There comes a point in your playing career at OSU when you
need to decide if you are going to play on a 9-4 team that flirts with New
Year's Day bowl games, or if you are going to be a Top 5 team that plays in
the BCS. I think that question was
posed to Doss, Wilhelm, Peterson, Nickey, Grant, and all the other seniors on
the Buckeye squad. The score was
6-7 and Washington State had the momentum coming out at halftime.
You could just see that our captains and their fellow seniors had had
enough. They would not let this
thing slip. They would play 60
minutes. They would play every snap
for four quarters, not just two or three quarters.
These seniors were not going to lose on their watch.
We talked all week about adversity, and what the Buckeyes
would do if they lost control of the game at some point.
Well, Gesser and the boys took control during that first half.
It can be scary when an opposing team is beating when you are playing
pretty decent. We put pressure on
their quarterback. We were tackling okay. We
didn't fumble. We didn't throw
any picks. Why were we down 6-7?
That is a scary feeling. It
is one thing if you are losing because you are careless.
You can fix that by better concentration and focus.
We were losing though because Washington State was just skilled. They
were just a good team.
The only response in that situation is higher energy and
higher intensity levels. Helmet-to-helmet,
man-to-man, toe-to-toe. OSU decided to enforce every block, every tackle, and of
course, every run. In the end, this
physical brand of football won the showdown with the Cougars. The physical play was even bigger than the turnover battle we
Maurice Clarett is a stud.
His 175 yards against Texas Tech was very nice, but I have news for you:
his 230 against Washington State was about 5 times better.
Why? Because his big runs
against Texas Tech came of some vertical seams in the defense.
In the opener, he had vision, speed, power, etc., but there are some
other guys in the country (and even on our team) that could have sprung those. He got his 230 this week on his own. Maurice didn't always have creases. He had to improvise and create and bully defenders on his
own. His play sent the message,
"I don't care what our defense, our passing game, or our o-line does…I am
going to get my yards." I still haven't caught my breath yet from watching
him. Never, and I mean never, have
I seen a back do so much on his own. The best thing about it is you have Ross
and Hall there to step right in when Clarett is sitting.
Life is pretty good right now for Coach Spence.
Craig Krenzel played solid.
Not great, but solid. That
is exactly what we needed. He got
pounded on some first half sacks, but never once did that ball come close to
sneaking out of his hands for a fumble. He
made great checks at the line. He
ran for some key first downs. Craig
finished only 4 of 10, but keep in mind two of those should have been caught.
It is tough for anyone, including McMullen, Zwick, Smith, Germaine,
Dorsey, or Grossman to get in a rhythm with only 10 attempts.
I am not the least bit worried about 4 completions last Saturday. Clarett
is the catalyst. Krenzel is the
glue. Still no interceptions.
It is not going to get easier as the season goes along.
UC wants a big piece of us. Penn
State is back. Michigan is
Michigan. Wisconsin isn't scared
of us. The list goes on. It is just nice to see our seniors know it is now or never.
Rolling your Buckeye helmet on the field won't win you any games.
You need 60 minutes of high intensity to earn anything in the college
football world. I don't care what color uniform or helmet you wear.
Kenny Peterson - Sure
he made some nice tackles, but he wanted that game more than any of the 100,000+
people in the Shoe. He was
possessed, and his intangibles and leadership made the difference on the
Maurice Clarett –
Dustin Fox – I love corners that hit people. He was athletic and physical, and wants so badly to be put in crucial situations throughout the course of the game. "Big players make plays in big games". Guess he's a "big"player, because he made plays.