urban Meyer was there,” Reynolds explained. “So I always wanted to be a Florida Gator and play for him. Now I get to play against him, so I think that’s pretty cool.”

Reynolds’ 31 rushing TDs last year were the most ever in the NCAA by a quarterback. In fact, he’s just the fourth player in NCAA history to rush for 30-or-more touchdowns in a season. He’s scored a rushing touchdown in 8-straight games, and if he adds another against OSU, it will tie the school record of nine set by Chris McCoy.

While the signal caller does most of his damage with his feet, he is capable of throwing one long. (One Buckeye player said the thing that stands out most about Reynolds is how much he can overthrow a pass.) Combine that with the fact that Navy runs the triple-option offense, which can tempt defensive backs to be overaggressive or lull them to sleep, and last year the Midshipmen averaged 15.1 yards a completion (6th in the country).

Make no mistake, though, the run game is Navy’s offensive staple. They had the second-ranked rushing offense nationally last year, rolling up an average of 325.4 yards per game. (They were just 122nd in passing offense.) In addition to Reynold’s carries, they’ll hand the ball to slotback DeBrandon “Bug” Sanders, who’s very generously listed at 5’7″. He romped for an average of 10.2 yards every time he he was handed the ball. The team’s other starting slotback is a poised senior out of Columbus, Ohio named Geoffrey Whiteside, who averaged 7.4 yards a carry last season.

One last thing about the offense? Navy has been working in some no-huddle into their scheme, so despite their reliance on the ground game, they ran a respectable 921 plays last year.

As far as the Middies defense, they return 7 starters, who all helped the team rank 40th last season in terms of the number of points they gave up per game (24.4 points).

Gone, though, are the team’s top two tacklers. On the other hand, they had three players record three interceptions each, and they’re all back. Chris Johnson, Parrish Gaines and Brendon Clements are all hoping to cause problems for the Buckeyes.

In addition, keep an eye on Paul Quessenberry. The defensive lineman has already earned two varsity letters, and he’s heavily motivated this season. His brother David was playing for the Houston Texans until just recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Finally, note that Navy returns both their punter and placekicker. So their special teams should be solid.

*In terms of penalties per game.

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