The Lost Season

It was a tough loss to Michigan today — but then, it’s been a tough season all around.  Give credit to Michigan and Denard Robinson, who played lights out.

Being a Midwesterner, I was raised with the notion that if you’ve done something wrong you deserve to be punished.  Ohio State players broke the rules, and the Buckeyes have been punished.  They’ve lost a legendary coach, suffered through their worst season in years, lost to Michigan for the first time since 2003, and now have to decide whether they want to go to some embarrassingly mediocre bowl game.  The fact that they came close to beating the Wolverines today, only to fall short as they have done so often this season, is just another taste of the whip.

The Buckeyes will be hiring a new head coach.  Everyone here is talking about Urban Meyer; we’ll have to see whether that in fact happens.  For now, I want to thank Luke Fickell for taking the reins under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, and doing his best to hold things together.  I hope he finds a good job somewhere — perhaps on the staff of the new coach.  I also hope that all Ohio State’s players stick with the program and commit themselves to restoring Buckeye football to its past glory.  With Braxton Miller under center, we’ll be hoping for a quick turnaround.

Now, let’s forget that the lost season of 2011 ever happened.

Liking Lenzelle

There’s lots to like about this year’s version of the Ohio State men’s basketball team.  They’ve got the dominant inside player in Jared Sullinger, the scrappy point guard in Aaron Craft, the steady senior scorer in William Buford, and the instant offense in Deshaun Thomas.  They’ve got some talent on the bench, too.  But for me the big revelation so far this season is Lenzelle Smith Jr.

Smith is a 6-4 guard, and he plays the game the way it should be played.  He sweats and scrambles when he’s guarding an opposing player and looks like he eventually could be as versatile on the defensive end as David Lighty — who could guard just about anybody.  Smith has a solid offensive game; he’s patient, unselfish, and doesn’t force shots.  But where Smith really shines is in transition.  I love watching #32 rip down a rebound and rush pell mell down the court, head up and looking to dish.  He’s made some terrific passes, including some alley-oop lobs leading to  rim-rattling, crowd-pleasing dunks.

Lenzelle Smith Jr. is the kind of player you need on your team if you hope to contend for championships.  The Buckeyes play a tough schedule this year — Duke comes to town next week, for example — and they’ll need every defensive stop and transition bucket #32 can give them.

A Dog-Swan Encounter

On this morning’s walk Penny and I noticed that the swan who cruises regally on the number 5 north pond was right next to the boardwalk.  As I stopped to take a picture of this beautiful creature, Penny decided to take a closer look — and then the fun began.

Penny stuck her head under the fence.  The swan cocked his head and took a good look, then decided he didn’t much care for Penny.  He shot his head forward and hissed loudly.  Penny bravely bolted out of there.

Round 1 goes to the swan.