5 Answers: Miami at Ohio State

This week we review the effect of the return of Nathan Williams, the role of the OSU tight ends, the Miami play-action passing attack, Ohio State's pass protection and the diversity of the playbook Jim Tressel and his staff brought to the Horseshoe.

1. What kind of impact will Nathan Williams have?

The junior defensive end was not credited with any tackles, but he certainly had an impact. Williams' first-quarter interception set up Ohio State's first score, and he was able to pressure on Miami quarterback Jacory Harris from time to time.

In fourth quarter, he drew a holding penalty when the Hurricanes' left tackle had to pull him down because he was beaten.

"I went in today and told them I was ready to go and they stuck with me the entire time," said Williams, who did not start but played extensively. "Three-and-a-half weeks without conditioning is pretty tough, so I took as many blows as I could, but it's going to get better and better each week so that's what I'm hoping for."

2. Will the Ohio State tight ends be a factor?

Barely. Despite much talk about the vulnerability of the Miami defense in the middle of the field, Jacob Stoneburner caught only one pass.

That was an important one, however, as it gave the Buckeyes' a first down inside the Miami 20 on a second-quarter drive that would end with a field goal.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor attempted to get the ball to Stoneburner on a couple of other occasions but he was unable.

Also, the Buckeyes took advantage of Stoneburner's versatility by splitting him out occasionally in three-receiver looks without going away from their base personnel.

3. Can the Hurricanes hit big plays with play action?

Miami loves to suck teams up with the run then go over the top with play action, but the Buckeyes were ready for that.

The Hurricanes' longest pass play did come on play-action, but it covered only 25 yards on a post pattern from Harris to Leonard Hankerson, who paid the price for catching the ball when OSU safety C.J. Barnett buried his right shoulder into Hankerson's chest.

"We schemed up for these guys," Ohio State cornerback Devon Torrence said. "We knew what they were going to do. They were going to try to get the ball to their playmakers, so we just went out there and made plays against them.

"They don't really run a lot of different things. On third and long, we pretty much knew what they were doing. We called a coverages and knew we were sitting on a lot of routes because we knew they were coming."

4. Can the Buckeyes protect their quarterback?

Pryor was sacked once and generally had good time to throw as the Hurricanes looked more concerned with playing coverage than getting pressure.

There was a notable bust in protection in the second quarter when linebacker Sean Spence came free on the offense's left side and got in Pryor's face immediately. The Hurricanes overloaded that side of the line while dropping the backside defensive end into coverage, and the Buckeyes were unable to adjust in time to stop Spence.

Pryor was flushed from the pocket and threw the ball away.

5. Will the Buckeye offense maintain its "multifacetedness"?

Although the offense had its share of misfires, the scheme was not to blame.

Unlike last season when the Buckeyes painted themselves into a corner with an incoherent game plan the contributed to a disappointing week two loss to USC, Pryor was put into a variety of situations that gave him an opportunity to succeed.

That included a healthy helping of option football that produced an important third-down conversion on the drive that led to a field goal that broke a 10-all tie and the Dan Herron touchdown run that extended the Buckeyes' lead 20-10.

Herron was also the beneficiary of a surprising shovel pass from Pryor that ended up going for 47 yards and set up another field goal in the third quarter.


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