Captain's Corner - Thoughts on Kent State

Did OSU get better from Texas Tech to Kent State?

I am going to say yes.  I look at the Texas Tech game and I saw a very sound performance.  Offensively, we answered questions on the o-line.  Defensively, our speed made Kingsbury struggle.  The special teams were solid.  It is tough to improve on an opener that was very well-balanced.  Kent State was an opponent with less talent than the Red Raiders.  What is a margin of victory that is acceptable against the Golden Flashes?  Do we need to shut this team out?  Do we need Clarett to break the 175-yard mark that he set in the opener?

No one knows the answers to those questions, and I can promise you that Buckeye players and coaches don't care about those answers.  It is the job of the players and coaches to perform on Saturdays with high energy levels and concentration AND FLAT OUT SCORE MORE POINTS.  That is what we did against the Flashes. I think a better Buckeye team stepped onto the field in Game #2.

We ran when we had to.  We passed with efficiency.  We caught the ball and made our quarterbacks look good.  We scored on defense.  We pressured a very mobile quarterback.  We blocked a kick.  We kicked off into the endzone.  We nailed our field goals.  We started the 1st and 2nd half on a mission.  The list goes on.

The most encouraging thing about our victory was the aerial attack.  We saw Krenzel stretch things out vertically by throwing the ball downfield.  Washington State saw this #7 named Chris Gamble catch the ball effectively over the middle.  This will keep the opponent from licking their chops with 8 or 9 in the box and force them to worry about the pigskin going over their head.  Once that happens, we can use our beef and trio of tailbacks to control the ball, field position, and clock.  We all love to talk about our backs and tight ends catching passes, but the reality is you can't hit those guys if a defense is clamping down on it.  With Krenzel stretching the field vertically, our underneath "gimmes" open up.  It was nice to see the balance.

Nugent looked great.  Even his PATs were splitting the uprights.  He was touted as a guy that could drill clutch kicks from close range.  I thought he was supposed to be a consistent guy once we got him in tight (Jim Breech-style).  Where did he get this huge leg?  Even the very few kickoffs they returned were put way in the back of the endzone.  He will decide two games for us this year.

It was encouraging to see Kudla, Hawk, Carpenter, D'Andrea, Salley, Underwood, and Everett on the field.  There is life after Wilhelm and Doss.  The pipeline is full.  We have great veteran talent, but we also have great young talent.  That will be instrumental in weeks 11, 12, and 13.  I could not be more pleased with our young pups.

Halfway through the second quarter, I was thinking "How can I comment on this game?  It is all perfect.  This is how the football gods drew it up.  There is nothing to say.  It looks like we are playing against air."  Well, our fans and the college football pollsters saw we were human.  A few fumbles, a second team defense that hasn't had as many practice reps, and some Golden Flash talent made us all wake up.  In fact, the last 2 ½ quarters were way too even.   The reality is that Krenzel looked awfully impressive, but so did Jason Gesser with his performance against Idaho.  If you think Washington State wasn't working the entire off-season for the showdown in the Shoe'…you are crazy.

We took steps in the right direction.  Our Buckeyes shouldn't be penalized for the fact that Kent State wasn't that good.  We wanted to play a lot of people.  We wanted to work on our offensive balance.  We wanted to win convincingly.  Looking back on our Kent State Saturday, I would have to say the day was a success.

Buckeye Leaves

Mike Nugent – Give him all the Buckeye Leaves he wants, the MVP and the game ball. 

Michael Jenkins/Chris Gamble – I don't care where the ball is thrown…just catch it.  It is the receivers' job to make the quarterback look good.  That is what Glenn did for Hoying.  That is what Boston did for Germaine. And that is what our wide outs must do for Krenzel.  Catch the easy ones and the tough ones.

A.J. Hawk –Good thing his name is not that long.  We will hear those three syllables from the public address announcer about every other play when the Buckeyes are on defense in the coming years. 

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