Captain's Corner - Bye Week Thoughts

What goes on during a bye week? Ex-Buckeye captain Jerry Rudzinski sheds some insight on that today as well as some thoughts on the Big Ten and where things stand right now.

Random Thoughts From the Bye Week…

Forget about the advantage of resting injuries during the bye week. Who cares about an extra week of game planning for the Big Ten opener at Northwestern? Extra recruiting for the coaches? We recruit well anyway. The beauty of the Buckeye bye week is the timing with fall classes starting.

Bobby Carpenter, Nate Salley and Roy Hall are all in great physical condition. They could go four quarters and four overtimes on a hot muggy day. However, the body needs some time to adjust to classes getting under way. The NCAA limits the amount of practice hours allowed for these guys. Without classes, the day consists of training table, film/meetings, time in the training room (taping, therapy, ice baths, etc.), lifting, and of course practice. Call it a five or six-hour day. The rest of the day is spent watching television or playing Playstation. Classes will change that television and Playstation part. Now throw in classes, study table, and reading textbooks at night.

This is nothing new for student-athletes. Every school has done this for years. That doesn't mean though it is not a shock to the system. That little nap goes away. That extra time spent off your legs goes away. These well-conditioned high-level athletes will adjust very quickly, but it never hurts to work out any sluggishness with a bye week as opposed to a Saturday afternoon slugfest. I hope we continue to coincidentally schedule that bye week when classes get under way.

Some stats that look good…
1. Lydell Ross averaging 94 yards per game.
2. Avg. per game of 2 penalties for 34 yards.
3. Maurice Hall averaging 36.7 per KO Return.
4. S. Holmes avg.110 yards per game.
5. Mike Nugent at 8-9 on field goals.

Some stats that might hurt…
1. Lydell Ross averaging 94 yards per game.
2. Offense: 4 interceptions, 4 fumbles.
3. Defense: 3 interceptions, 2 fumbles.
4. 10-39 on third down conversions.

What keeps me up at night when looking at the Big Ten schedule…

Wisconsin: Barry Alvarez is 2-1 against Jim Tressel and 1-0 in the Horseshoe against Jim Tressel. Usually, visiting teams feel the ball needs to bounce their way to escape Ohio Stadium with a victory. Wisconsin doesn't care which way the ball bounces. They think they are better than us and can beat us regardless. They are 4-0 through September. The Badger defense gave up 0 touchdowns in three of those four.

Purdue: Kyle Orton is a Heisman hopeful. Another ho-hum game for Orton involving 32-50 for 366 yards against Illinois. He still has no interceptions this year. Maybe a Hurricane will get off track and end up in West Lafayette on November 13. Andy Geiger would be happy to host this one.

Michigan: 19 takeaways by the Wolverine defense. We will give them our best shot, but they will give us their best shot as well.

Minnesota: Although Minnesota is not on the schedule, Cincinnati McNicholas graduate Bryan Cupito completed passes to eight different Golden Gopher receivers. Maroney for 145 on Saturday. Barber for 86 on Saturday. I could see Minnesota flirting with a league title as Purdue, Wisconsin, OSU and Michigan bloody each other up.

Despite my anxiety and sleep deprivation, I feel the Buckeyes are positioned well. Our NFL-like special teams and gelling defense will provide enough time for Pittman, Ross and the offensive line to improve. Justin Zwick has three of his toughest games already under his belt. The talent is already there for Zwick. The experience is coming around.

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