Captain's Corner: A Special Offense

The OSU offense came together in Saturday night's game against Iowa for perhaps their best showing of the year. In the latest Captain's Corner, Jerry Rudzinski talks about why this year's OSU offense is a special one.

Coming into the season, sure we knew this offense would be good. We knew it had a lot of players back. We knew it would be special. Come on though…they lost Mangold, Simms, and Holmes. One of the best ever? Haven't you studied some of the great OSU offenses? Things were maybe getting blown out of proportion.

Wrong! This is one of the offenses to remember. I realize we are only in September, but five games in I must say this offense is one of the best ever and it has nothing to do with statistics.

I can't find the deficiencies. An all-world quarterback along with Ginn, Gonzo, Robiskie, Hartline, and Hall. Pittman with two good-looking back-ups. An offensive line that rotates units in key situations. Yes, I remember the first half of Penn State, but I also remember that Penn State linebacker beating AJ Hawk in the Butkus race. They have some big time talent on that Penn State defense.

Look at what the offense has done on the road this year. At Texas and at Iowa means turnovers waiting to happen. All Troy does though is attack that defense harder than the blitz-happy defensive coordinators are attacking him. The Texas and Iowa performances by the offense weren't good…they were breathtaking. They suffocate defenses. If you try to stop one area, they will get you somewhere else.

I say all that, and there will be another game where the offense needs help as it did against Penn State. The Buckeyes have a complete enough team to chip in and carry the load when the offense is slowed down. The picks by Mitchell, Laurinatis, and Freeman as well as Smith's forced fumble on Chandler prove this defense sees the big picture. The emphasis on turnovers is a sign of maturity. Those turnovers aren't lucky breaks; they are a result of spring practice and August camp.

When you go on the road, you just need to accept that you won't get any calls. Was it a bad dream I was having or did they call pass interference on Washington? It must have been a night filled with bad dreams because I also remember a nightmare where they reversed a call in the booth on a Ginn reception that would have given OSU a first down in the red zone. While I was pouting about it as a fan, the team decided to not feel sorry for themselves and march forward. At Michigan State, we can expect the same thing. OSU will not get the calls, will not get the breaks, and the ball will not bounce their way, but they need to win anyway. They did that at Iowa.

They did that by scoring on the opening drive to settle the crowd down. They did that by holding them to 3 on their second drive. The Mitchell pick was instrumental. Pittman's "man against boys" performance in the first half was a critical element. The 89-yard scoring drive in the second quarter as well as the second half opening drive were daggers in the Hawkeye heart. When you have great coverage on Hall and Robiskie and they score on you anyway, it tends to deflate a hostile environment. I don't say all that to taunt the Iowa faithful and rub salt in their wounds, I just say that because great teams keep applying the pressure. You may win this one battle but OSU will win these other four battles. That seemed to be the story of the night.

Buckeye Leaves…

Marcus Freeman – Hard hitting, quarterback pressure and an interception tend to help in Big Ten road games.

Troy Smith – I judge quarterbacks on the TD to interception ratio. Nobody is better.

Anthony Gonzalez – It looks like his Stanford Law aspirations will have to wait.

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