**Caution Signs … It had the potential to go this way and now it appears headed down a dark, scary road. When players begin to publicly question the coaches – tune into Front Row Radio in a bit for that – and word starts to leak out about internal strife, you have a full-blown dumpster fire on your hands.
Were there issues on Jim Tressel's team that only he could control?
But our people have been besieged in the wake of the MSU debacle. It seems all have a story about the seeds of this being planted a good while ago. We have sources telling us there was a possible dust up between Mike Vrabel and Jim Bollman as recently as last month with the topic being the direction of the offense (insert joke here).
Then there is this: Several individuals who were … let’s just say “close to the program” … in years past shared their total lack of surprise at the current goings on. Why? The offensive and defensive staffs were not that tight. The offensive staff members were seen as Tressel’s guys; his pals. You know the names. There was a belief among defensive coaches they were covering up for the offense on a consistent basis.
Eliminate Tressel from that equation and … well, you know what happens next.
** Berry Interesting … In one of the oddest situations we’ve covered, Ohio State sophomore tailback/kick returner Jaamal Berry was involved in a physical altercation last Wednesday morning on campus with another OSU student.
Despite a police report that is confusing as they come, most of the pieces are starting to come together.
According to an eyewitness, Berry and another male were seen wrestling on the ground. At first, the witness thought they were just playing around, but then she heard the victim (not Berry) yell “Get off me.” She then separated the men and said neither of them appeared injured.
Berry was confused and unable to tell her his name, where he was located or what had just transpired. Berry was then convinced to go to the OSU Emergency Center for “counseling and treatment.”
According to witnesses quoted in the police report, Berry said many disturbing things during the incident.
“These people, I don’t know where they came from,” Berry said. “They were walking down 12th.”
Later, Berry added: “I’m going to die. I don’t know what’s going on around me. Why is all of this coming together at the same time?”
He then said: “I can’t believe this is happening again” and it looked like he was about to cry according to a witness.
The victim had bruising on his neck and elbows, but decided to not press charges against Berry.
According to the police report, the victim believed Berry “had an altered mental state during this event.”
Berry was dressed for Saturday’s 10-7 loss to Michigan State and went through all of the Buckeyes’ pre-game warm-ups, but did not play.
"Not much was said about it, but he looked fine when he came in on Friday," one of Berry's teammates said. "Then he was warming up with us before the game, but they went with Chris (Fields) back there (on kickoffs) since that's how we'd been practicing all week. I think he's (Berry) OK, man. It was weird, though."
** Of Course It Did… Of course the NFL “upheld the 5-game suspension of Terrelle Pryor.” After all, it was Pryor’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who concocted the idea as a compromise when it was looking like Pryor wouldn’t be eligible for the supplemental draft.
That’s right, as we first revealed in the House last month, Rosenhaus approached NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with the idea for Pryor to sit out the first five games. If you remember, at the time, Goodell had decided to make Pryor ineligible for the supplemental draft. His reasoning was that he did not want college players to think they could get out of their pending suspensions by simply turning pro. So, Rosenhaus came up with the idea of having Pryor sit out the first five games to match his college suspension no matter who drafted him, and Goodell agreed.
Then, just to appease the NFLPA, Pryor and his team staged a faux-appeal and “lost” said appeal. Guess who the appeal was made in front of? That’s right, Goodell. Shocking on many levels that the appeal was turned down. Let’s see: It was Pryor’s agent’s idea in the first place, and it was Goodell himself hearing and deciding on the appeal.
Anyway, kudos to our source that tipped us off a month ago about what was really going on in this situation. We wanted to do a follow-up now that this had been finalized.
**Burger Express … The Buckeyes have a commitment from Luke Roberts from Lancaster, but Luke Fickell is definitely looking to add another middle/inside linebacker to his 2012 recruiting class. It seems to be just a matter of who Fickell decides to offer and if the player accepts.
Mason Monheim from Orrville and Roberts competed for an offer from the Bucks at the Buckeyes’ football camp in June with Roberts winning out. A month ago it looked like Monheim was the favorite to land the next linebacker offer, but we hear Joe Burger (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) is charging fast.
Our sources indicate the OSU staff has been impressed with how the 6-foot-2 and 230-pound Burger has played at middle linebacker in the first half of his senior season after he played outside linebacker as a junior. The Buckeyes want Burger to attend one of their games and he is expected to do so later this month. The race for an offer from the Bucks now seems like a dead heat between Monheim and Burger.
**Sully II? … We chatted in Friday’s House about Class of 2012 hoops standout Amile Jefferson from Philly taking an official visit to Ohio State this past weekend. And we can confirm he arrived and was given the red carpet treatment with assistant Jeff Boals paying special attention to Jefferson and his father. Jefferson looks to be about 6-foot-7 and is pretty thin so his desire to play on the perimeter in college is warranted.
But we can also let you know that Class of 2014 standout Jahlil Okafor – ranked the No. 2 prospect in the class by 247Sports – was in the house on an unofficial visit Saturday. The Chicago native was accompanied by a party of around seven on the trip. And here is an encouraging piece of news: Okafor is every bit of 6-9. Some big men get a few inches in the program for PR sake. Not this dude. Sporting his USA Basketball gear, Okafor certainly looks the part of a big man who already has offers from Ohio State, Illinois, DePaul, Michigan State and Arkansas.
Okafor and Jefferson observed a 40-minute run at the Schott on Satuday before heading over to watch the Buckeyes-Spartans matchup. A program source was asked for a scouting report on Okafor: “He’s Sullinger as a sophomore.”
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