McQuaide provides an appropriate pose for the title. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Week two of no Buckeye football. It is like a boring dull pain has taken over my Saturdays. The Army/Navy game isn’t getting it done and even though Sullinger is making me start to pay attention to hoops by dropping 40 on IUPUI it is still tough for me to think about anything other than the season we just went through the upcoming Sugar Bowl against Arkansas.
One thing I still really find interesting is the broad disparity of opinion of Pryor among Buckeye fans. I was home visiting family over Thanksgiving in Columbus, was home for The Game – and so naturally Buckeye football was the majority of the conversation. It is crazy to me how varied the responses people have of a guy that is 30-4 as starter. Sure – I totally understand that when you arrive on campus as the #1 recruit in the country, after a rather long and drawn out decision process that the expectations are going to be high and the microscope is going to be part of the gig. But more and more I think that for a lot of the Buckeye Nation the bar may be set higher than normal. I can see where the some of the argument is founded as it relates to his play on the field – no NC as of yet, a couple really bad performances, and a lack of eye popping stats that we as a fan base think that a player of that physical ability should have. All of which are true to a point. Another one that I heard is that there is just not a level of confidence in Pryor to bring us back from down to a big win. This one I can understand as well somewhat – although in the Rose Bowl we were down for a time it is more a feeling of explosive potential instead of cool confidence that you get when Pryor is running the offense. I guess where my level of understanding seems to fall apart with the critique of Pryor is when it comes to what he says, tweets or otherwise expresses himself. For real – outside of the untimely Michael Vick eye stickers and “everyone kills people” comments when has Pryor done anything really bad? Never had any grade issues, never any off the field issues, got a block O tattooed on his arm, says how great it is to be a Buckeye all the time, defers praise to teammates and has stepped up and owned most (if not all) of his poor performances and any losses. So what more does anyone want? I mean these last comments that came out last week –
“I’ll put it like this: You put me in any of their offenses — any of them — and I’d dominate,” Pryor said, when asked about the attention afforded the likes of Newton, Robinson and Persa. “I’d dominate the nation. What those guys do, that’s what they’re supposed to do in their offense.
“They carry the ball 30 times a game. I carry the ball maybe five times. There are times I didn’t even run the ball in a game. You put me in any of their offenses, where I can run the ball and have a choice to throw, I would dominate college football.”
It was funny how these comments were interpreted – some forum members actually took this as some type of dissention in the ranks. Which is completely absurd. Some people are on the Pryor being overrated train. Which I think is just the sky falling Buckeye fan mentality that seeps throughout the Buckeye Nation. Personally I agree with him to an extent, if got more touches running the ball he would put up bigger numbers. But his durability would also be a factor, he was less than full strength for a couple weeks with the carpet monster quad strain and had a shoulder ding after that Iowa safety popped him. You don’t see Newton getting those. Also – Newton is much more a polished passer at this time, you don’t often find him pulling a “screw it, I am going deep into double coverage” – which is one of the small things that Pryor needs to work out of his game before he can get into that “best in the country” talk. I guess what the main point I am making as it relates to Pryor is that I can’t understand why the entire Buckeye Nation is not completely behind the kid, he is a top fifteen QB in the country, three time Big Ten Champ, Rose Bowl MVP, and undefeated against TSUN. As for leading us to a NC game, he has one more season to get us there. This year he has the chance to rid us of the pesky SEC monkey from our backs. If you want stats check out how awesome a record TSUN ended up with even with Nard Rob rewriting the books. At the end of the day TP has done what has been asked of him from Tressel, and the stat that matters is W’s.
“I want nothing else but to win. If I was having a lot of stats and I was losing, I would really be kind of mad. My competitive nature wants just to win, by any means. By any means, win. That’s all I really care about, to tell you the truth, man.”
Looks like he gets it, maybe we everyone give him a break and start backing the guy. All the time, not just when he plays good. We only get him for one more year. Let’s enjoy it. Hell the kid is even trying to give away Sugar Bowl tickets.
Some other key individual seasons of note in 2010 were that of Cameron Heyward and Boom Herron. In almost a role reversal the standout defensive end had a statistically less than spectacular season whereas Boom exploded mid season to settle the number one back discussion once and for all. Going into the season Heyward was expected to dominate and be in the running for post season accolades, Boom was thought to be fighting for second guy carries with Hall and Berry. Some of the lack of success for Heyward was due to being a focal point on the line that was breaking in three new starters Williams, Larimore, Simon after losing Gibson, Denlinger, Wilson and Worthington – it was great to have him back as a leader and he made his fair share of plays. He will leave tOSU with his degree and the love of the entire Buckeye Nation – even if his draft stock may be less this year than after last season – it was a privilege to have him in scarlet and gray all four years. With Boom some of his success can be attributed to the awakening of Big Mike Adams at left tackle. Coupled with Brewster and Boren that left side became consistently productive throughout the course of the season. Boom’s downhill running style and vision saved our bacon in Illinois, showed up in Wisconsin, went for close to 200 yards against Penn State, and tied the school record (should have broken it) for longest play with the 89 yarder against TSUN. Doing work son. The line loses Browning and Boren at the guards, hopefully hangs on to Brewster, and most likely Adams and Shugarts will be back – all signs point to Boom being back as well for a senior year. Very nice.
Special mention reflections on the season – Sanzenbacher delivering a senior season that will forever emblazon his name into Buckeye lore, Moeller coming back from his injury only to be injured again – see you next year, Rolle and Homan have quiet but solid seasons to lead another conference best defense against the run and a unit that ranks #2 in total defense in the country.
A final reflection is on the Nike Pro Combat uniforms. The red helmets were god awful. Gloves are sweet other than the fact they seem to be the proverbial red cape to the flag throwing referee bulls. Other than that the uniforms were okay and I am fine with Nike and the university capitalizing on the Buckeye Nation with these type things. I even think that we go the route of “throwback” to honor past teams is much better than trying to do some space age crap like Boise State or Oregon. However – no more can this new uniform game be The Game. Any other game. Do it alumni weekend – alumni weekend, alumni band, throwback uniforms – kind of fits. But repeatedly doing this type of crap during The Game doesn’t help the rivalry, and it more or less quite annoying.
As for the projections – the Sugar Bowl and Arkansas awaits on January 4th. It is an interesting matchup – the Mallet led offense normally goes for over 300 yards a game and has three WR with over 500 yards receiving on the year. Our secondary will have to be ready to go and the men up front will have to be able to get pressure. Not to be overlooked is Knile Davis the Razorback running back that cannot be allowed to get going, the Bullets will need to tackle well and shut him down early to make Arkansas one dimensional. Offensively we just will have to score touchdowns, I don’t think field goals will win this game. The more we can control the ball the better so hopefully Boom can continue is tear and Newton also had a big day on the ground against Pig Sooie so maybe TP coming in with a little chip on his shoulder to show that he can put up numbers is a good thing.
2010 was a great season that continued the decade of dominance and success that we have become accustomed to under Tressel. As Buckeye fans it is important to soak up these seasons and make sure to appreciate them, things were not always this way and won’t stay this way forever.
Now let’s whip some SEC ass.