Smart, mean, fast, and physical are the words that jump out when I think of the OSU football team after the opener against Washington. The team looked like a reigning National Champion. The Buckeyes are not scared of success, and they are not scared of the bulls-eye placed on their chest. Off-the-field distractions seem to distract everyone except the players and coaches.
The team looked smart. First off, the coaches did a great job once again. Our schemes and our mix of play-calling were terrific. We kept the Washington defense and offense guessing. More importantly, our players knew their assignments and expectations right from the get-go. Krenzel is as sharp as they come -- zero interceptions and great feel in the pocket. He knows when to take the sack, when to throw it away, when to step up in the pocket, when to get up field, etc.
The Huskies played a mean football team. We play clean. We play between the white lines. We play between the whistles. We are not cheap shot artists. On the other hand, you better believe our guys are arriving at the ball in a very bad mood. Washington can win a road game on someone else's clock. The Buckeyes played with a chip on their shoulder like all the great teams do. How dare Washington try to play with us; we want another National Championship, and you guys are in our way and you will pay for it. I am just real glad Will Smith is on our team. That guy could be thrown in jail for the way he abuses offensive players. He has done it his entire career.
The speed of the Buckeyes was great. Krenzel really puts pressure on defenses with his feet. Defensive coordinators are turning gray watching him rack up first downs and touchdowns on the ground. Carter and Jenkins are track guys and Gamble and Holmes are just as fast. Hall is a 4.3 guy. Did I mention our linemen all shrunk a few pant sizes? Every day in practice, this team plays against speed. When you practice at that level, good things will happen on game day.
Speed is a weapon, but this team is not all finesse. The Buckeyes want to bully people with a physical style. Did you notice Ross breaking tackles on his TD run or Bryce Bishop smoking a Washington defender? Either way, the defenders were on their back. The Washington receivers wanted to get on a plane about halfway through the third quarter when our defensive backs were teeing off on them.
The game was not perfect. Three fumbles (two of which we lost) is not good. I don't care what the score is or who is playing, you can't fumble the ball. Krenzel said it best after the game. He said they need to get better every week. Other teams will be getting better. Even with that said, it was an impressive victory for a team we hold to a very high standard. We won a "big game". Too often, we enter Saturday saying, "This is a ‘big game'." If we win, we fall into the trap of saying that opponent wasn't really that good. If we lose, then it is still classified as a "big game". Let's not penalize the Buckeyes for dominating a very high profile, quality opponent in a nationally televised showcase. Tressel just won another "big game".
Craig Krenzel- His feet and arm look terrific. His feel, vision, and pocket presence are even better. He has a sixth sense.
B.J. Sander- Three downed inside the 20 (one at the 1 yard line). Over 40 yards on average. Great hang time. Smooth holds for Nugent.