Similarly, Trinidad will need to break from Wednesday night’s defensive 4-5-1 formation to put some points up against Guatemala.We’ll be updating our predictions periodically throughout the CONCACAF tournament.Oliver Roeder contributed analysis.CORRECTION (Oct. 24, 4:37 p.m.): A previous version of this post included a table with an incorrect column header. The table lists the chances of placing third, not reaching the third-place game. The opening matches of the 2014 CONCACAF Championship were played on Wednesday, marking the start of the nine-month countdown to next summer’s Women’s World Cup. Although the focus Wednesday night was on the United States (six-time CONCACAF champions and the tournament’s host), the spotlight quickly shifted to the U.S. women’s opponent, Trinidad and Tobago. The Trinidadians managed to hold the Americans scoreless until the 55th minute, when Abby Wambach headed in her 171st international goal (the all-time record for any American player, male or female). The U.S. won 1-0.Up to five teams from the North American, Central American and Caribbean football associations might appear at next year’s World Cup. Only three CONCACAF teams played in the 2011 tournament (the U.S., Canada and Mexico). As next year’s host, Canada receives an automatic bid, which in turn allows for an “extra” CONCACAF spot. The top three teams from the CONCACAF Championship will automatically qualify. The fourth-place team will play in a two-game series against Ecuador, who placed third in the 2014 Copa América Femenina, to determine who goes to the World Cup.All of this to say that an otherwise unlikely CONCACAF team, like Trinidad and Tobago, could make its World Cup debut in 2015. But just how likely are the Soca Princesses to be one of the top four CONCACAF tournament teams?To calculate the expected wins and various probabilities for each team in the tournament, we used the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, which are based on a variant of our old friend the Elo ratings. FIFA provides a nice explanation of how to turn their ratings into win probabilities for a given matchup (though for group stage matches we had to adjust the formula a bit to account for the possibility of draws). Once we had the ratings and probabilities, we programmed a Monte Carlo simulation to run 1,000 simulations and track how well each team performed in the group stage, as well as how far it advanced in the knockout round.Despite last night’s disorganized formation and lack of finishing from the U.S. side, the Americans are still far and away the CONCACAF favorites, with a 95.5 percent chance of winning the tournament. Mexico is the next most likely team to win, but it has only a 3.8 percent chance. Trinidad and Tobago, on the other hand, has a less than 1 percent chance of winning.Below are the expected group points and win probabilities for every CONCACAF tournament team:Fortunately for Trinidad and Tobago, reaching the knockout round of the tournament is enough to give the team a shot at going to the World Cup, and it has a 51.2 percent chance of doing just that. Wednesday night’s quality performance, including 11 saves by Trinidadian goalkeeper Kimika Forbes, may bode well. Haiti sits just behind Trinidad in Group A, with a 45.3 percent chance of reaching the knockout round. Haiti also edged past Guatemala last night 1-0, despite going down a player in the 17th minute after goalkeeper Cynthia Chery was issued a straight red card.The Group B matches start Thursday night, with Costa Rica taking on top-seeded Mexico, and Jamaica playing Martinique (Martinique can’t qualify for the World Cup because it is not a member of FIFA, so we threw out the two simulations we ran where Martinique advanced). Mexico is the most likely team to advance from Group B, with a 94.4 percent chance, but Costa Rican standout Shirley Cruz Traña (who plays for the French club Paris Saint-Germain in one of the top women’s leagues) will likely be a major threat in Thursday’s game.The next Group A matches take place Friday, when the U.S. will resume play against Haiti. After Wednesday night’s performance, newly appointed head coach Jill Ellis may be looking to tweak a rather chaotic formation. The U.S. players veered from their typical 4-4-2 formation against the Trinidadians; Wambach sat in an attacking midfield spot but she often drifted forward, creating what looked almost like a 4-1-3-2 at times.
Month: September 2019
The 31-year-old’s statistics have been more favorable against fellow friend Dwyane Wade in the two full seasons since James left Miami to return to Cleveland. But even so, there have been challenges: Despite his high usage rates and enormous talent advantages, James has posted just a 2-4 mark against Wade since leaving the Heat in 2014.It’s hard to know exactly why James’s performances are below his standard when he’s playing against his friends — ones he’s so close with that he’s said he’d like to team up with them before they all retire — but there are a couple theories worth considering.One possibility, especially in relation to his showings against the Knicks, is the timing of these games. This season marked the fourth time in five years that the league’s schedule-makers have pitted James against New York during his team’s first five games of the season, meaning he may still be rusty at such meetings.That might partly explain why his shooting — and perhaps even more so his ball handling, as he adjusts to new teammates — might be off against the Knicks compared to other opponents. (LeBron was understandably jittery during the 2014-15 opener — his first game back with the Cavs after a four-year absence — in which he shot 5-for-15 and committed eight turnovers in a losing effort.)Separately, there may be something to the idea that James plays harder, or at least differently, against teams from big markets; if that’s the case, it could affect his statistics against his three closest NBA friends, who happen to play in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, the nation’s three largest cities.James has made no secret of the fact that he most enjoys playing games in major markets, even saying at one point that he’d readily play all 82 games at Madison Square Garden if he could. But that excitement might work against James in some situations.His free-throw percentage splits against the Knicks, Clippers and Lakers — and in the high-profile, nationally televised Christmas Day games each of the past three years — have often been suspiciously low in recent seasons, an indication that he may be overthinking things at the line. (James, a 74.4 percent free-throw shooter for his career, has said in the past that he believes free-throw success is more mental than physical.)2He shot free throws well against the Bulls in four of the last five years, but it will be interesting to see if that changes now that Wade is on the team. To be clear, none of this is to suggest that James shrinks into a random role player when facing certain opponents. While he’s had less statistical success than he’s used to against Anthony and the Knicks in recent years, he’s still generally shown himself to be the best player on the court in those matchups. He posted a breezy triple-double on opening night in a blowout win against New York back in October.And aside from the fact that he owns the third-highest career scoring average at Madison Square Garden (28.5), trailing only Michael Jordan (31.8) and Kobe Bryant (29.9), James and his teams have generally taken care of business (11-3 against Anthony, 6-3 against Paul over the past five-plus years), even if the superstar has been a bit less efficient than usual.It’s also fair to award some credit to the defenses that limit James when he’s playing across from one of his closer friends. The Clippers, who currently boast the top defense in the league and have ranked among the top 10 on that end in three out of the past four seasons, have often been able to force James into somewhat rushed looks, since they have rim protector DeAndre Jordan lurking in the paint.The Knicks, by contrast, have perennially ranked as one of the NBA’s worst defenses in recent years. But Anthony, who’s generally drawn the assignment of covering James, almost always shows more effort than usual when defending his friend.While we’ve gotten a sense of how and why LeBron’s performed a bit less effectively as an individual when playing against his friends in recent seasons, it may be more interesting to analyze how he does when he’s particularly motivated by something or someone.James quickly and historically turned the tide in the last three games of the Finals after Klay Thompson essentially questioned his manhood during a press conference. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be that shocking if on Wednesday James draws motivation from what he felt were inappropriate comments made by Knicks president Phil Jackson about his business partners.With the Knicks playing as well as anyone in the East and the Cavs struggling lately, Wednesday’s game already had enough intrigue on its own. But knowing the history of how James fares against his friend — and seeing if that changes now that he may have lost respect for Jackson — might only heighten the drama.Check out our latest NBA predictions. With his four MVP awards and three NBA championships — the most recent of which capped a come-from-behind story for the ages and earned Cleveland its first major pro sports title in 52 years — LeBron James has set himself apart as the greatest player of his generation.But even as James has cemented his legacy as one of the best ever, one thing has bedeviled him in recent years: He’s often struggled, despite expending more energy than usual, when playing against his friends.Over the previous five seasons, James has shot beneath his lofty standards when squaring off against New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony — his buddy, who he’ll face tonight at Madison Square Garden — and Los Angeles Clippers floor general Chris Paul.In four of the past five seasons — going back to 2011-12, which was Anthony’s first full campaign with the Knicks and Paul’s first season with the Clippers — James has posted worse-than-average (for him) true shooting percentages against the Knicks and Clippers when Anthony and Paul were on the court, according to data from NBA.com. Simultaneously, in four of the past five seasons, his usage rate has been higher — meaning he’s been responsible for a greater-than-average share of Cleveland’s offense, in terms of shot attempts and turnovers — against the Knicks when Anthony has been on the floor. (He’s somehow turned the ball over against the Knicks about 11 percent more than average over that span, despite New York fielding one of the NBA’s worst defenses.)1James’s usage rate was also higher than usual against Paul in Paul’s first two years against the Clippers, but since then it’s been lower.
Hot Takedown More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. This week’s show (March 11, 2016) was recorded in front of a live audience at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Neil Paine donned his Stat Man cape once again to lead a lesson about whether box score statistics in the NBA are outdated. Shane Battier, former NBA player and Duke legend, stopped by to talk about March Madness, how he picks a bracket, and why Duke players weren’t obsessed over what seed the team was assigned in the tournament when he was in school. Then we talked to Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, about whether the Rockets’ struggles this season have pushed him to re-evaluate his team-building strategy. Plus, a significant digit on 17-year-old Mallory Pugh, who is emerging as a star for the U.S. Women’s National Team.Stream the episode by clicking the play button above, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to.
Former OSU wide receiver Roy Hall (8) runs with the ball during a game against Michigan on Nov. 18, 2006. Credit: Courtesy of TNSBefore ever donning an Ohio State uniform, and prior to hearing his name called by the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft, Roy Hall was a sixth grader with size 14 shoes looking to acquire the new Penny Hardaway’s all his friends were sporting. Except his mother could not afford to grant that wish.Working 10 to 12 hours a day, five to six days a week, new basketball shoes were not in her tight budget. Raising two kids on her own, she could not even afford new shoes for herself, wearing the same pair of boots for seven or eight years.Seeing his friends playing basketball in those new kicks, it did not register with Hall why he could not possess those shoes. It wasn’t until later in life he understood the predicament his mom was dealt raising him and his sister by herself.“You can see how strong an individual can be if they make their life about someone else,” Hall said. “My mom dedicated her life to making sure we had necessities growing up.”Growing up without a father in his life, Hall never really had a mentor of his own until his friends, family and coaches began to notice the potential he had in athletics.When Hall arrived on campus as a freshman at OSU in 2002, the Buckeyes were one of the top teams in the country, eventually winning a national championship, and Hall could not have been more excited to continue his maturation as a football player and a human being under former coach Jim Tressel. But there might have been one person of greater importance to Hall throughout his time at OSU: former cornerback Antonio Smith.“He’s kind of like my offensive coordinator,” Hall said.Smith came from a similar, humble beginning like Hall’s, being raised without a father. Smith was without a mother, as well, and had his grandmother bring him up.After his career ended with OSU, Hall became serious about taking their stories to mentor communities and youth. In Hall’s rookie year in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, he took the values instilled in him by his mother and Tressel and talked to Colts stars Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne about the benefit of using their NFL-player platforms to lift communities and inspire a better life for others.In spring 2008, Driven Foundation was founded by Hall and Smith who used their personal experiences for personal outreach to serve at-risk communities.“We promote perseverance and we try to foster hope through our food outreaches, mentorship programs, specializing in some motivational speaking,” Hall said. “Everything we do is surrounding or pushing the ‘never give up’ mentality.”Now going on its seventh year, Driven Foundation has spiraled into a versatile outreach organization present in multiple areas around Ohio. Numerous people it has served now wish to be servers to the community, which Hall said are unequivocally the highs in this experience.“Those are the stories that you may not read about or may not hear about but keep you motivated,” he said.As one of its main projects, the Driven Foundation has served about 500,000 pounds of free food to more than 4,200 Ohio families since 2008, according to the foundation’s website.The organization strengthens various age groups and communities, and most of the effort is directed toward the younger generation. Hall has constructed three mentorship programs at an elementary school and two middle schools.Once a week he speaks at a high school, and he aims to launch a new program every three months.One of those programs, SUITS, is in conjunction with Marion Franklin High School, where Driven provides free, custom-tailored suits to help teach students life lessons on how to be college- and interview-ready.“Our mentorship program is directed toward maximizing their potential and having them go to the next level, so to speak,” Hall said. “A lot of the things we do is very purposeful.”Denise Lutz, the principal at Holt Crossing Intermediate School in Grove City, Ohio, oversees a preteen student population that lacks counselors and role models. First encountering Hall at Hannah Ashton Middle School, Lutz said she knew Hall could be a positive role model for her students because he “drives right into experience.”A student Lutz referred to as “Jeremiah” appeared sad, almost depressed to the point it appeared he did not have self-worth. Lutz directed the emotionally troubled Jeremiah toward Hall.Recalling having tears in her eyes when Jeremiah told Hall, “he simply couldn’t do it anymore,” Lutz said she was alarmed hearing that from a child not yet in his teens.The principal said Hall sat down with Jeremiah, inculcating life lessons learned from his own past mentors.“Hall is great because he’s very upfront with his experiences as a youth,” Lutz said. “His presence with the kids, he doesn’t beat around the bush.”Hall dedicates much of his time to creating a culture for young people to learn the ways of cultivating an unselfish way of living. He said he believes athletes can be of massive assistance in resolving issues within a community.“These guys that hang up their (college) uniforms actually can do much more than just those four years on the football field,” Hall said. “Every athlete should make the effort to give back to the community not because it’s a good PR move but because no one made it to the level they are at by themselves.”Though Hall endures strenuous hours involved in Driven, it is nothing with which he is unfamiliar. As a kid in his modest home outside of Cleveland, his mother would wake him and his sister up early in the morning for school, head to her job until 6 or 6:30 p.m., help with Hall’s homework, cook dinner, iron their clothes and then do it all over again.“I believe my entire life, the Driven Foundation was embedded into who I was and my character,” Hall said. “Just having challenges growing up and watching what my mother was willing to sacrifice is where it started.”Correction 2/16: An earlier version of the story said Hall arrived at OSU in 2003, when in fact he redshirted the 2002 season as a true freshman and was a member of the 2002 national championship team.
The NCAA shouldn’t suspend Jim Tressel for more than two games. It shouldn’t fine him more than $250,000. It shouldn’t bar him from spring practice and summer workouts. After it finishes its investigation, the NCAA should recommend Jim Tressel’s termination as head football coach at The Ohio State University. This incident is further proof that college athletics is spinning out of control, and a message needs to be sent to university presidents and athletic directors who let rule-breaking coaches keep their jobs because they win games and sell tickets. And that’s exactly why Tressel, who said he never considered resigning, didn’t tell the athletic department that he had received an e-mail from an attorney indicating OSU football players were selling memorabilia to Edward Rife. Rife, the owner of Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor, is one of the focal points of a federal drug investigation. Tressel’s contract states that he is bound to report any possible violation immediately. He didn’t. When Regular Joe with a normal job breaches his contract, he gets the boot. So should The Vest. “I am sorry and disappointed this happened,” Tressel said. “At the time the situation occurred, I thought I was doing the right thing.” Doing the right thing? Surely a deeply religious man with a newly released book titled “Life Promises for Success: Promises from God on Achieving Your Best” knows the difference between right and wrong. Or does he? Maurice Clarett and Troy Smith, the highest-profile players of the Tressel era other than current Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were both suspended for accepting improper benefits. Tressel also had a player do the same thing at Youngstown State. It’s clear that Tressel, also author of “The Winner’s Manual,” wants to win at all cost. The mantra is shared by athletic director Gene Smith and university President E. Gordon Gee, who make up the university’s “Big Three.” When asked whether he considered firing Tressel, Gee gave a clear indication of who actually runs the university. “No, are you kidding?” Gee said with a laugh. “Let me be very clear: I’m just hoping the coach doesn’t dismiss me.” I rest my case. At this point OSU has given Tressel a slap on the wrist. The NCAA should break his arm.
Defensive end Se’Von Pittman is no longer part of the Ohio State football team. OSU spokesman Jerry Emig confirmed to The Lantern that Pittman, a rising sophomore, was granted a release from the program. Pittman was absent from OSU’s first spring practice Tuesday. Emig said he wasn’t sure why the Canton, Ohio, native made the decision, though. Before becoming OSU coach Urban Meyer’s second commit in 2012, Pittman was a two-time first-team Associated Press Division I All-State selection at Canton McKinley High School. Because of a knee injury suffered last spring, Pittman did not play in the Buckeyes’ undefeated campaign last season. OSU finished 12-0 and No. 3 in the final AP poll.
The Ohio State men’s tennis team shut out three consecutive conference opponents en route to winning its seventh Big Ten Tournament in eight years. The No. 4 Buckeyes (31-2), who played host to the annual tournament for the first time since 2002, held up the No. 1 overall tournament seed throughout the weekend, securing victories over No. 9-seeded Purdue, No. 4-seeded Illinois and No. 3-seeded Michigan, respectively. OSU did not relent a point over the three-game stretch, winning each match 4-0 and remaining undefeated in Big Ten play in 2013. The Saturday semifinal win over the No. 4-seeded Illini avenged the last season’s 4-3 loss in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament in Evanston, Ill. The championship victory over the Wolverines on Sunday gave the Buckeyes their eighth Big Ten Tournament victory (2001, 2006-11, 2013) and 11th finals appearance under coach Ty Tucker. Before Tucker took over in 1999, OSU also won the tournament in 1991. Against Michigan, the Scarlet and Gray dominated their archrivals from the North by securing the team doubles point for the 31st time in 2013. The No. 46-ranked tandem of junior Blaz Rola and redshirt sophomore Kevin Metka won their match, 8-5, and maintained their perfect record on the season at 20-0. The No. 14-ranked duo of redshirt junior Peter Kobelt and senior Connor Smith followed suit and clinched the doubles point with an 8-4 victory. In singles play, OSU rallied to three consecutive wins to put away the Wolverines. The Buckeyes garnered wins from redshirt freshman Chris Diaz and freshman Constantin Christ, winning 6-2, 6-2 and 6-1, 6-2, respectively. Finally, Smith, winning his match 6-3, 6-3, earned the match-winning point to solidify the Buckeyes as 2013 Big Ten Tournament Champions and earn them an automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The men’s tennis selection show is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, with singles and doubles selections scheduled to occur at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
OSU PA announcer Bob Kennedy sits at the announcers’ table before a men’s basketball game against American Nov. 20 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 63-52.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorWhile the more than 100,000 people who attend Ohio State’s football games are focused on the field during game time, there’s one voice that reaches out to all of them.That’s the voice of Bob Kennedy, the OSU public address announcer.“This is my 11th year doing football at Ohio State,” Kennedy said. “It’s an honor and a privilege — it really is.”Kennedy’s passion for radio and broadcasting started back in his early childhood, Kennedy’s first cousin Shelly Pfaub said. “He just wanted to do it since he was little.”As a child, Kennedy would try to talk like a radio announcer using pencils or Lincoln Logs as a make-believe microphone, she said, laughing.“I’m proud of him,” Pfaub added. “He has this booming voice.”Kennedy said his career in broadcasting “in one form or another” has been going on for more than three decades. He was born in Sunbury, Ohio, where the early beginnings of his career started.“I did some Little League games for a youth athletic association in Sunbury,” Kennedy said. “Sometimes you really have to yell at the top of your lungs ‘cause the PA system didn’t always work the way it should.”Kennedy graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication with a concentration on broadcasting from Otterbein College, where he also started working as a professional PA announcer for the school’s basketball games 24 years ago. It wasn’t long before he was doing the PA announcing for Otterbein’s marching band.Then 14 years ago, Kennedy expanded his services to OSU as a backup PA announcer.“I was just looking to fill in periodically. I wasn’t looking to do any sports on a regular basis per se,” Kennedy said. “I wound up doing three sports on a regular basis my first year.”Kennedy was the regular PA announcer for women’s ice hockey and soccer, as well as baseball during the 2000-01 academic year.The following year, after becoming the regular announcer for the men’s soccer team, Kennedy got his first taste as the announcer for OSU’s football games. The announcer at the time had to miss the game against Kent State, which conflicted with a religious holiday, Kennedy said.“They liked how I announced and everything,” he added. “They kind of liked my approach to how I did (it).”David Brown, the associate athletic director at the time, agreed.“He has the voice for (PA announcing), no question,” Brown said. “It wasn’t monotone … He was able to get excited about plays.”That was when the wheels started turning for Kennedy. In the spring of 2003, Kennedy received a call from Brown.“Dave says, ‘I know you’ve worked games at Otterbein. What I want you to do is check their football schedule, check our football schedule. See if there are any conflicts,’” Kennedy said. “So right now, I know something’s up … The next day I get another call and he says, ‘OK, the jig’s up — here’s what we want. We want you to take over doing announcing for Ohio State football on one condition: you do all the games or you do none at all.’”This posed a complication for Kennedy, who knew Otterbein might want the same privilege. He then called Dick Reynolds, the athletic director and men’s basketball coach for Otterbein at the time, who was out of town in New Orleans for the national coaches convention at the time.“He said, ‘You’d be a fool not to take this,’” Kennedy said, adding that there was one condition. “He says, ‘When you need to be at Ohio State and we have a football game here at Otterbein, you make sure that you have … our butt covered by having somebody in that press box doing the PA for our football games’ … and that’s the agreement we’ve had ever since.”During the 11 years as the regular PA announcer for Ohio State football, Kennedy said two moments especially stand out to him.The most memorable was his first game as a regular PA announcer where OSU was facing off against Washington.“The team was coming out of the tunnel right before the national anthem, and there was a sunset over the ‘Shoe that is just breathtaking,” Kennedy said. “I got cold chills. I literally got cold chills.”However, the 2006 Ohio State-Michigan game, when both teams held the top two spots in the BCS rankings, came in as a close second, he added.“If that game had gone overtime, I don’t think I would have any of my voice left,” Kennedy said. “I was losing my voice in the fourth quarter. I was carrying cough drops with me to keep my voice moist and loose, and I was out of cough drops by the end of the third quarter, so I was really hurt.”Since his time with OSU, Kennedy said he has done PA announcing for 20 of the 37 sports offered at the university as a regular or fill-in. In addition to PA announcing for Otterbein and OSU games, Kennedy works as a morning news anchor for 98.9 “The Answer” radio station and has been the PA announcer for the Columbus Clippers for almost 11 years.“Bob’s a great guy,” said Rich Hanchette, the former PA announcer for the Clippers and a motion graphic artist for the Cleveland Browns. “There’s only one person I knew I wanted to be my successor, and that’s Bob Kennedy.”Though he continues to work in the broadcasting field, Kennedy said there’s a lot of uncertainty in terms of his future.“As unstable and insecure as my line of work has become over the years, it is really difficult to say what you will be doing in five minutes, much less five years because things can change that quickly,” he said. “You’re pretty much forced to make your crystal ball look only one day in advance.”
OSU then-redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett huddles up with teammates prior to the Buckeyes 30-27 double-overtime win against Michigan. Credit: Mason Swires | Former Assistant Photo EditorOhio State and coach Urban Meyer are less than 48 hours from kicking off the 2017 season in Bloomington, Indiana, against the Hoosiers. Meyer and Indiana coach Tom Allen addressed the game and their respective teams’ standing Tuesday during the season’s first 2017 Big Ten coaches teleconference.Who will start, Smith or Fuller?The Buckeyes released their depth chart Monday, which included several position battles that are undecided, most notably at the safety position opposite Damon Webb.Erick Smith and Jordan Fuller have been battling for the position left vacant by current Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker since the spring. Meyer said during the teleconference that each of them will see playing time Thursday.“You’d have to ask [defensive coordinator and safeties coach] Greg [Schiano] … I think they’re both going to play because to answer your question, there’s been not, in my mind, that much separation between the two,” he said.Smith has battled injuries his entire career at Ohio State, tearing his ACL in the sixth game of 2015, which held him out most of 2016 fall camp. He has played 33 games since he arrived in Columbus, but hasn’t started on defense yet. Fuller, a 6-foot-2, 207-pound New Jersey native, saw time on special teams with Smith last year, and played sparingly in 2016 when games were out of hand. It still remains to be seen how much Meyer will use the two of them and if the lack of separation in competition is a sign that both have been performing well, or haven’t met the benchmark.Inexperience is a concernA coach can never truly predict how players will translate from the practice field to the main stage, which is precisely the reason Meyer is worried about the defensive backfield and the wide receiver position.Ohio State freshman cornerback Shaun Wade walks into the Hyatt Place to check in for fall camp on Aug. 6. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.Freshman safety Isaiah Pryor and freshmen cornerbacks Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade are listed on the team’s two-deep depth chart. Those players are just an injury away from seeing playing time immediately.At wide receiver, Meyer has repeatedly shown excitement concerning the talent at the position, but the lack of experience still makes him anxious.“And as I probably share with most other coaches, the unknown — the fact that we’re going to be playing some guys at the back end of our defense that haven’t played much or at all,” Meyer said. “And our receiving corps, although I really love where they’re at, they’re unproven. So those are the biggest concerns.”He added the defensive line and offensive line are two positions he is most confident in.Could Haskins see playing time Thursday?Following Joe Burrow’s injury last week, Dwayne Haskins is the backup to starter J.T. Barrett at quarterback. When asked whether Haskins would see playing time in order to just get some experience or if it would come once the game is out of hand, Meyer didn’t really say yes or no to either. The game on Thursday is “all hands on deck” in Meyer’s eyes.“Those are the kind of things you discuss when you’re maybe playing an inferior opponent, and no, there is zero conversation about that,” he said. “All hands on deck to go win a game against a good team.”Indiana coach Tom Allen preparing for biggest opener in program historyAllen called the opener against Ohio State the “biggest opener in the history of Indiana football” at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago in July. Now just two days from that date with the Buckeyes, Allen is sticking with his claim.Ohio State co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson prepares for the first fall practice of the year on July 27. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor“The fact that it’s Ohio State and where they position themselves in recent years has been impressive,” Allen said. “They do a great job and they’ve got a great football team. And then with [co-offensive coordinator Kevin] Wilson there. It’s just kind of a lot of things that just came together at one time to create a very unique opening game for us. With that, there’s been a lot of excitement and anticipation.”In his first full season as head coach of the Hoosiers, Allen is preparing to face an offense similar to the one he competed against in practice last season as the team’s defensive coordinator, with Kevin Wilson now at Ohio State as co-offensive coordinator. Allen said he actually has been watching film of Indiana’s offense last year to prepare for the game, as well as some high school tape of some inexperienced Ohio State players.“It definitely makes it more challenging when you don’t have collegiate film while we have them playing a game,” he said. “It’s the first game of the season, both sides have got to experience that to some degree in both areas.”The Hoosiers and Buckeyes will kick off at 8 p.m. Thursday in Bloomington.
Redshirt sophomore running back Mike Weber (25) runs the ball during the Ohio State- Oklahoma game on Sep. 9. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorAfter Ohio State’s 31-16 upset loss to No. 5 Oklahoma, redshirt sophomore running back Mike Weber admitted he was not yet fully healthy, as he has been dealing with a hamstring injury that he originally suffered early in fall camp.“I wasn’t 100 percent,” Weber said. “The goal was to come in here and help the team the best way I can and it didn’t work, but I did what I could.”On his third carry during the second quarter, the running back tweaked his hamstring again and did not return until the final drive of the fourth quarter.Hamstring injuries tend to linger, and Weber said he was told by team doctors that he should continue to expect tweaks throughout the season. Weber didn’t play in Ohio State’s 49-21 season opening win against Indiana due to the injury. After the game, coach Urban Meyer said the redshirt sophomore was “80 percent” healthy, could’ve played if necessary and would play against Oklahoma.The head coach restated that Weber would play throughout the week leading up to the matchup against the Sooners. But in Saturday night’s loss to Oklahoma, Weber didn’t reach the field until the second quarter and only tallied three carries, picking up 29 yards. He also caught two passes for 10 yards. Luckily for the Buckeyes, freshman running back J.K. Dobbins has filled in aptly and, once again, led his team in rushing with 72 yards. Weber said that once he is healthy, the duo will impress.“It’s going to look scary, actually,” Weber said. “I get healthy and he gets better each game. I help him each game and he helps me.”