Buckeye Offense Bests Defense Yet Again

The Ohio State offense made it three victories in a row with a comfortable defeat of the defense in a jersey scrimmage at Ohio Stadium Saturday. Among those who got notice for their play were Todd Boeckman, Dane Sanzenbacher and Boom Herron. Read on for the recap.

The offense again retained the coveted scarlet jerseys, this time by a comfortable margin Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel told reporters, who were not allowed to watch the action, the final score of the scrimmage was "72-52, or something like that," and that around 165 plays were run.

The difference, as it was in the previous jersey scrimmage held last spring and won by the offense, was the ability of all three offensive units to protect the ball.

"It's a real simple game," Tressel said. "The defense needs takeaways and they may have had two or three, but that was probably out of 160-some plays won't do it."

As expected, returning starter Todd Boeckman quarterbacked the No. 1 offense and by all accounts had a good day. He did not throw an interception, but he also posted zero touchdown passes.

Some on the offense thought the latter stat should not have been that way, however.

"I think they cheated Dane out of one," said Brandon Smith, a fifth-year senior who recently moved to fullback from tight end.

The play to which he referred was what Boeckman called a slant-and-go in which he found sophomore wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher open against Thorpe Award candidate cornerback Malcolm Jenkins.

"I thought he was in and I kind of turned away and I looked and he had Malcolm beat by a couple of yards and I thought, ‘This is going to be a touchdown,' and he just got tackled I think on the 1-yard line," Boeckman said.

"I don't know – we've got to examine that referee," Smith said. "That looked like a good touchdown to me.

"(Sanzenbacher) ran with it pretty good, got down inside the 5, and Malcolm got his ankle. We were looking at the football and the pylon and it was a touchdown, but I don't know what the ref saw with his feet."

The other two quarterbacks, redshirt freshman Joe Bauserman and true freshman Terrelle Pryor, split reps between the second and third teams, and both got good reviews overall.

Both had touchdown runs, but Pryor also lost a fumble at the conclusion of a long run.

As for running backs, Tressel opted not to play starter and Heisman Trophy candidate Chris Wells, while one of the candidates to be is backup, Brandon Saine, sat out as he recovers from an injury.

In their stead, Dan Herron and Maurice Wells got the lion's share of the carries.

Herron scored a touchdown on a short run following the aforementioned Boeckman-to-Sanzenbacher connection, but also suffered a minor injury.

Also among those sitting out the scrimmage was senior Brian Robiskie, a returning starter at wide receiver who has a shoulder injury.

The choice to keep Chris Wells – nicknamed "Beanie" – on the sideline had nothing to do with health, however.

"Brian got dinged a little bit in the shoulder and that was a trainer's decision," Tressel said. "Chris was probably a coach's decision, as in the head coach. I've seen Beanie. He's pretty good."

As a bonus to leaving Wells out, Tressel got to see what he has in Herron, a redshirt freshman who came to Ohio State from in-state powerhouse Warren Harding with the nickname, "Boom".

"We did want to see Boom run a lot because we think he's going to be a contributor," Tressel said.

Herron impressed reigning Butkus Award winning linebacker James Laurinaitis as well.

"I thought Boom Herron did a good job today," Laurinaitis said. "Boom is extremely quick. We noticed Boom last year on the scout team. Before he got tweaked up a little (today), he was doing exceptionally well. He runs hard and is extremely quick, so he's a dual-threat-kind-of guy."

Any game pitting two sides from the same team can be viewed from a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty standpoint, so on the flip side was there a concern about the lack of turnovers forced by the defense?

"There weren't many errant throws," Tressel said. "The ball got knocked loose from a running standpoint. Terrelle fumbled one after running for about 20 yards."

The head coach also identified walk-on running back Joe Gantz as having lost a fumble.

Boeckman said Pryor threw the day's lone interception, though it came on a tipped pass.

Laurinaitis was unhappy to know he will conclude his college career practicing in white, but he did not sound discouraged by the performance of the defense.

"We didn't get the picks that we really needed, but our guys are right there," he said. "The passes were where they needed to be. I thought we had great pressure. We had a lot of sacks. We had opportunities to get more sacks, but when guys have contain and then they get out of contain and a guy breaks it, you especially can't do that when you're going against a guy like Terrelle.

"But it's exciting to see that we're doing the things right. The defense for the most part was doing a good job of keeping the ball in front of us when they are throwing it and rallying down. As long as we have the relentless output that we've had, guys running to the ball across the field and pursuit angles and stuff, you can always coach off of that."


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