OSU offense still looking to improve

The Ohio State offense showed some positive things against BG, but after four weeks in the season, the unit is still trying to put it all together.

After four weeks into the season, the Ohio State offense is still trying to find itself.

Sure, they rushed for 205 yards as a team on the afternoon and had their first 100-yard rusher of the campaign, but they weren't exactly awe-inspiring with the football at any point throughout the game.

"I thought we came along in some areas in the run game," Jim Tressel said. "It's something that we're constantly working on. I think the fronts that we're going to face from here on out are going to be more difficult, but I do think that we made some progress, and it was good to see guys attacking it. It was good to see our guys up front having some success and feeling good about what they were doing."

Adrien Clarke was one of the guys up front Tressel was referring to.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," Clarke said. "We're still looking forward to putting it all together, getting 100 percent."

In addition to Hall rushing for a career high 107 yards, his first 100-plus yard rushing game of his career, Lydell Ross ran for a season-high 94 yards and scored twice on the ground.

"Mo and Lydell ran pretty patiently. They waited for the holes to open but even still they looked for the cutbacks," Clarke said. "I think they did a pretty good job today."

As expected when you consider the opponent, albeit a quality one from an in-state institution, was from the Mid-American Conference.

"Bowling Green came in here ready to play. They're not a pretty bad team at all. They've done pretty good in their opening three games," Clarke said. "But we felt we had something to come out and prove to ourselves, not so much to them but to ourselves. The last couple of weeks, we haven't had the offensive success that we wanted to have, so we tried to get on the ball a little today."

After the lackluster performance on the ground a week ago, the offense really needed to atone for itself from that aspect.

"When you perform the way that we did last week, there's always going to be a chip on your shoulder. The next week you're always going to come down out ready and prepared to blow somebody up," Clarke said. "The only thing you can say is you feel sorry for the team you've got to play because you know what you have to do, and that's how we felt."

Incorporating the sweep some into the attack may have helped to open up the inside more.

"We were able to get the ball on the outside a little bit, and that was good for us to get them a little bit outflanked," Ben Hartsock said. "That's a little bit of a weapon that we need to use because we're known to be such a power off-tackle team. When you have those outside edge guys crashing down hard and you can get around a short corner and up the sideline, they've got to work through that."

But for the most part, according to Hartsock, the offense didn't deviate from the same blue print that it follows every week, especially with Scott McMullen starting in place of the injured Craig Krenzel.

"We ran the same bread and butter stuff. We were just able to work it today," he said. "I think it helped that Bowling Green is more of a base defense type of team. They don't run as many slants."

The tight ends also seem to be contributing more in the OSU offense in recent weeks, be it Hartsock or Ryan Hamby. Hartsock had a career high mark in receptions last week and Hamby the same this week with three catches for 37 yards. Hartsock thinks it's a positive that Hamby is getting more and more touches.

"I think a lot of teams cue on myself as far as looking for the point of attack, I tend to be toward the point of attack on the running plays," he said. "So we're trying to mix things up, trying to make me go to the weak side a little bit and let Ryan get in there because he's put on some weight this year and has had a great camp and a great couple of first games, and he's really holding his own. So he's able to sneak out there into some routes and really do some damage, and it's working for us."

Like Hamby, Drew Carter had a career highlight for himself grabbing his first touchdown as a Buckeye in the first quarter. Carter said he was the primary receiver on the play, but McMullen changed the play right before he threw it at the line of scrimmage.

"I was suppose to do a fade route, and the DB was off, so he threw it behind me. He changed the throw," said Carter who also had his first career rushing attempt on a 16-yard reverse in the first quarter. "But I knew he was coming to my side, and he threw it right behind me, and I was lucky I caught it. It feels good; it's been a long time and I'm glad. It takes patience, and you finally get your shot, and luckily I caught it and got my first one."

Ross had the other two Ohio State touchdowns in the game. His first one went for 33 yards on a fourth-and-one situation.

"I just followed my guard, followed his great block and all I saw was green," said Ross who also scored from three yards out in the fourth quarter. "When it's fourth-and-one you want to get that yard and the coaches tell me we don't need a big play on fourth-and-one but the opportunity was there for a big play so I took it."

Behind the running of Ross and Hall, the offense was able to meet that elusive 200 yard goal on the ground for the game.

"This offense came out pumped out a lot more," Ross said. "I would say before the game started that the whole team, period, was pumped up more than we have ever been. We had to come in and make a statement, we had to get better."

Ross said the offense, particularly the running game, had been underachieving for some time now.

"We feel like we can do a lot better (than) just the past games and we wanted to show everyone today," he said. "There's much more work for improvement. Every week there's room for improvement, but I think we're making big strides to get better."

Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman was initially pleased with the performance by his maligned offensive line.

"I hope they played more like they should have played," he said. "I think they played, for the most part, the way we expected them to play on the run. So I'll have to take the film out as always and see what could have been cleaned up a little bit more. But the running game was pretty much as we thought it would be going into the game and they played the defenses that we thought they would play against those formations."

Despite not converting on the fourth-and-two situation late in the third quarter while leading 17-7 at the time, Bollman saw improvement in the running game overall.

"I think it took a little turn in the right direction," he said. "I'm sure it's not there yet, and we know now as we're getting ready for the Big Ten the competition it's going to get pretty intense. We'll kind of build on at least heading in the right direction today."


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