Bucknotes - 8/16

How will Craig Krenzel do behind center this year? Will OSU's offense open up? Dave Biddle talks about that and more in Bucknotes today.

Now that we know Craig Krenzel is the clear-cut starter, let's examine what type of quarterback he needs to be for the Buckeyes to be successful on offense this year.

When looking for someone to compare Krenzel with, the first name that pops in my head is former South Carolina QB Phil Petty. Buckeye fans remember him a little too well from the 2000 and '01 Outback Bowls. Petty wasn't flashy, just efficient. He made quick decisions. Even when you blitzed him, he was able to get the ball out to his playmakers before the pressure got to him. He also avoided turnovers.

Can Krenzel be this type of quarterback? I think so. The Buckeyes will be running more spread formations this year and Krenzel will be forced to make quick decisions, while not giving up turnovers. His statistics will probably turn out a little better than Petty's 2001 totals (1,699 yards, 10 TDs, 58 percent completion percentage) because the Buckeyes have two extra games and Krenzel will be throwing to one of the top receiving corps in the Big Ten. The one thing Krenzel needs to work on? Consistency. Petty was a guy that was accurate with nearly all of his throws. He took what the defense gave him and moved the chains. Hopefully Krenzel develops into the same type of  player because the Bucks have plenty of weapons for him to utilize.

I eluded to this a little bit already, but one thing Buckeye fans can expect to see more of this season is single-back, three-receiver sets. Although head coach Jim Tressel is known as a ball-control coach who likes to run the football, he says he doesn't have a particular offensive style. Tressel prefers to adjust his schemes to whatever the strengths of his team might be. For example, last year the Buckeyes had arguably the best pure fullback in the nation in Jamar Martin, so we didn't see too many single-back sets. The Buckeyes also had young wide receivers, so keeping the standard two back, two receiver sets made sense. However, this year, there are a few indicators that the offense will look a little different.

First up, the Buckeyes don't have a reliable fullback to turn to. Branden Joe has missed all of preseason camp on suspension and Brandon Schnittker is going to be a good player down the road, but isn't there yet. The Bucks also have a deep corps of receivers and might choose to get an extra receiver on the field, in place of a fullback, every chance they get.  During last Saturday's scrimmage, we saw a lot of this. Mike Jenkins, Chris Vance and Chris Gamble would line up as the No. 1 receivers and Maurice Clarett and Maurice Hall would take turns as the No. 1 tailback. In my  opinion, this makes the Buckeyes a much more explosive team than last year. 

Clarett and Hall won't have Martin blowing open holes for them, but that extra receiver will give opposing defenses one more thing to worry about.

Most of you probably know this about him, but Tressel has one of the best personalities you will ever find. He comes across as very business-like and no-nonsense at first, but don't let that fool you. His sense of humor is second to none. Tressel often makes little jokes at his press conferences and it's always something witty off the top of his head.

Will this translate into more wins for the football team? No. But he's just a fun guy to be around and handles the media better than any coach I can remember. He never gets frustrated, never lashes out and always seems to have has something interesting to say. The only fault I can think of in dealing with Tressel is that he can be a little "closed-mouthed" on controversial topics (QB situation last year). But can you think of a coach who isn't?

Check back next week for more Bucknotes!  Dave Biddle can be e-mailed at sports@madisonpress.com

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