Tressel knows there is work to be done (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)
Watching the Buckeyes in a bar is not my preferred way to view anymore to be sure. It has cool parts about it – like having food made for you and drinks brought to you, being around other fans, etc. – but in the end you really don’t have as good of a view as you do at home, the food and drinks cost exponentially more and it always seems that I end up more wasted when I go places. Nonetheless – thanks to the last minute groin kick that BTN/ATT Uverse gave we Buckeye fans on the west coast – that is exactly what the devoted member of the Buckeye Nation had to do. I mean seriously – any schedule you looked at said the game was on BTN. You could even check the guide and set you DVR to record Ohio State vs. Ohio University during the week – but right before game time in San Diego what game do cut to? F’ing TSUN. Really. All I can say is keep drinking the NardRob Kool-Aid media, if it is taking that team all game to eek one out against UMass once they hit conference schedule they are done. And that Robinson won’t last. He will be the next skunk helmet to crawl off the field. But anyway since we had to venture to an establishment to Moondoggies my comrade and I headed at 8:45 AM. So when your morning goes like this – water, vitamins, coffee, beer, Jim Beam (and food later eventually) – it makes for an interesting day.
As for the game – going into it you knew there was no way that it would even come close to the buzz of the Miami game, but the team did manage to come out and take care of business with a dominating 43-7 victory over Ohio U. Good game overall but there definitely are still things that this team can improve on. Kick coverage once again was a penalty away from giving up a score in three consecutive games and although the offense did plenty of scoring the running game was very much an shadow of what was expected to be honest.
Another less than spectacular aspect was the two picks throw by Pryor. On a day where he set a school record with sixteen straight completions along with piling up a gaudy stat line of 22-29 for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air, while rushing for 35 yards and a score on the ground. The two picks were completely forced throws – one where it was almost like TP was trying desperately to get T Wash, a senior a touchdown and the second a forced ball to Sanzenbacher. I don’t think he makes either of those throws in a tight game and even he admitted to being pissed about them after the game. I mean two turnovers in like 150 some plays? Non issue.
Honorable special mention to Stoneburner for catching the first TD pass to an Ohio State tight end in I can remember how long.
When it comes to the running game I continue to be somewhat mystified by Saine. If there he can get to the second level he seems to be fine and has the ability to break one to the house. But going through traffic is a different story – for the second straight week he did more dancing and was far too selective in putting is head down and getting positive yards going 12 carries for 48. Saine’s value as a receiver is huge with nice hands that got him a TD this week again. The thing is I don’t know how much an opposing team has to prepare for Saine, or is it just string him out and then make a play. Boom seems to do better and hitting the hole hard but to be fair goes down way too easy a lot of the time – this week only having 9 carries for 27 yards. The brutally honest truth is that both Hall and Berry looked like they ran with more energy and attitude against the Bobcats. It was strange.
The Bobcats had a defense loaded with upperclassmen, two big eating 300 pounders in the middle, and a high energy linebacker – and our offensive line still should have shoved them around. Come on this is a team that played Marshall (and lost) in a bowl game. They should have been dominated in the trenches on par with the Herd. There were sacks given up, stuffed run lanes and far too much penetration. That may seem as strong criticism for an offense that threw up 43 (this game was out of hand in the second quarter). But we put up more yards on the ground against Da U. Better effort is what we need.
Defensively the Buckeyes dominated the overmatched Bobcats all afternoon. The only low points on defense once again came in the form of injuries with Torrence going down with a hip pointer, he would return later. Also injured was his backup Travis Howard leaving the game permanently with a shoulder injury which seemed to be more serious at the time but yet both Torrence and Howard are still listed on the depth chart for this week so it looks like we may have escaped unscathed except for Evege. Moeller and Homan had interceptions, Hankins caused a fumble. The Bobcats only scored in garbage time against the backups.
Special teams continues to struggle. The Bobcats had a return TD called back on a penalty or it would have been the third straight week of giving up a score due to poor coverage. I mean what the hell. We also had a punt blocked….it was ugly. The bright spot was a perfect Barclay once again. Not sure what is going on with coverage units, I don’t like seeing people like Posey out there and I am wondering where all the backup linebackers, safeties and running backs are. It is not going unnoticed among the players either with Rolle and Hines chiming in that maybe they need to get back out there and help the cause.
Another thing that was weird was the end of the first quarter Bauserman appearance. Seemed to disrupt the flow but I kinda get the whole “try a bunch of different stuff” strategy of Tressel. But if you are going to give Bauserman a shot to do his normal pass play where he gets flushed, runs toward the sidelines and then throws across his body to someone trying to bail him out along the sideline – why not work in Hall or Berry a little earlier too?
Focus will be something that will continue to become more and more important over the next 2-3 weeks. Eastern Michigan, at Illinois, Indiana – three games which the Buckeyes will be heavily favored. This team will have to keep themselves grounded against complacency and continue to dominate offensively and defensively to compensate for the growth curve that needs to happen on special teams. We are not a complete team yet and looking ahead could have devastating results. In some ways having to go through Purdue Harbor last year helps this team because they know how easy it is to overlook an opponent and pay the price.