Ohio State has always had receivers that could make diving
catches, and tailbacks that could rip off 50-yard touchdown runs, and defenders
that could destroy enemy ball carriers. The
problem the past few years has been the mistakes.
Without a doubt, the "upside" has been there all along, but there
seemed to be a "downside" as well. The
flashes of brilliance are nothing new in Ohio Stadium.
But the Buckeyes have slipped out of the Top 10 because they sprinkled in
mental mistakes and breakdowns in between those flashes.
The Buckeyes looked focused against Texas Tech.
We did not fumble the football. Krenzel
did not give any away. Penalties
were limited. The defense played
good assignment football. The game was not perfect, but the "downside" never
surfaced. You don't need every
play to be a highlight for your team, but when you don't have highlights for
your team, you can't have a highlight for the other team.
It is like the amateur golfer taking a bogey.
A bogey is okay. A
punt is okay. Double and triple
bogeys and interceptions and fumbles are not okay.
Our opponents are too good. Let
the opponent beat us if anything. Don't
What a great start. Not
only did we have Carpenter set the tone for the 3-and-out and touchdown in the
first part of the game, but OSU also came out charged up in the early 3rd
quarter. It is much easier to
control a game when you open the 1st and 3rd quarters
well. We need to continue that trend. The
Buckeyes did a nice job of closing the door.
I think our leaders (Doss, Nickey, Krenzel, Stepanovich, Wilhelm,
Anderson, etc.) really learned something from Penn State and Wisconsin last
year. When you get a lead, you turn
it up a few notches. You put on
more steam. You turn a 14-point
lead into a 21-point lead. That
separates the good teams from the great teams.
Clarett, Ross, and Hall are possessed.
They looked terrific. Teams
will begin worrying about the run. We
will be seeing 8 in the box quite a bit with this running threat.
That means our receivers will get some great opportunities.
Balance is (and always will be) the key to it all.
Wait until our fullback position comes around.
- Cie Grant…Cie was huge against that offense. His speed and experience on the perimeter really made a difference. This is a neat thing we have going at the outside linebacker spot.
- Maurice Clarett…Most rookie running backs need about a year and a half to stop bouncing it outside everytime. It is not easy to have the vision and confidence to jam it in there between the tackles. It took him zero games to learn this. Also, defenders HATE playing against a guy that has absolutely mastered the fine art of stiff-arming.
- Andy Groom…he kicks the ball really far.
Areas of concern
- It would be nice to use a true fullback. Don't get me wrong; the two tailback sets should be an integral part of our offense even if we bring Jamar Martin back from Dallas. There is a definite place for that. I just want Clarett, Ross, and Hall carrying the ball rather than beating up their bodies hitting 240 lbs linebackers and 280 lbs. defensive ends. That wears on guys over 13 games.
- Tressel will be keeping a close eye on the attitude and mindset of this team. Sure, get excited after the big nationally televised victory, but the road ahead is very long. "One game at a time", "We just want to improve", "This is a long season", and "Kent State has some talented athletes" all sound extremely cliché, but that is what our guys need think and believe. It is our job as fans to rant and rave around the water coolers. As good as we looked in the opener, we will not be playing on New Year's Day if we plateau. We must get better because our opponents will be getting better with every day of practice. Doss and Nickey are not here to talk after the Texas Tech game; they want to talk after the bowl game. At that point, they will evaluate the team. Those guys need to teach everyone that attitude.