Bob Hunter commentary | Rumblings: Withers tries to help OSU land prized linebacker

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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What could be the most interesting recruiting competition for Ohio State to finish off the 2014 football class has Everett Withers at the point.

Withers, the co-defensive coordinator, was coach Urban Meyer’s lead man in recruiting safety Vonn Bell. The Buckeyes went against Alabama and Tennessee to secure Bell, from Rossville, Ga., just across the border from Chattanooga, Tenn.

This time, Withers and the Buckeyes are competing for another Georgia blue-chipper, five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan of Hinesville, southwest of Savannah. This one also promises to go down to the wire; McMillan recently named his top five, which includes OSU, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Clemson.

Even while coaching at Lanus in his native Argentina, former Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto has continued to take English classes and has kept his eye on Major League Soccer with the thought of some day returning to America to coach — possibly in Columbus, if the Crew decides not to make Brian Bliss the full-time coach.

“It’s a league that’s going to end up being very strong,” Schelotto told FIFA.com. “They’re investing in it and it’s becoming more and more professional. It’s got the organization, the stadiums and the training grounds, and it’s up there with the best in Europe. They might lose some big names every now and then, but it’s underestimated, and it’s getting increasingly tough to play in.

“I went when I was 34, and if I hadn’t trained hard, I wouldn’t have got a game.”

Schelotto, 40, is regarded as one of Argentina’s rising young coaching stars. He hopes to someday coach Boca Juniors, where he was a star for 10 years.

The 50-point spread that bookmakers have established for Ohio State over Florida A&M of the Football Championship Subdivision is being called the largest in OSU history, but it isn’t even the largest spread this weekend, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The University of Miami is favored by 60 points over Savannah State, a team familiar to the underdog role. A year ago, Florida State was favored to defeat Savannah State by 65 points — the largest spread in college football history. Savannah State easily covered, losing only 55-0.

Since 1980, which RJ Bell of Pregame.com said is the earliest point where reliable records were kept, only three spreads have reached 60 points. Ohio State’s previous record spread came in 2010, when oddsmakers favored the Buckeyes by 44 over Eastern Michigan. They covered, winning 73-20.

New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard said he has patched things up with former Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel, who benched him in Columbus late in the 2010-11 season and drew the wrath of Brassard’s agent, Allan Walsh.

At the time Walsh accused Arniel of “burying players and using them as scapegoats to mask his own lack of success on the ice.” Arniel, now a Rangers assistant, said any problems that arose with Brassard had been created by Walsh’s statements.

“You see the class of Derick,” Arniel told The New York Times. “When I was hired, he called. We had a great conversation. I told him how proud I was to watch him play here last year. As a coach, you’re going to have situations where there’s a different opinion or there’s an ice-time issue. Those things happen. It was nothing personal. We’ve turned the page.”

Arniel came to New York when the Rangers hired Alain Vigneault as coach.

“Everything’s good between us,” Brassard said. “Arnie could be a great addition to our forwards. We are here to help this team on the ice.”

Korie Lucious told BlackAthlete.net that his use of marijuana was the “violation of team rules” that caused Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo to kick him off the team in January 2011. Lucious later transferred to Iowa State and started at point guard last season and is now playing in Poland.

“I was smoking. I don’t want to tell a lot of people that, but I was smoking a lot of weed at Michigan State,” Lucious told the website, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. “I let my mom, family and friends down. … I’m not taking anything from Coach Izzo or the team, but that wasn’t the place for me to be.”

In the attention over the trade of running back Trent Richardson to Indianapolis for a first-round pick in the 2014 draft, Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski’s failure to commit to quarterback Brandon Weeden as the starter when he returns from injury barely raised an eyebrow.

In naming third-teamer Brian Hoyer to start on Sunday at Minnesota, Chudzinski gave Weeden what amounted to a vote of no confidence.

“I’m going to leave all the options open,” Chudzinski said. “Really, it’s a matter of where he’s at from a health standpoint and all that plays into it and where we’re at and how guys are playing as well.”

Jared Sullinger has started seeing a counselor after an Aug. 31 domestic violence incident involving longtime girlfriend Deann Smith at their home in Waltham, Mass., according to Comcast New England.

The Boston Celtics forward, a former Ohio State and Northland High School star, was charged with assault and battery, destruction of property and intimidation of a witness after a dispute with Smith.

Sullinger was released on $5,000 cash bail but also was ordered to stay away from the apartment he and Smith shared. They are allowed to communicate with each other by telephone, but he can only see her if a third party is present. Both parties have asked to modify those conditions so they can work on their relationship.

Smith has since moved back to Ohio with her parents. A pretrial hearing for Sullinger is scheduled for Monday.

Bob Hunter is a sports columnist for The Dispatch.

bhunter@dispatch.com

@dailyhunter

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