Thoughts To Bank On: Indiana

Ohio State defeated Indiana 33-14 on Saturday night in Bloomington. The Buckeyes were more solid than spectacular, but the game featured the continuing education of sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who is gaining confidence in a more wide-open attack. Bill Greene has more in his feature "Thoughts to Bank on."

Ohio State's assault on the Big Ten continued Saturday in Bloomington with a 33-14 win over Indiana. The Buckeyes were solid in most facets of the game, and there were several outstanding individual performers.

QUARTERBACK: It's broken record time again, but Terrelle Pryor is not Colt McCoy or Sam Bradford, and never will be. You won't see games of 75 percent completions, or 375-yard performances.. Terrelle Pryor is about first downs and touchdowns, and in that area he is getting better. The total throwing game is a work in progress for Pryor. He threw a lot of great balls against Indiana, throws he could not make last year or against USC. The touchdown to DeVier Posey was a thing of beauty, looking off the safety and hitting him perfectly in stride. The interception at the end was a terrible throw. This process is all about mechanics and that doesn't get better over night, but it is getting there. He needs to be more protective of the football in traffic but the end result is that he is a spectacular player and can change the game instantly. GRADE: B.

RUNNING BACKS: The Brandon Saine show started and looked really good. Jordan Hall played alright but needs a lot of reps and that probably won't happen when Boom Herron returns. I still think Ohio State needs to feature all three tailbacks, and I wouldn't mind seeing Jaamal Berry worked into the mix as well. None of these guys is a proven 25-carry back and all of them do well with 8-10 carries apiece. There is a place for all three, maybe four, in this offense. GRADE: B+.

RECEIVERS: They all played well and, much like the running backs, production is better when everyone is involved. The simple catch and spin by Ray Small showed the incredible talent he has. Dane Sanzenbacher didn't put up eye-popping numbers but he continues to be the most dependable route runner in this group. Posey continues to improve and is gaining confidence. He is just now getting healthy after being hampered by a bad ankle and it's only a matter of time before he is making plays down the field. Duron Carter is a weapon in short yardage and on the goal line and has progressed farther than anyone could have imagined at this point in his career. Carter loves to block and it shows in his performance.. GRADE: B+.

OFFENSIVE LINE: This group was better than average, and once again we saw a different combination out there for the Buckeyes. Last week they had to adjust to the Jim Cordle injury and this week it was the illness of Andy Miller, and the shifting of players hurts the ability to play consistently well. The line continues to play a more physical brand of football and that started against Toledo. It's going to be hard to get J.B. Shugarts out of the lineup over the duration of his career. Mike Adams has come a long way since missing the first two games and it appears he's starting to become the player he needs to be. Marcus Hall saw his first action and the freshman did well in limited minutes. The pass protection wasn't as sharp as the past two weeks and that needs shored up before playing Wisconsin. GRADE: B.

DEFENSIVE LINE: The defensive line was very good once again, totally stoning the Indiana running game, making them one dimensional.. The injury to Dexter Larimore possibly sends one of the best players to the sidelines for a few weeks. This opens the door for Todd Denlinger to get more minutes. Denlinger represents everything Ohio State wants from their student-athletes, and is a highly productive player. The two freshman pit bulls, Johnny Simon and Garrett Goebel teamed up in the end to give Buckeye fans a glimpse into the future. Robert Rose was very impressive yet again. Doug Worthington continued his fine play and the four defensive ends, Lawrence Wilson, Nathan Williams, Cam Heyward and Thad Gibson played at the level of excellence we've become accustomed to seeing. Opponents are usually getting one drive per game against the Buckeye defense and the bulk of the credit goes to this unit's fine play. They just might be the best group in the country. GRADE: A.

LINEBACKERS: Austin Spitler played his best game as a Buckeye and made plays all over the field. Ross Homan continues to play steady, rock-solid football. Homan is rarely out of position and never misses a tackle. Brian Rolle had a shaky first half but rebounded to play like the player he's been all season. He took poor angles and dropped his head as a tackler far too much in the first half. Andrew Sweat and Storm Klein got time on the field together late in the game and showed speed and toughness. The depth at linebacker is amazing and there are more players on the way next year. GRADE: A.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: They were missing their best player, Kurt Coleman, and faced a high powered passing attack, but this group was solid as usual. Indiana threw for over 200 yards, but nearly 50 of them came on the last drive against Buckeye second- and third-team players. Indiana had some success throwing short but only had one completion over 20 yards. Devon Torrence, Andre Amos and Chimdi Chekwa played softer than usual, perhaps because Coleman was out, and gave up the short passes. Jermale Hines played well at strong safety, although he's not making as many plays as he made in the "star" position. Anderson Russell continues to rebound from his poor performance against Navy and played his best game of the year. Russell never pouted when he lost his starting position and has become an asset as the nickel back and also filled in well at safety for Coleman. Orhian Johnson and Travis Howard received limited playing time and it was good to see those two freshmen get their feet wet against Big Ten competition. Grade: B+.

SPECIAL TEAMS: This group of players was anything but special, outside of the directional punting by Jon Thoma. Aaron Petrey missed two chip shot field goals. The kickoff coverage team was not good at all, routinely allowing Indiana great starting field position, and allowing over 30 yards per kickoff return. These units have been solid all year and they need to return to form in a hurry. GRADE: D.

COACHING: The defensive staff continues to out-scheme every single opponent since being embarrassed by Navy in the opener. The use of the 3-4 hybrid continues to evolve and expand. There are more than 20 players contributing every week and the defense might be the best in the country. Offensively, it still remains a work in progress, but the direction is the right one. More shotgun. More spread. The passing game still needs work but that comes as no surprise. There were very few penalties this week and that's a trend that needs to continue as well. Running the ball out of the shotgun-spread look seems to be the way to go in 2009. GRADE: B+.

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