Captain's Corner: Coaching Was The Key

Plenty of people have given a lot of credit to OSU's players for the win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, but there hasn't been as much given to the coaching performance of the OSU staff. Jerry Rudzinski gives a thumbs-up to both the players and coaches in his latest Captain's Corner.

What a beautiful victory over the Irish! Sure, OSU had some chances to open the score up a little more, but we will take 14-point victories against a recruiting competitor all day long.

The thing that jumped out the most is the coaching. Ohio State looked very well coached. The assignment football on defense made for a long day for the Fighting Irish. If you have the flat, cover the flat regardless of what is going on elsewhere. If you have the B gap, stuff the B gap regardless if a guard or tackle comes down on you. The schemes, X's, and O's don't matter as much when the assignments are buttoned up. We showed discipline on both sides of the ball. Yeah, OSU's athletes looked faster and more electrifying, but the players took care of their responsibilities. Jim Tressel's consistent approach and message goes further than a thick playbook. With that said though, the blitz packages, play calling and adjustments looked awfully sharp to me. Those five National Championship rings prove Tressel can get it done.

The five-year run has been incredible. We can credit so much of this five-year success on those Michigan victories. What is the mindset in 2001 if the Buckeyes don't finish with the Ann Arbor victory? The National Championship doesn't happen unless Will Allen steps in front of the Michigan pass at the goal line. OSU's 8-4 with an Alamo Bowl victory isn't 8-4 with an Alamo Bowl victory if they don't beat Michigan in the Horseshoe. As for 2005, the BCS is not a reality if we don't witness the Troy Smith show in our regular season finale. It goes deeper than "The Big Ten Title goes through the OSU-Michigan game." The truth is, "A successful season goes through the OSU-Michigan game."

Troy Smith was terrific in the Fiesta Bowl. He throws deep with that nice loft and finesse. Yet, he can also throw the frozen rope on those crossers. He tucks the ball and moves the chains before we knew what happened. Yet, he shows patience. Troy blends so many skills and gifts. Usually it is talent in Area A or talent in Area B with quarterbacks. Troy can do it all. Is he an athlete or a quarterback? He is whatever we need him to be at that time.

Thank you Santonio. I see or hear no hard feelings for his early departure. A fourth year junior with his accomplishments and situation creates a win-win scenario. It is inaccurate to call him one of the best college receivers in 2005 because he has been one of the best college receivers for some time now.

Buckeye Leaves…

Jim Tressel – You can't hide class.

A.J. Hawk

Troy Smith – His first fumble was disappointing. What wasn't disappointing though is his aggressive shucking of a defender sending a message to both sidelines saying "Stay out of my way…I have a football game to win." I love his competitiveness.

Doug Datish – So Ted is a little faster than Doug as evidenced by the reverse. He was not handed a bouquet of roses when he came to Columbus. He earned his playing time. His personal foul on the sidelines was caused by hustling down field with an attitude trying to take a defender out during a heated football game. Nobody supports penalty flags, but nobody should support a teammate alone downfield with a bunch of opponents surrounding him either.

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