The Panthers FirstHalf Blowouts Are Unprecedented

1976Minnesota2+0.28+0.14-0.05+0.14 1996New England2+0.30+0.110.00+0.08 1999St. Louis2+0.21-0.23+0.33+0.19 Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com 1984San Francisco2+0.24+0.06+0.16+0.04 YEARTEAMGAMESQ1Q2Q3Q4/OT 2015Carolina2+0.41+0.08+0.020.00 1987Denver2+0.38+0.09-0.05+0.08 1986N.Y. Giants2+0.22+0.26+0.020.00 1981Cincinnati2+0.34-0.03+0.10+0.09 WPA/GAME BY QTR 1973Miami2+0.28+0.04+0.10+0.08 1985Chicago2+0.26+0.05+0.190.00 Along their path to Super Bowl 50, the Carolina Panthers have been absolutely laying waste to opponents early in games. After a quarter against the Seattle Seahawks, they were up 14-0; at halftime they led 31-0. (Seattle would rally to bring the final score within a touchdown.) After a quarter against the Arizona Cardinals, they led 17-0; at halftime they were up 24-7. (Arizona did not rally at all, losing by 34.) Those average playoff leads — 15.5 points after one quarter, and 24 points after two — are both post-merger records1The latter is tied with the 1990 Buffalo Bills and 2000 New York Giants. for Super Bowl-bound teams.Another way to quantify Carolina’s dominance is win probability. Ignoring point spreads — i.e,. assuming each team starts a game with a 50-50 shot at winning, instead of accounting for pregame differences in perceived strength between the teams — the Panthers have added an average of 41 WP points in the first quarters of their pre-Super Bowl playoff games, another record: 1994San Francisco2+0.26+0.22+0.020.00 1978Pittsburgh2+0.24+0.17+0.04+0.05 1990Buffalo2+0.37+0.06+0.04+0.03 1983Washington2+0.21+0.17+0.120.00 1977Dallas2+0.21+0.20+0.06+0.03 In plain English, this means they’ve ended the first quarters of their playoff games with an average win probability of 91 percent. These games have been all but over after just 15 minutes of play! Tack on another 8 points of WP in the second quarter, as Carolina has done, and it’s averaging a 99 percent chance of victory at halftime during these playoffs. Among post-merger Super Bowl teams, that mark trails only the 1989 San Francisco 49ers by a hundredth of a percentage point.So the Panthers have had insanely dominant starts in their playoff games. Does that actually say something extra about their chances in the Super Bowl? Historically speaking, not really. Since 1970, there’s basically zero relationship between how dominant a team has been in the first quarter of its pre-Super Bowl playoff games and its point differential in the Super Bowl itself. (In fact, the top six teams according to average first-quarter WPA all lost the Super Bowl.)The same is essentially true when you look at the relationship between average first-half pre-Super Bowl WPA and Super Bowl point differential. Entire playoff games are a small sample,2There’s also no correlation between a team’s victory margin in the conference championship game as a whole and its point differential in the Super Bowl. let alone fractions of those games, so a team’s early-game dominance doesn’t tell us a whole lot about how they should be expected to play in the future.Let’s be clear: The Panthers are solidly favored to beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl, whether you look at Vegas lines, Elo ratings or other power-ranking metrics. But that should owe far more to their performance over the larger sample of the season (perhaps with a little extra emphasis on recent play) than the impressive way they’ve started their playoff games, even if those hot starts are incredibly fresh in our minds. 1982Washington3+0.27+0.16-0.03+0.10 2004Philadelphia2+0.23+0.07+0.16+0.04 2000N.Y. Giants2+0.30+0.16+0.03+0.01 2011New England2+0.24+0.07-0.17+0.36 Fastest starts on the road to the Super Bowl 1988Cincinnati2+0.23+0.10+0.04+0.14 read more


Tiger Woods in Contention at Arnold Palmer Tournament

Tiger Woods, eyeing a return to the No. 1 position in the golfing world, fired a 3-under 69 and rests four shots behind leader Justin Rose after the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Country Club in Orlando.Woods has won this tournament seven times and has himself well-positioned after Day 1. The No. 2 player in the world behind Rory McIlroy said he did not play his best, but he managed his way around the course well enough to be right there.He made an eagle, four birdies to counter three bogeys in his round that started early Thursday. Most encouraging was his continued solid putting that was on display at the WGC-Cadillac Invitational, where two weeks ago he had a career-best 100 putts over 72 holes.“I played all right today. I didn’t hit it my best, that’s for sure,” Woods said. “But I scored well. I took care of the par-5s, but I didn’t birdie them the way I like to. I hit some bad shots, but was fortunate to get the ball on the green and make a putt.”Woods played the par-5s in 5 under par — he was 14 under on those holes last year. He hit 12 of 18 greens in regulation and had a respectable 28 putts.A couple of early par-saving putts and a 12-footer for an eagle at the 16th hole (his seventh) got Woods to 3 under before consecutive bogeys at the 17th and 18th holes. He then made birdies at the fourth, fifth and sixth holes before missing the green at the par-3 seventh and failing to get up and down.Woods was playing for the first time since winning his 17th World Golf Championship event and 76th PGA Tour title two weeks ago at Doral.A victory at Bay Hill would move Woods to No. 1 in the world for the first time since Oct. 31, 2010 — when he dropped from the top spot for the first time in over five years. McIlroy is not playing at Bay Hill.Rose shot a 7-under-par 65. read more


The Houdini Of Chess Has Escaped Again At The World Championship

Move after move, hour after hour, Carlsen nursed a roughly one-pawn edge.2It’s common in chess to measure a player’s advantage in terms of “material,” or pieces remaining on the board. There’s a rough point system: pawns are worth 1 point, bishops and knights are 3, rooks are 5 and queens are 9. Move after move, hour after hour, Karjakin crafted his fortress. The siege would begin soon.But Carlsen eventually slipped, and the peanut gallery, reveling in laptop-aided hindsight, began to doubt his tactics. On his 45th move, Carlsen (black) faced this board. The French word for chess is échecs. The French term for Tuesday’s game at the World Chess Championship is déjà vu.On Monday, world No. 1 and defending champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway fought his challenger, world No. 9 Sergey Karjakin of Russia, in a sweeping 78-move, seven-hour classic worthy of Terrence Malick — a draw for the ages. On a gloomy Tuesday in lower Manhattan, the players sat down in front of 32 pieces and 64 squares and did it again.The result was a 94-move, six-hour-plus draw that kept the best-of-12 world championship match tied for yet another game. After four games and four consecutive draws, the grandmasters’ tally is now 2-2.1Wins are worth 1 point, draws are worth 1/2 a point for each player, and losses are worth 0 points. Whoever gets to 6.5 points first, wins.Harry Houdini was known to escape after being handcuffed, nailed into a wooden box and dumped into the East River. Sergey Karjakin should now be known for escaping in a suit jacket from a thick glass box just a block away from the East River — a box containing two chairs, a chess set and the brain of Magnus Carlsen.Tuesday’s game saw a familiar opening, one that’s becoming de rigueur in this match: the Ruy Lopez, in which each side plays its king’s pawn, each develops a knight, and white attacks black’s knight with a bishop. It’s been a staple in chess for over half a millennium because it develops pieces quickly and creates tension, and it’s been played in each of the last three championship games. In fact, each of the players’ first five moves in Tuesday’s Game 4 exactly matched their first five moves in Game 2. Nevertheless, Tuesday’s early board developed into a complex tapestry — both strategically and tactically rich — with no clear early advantage to either side. Not a single piece was captured until the 16th move.But soon after that capture, this latest game looked like it had slipped away from the Russian. On his 19th move, Karjakin, playing white, faced this position. He had just snuck his bishop into enemy territory, capturing a black pawn that had been camping on h6. The computer chess engine Stockfish screamed “Escape!” suggesting Karjakin bring the bishop back from whence it came, returning it to safety on c1. But Karjakin (with no access to a computer, of course) chose a more adventurous path. He captured black’s knight on c4 with his other bishop, essentially trading those two pieces, since black’s pawn could then easily capture the bishop. Neither the computers nor the human analysts liked this one bit.That move forced black to double up its pawns on what’s called the c-file, which is chess jargon for the c column on the board. Doubled pawns are usually a no-no, but the move benefited black in other ways. Robert Hess, a grandmaster and chess.com contributor, explained to me that it created a ton of space for Carlsen’s two bishops to operate and it opened up the b-file for either of black’s rooks to swoop down and attack. From then on, Carlsen’s momentum built, and for hours you couldn’t find anyone who wasn’t predicting a Carlsen victory. He looked unbeatable. He slid his pawn down a square, to f4. It didn’t look like much to me at first. But the online assemblage seemed to say “f4” in the same way a Red Sox fan might say “Bucky Dent.” Stockfish preferred sliding the bishop down to e6, pressuring white’s pawn. As Hikaru Nakamura, a top American player, explained on Twitter, that pawn move constipated the board, limiting the pieces’ ability to move (what chess types call “closing the position”). That in turn contributed to Karjakin’s fortress and denied black the dynamic board it needed to secure a victory.Some were blunter in their analyses than others. Even an acquaintance of mine, who was emailing to make plans to have coffee, had something to say. The email ended: “Also, re today: F4??”Over the next 50 moves — an endgame masterclass — bishops jockeyed for position, kings chased each other around the board, and pawns mostly stood frozen in fear. But eventually the siege ended. The fortress held. Another bloodless classic.Monday’s nearly seven-hour game may have taken its toll on both players, perhaps even contributing to the inaccuracies. Somewhere around move 17, Carlsen wandered away from the board and cameras captured him on the couch in his private player’s room, seemingly collecting himself: Mercifully, the players have a day off Wednesday. The match resumes Thursday afternoon, and I’ll be covering the rest of the games here and on Twitter. read more


Bucks pull trigger on pair of Big Ten wins

The No. 4 Ohio State wrestling team added two wins in Big Ten action after defeating both Michigan and Northwestern this weekend. The Buckeyes fell to Michigan in 14 consecutive matches from 1994-2007. However, the Buckeyes have turned the tables on the Wolverines, taking the past three matches.Friday night, the Buckeyes took a major decision over the Wolverines 29-9. Junior Nikko Triggas put the Buckeyes on the board early with a pin. Triggas is ranked No. 20 at 125 pounds. A California High School State Champion and three time state qualifier out of Moraga, Calif., Triggas had his support system in the crowd over the weekend.“I’ve got six family members here; they come out here twice a year to my matches,” Triggas said. They picked a great weekend to come out.In just under 3:00, Triggas had his second pin of the weekend on Sunday against Northwestern. “A pin against Michigan is always huge and to get a second one in the same weekend is great,” Triggas said. With 141 pins, he holds the record at Campolindo High School for most career pins.He’s working toward another school record with 12 pins on the season.“I’m climbing up the leaderboard for all-time in Ohio State. I have to get a few more to top the season off,” Triggas said.Coach Tom Ryan would like to see Triggas’ stamina improve during this training phase. “He’s really good on top and when you’re tired you’re not as good on top and on your feet, so there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Ryan said. Triggas likes the camaraderie and team aspect at the collegiate level, but admits he’s probably better at the Greco-Roman and freestyle. In 2008, he took two gold medals at the Pan American Championships in Junior Greco-Roman and freestyle events. He is just one of two wrestlers to win both events. As a Buckeye he is a two-time NCAA championship qualifier and led the team last season in falls and near falls. Ryan and Triggas have the same mentality: They all plan on going to the championships.After a 37-6 win over Northwestern, the Buckeyes are 16-1 overall and 5-0 in Big Ten conference action. The team heads to Illinois for another conference match on Friday at 8 p.m. read more


Lighty notches record silences Hawkeyes

When Ohio State played at Iowa on Jan. 4, the Hawkeyes proved a much tougher test for the Buckeyes than expected. OSU trailed at halftime of that game before escaping with just a five-point win. The second time around, however, was much less dramatic. Led by senior David Lighty and 40 minutes of stifling defense, No. 1 OSU (19-0, 6-0 Big Ten) routed Iowa, 70-48, Wednesday. “It was our game plan to come in and play defense for 40 minutes,” Lighty said. “It’s something that we haven’t been doing lately and it’s something that we’ve been keying on. “This week in practice it was just preparing to play real Ohio State defense and I think we came out and did it today.” Lighty finished the game with 18 points and five rebounds and became just the third player in OSU history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists in his career. The only two other Buckeyes to accomplish the feat were Jim Jackson and Evan Turner. The first half began with senior Dallas Lauderdale scoring seven of the Buckeyes’ first 12 points. Lauderdale, who has struggled since the start of conference play nearly three weeks ago, hadn’t scored more than six points against any Big Ten team this season and had been held scoreless twice in the last five games before scoring nine points Wednesday. Lauderdale put in two dunks to go along with a three-point play in the first six minutes, giving OSU an early 12-4 lead. Although Lauderdale picked up his second foul with 10 minutes remaining in the half, coach Thad Matta said he was pleased with the way his starting center played on both ends of the floor. “I thought he was good,” Matta said. “He was active on the glass and picked up a couple fouls there in the first half, but that’s the level we need him at.” Early on in conference play, the Buckeyes had made a habit of getting big leads, only to squander them away down the stretch. In the second half against the Hawkeyes, however, OSU did no such thing. The Buckeyes led by as many as 23 before completing the 22-point victory, holding the Hawkeyes to their lowest point total of the season. “When we feel good about our defense, we’re a great team and it’s going to be even harder to beat us,” Lighty said. “We have so many weapons offensively, and when we tie our defense with that there’s really not too many holes that we have in our game.” Junior William Buford scored 15 points, and freshman Jared Sullinger scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Freshman Aaron Craft, who scored a career-high 19 points in the Buckeyes’ last game, scored just three points, but his defense suffocated the Hawkeyes all night. His seven steals were a tie for second most in a game in OSU history and the most for a freshman. “That’s a team stat,” Craft said. “Everyone is in the gaps, putting pressure on the ball and just putting indecision in the ball-handler’s mind. I just happened to get the stat tonight.” The Buckeyes’ 19-0 start is the best of any OSU team under Matta, and the school’s best since the 1961-62 Buckeyes began the season 22-0. OSU’s next matchup will be against the No. 23 Fighting Illini at noon Saturday in Champaign, Ill. read more


Ohio State alumnus LaMonte Coleman guides Marion Blue Racers

The NFL lockout is in full swing, but Ohio State alumnus LaMonte Coleman is working to keep football on the field in Marion, Ohio. Coleman played running back at Division II Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pa., from 1992–94, but left college to pursue a professional career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and several Arena Football League teams. After retiring from professional football in 2005, Coleman assumed the roles of CEO and general manager of the Continental Indoor Football League’s Marion Blue Racers­ — but not before he came to OSU to finish his undergraduate education. Coleman credits his managerial career to the bachelor’s degree in sports leadership and sports humanities he received from OSU. “My degree got me into it,” he said. “It gave me the opportunity to understand sports management as a whole, including contract law, exercise science; it all mixes into one.” Rodney Swanigan, coach for the defunct Marion Mayhem of CIFL, tried to talk Coleman into coaching. “I said no,” Coleman said, “but he needed somebody with experience to help develop some of these young athletes.” Shortly after Coleman accepted a position on Swanigan’s staff, the Mayhem folded. Coleman’s chance to put his degree to work, and continue a tradition of football in Marion, proved valuable. “I got to see how the business was run,” he said. “I started thinking about ownership, and the rest is history.” Coleman then created a company called Run 42 Sports Group. He owns the Blue Racers and the Columbus Bills, a flag football team. Former Bowling Green quarterback Josh Harris came out of retirement to play for the Blue Racers. Harris, who spent time in the NFL, Canadian Football League and Arena Football League, said Coleman is pointing the team in the right direction. “We have a great group of guys that we are playing with and a great group of administrators,” Harris said. “(LaMonte) is a smart guy. He is a visionary.” First-year coach Ryan Terry, who played college football at Miami (Ohio), agreed with Harris. “It’s been a blast,” Terry said. “(LaMonte) has shown great guidance. I have learned a lot of things as far as business savvy.” The Blue Racers are 8-1 with one game remaining in the regular season, and soon will prepare for the playoffs, which begin Monday. Coleman said he is confident he has the right people in place and that the Blue Racers should stay in Marion for a while. “We are all using our experiences to be leaders in our separate positions,” he said. “It is definitely a treat for me.” read more


Ohio State football fundraising function fetches more than 20000

Ohio State football supporters gave thousands of dollars for the chance to interact with coaches and get their hands on rare memorabilia at a fundraiser for the football team. Almost 1,000 people attended the Coach Meyer Spring Kickoff event Tuesday on the indoor field of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Four different items were auctioned off in about 20 minutes and raised more than $20,000. Two autographed pictures of current and former OSU coaches Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel, John Cooper, and Earle Bruce were sold for $7,000 apiece. A Canadian rail trip to Windsor, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City sold for $3,500. In addition, a dinner with co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and defensive line coach Mike Vrabel was auctioned off for $3,000. Smaller memorabilia items were also up for sale in a silent auction. The event, which took place as a luncheon, included talks from Meyer, Bruce, Cooper, former Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin and OSU historian Jack Park. The entire current coaching staff and many members of the team were also in attendance. The football team has been participating in spring drills since March 28 and will conclude the spring season with the Spring Game, scheduled for April 21 at 1:30 p.m at Ohio Stadium. They open their season Sept 1 against Miami (OH) in Ohio Stadium. read more


Field Hockey ready to take on Miami OH

Then-senior forward Danica Deckard passes the ball during a game against Penn State Oct. 19, 2012, at Buckeye Varsity Field. OSU lost, 3-0.Credit: Courtesy of FacebookAfter back-to-back losses to top-10 squads, the Ohio State field hockey team will continue play away from home when it travels to Oxford to take on Miami (Ohio).Coming off a weekend of play in which the team held opponents to one goal each in both matches, the Buckeyes are ready to battle again Wednesday.Coach Anne Wilkinson said Miami will be coming after them hard on the field.“We, being Ohio State, have a lot of pressure put on us. Miami is going to be coming at us strong with everything they have, so we really need to win this in-state game,” she said.Wilkinson said time in practice has been split between working on defense and offense equally.“We worked a lot on our defense and covering the ball and then we would switch and work with the offense,” Wilkinson said. “We just need to focus on meshing the two together and make sure the defense doesn’t forget what we worked on when we switch to offense.”Senior midfield and co-captain Nora Murer pointed out some of the areas the team has been struggling with, including their inability to capitalize on penalty corners.“We practiced before and after practice on our corners which I would say is still a weak spot of ours,” Murer said.Senior midfield  and co-captain Arielle Cowie said she is coming into the game expecting a win, and wants to see the team live up to its potential.“I am looking forward to winning,” Cowie said. “Last weekend we played so well together. We didn’t finish our chances but those two games just showed the potential that we have and I think coming out tomorrow we are going into that game and we know this is our game.”The main focus is on being a team that works together for the full 70 minutes, Cowie said.“We are just going to focus on really playing together and that’s all we need to do because individually, we have it but we just need to put it together and score on our chances,” Cowie said.Murer said if the Buckeyes continue to play the way they did this past weekend, the team will have no trouble securing the win against Miami.“We just need to really play on the same level from the weekend and we will be good for (Wednesday’s) game,” Murer said.The game is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The Buckeyes are then set to travel to face Kent State Sept. 24 at 4 p.m. read more


Womens Basketball Karlie Cronins multisport multischool journey has landed her on Ohio

Ohio State guard Karlie Cronin runs down the court during the Buckeyes game against the Boilermakers on Feb 18. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorWhen asked to take a few minutes to answer questions about one of her former players, Karlie Cronin’s former coach responded, “About Karlie? Oh, I’ll do anything for Karlie Cronin.”Cronin, a junior from Fairfax, Virginia, has spent time with three different college teams, which has ended at Ohio State as a walk-on.Her journey as a basketball player began as a child, but has taken many turns since then. In addition to basketball, Cronin picked up lacrosse during her sophomore year of high school. Aggie McCormick, Cronin’s AAU coach, said balancing multiple sports at one time could be a challenge for some — not for Cronin. “She has a motor that is unbelievable to me,” McCormick said. “She could go from practice to practice all day long and never run out of energy. It’s far beyond normal. Even having come straight from hours of lacrosse practice she would do cartwheels around her teammates on the court. I have coached some of the greatest kids in the country and she still amazes me.”  McCormick has been coaching for 25 years and is the founder of the Fairfax Stars AAU team. She keeps in touch with Cronin throughout the year and receives visits from her whenever she returns home for breaks. McCormick said Cronin frequently goes back to practice with the team and never misses a workout.Cronin had been playing basketball since she was 9 years old. Unfortunately, she suffered a torn ACL during her junior year of high school and could not play during July, a key recruiting prior for young athletes. As a result of her injury, she ended up at Southern Methodist University, a smaller Division-I progam than she had hoped for. But that did not last longAfter playing just two games at SMU in 2015, Cronin needed a change —and a big one at that. She was neither enjoying the school nor the basketball program as much as she had anticipated and decided to transfer to Ohio State for the following fall.Her experience was so negative that she was set on changing sports.“I was a little burnt out on basketball so I just made a highlight tape and sent that to schools to be recruited for lacrosse,” she said.Although she did enjoy playing lacrosse again in a college setting, Cronin said that she “missed the aggression that comes with basketball.”After one season as a college lacrosse player, she walked on to Ohio State to give basketball another shot. She practiced during the summer with her AAU team to prepare for the season.In her first season on the Buckeyes’ basketball team, she appeared in 20 games, but played just 52 minutes and scored two points.“Even if she’s on the bench a lot of the time, I know she loves being out there,” McCormick said. “She fought relentlessly to find a school that she could play basketball at.”Cronin seems to have handled what would appear to be a difficult transition quite smoothly. “She acclimated herself very quickly,” Ohio State women’s basketball head coach Kevin McGuff said. “She was excited about playing from Day One and works incredibly hard to do what she can to contribute to the team and the program.”Whether that hard work will translate into playing time remains unknown. But given the exit of five key seniors from the team, an increased reliance on Cronin might come sooner than many people expect. read more


Football Jeff Hafley takes Ryan Days defensive dream to heart

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and secondaries coach Jeff Hafley speaks to the media for the first time on National Signing Day on Feb. 6. Credit: Colin Gay | Sports EditorComing into his third season, Ohio State junior cornerback Jeffrey Okudah will have his third different cornerbacks coach, working under Greg Schiano and Taver Johnson in his first and second year, respectively. As one of the older guys in the cornerback room, he said not having that level of consistency with his position coach has been “unfortunate.” But that did not stop head coach Ryan Day from talking up the new secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, a defensive backs specialist, who has spent his past six seasons in the NFL. “Coach Day told us, when he hired him, that he’d be one of the best coaches we have ever had,” Okudah said. “So far, it seems like it’s been the case.” In his first spring with the Buckeyes, Hafley has taken to heart the goals Day set for the defense in his introductory press conference: creating a high-energy, yet simple defense. With that in mind, Hafley combined the cornerbacks and safeties into one cohesive room, a room that would speak the same language, and one that would more effectively communicate and understand what is going on in the pass defense. Instead of mastering one single position, Hafley aims for his players to understand the bigger picture. “I want to teach these guys how to play the game,” Hafley said. “I don’t want them to just be pigeonholed into one position. I want them to play football and learn different positions because I think it will help us and I think it will help them in the future.” This is something Hafley has been integrating with Matt Barnes, the assistant secondary coach, neither of whom focuses on a single position. “From one individual period to the next, I have the corners, then I have the safeties, and I’m back with the corners,” Barnes said. “We are just bouncing around, it’s really by drill how we want to set it up.”  So far, Hafley said this is something that his position group has bought into. He said the focus during the spring has primarily been on technique, learning the basics of the positions to create a fast yet sound secondary once fall comes. Hafley feels as though the training and the drills now, even if defensive scheme is not the major part of it, help define the ceiling of his position group later. “Spring is about creating a culture, playing with a great energy, and getting better at fundamentals and technique, which ultimately will win and lose you games,” Hafley said. For Hafley, the center of the culture has been redshirt senior cornerback Damon Arnette. From coaching the younger players in his room to jarring with redshirt senior wide receiver K.J. Hill after reps to punching junior wide receiver Jaylen Harris after a drill, Arnette has shown an ability to be a fiery leader in the room. “I haven’t seen any down from him,” Hafley said. “I see a guy who is doing everything right on and off the field, I see a guy who is giving it all he has, guy in the meeting room who is awesome.” Arnette is Hafley’s main example of the simplicity he expects, establishing a foundation for what he wants to become a fast defense that can consistently beat opposing offenses, but with a simple approach.Okudah said that is all Ohio State needs with the names the Buckeyes have at both safety and cornerback. “We are pretty talented enough to go out there and run basic things and just beat schools,” Okudah said. “If everyone is playing fast, the defense does not necessarily have to be complicated. You can just run simple things and just rely on speed and talent to beat teams.” Hafley does not focus on the struggles from this past season: the complex secondary approach that led to the Buckeyes allowing 245.2 passing yards per game, fourth-worst in the Big Ten. Instead, he looks at what could be, looking ahead at the talent and preparing them to be at their maximum potential by Aug. 31. What will a simple, yet fast secondary bring to Ohio State next season? Hafley does not know yet, and he does not want to speculate. “We will find out,” Hafley said. read more