WSU Thoughts

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 won.

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. 

Buckeye Leaves

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 sidelines.

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.

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