Whenever you lose your defensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator, and running backs coach along with 14 players to the NFL draft and still manage to win by 21 in your opener, life isn't that bad. If the offense hangs up 27 points, that should be good enough for a win with our toughness on defense. If the defense keeps the opponent out of the end zone allowing only 6 points, that should be good enough for a win with our offensive talent.
Diving right into the hot topic, both OSU quarterbacks looked like solid sophomore quarterbacks. Not many will claim they have the look of solid senior quarterbacks at this point, but OSU gift shops weren't exactly sold out of Krenzel, Germaine, or Hoying jerseys at this point in there career. These guys are young. They have a lot of snaps in front of them. I feel comfortable with both players. Coach Tressel is deeply involved with the day-to-day activities of his quarterbacks. He watches and studies their every move. Don't make too much of a two-quarterback system. Don't take too much of Justin and Troy looking over their shoulder as 1A and 1B. Truth be told, your every move and thought process is critiqued by Coach Tressel regardless if you are a four year starter or the only quarterback on the depth chart. The psyche of Zwick and Smith will be fine. Competition will keep these quarterbacks sharp. Lack of experience can hurt a team. Complacency can kill a team.
I give Mark Dantonio a lot of credit. As he goes back to the drawing boards, the seven penalties and red zone play will haunt him. However, OSU brings in some pretty good players. OSU is fundamentally sound. UC fans should be excited about the future. No fumbles. No interceptions. A gutsy fake punt call. The Bearcats hung with the Buckeyes for three quarters in the Horseshoe. I hope Dantonio has a lot of success. I know he feels that way about us.
Lydell Ross needed 141 yards for a confidence boost. Please DO NOT put an asterisk next to the 141 yards. Too many people say "Well he wouldn't have run for that much if he didn't break that one 68-yarder. What did he do other than that one play?" That is the wrong attitude. 141 yards is 141 yards. You only get so many chances to pop a big one and Lydell took full advantage of it. He read his blocking. He broke a tackle. He accelerated down the sidelines. Pending his health throughout the season, he should plow over the 1,200-yard mark this year. I think Pittman racks up nice numbers as well and what's been the verbally-abused OSU running game gets back on track. Thanks for making a play Lydell when we needed one.
Defensively, the Buckeyes continue to roll. Fox, Hawk, and Carpenter appeared to be the glue on Saturday. Maybe the best depth we've had on an OSU defense since I can remember. Just keep rolling in the fresh bodies. 21 players had tackles (including interceptions and special teams). We are not a top heavy defense. This unit has a high bar, and there is not much separation between the one's and two's in most position groups. That is healthy. Great job in the red zone.
At the end of the day, it is not "how," it is "how many." You and I and Tressel and Zwick all know 2 interceptions and 4 fumbles is not going to win games down the road. However, the NFL has 14 new draftees from our 2003 team. I will take that 27-6 victory every day of the week.
Maurice Hall - The two kickoff returns for 84 yards were great. Game-changers.
Nate Salley - When both teams were still in that "feeling each other out" stage in the second quarter, Salley decided he was going to make something happen on run support. While he never landed that highlight reel big hit, he did give a wake-up call to his teammates and the UC offense with his added intensity at the right moments.
Santonio Holmes - Without the slightest hesitation, I will state that he was clearly the best player on the field.