Angelique Chengelis posted a very interesting ARTICLE this morning from the Big Ten Media function in Chicago. The article is interesting in its own right, but the subtext caught my attention even more.
The article focuses on how team leaders have used off-field functions to build team chemistry. That sounds like a great idea, and it also underscores how players like Gardner who have occasionally been derided as insufficient leaders are leading in their own way.
The really interesting thing to me, though, was the implications in the article as to team chemistry last year. Frank Clark's quote struck me:
Strength coach Aaron Wellman has been integral in helping the players bond, Clark said, making a point to encourage offensive and defensive players, and black and white players, hang out together at team dinners or as they arrive or leave strength training sessions.
“Coach Wellman says, ‘Let’s make Oreos, baby,’” Clark said, laughing. “You’re sitting there and you walk out, it’s not about a black or white thing at the end of the day.”
Chengelis notes that this is not an indictment of last year's team, but more of a positive step forward. That may be her being a bit gracious, though, since you would hope coaches and assistants (and upperclassmen) would notice any offense/defense or black/white cliquing behavior and work to address it as a matter of course. As Clark put it "(w)hen you go 7-6 -- when you lose that many games two years in a row, you start to sit down and think like something’s gotta change around here”. Indeed.
I applaud Clark for being forthright on this, and Wellman for addressing this, but I was a bit disappointed that cliques (and cliques based on race) were an issue last year. For all of that, it sounds as though Wellman is doing a great job of going beyond simply conditioning and strength training, and working on team building. He may lack Barwis's growl (most of us do), but he seems to be doing a fine job for the team and strikes me as an undervalued asset of the program.
A good friend of mine sent me the following. It appears that the gloating down south about Michigan's apparent problems selling tickets is a bit premature. The difference is that Ohio is taking steps to disguise their problem a bit better than we did. The following is a letter that went out to OSU faculty and staff:
Dear Ohio State University Faculty and Staff:
I am extraordinarily grateful to the Ohio State faculty and staff who work every day to make our university great. Together we have accomplished many significant successes that are a direct reflection of your dedication and teamwork. For that, I would like to personally thank you. To recognize your valuable contributions, President Michael V. Drake, MD, recently announced Ohio State’s inaugural faculty and staff appreciation Buckeye Football Game. A large number of faculty and staff have an opportunity to be randomly selected to receive four complimentary tickets to the Ohio State vs. Kent State football game on Saturday, Sept. 13. Kick-off is at noon.
In order to participate, faculty and staff must follow the link below and select the opt-in box on the landing page.* By selecting the box to opt-in, you’ll enter your name into consideration for the tickets. If you are selected, tickets will be mailed to the home address listed in Employee Self Service.
Thank you again for all that you do for Ohio State. We’re excited to recognize your achievements by offering you the opportunity to cheer on the Buckeyes with your fellow faculty, staff and friends.
Andraea (AJ) Douglass
They can't move the Kent State tickets so they are giving them to faculty and staff real quiet like. Can't let them hit the secondary market b/c that will just lower the prestige (and pricing) of attending the sell out. Even if you have a top 10 or even top 5 program you can out price your market. OSU is on the bubble right now. So all those fans making fun of UM's ticket deals will only have to wait to see their own team's ads all over Columbus TV. Greed, greed, greed. John Bacon needs to point this out and shame Gene Smith and the moneygrabbers down there.
1. USC at Stanford - 3:30 ABC
2. Michigan State at Oregon - 6:30 Fox
3. Michigan at Notre Dame - 7:30 NBC
4. Virginia Tech at Ohio - 8:00 ESPN
I be like Daaaamn. I am beginning to jot down some notes regarding my pizza and beer order for that day this morning. That is a must see Saturday right there.
After months and months without word, I decided to email the athletic department recently on why the spring awards weren't announced. They got back with me and said that they were awarded unannounced but would be included in the media guide.
Kind of strange since there usually is a press release every year.
Jarrod Wilson took home the Frederick Matthaei Award
The Frederick Matthaei Award is given to the junior-to-be gridder who has displayed leadership, drive and achievement on the athletic field and in the classroom. The award was established by Frederick C. Matthaei in 1968.
Chris Wormley took home the John F. Maulbetsch Award...
The John F. Maulbetsch Award is given to the freshman football candidate after spring practice on the basis of desire, character, capacity for leadership and future success both on and off the gridiron. It was established by Frederick C. Matthaei in 1954 in honor of the late John F. Maulbetsch, an All-American halfback in 1914.
And Junior (wow, how is he already a Junior?) Joe Bolden took home the oldest award in program history, the Meyer Morton Award. The Morton predates the team MVP award by a year, first being presented in 1925 to Ray Baer.
The Meyer Morton Award, established by the 'M' Club of Chicago in 1925, is given to the football player who shows the greatest development and most promise as a result of the annual spring practice. Morton, a 1912 Michigan graduate, was a lawyer in Chicago from 1915-48 and served as a Big Ten football official for 23 years. In fact, Morton was the referee in the famous 0-0 tie between Notre Dame and Army played at Yankee Stadium in 1946. A member of the Chicago 'M' Club, Morton traveled to Ann Arbor to present the award for many years, and the award was named in his honor after his death in 1948.
Hoke said today that De"Veon Smith had a bit of an edge over Derrick Green coming out of spring. Reminds that Drake Johnson back— angelique (@chengelis) July 29, 2014
Also, here is says it is mostly because of pass pro.
Per GoBlueinMN below (so give him a +1 for this info below; put in OP to allow discussion) and Nick Baumgardner on twitter, who also explains that others beside Norfleet will get a look at returns because the team must get better, and says Kenny Allen will now do kickoffs:
Hoke says Glasgow is going to play center. Sounded like his shuffling to other spots is going to slow down.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) July 29, 2014
This morning, the NCAA announced that it reached a preliminary settlement with former players with regards to concussion testing and treatment. It's valued at roughly $70 million. Link with further details provided below.