Coach Conley's Six Points: Northwestern Recap

Former OSU assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Bill Conley recaps his Six Points To Victory after the Buckeyes ran over Northwestern in their 2007 Big Ten opener.

It's going to be a long season for Northwestern. Even with a healthy Tyrell Sutton, they will have trouble having enough wins to be bowl eligible. The Wildcats offense doesn't have enough big play-makers and their defense really lacks speed. They are so down in talent, you almost feel sorry for them. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald is a great guy and I hope he finds a way to rally his troops the rest of the way.

Here is a recap of my Six Points To Victory:

1. Alert to Tricks

The Buckeyes were never fooled by the Wildcats. The Ohio State defense made all the proper adjustments. Northwestern actually cost itself a touchdown when the Buckeyes blocked a punt on the 1-yard line. The unorthodox punt formation left Larry Grant free off the edge and Mo Wells scored on the very next play.

2. Hands Up

The aggressive Buckeye defenders were in C.J. Bachér's face all day long. I counted at least two tips from the Ohio State front four and several pressures including a jarring hit by James "Little Animal" Laurinaitis. Even though he showed great courage, Bachér never had a chance.

3. Stop the Screen

As expected, Northwestern has an arsenal of screen passes. They had a rough time executing practically every part of their offense including the screen pass. The Buckeye defenders did a super job of getting off blocks and making open field tackles. It's easy to see why the Ohio State defense is ranked as one of the very best in the country.

4. Beat the Backers

OSU tight ends caught three passes and running backs made three receptions out of the backfield. The Ohio State passing attack overall was just too much for the less talented Wildcats. Coach Tressel did a remarkable job of keeping the score out of triple digits.

5. Anticipate the Field Blitz

The Wildcats were only able to get to Todd Boeckman a couple of times. The offensive line and running backs did a good job of pass protection against the blitz. Even though the run blocking wasn't as good as the pass protection, the Buckeyes were able to play everyone except the training staff.

6. Big Kickoff Return

The Buckeyes averaged 22 yards per kickoff return. They had good field position all day long and because of the tenacious defensive performance, the Wildcats only kicked off twice. There was a big kickoff return – unfortunately it was a 99-yarder by the Wildcats to open the second half. Hats off to Northwestern for that play; it was their only highlight Saturday.

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