Archive for September, 2008

What is the reason OSU has performed poorly in these three big games on the national stage?

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Ohio State brought a perfect undefeated 2006 regular season record into the title game before getting blown out to Florida 41-14.   The following year, Ohio State lost to Illinois in the regular season, but somehow made it back into the title game before getting whipped to LSU 38-24.  This season the #5 Buckeyes played their third regular season game at #1USC where they were embarassed 35-3.   These three games were not close or respectable losses, but were just humiliating losses for the Ohio State football program.

What is the reason that OSU has performed so poorly in these three games? The list of reasons to question are the player personnel, Tressel and his coaching staff being outcoached, the Big 10 Competition weaker than other BCS conferences competition they face, or is it just plain bad luck?

Is it the player personnel?  Does OSU not recruit or have the same type of talented players as Florida, LSU, and USC?    Perhaps these teams have better football players than Ohio State.   Maybe Ohio State recruits great athletes, but not as great of football players as these three teams. Since Tressel and Carroll became coaches at USC and OSU, it appears that USC has been able to produce not only better college football players, but those college players have become better NFL football players, such as Carson Palmer and Reggie Bush than probably any current OSU NFL player.  Watching the game tonight, it obviously appeared that USC’s quarterback was a much better QB than both Boeckman and even the #1 recruit Terelle Pryor, their running backs seemed to be more elusive and tougher to tackle than our running backs (including Chris Wells, even though he didn’t play and the score would have still been similar).

Perhaps it is not just necessarily the talent, but the core problem is the offensive line.  In all three games, the offensive line looked slow and sluggish, allowing the three teams to make our QB’s life a living hell. Hence, Troy Smith was running for his life when he was QB against Florida, Boeckman and Pryor couldn’t escape if their life depended on it because of the other teams defensive pressure on the quarterback. Maybe we need to recruit offensive linesman that can actually block and are faster and more mobile han these slow 300 plus pound guys. All three teams just blew right by the OSU’s offensive line. I think Ohio State should concentrate on recruiting faster and better offensive linesman in the future. Maybe our running backs and quarterbacks would have better protection to throw and run the football if we had better offfensive linesman.

Not only on the offensive side of the football, but also the defensive side as well. The defensive linesman seemed to have trouble pressuring the quarterback and getting sacks or stopping the run.  Florida, LSU, and USC all were able to pressure the offensive front and make it tougher for the quarterback to throw or the running backs to run.  Why couldn’t OSU’s defensive line do that against Florida, LSU, and USC?  It all starts up with the defense up front to get by the offensive line to let the linebackers and cornerbacks make plays.  Maybe it is not the defensive line, but the defense in general on the national stage. After all, the defense gave up 41 points to Florida, 38 points to LSU and 35 points to USC.

Has Tressel and the coaching staff been outcoached against these three top teams?  After taking over as head coach at Ohio State, he has beat Michigan 6 out of 7 times, won a national championship in his second season, but now his record and reputation is starting to tarnish a little because of these three big embarassing losses.   Did Florida, LSU, and USC’s head coaches come up with a better game plan and better on game coaching than Tressel?  Does Tressel not come up with any second-half motivation for the Buckeyes?  Is Tressel to soft as a head coach?  Maybe, these coaches know how to maximize their talent on the field better than Tressel can.  Kirk Herbstreit even made a comment during the game it looks like USC is playing a junior varsity team out there.  Maybe its not all of Tressel’s fault, but the other coaching staff, such as Heacock and Bollman’s poor coaching for the offense and defense.  

Is the Big 10 competiiton just weaker than the other BCS conferences competiton that they face?  Maybe if Ohio State was in the SEC or PAC 10, they wouldn’t be winning conference championships and would truly convey the type of football team they really are.  The rumor is some of the SEC teams have faster players than Big 10 Players. When Florida played OSU, they looked much faster on the field than Ohio State. Perhaps if they were in a more competitve conference, they would be better prepared to play teams that were just as good of teams on the national stage.

Is it bad luck? Does Ohio State just have trouble and choke in big games on the national stage? Their player personnel could possibly be equal to USC, Florida and LSU, their coaching just as good and the conference competition just as good as Florida, LSU and USC conference’s competiton they face. Could Ohio State in general just have bad luck and can’t win big games when they are on the national stage?

What do you think is the reason OSU has performed poorly in these three big games on the national stage?

Buckeyes Win Ugly Against Ohio University

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

The other Ohio school called the Ohio University Bobcats came to Columbus wearing shirts that said O-S-WHO?  

Although the final score was 26-14 Ohio State, they certainly made a point as the #3 Ohio State Buckeyes needed to come from behind in the fourth quarter to win against the 35 point underdog Ohio Bobcats Saturday afternoon.  Ohio University was not victorious, but they definitely had a moral victory and played with more heart than the Buckeyes did on September 6th.  

Here is a breakdown of how the Ohio State Buckeyes quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offense overall and defense performed Saturday afternoon.

Quarterbacks – Todd Boeckman played most of the game throwing 16-of-26 for 110 yards for 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.  Definitely not a very impressive performance by Boeckman against a MAC team.  His longest pass in the game was 25 yards and he only averaged 4.2 yards a completion. He will need to play much better and bring his A game against #1 USC.

Terelle Pryor only played two series resulting in a three and out with a punt and no result as he came in the last series to runout the game clock. In the two series, he threw 0-for 2 and rushed 5 times for 37 yards. It was a suprise that Pryor only saw the field for two series. In his first two games playing quarterback, Pryor’s first natural instinct is to run the football before throwing a pass. This is okay in certain situations, but he will need to improve on looking more for the open receivers before thinking about running the football. Pryor is the best quarterback if Ohio State runs the spread offense. This gives Pryor a chance to be more dangerous while getting outside the pocket and having the ability to confuse opposing teams’ defenses.

Running Backs – The three running backs Herron, Wells, and Saine rushed 26 times for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. Daniel Herron carried the ball 12 times for 50 yards and 1 TD, Maurice Wells rushed 9 times for 48 yards, and Bradon Saine had 5 rushes for 15 yards and 1 TD. One of the running backs quoted that he gave their performances as running backs a B-. I would agree that they did decent overall and I don’t know if the outcome of the game would have really made a signficance difference if Beanie Wells was able to play.

Receivers – The two go to receivers, Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie combined only had 5 receptions for 22 yards. Hartline was not afraid to speak how he felt to reporters after the game remarking how pathetic their performance was and that Ohio University should have won the game and didn’t know how they came out winning. Besides the 25 yard catch by tight end Jake Ballard, the longest pass reception by a receiver came from Dane Sanzenbacher for 12 yards.

Offense – The offense overall struggled and played poorly and I would give them a D grade. On third downs, the Buckeyes only converted 5-of-15 times overall. One series in the game, the Buckeyes gambled on 4th and 1 and were stopped. The other turnover was a high snap that went over Boeckman’s head that Ohio University recovered in the end zone. Boeckman had trouble throwing passes longer than 10 yards. In fact, the only two passes greater than 10 yards were Sanzenbachers 12 yard reception and Ballard’s 25 yard catch. The offense combined for 272 total yards on offense. Ohio University turned the ball over 5 times in the game, but the Buckeyes could only score 19 points on offense (excluding Small’s touchdown punt return).

Defense – The defense played a little above average and I would give them a grade of B-. They forced Ohio University to turnover the football 5 times, and 4 of those 5 turnovers were interceptions in the game. They defense only gave up 7 points, while the offense gave up the other 7 points. The only cause of concern would be Ohio’s 9-of-17 third down efficiency. The Buckeyes will have to step it up a notch on third down when they play USC. Sometimes, when Ohio ran the spread the Buckeyes looked a little lost and they reminded me of how they played against Illinois. They also had a few key missed tackles and a few missed sacks in the game.

The next game against USC will be a challenge. This game is a similar matchup with Texas during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. If the Buckeyes lose, their chances are more slim than last year that they still have a chance to make it to the national championship game. Ohio State comes into the game as 11 point underdogs. The last time I can remember Ohio State being a double-digit underdog was when they won the national championship against Miami in 2003. If the Buckeyes bring their A game, I see them either winning by less than 10 points, or I see them getting blown out by at least 2 or 3 touchdowns in the Coliseum. Let’s hope they bring their A game and beat #1 USC.

Buckeyes Shutout Youngstown State

Monday, September 1st, 2008

The Buckeyes opening game against subdivision Youngstown State was what was expected – a 43-0 shutout – except for two things: Chris Wells leaving the game due to his injury and the inefficiency to score in the Red Zone. 

Before Chris Wells hurt his foot and left the game in the 3rd quarter, he rushed 13 times for 111 yards and 1 touchdown.  On the Buckeyes opening posession, on 4th and short, Wells conveyed his explosiveness by scoring his touchdown on a 42 yard run.  When the Buckeyes were in the Red Zone in the third quarter, Wells seemed to have slipped and messed up his footing and immediately fell down fumbling the football.  Now, the news and talk from Buckeye football fans is about how bad the injury is and what week will Wells come back?  

wells-td.jpg

If the Heisman contender is gone for the whole season (I don’t think he will be), is the Buckeyes season over and do they not stand a chance against USC?   No, the Buckeyes are still loaded with talent and just have to work around it.  The other running backs like Saine, Herron are still solid, but the built and explosiveness of a guy like Wells cannot be replaced. 

In the Red Zone, the Buckeyes struggled to score touchdowns and found themselves relying on special teams to kick field goals.  After Chris Wells touchdown on the opening posession, the next two series, the Buckeyes failed to score touchdowns and kicked two field goals.  All the Buckeyes touchdowns – except Pryor’s TD Run –  were big plays from outside the Red Zone (Wells 43 yard run, Robiskie’s 31 yard catch, & Posey’s 25 yard grab).

Hopefully the Buckeyes can improve their Red Zone performance and do better in the Red Zone next week against Ohio University and future opponents.  Also, let’s hope Chris Wells will be back on the field soon.  USC will be a lot tougher to matchup against and their defense will not give up big plays and scores like Youngstown State did on Saturday.