"I try not to get my hopes up for the first round, but regardless of what I try to do, my hopes are up for the first round."
Michael Bennett may be waiting for the phone to ring tonight, but even if that phone call doesn't come, he should only have to wait until tomorrow night to get the phone call that he has been working towards. One thing that could hurt Bennett's chances of being drafted tonight is the pulled hamstring he suffered while running the 40-yard dash at Ohio State's pro day back in March. While the injury didn't send his draft stock into a free fall, Bennett was still hoping to be 100 percent to show potential interested teams what he had to offer to them. Still, if teams have any questions on what Bennett can do on the field, they should just look to the tape of him during the last half of Ohio State's championship season.
Even if Bennett's dream isn't realized and he isn't taken in the first round, that should deter him, especially considering some of the recent history of Ohio State draft picks. Jack Mewhort went in the second round last year, Corey Linsley in the fifth round, and Andrew Norwell and Philly Brown went undrafted, but all went on to have a big impact for the teams they latched on with. While Bennett might be thinking about what round he might be drafted in, he isn't fretting over who might take him. Whatever team takes Bennett will likely get a tremendous prospect who will make the team happy they drafted him.
"To me that's the difference in the game, that's the difference in our team. That was the thing we saw different the entire season. The guys truly believed, they truly believed, and it was sold by our seniors."
There are plenty of plays from Ohio State's championship season which Luke Fickell could call his favorite, but when asked Fickell answered Steve Miller's interception return late in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama was his favorite. The reason why the play resonated so much with Fickell was because it was all about the seniors as they helped the Buckeyes build a lead the Crimson Tide couldn't overcome. The interception return helped Ohio State to go up by two touchdowns with under four minutes to go in the third quarter, and made sure the season for the seniors would have one more game.
The 41-yard interception return by Miller wouldn't have been possible had it not been for some key blocks by Michael Bennett, Doran Grant, and Curtis Grant. All four defensive players involved in that play will be hoping to hear their names called during this weekend's NFL Draft. While Fickell will be rooting for his former players to realize their NFL dreams, he also realizes what Ohio State has to replace when watching that play. The seniors were rewarded for their work with the program, especially after what they dealt with following "Tat-Gate", which saw Fickell taking over as head coach for a year before the arrival of Urban Meyer. Ohio State is always able to reload when it comes to talent, but future senior classes might be hard-pressed to make a play that Fickell remembers quite as fondly as he does of Miller's interception from the Sugar Bowl.
"I think I learned a lot from osmosis. I was at Texas State in 2005. I'd never coached quarterbacks and never called plays a day in my life. David Bailiff hired me and we go 11-3, and Barrick Nealy breaks all kinds of QB records. I grinded. I got my hands on every drill tape I could. I went to clinic. Every brain I could pick, I picked. And I wasn't too proud to ask the kids."
With the type of offense Tom Herman helped run at Ohio State, many would probably think Herman was born to be an offensive and quarterback guru, but that is far from the case. In reality, Herman has only been in charge of offenses and quarterbacks for about 10 years. The growth of Herman as a coach started at Texas State with David Bailiff in 2005, and continued when he and Bailiff moved to Rice the next season. The rest is history as Herman started to move up the Division I ladder, eventually earning a spot on Urban Meyer's staff, and a national championship, before taking the head coaching job at Houston.
What has really helped Herman over the years to learn how to become the quarterback specialist he is now is that he didn't have any problems asking the players what they thought they were doing wrong. Not only was Herman helping the players learn to try and fix their mistakes, but it was also helping him to learn and evolve as a coach. The transformation is evident, as Herman went from coaching quarterbacks at Texas State, to coaching three of the best quarterbacks in college football over the past couple seasons in Columbus. Now Herman has taken the reigns of a Division I program, but that won't change his approach on coaching. What has helped turn Herman into the coach he is now is that he is open-minded and not afraid to try new concepts. With all that Herman has learned in the past decade, he should be on track to having plenty of success at Houston.
STICK TO SPORTS
- A new burger bar will be opening in the Short North later this summer
- Bob Evans will be closing 20 underperforming restaurants in the next month
- "Jungle" Jack Hanna made his final appearance on David Letterman's Late Show last night
- If this isn't the most Cleveland Browns thing ever, I don't know what is.
- Looking to watch Pacquiao/Mayweather in Columbus on Saturday night? Scratch Buffalo Wild Wings off your list of places to watch