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Spring Football…Feels So Good.

guiton_springgame_2010Guiton airs it out in Gray win………photo: By Jay LaPrete

There is definitely something very fulfilling and therapeutic watching Ohio State football.  The hoops team was good this year, Turner was amazing and Titus was entertaining (still is actually) but the site of the scarlet and gray in the Shoe is really what silences the doldrums of everyday life.  Unfortunately now that the game is over the 100 days of despair begin until we see them take the field once again, and now there isn’t even hoops to help dull the pain.

Before going off the deep end and spewing forth any more lamentations let’s first discuss the spring game positive and what to expect come August.  There were some very good things about the game and some that were somewhat concerning.  But when we as fans can wet our Buckeye football palette and the team can avoid injury (thankfully Guitton walked off the field) it is a good day.  The concerning things can always be somewhat explained by the mantra…it is only spring ball after all.

THE GOOD:

Obviously this team goes as TP goes.  So it makes no sense to start off anywhere else but with him and outside of some low throws at the start he looked good.  The knee is fine, his decisions were good for the most part, his mechanics looked better once he warmed up, and for his time on the field he ended up completing about 50% of his throws for over 100 yards and a score.  Most of his stuff was sent Sanzenbacher’s way but he did find Stoneburner for a couple really nice throws (albeit one into triple coverage).  This keeps alive the spring game tales of how we will see more plays for the TE’s – hope this season the lore is true.

Speaking of Stoneburner – the guy has skills for sure.  His grab in triple coverage was solid and he was consistently open on nice routes throughout the game.    Sanzenbacher has not missed a beat, looking good on his catches – hauling in TP’s score and also putting his head down even against his Buckeye brothers.  The guy plays tough all the time and it is awesome.

On the ground Saine, Boom, Hall, Hyde, Martin, and Delande seemed to get work in.  Saine and Boom looked solid, Hall had some nice break out runs, Hyde looked good later in the game, Martin couldn’t seem to get going and Delande scored the second Scarlet TD and was in the running for Mr. Spring Game if it wasn’t for T. Wash cementing his legacy with a monster game.

Oh yeah –  right on que – T. Wash blows up again.  I mean WOW.  He looked untouchable out there for a while with two TD’s but then served up at least one drop.  If he can keep up the breakout performance and carry that into the season then he may be jeopardizing his title as Mr. Spring Game.  I am sure he would be as happy to give up that title as we fans would be for him to become the solid #3.  I am a big D. Carter fan – but as of now he isn’t on the field.  So the window is open T. Wash.

Defensive line and linebackers were impressive today.  Lots of new names and numbers out there making plays and flying around the field which is nice to see.  Heyward, Homan and Rolle all made plays as well – but it was nice to see Solomon Thomas, Melvin Fellows, John Simon, Keith Wells getting involved.  Up front doesn’t look to be an issue for us this year and the backers look solid as well with Sabino, Bell, Sweat and Klein getting in on tackles too.

THE MEH:

O line play – I know, I know – another year of bagging on the line.  In all seriousness it could be that our defensive line is just that strong.  But I have to say our ground game looked good but far from awesome.  I mean I am not sure on exact stats, and it is true Saine and Boom had some decent runs, Hall broke outside a few times, and Delande did score on the ground – so it was not terrible.  For pass protection – Pryor went down at least once, and Bauserman (who looked horrible) was constantly on the move.   There were several times the announcers (if you can call them that – Tomzack and Herron were awful) mentioned that both the Scarlet and Gray teams were having trouble converting first downs, and the game did seem to be dominated by the defense most of the time – and this was with defensive units that was not allowed to blitz.  I don’t know – it just seems like there was not a lot sustained drives and that both sides relied on big plays to score which is normally an indication of not owning the trenches.  By far not a terrible showing, but it did not leave me with an overwhelming confident feeling.  I am sure that because starters were divided between the two teams that the sum of both is much greater than the parts – and it is just spring ball after all.

THE NOT SO GOOD:

Secondary play – yowza.  I have to say that neither the Scarlet or Gray secondary looked very good.  Much like the offensive line I am thinking this is mostly due to the starters being divided between the two squads.  For instance – I did not hear or see Chekwa around the ball very much.  This could have been because the pink numbers made it hard to see who was who and also because he had his guy locked down.  Torrence made a couple of plays, Hines was around the ball a couple times – but beyond that there were several times receivers got behind people and were wide open.  Some of these times would have been scores if the ball was thrown correctly.  True – the defense was not allowed to blitz and pressure would create some different scenarios but damn-o-damn it looks like we need some work back there.  Then again –it is just spring ball after all.

Posey drops – I mean at first I thought the “announcers” (if we can REALLY call them that) were trying to make a joke about D. Po having bad eyes.  But after the second or third pass that either hit him in the hands or that he jumped at when he didn’t have to fell to the ground I started thinking that maybe a trip to Lenscrafters would not be all bad.  He is our definitive #1 guy coming off a game winning grab in the Rose Bowl and he tanks seemingly easy grabs?  It is just weird.  Let’s hope that it was just a spring ball thing.

Kicking / Special Teams – did not see any kickoffs that went out of the end zone, which I really miss.  Barclay made his kicks, Basil missed one.  Punts were nothing special. Return game was blah.   Strange to see this again with a  Tressel team.  I guess it is only spring ball.

THE SURPRISES:

Two words – Kenny Guiton.  Damn.  I remember when he signed as a recruit and it was a big “Huh – who?” feeling.  Then there was much love rained down upon him for his spring practice play.  I was wondering if he would make a run for #2 QB but after seeing him air it out for two scores and 167 yards  going 11/21 there is no doubt.  Bauserman looked like a chubby stork when he scrambled and managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory for Scarlet with those two late INT’s (and another that should have been picked).  It was scary to see Guiton go down at the end and I was grateful to see him get back up but someone please put some weight on that kid.  The only question remains is what happens if Guiton looks like the heir apparent, what it means in the Braxton Miller sweepstakes for the Buckeyes.

Zach Boren – I knew he was physical blocker with a nasty streak like big bro.  But the who fullback receiver extraordinaire was a pleasant surprise, I can’t see how he would not be open all the time with all the other weapons on the field commanding more attention.  The way he turned up field and showed some decent wheels was damn nice.

No Berry – word is that he twisted an ankle in the jersey scrimmage.  Not sure what to make of this guy – the footage of him in high school looks amazing, the praise from practice is consistent.  But I am not sure I can keep saying …”and then there is Jamal Berry”…if I never see him carry the ball in a game.  There is so much being said about too much depth at the position, it is surprising to me that injuries are taking Berry out of the equation for the second season in a row.  So much for the idea of having too many backs.

Overall the spring game provided an nice look into the 2010 Buckeye Football season but needs to looked at as merely a teaser preview.  The best parts of the movie cannot be revealed in the teaser or else the movie will suck.  So the spring game provided enough excitement to get us really wound up by August – that is when the real show starts.  And when you consider that the ticket price for tOSU football games is going up this year – some may think that is shitty.  I however think that this team with its’ cast of characters, bona fide stars, and a director which just got signed to four more years –  that we are in a for a season well worth the price of admission.

Also – a special mention to the Stephanie Spielman Fund, the pink numbers made it somewhat tough to follow the action – but that is a small price to pay to spread awareness about breast cancer.  Would love to see Chris Spielman involved in Buckeye football again sometime.

GO BUCKS!!