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Tressel Answers Critics September 15, 2009 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "Toledo was not exactly a hot topic Tuesday when Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel met with local media for the first time since his Buckeyes lost 18-15 to visiting Southern California. He talked about what regrets he might have as well as what changes fans might see.
When one reporter asked Jim Tressel on Tuesday about facing the Toledo on Saturday at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Tressel smiled and thanked him. For most of the rest of the media gathering, which lasted about 10 minutes longer than usual, second-guessing and potential changes were the main themes..."
LA Times Chris Dufresne dropped by the Dan Patrick show to discuss a big weekend in college football. Here are some of his takes -- Dufresne and Dan both think Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was too conservative on offense. Tressel has to use Terrelle Pryor as a weapon and put the pressure on USC's defense.
Tressel's honeymoon with fans at an end? September 15, 2009 Source: Associated Press - "With a growing chorus of fans questioning his playcalling and others doubting his ability to win a big game, Jim Tressel was asked if his honeymoon as Ohio State's head coach was over. "You felt like it's been a nine-year honeymoon?" he repeated on Tuesday. "You must not have liked your honeymoon." For the first time in his tenure in Columbus, Tressel is catching fire from all directions in the wake of Saturday night's 18-15 loss to No. 3 Southern California.
Letters to the sports editor of the local newspaper, bloggers, Web sites, columnists, radio talk shows and TV analysts have all criticized Tressel's conservative approach to the game and his handling of the team.
Tressel said he has received critical e-mails, but said the fans' poison makes him feel sorry for them. "When I read some of them I feel terrible for them because there's no way they're happy," he said. "They've got to be some of the most unhappy people in the world, and I feel bad because we just made them less happy, and I hate to be a part of making someone less happy. I mean, they're already miserable."..."
John Thoma September 15, 2009 Source: OSU Official Site
Punter talks about the decision not to kick the field goal...and more
ESPN's Saturday night telecast of USC defeating Ohio State 18-15 averaged 7,243,000 households, 10,586,000 total viewers and a 7.3 rating, making it the network's most-viewed college football game covering both regular-season and bowl games. The telecast was the highest-rated program of the night among households, total viewers and in every key male and adult demographic, making ESPN the No. 1 television network cable or broadcast for the evening. The 7.3 rating is the highest for a college football game regular-season and bowl games in 15 years (Florida State at Miami averaged a 7.7 on October 8, 1994)...."
Did Pryor Choose the Wrong School September 15, 2009 Source: SI.com - Stewart Mandel writes: "While Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor struggles, Michigan's Tate Forcier is shining...One can't help but wonder how Pryor would have fared in Michigan's offense...Two years ago this winter, archrivals Ohio State and Michigan waged an offseason battle as intense as any of their annual late-November showdowns. Fans from both sides sweated the decision of a gifted high school quarterback who, if he chose the Wolverines, figured to give newly hired coach Rich Rodriguez a perfect weapon for his spread-option offense, and who, if he chose the Buckeyes, might doom Michigan to three more dire years in the recently titled rivalry.
Rodriguez wound up landing his dream quarterback all right -- but it wasn't Terrelle Pryor. In just his second career start, true freshman Tate Forcier could not have looked more poised and potent in leading the Wolverines to a dramatic last-second win over Notre Dame. He finished the day 23-of-33 for 240 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while running for 70 yards and a score.
Later that night, Ohio State's Pryor slogged his way to an erratic 11-of-25, 177-yard performance in a heartbreaking last-second loss to USC. In just his second start, Forcier did what the Buckeyes' mega-recruit has yet to do through 12: deliver a breakthrough performance...
Still, if I'm an Ohio State fan, I'd be concerned about two things right now: the fact that Pryor, for all his obvious physical gifts, still looks largely uncomfortable running the Buckeyes' offense, and the fact that the archrival Wolverines now have their own prodigy who seems totally at ease..."
Tressel Sticking with Tresselball September 15, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "...It was the fourth time in Ohio State’s last five games against top-five opponents that Tressel’s offense has failed to put at least 20 points on the scoreboard. While the criticism continues to mount for the ninth-year coach who has not won a bowl game since 2005, On Tuesday, Tressel sounded as dedicated as ever to maintaining the status quo in Columbus.
"I'll always believe that you win tough ball games by making sure that you're the group that makes less mistakes, wins that field position battle, wins the battle in the trenches statistically, and you guys love statistics, that is true," Tressel said. "So, no, I philosophically wouldn't go against that."...
Only this time – like the four times before it – Tresselball wasn’t good enough for a team of equal talent...
One wholesale change many Buckeye fans were calling for this week was for Tressel to hand over the playcalling duties to qualified offensive coordinator. This concept is nothing new...While not much has changed in four years, don’t expect to see Tressel give up the playcalling anytime soon unless Gene Smith rips it from his cold, dead fingers. "I've always told you guys ‘Never say never,’ but I've also always told you that I'm probably not going to sit in my office or read the USA Today or watch talk radio and get a headache,"Tressel said..."
Jon Spencer: Jim Tressel's offense is, well, offensive September 15, 2009 Source: Mansfield News Journal - "...Let's be clear. Jim Tressel is the hands-on, nosehairs-on, bunions-on, micro-managing CEO of this outfit. He is the de facto coordinator and quarterbacks coach, no matter how many empty titles he dispenses to members of his offensive staff. Working from that premise, the man in the mirror can't possibly like what he sees staring back at him...
Aside from the fact they've lost six straight showdowns against top 10 opponents, Saturday night's 18-15 come-from-ahead giveaway to USC kept alive two disturbing trends for the Buckeyes. One, the last three games in this skid -- including Penn State (13-6) last October and Texas in the Fiesta Bowl (24-21) -- saw a staunch defense buckle late in the fourth quarter. These were breakdowns magnified not only by their terrible timing but underscored by OSU's terrible offense...
That's the problem with Tresselball. Playing not to lose, instead of going on the offensive, leaves little margin for error and puts tremendous pressure on the defense. One slip-up by the defense, like Saturday night, is one too many. It shouldn't be that way. But it almost always is..."
There's no sugar-coating this: Jim Tressel and his staff were outcoached against Southern Cal and Pete Carroll, . Again. Particularly on offense, Ohio State's gameplan against the Trojans was utter rubbish, and it failed to meet the number one requirement of every gameplan: put your players in position to succeed.
When I watched the game live, I was struck by what I considered poor playcalling and mediocre execution. But after watching the game again in detail, going over replays and studying all the players, I'm convinced the situation in Columbus is nearly hopeless...."
Counterpoint: The "grisly demise of Tresselball" article: The Columbus Dispatch's Ken Gordon, in his blog on September 16, responded to the Yahoo article: "THE ARTICLE IS NOT ENTIRELY ACCURATE." One example: "...I asked Dane Sanzenbacher yesterday about USC leaving him uncovered on the bubble-screen looks, and he said that sometimes, USC looked like they were leaving him uncovered, and Pryor checked into a pass to Dane, but then after the snap, the Trojans rolled their coverage and ruined the play. USC was baiting OSU, in other words..."
Bob Hunter commentary: Knee-jerk OSU fans need a reality check September 15, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Jim Tressel has to go. So do Jim Bollman and Jim Heacock, and maybe even Terrelle Pryor. And Grant Schwartz, for missing that punt block. And Gene Smith, for tolerating Tressel's incessant losing. And Gordon Gee, for setting a losing tone for the entire university. And maybe even me, for not calling for Tressel's head before this...
A lot of people are angry because Ohio State lost to Southern California. I get it. They're frustrated the Buckeyes lost a close game to Texas in last season's Fiesta Bowl in the same gut-wrenching way. I get that. They don't like that OSU has lost six in a row to top-10 teams. Duh. They want to consistently win the biggest games. They want better recruits. They want more undefeated seasons. They want to win more national championships. OK, who doesn't?
Just for the record, Tressel-ball isn't my personal preference. I've always thought if the punt were really the most important play in football, punters would be the highest-paid players in the NFL..."
Buckeyes Host Many Top Recruits September 14, 2009 Source: ESPN - Bill Kurelic writes: "Ohio State's coaching staff used the USC game as part of a huge recruiting weekend. The Buckeyes hosted six Under Armour All-Americans and nine prospects from the ESPNU 150...Under Armour All-American linebacker Jordan Hicks (West Chester, Ohio, Lakota West) was on an official visit to Ohio State and it would certainly not come as a shock if Hicks eventually ended up at Ohio State.
The country's No. 1 offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham) also said he "loved it" at Ohio State. Punter Will Hagerup (Whitefish Bay, Wis./Whitefish): "It was incredible. I don't know that a sporting event could get much better than that."
(Among others)...The Buckeyes also hosted Under Armour All-American defensive backs LaMarcus Joyner (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) and Josh Shaw (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale). When asked about the atmosphere at the Ohio State-USC game on Saturday night, Shaw said, "It was 10 times better than anything I've ever experienced before. Ohio State is definitely my favorite. I would say I'll know more after I take my other visits."..."
USC Game 9/12/09:
Offensive Player of the Week: None Selected
Defensive Player of the Week: Devon Torrence, CB
Attack Force Award: Cameron Heyward, DT
Jim Parker Lineman Award: None Selected
Special Units Player of the Week: Jon Thoma, P
Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award: Dan Herron, RB
Scout Team Champions: Offense: Mike Adams; Defense: Spencer Smith; Special Units: Nate Ebner
Offense let team down, Pryor says September 14, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Quarterback Terrelle Pryor said that when it came to blame for the program's sixth straight loss to a top-five opponent, "It was the offense. I mean, we've got to get it in (the end zone). The defense played a hell of a game. They played their hearts out."..."
For now, glimpses are all that's seen of Terrelle Pryor's OSU greatness September 14, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "With confidence and a deft touch, Terrelle Pryor lofted a 34-yard completion just over the outreached hand of USC linebacker Malcolm Smith and right to receiver DeVier Posey with 1:18 to play in the first half against USC Saturday night. Right there, when he was 4-of-6 for 120 passing yards, with one touchdown drive partially wiping away a terrible interception, and with another touchdown seemingly at hand, Pryor was on the brink of true stardom on a national level. And then he started going backwards
OSU Insider September 14, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...Who's hot?: Besides Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley and running back Joe McKnight after that epic winning drive? Well, OSU fans are hot. Judging by the flood of e-mails, they want a new defensive coordinator, a new offensive coordinator who actually calls the plays instead of coach Jim Tressel, and they want a quarterback who makes big plays...
Back to the drawing board: The OSU play-calling. The choice of plays? Maybe that, too. But the physical act of calling plays was a problem. There were times when Tressel was slow making his selection, or the play was slow in being relayed to Pryor, especially on a promising drive early in the fourth quarter...
Ohio State script needs a rewrite to avoid tragic endings September 14, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...All is not well, however, in the way Ohio State is performing in so-called big games. The Buckeyes have lost six straight against top-10 teams, the latest an 18-15 misery-maker to Southern California on Saturday night. And while all of the defeats have been painful to the Nation, the past two -- adding the late loss to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl -- have been especially disheartening. As was the case that night in January, moral victories are for suckers. But there were some things to be learned and filed away for the next time the Buckeyes take the big stage: Gallant is not enough..."
String of big-game losses follows pattern that started under Woody September 14, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Woody Hayes was 24-20-3 against top-10 teams in his career but only 11-11-2 from 1969 through 1978, including 7-8-2 vs. top-five teams...Things must change. That cry was heard from church gatherings to coffee klatches a day after Ohio State lost to a top-five opponent for the sixth straight time, this one an 18-15 dagger in the heart supplied by No. 3 Southern California...A closer look at OSU's big-game dilemma shows that things have needed to change since before Woody Hayes punched Charlie Baumann. Taking a longer look at the program provides perspective. In the past 40 years, since Hayes won his last national championship in 1968, no Ohio State coach owns a winning record against top-10 teams..."
Fan Poll Big Ten Network: Two games into the season who do you think now wins the Big Ten football title?
Penn State - 35.2%
Iowa - 21.9%
Michigan - 21.3%
Ohio State - 11.2%
Wisconsin - 2.3%
Other - 8.0%
Top PA Athlete Brown Committs Corey Brown, four star athlete and the #3 ranked player in PA and, committed to the Buckeyes' Class of 2010 during his visit this weekend. The Springfield (PA) Cardinal O'Hara standout, according to Rivals.com, is: "naturally fast and explosive. He can hit his highest gear very quickly and can really ride out. Brown is a versatile player that could play numerous positions" and rates his speed "as good as it gets." He runs a 4.44 forty. When asked what he liked the most, Brown said, "Just everything about the whole visit. The game was great. I had a great time." Brown has been a varsity starter since his freshman season when he rushed for 500 yards. He gained 1200 yards and scored 16 times his sophomore season and also had 200 receiving yards. Corey had offers and interest from Penn State, Florida, Alabama, Michigan State, West Virginia, Miami-FL, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Rutgers and others. Welcome aboard, Corey!
Brown Becomes Verbal No. 13 September 13, 2009 Source: Bucknuts - "...He is off to a great start to his senior year. In his team’s opener last week (a 35-14 win over Archbishio Wood), Brown had 16 carries for 164 yards and three touchdowns. On Friday, his team moved to 2-0 with a 41-6 rout of Philadelphia Germantown. He did a bit of everything with 22 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown, four catches for 42 yards and a score and an interception...."
Five Things: USC September 14, 2009 Source: Eleven Warriors - "...More Head Scratching Moves from Tressel: Where do I start?...Pryor Still Not Ready for Prime Time:
After his medicore 5/13, 120 yard, 2 TD, 1 INT effort against Michigan last year all the talk was about Pryor and how the time off for bowl prep would do wonders for his passing mechanics and understanding of the playbook...Hats off to the Defense: It’s hard to type that headline considering the final drives of both halves but man did those guys step up last night..."
Inside the Beat: Pulse is weak, but there's still life September 14, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "The aftermath of a loss for an Ohio State football team is never a pleasant time. No matter how close the score...or valiant the effort, many fans can be counted on to be up in arms over ineffective offense, ineffectual coaching, insufficient defense and/or insignificant status, now that the national spotlight has come and gone. Which is where we usually step in and, well, offer views on all of the above if not more. Rob Oller join(s) beat writer Tim May for this version of "Inside the Beat," or perhaps better put, "Autopsy of another Beat Down": ...
OLLER: ...Tress needs to turn over the play-calling...Will (he) it happen? MAY: It won't. Jim Tressel has said that many times...
OLLER: ...What are your current thoughts on Pryor, as in whether you think he's on schedule, ahead or behind schedule. To me, his footwork and decision-making are suspect, the latter being the biggest red flag, if for no other reason than it's not a mechanical issue that can easily be fixed by coaching. MAY:...On Saturday night, the Pryor play that sticks in my mnd came in the third quarter when he rolled right, scrambled back left with a deft, blazing move, then threw what I thought was a low but catchable ball to Dane Sanzenbacher in the end zone. It wasn't caught, the Buckeyes settled for a field goal, and the rest is history. My point: If Pryor completes that play, just like the way he drove the team to the winning TD at Wisconsin last year, a lot of the other stuff gets overlooked. Pryor is never going to look like Dan Marino throwing the ball or Barry Sanders running it. But he and the coaches definitely need to find a way to unleash his considerable talent in a Robert Griffin (Baylor sophomore QB) sort of way..."
Buckeye Loss Marked by Unexpected Failures September 13, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "There's only one thing that is dissected more finely that a Buckeye win. That's a Buckeye loss. People want to know what happened in a win. In a loss however they want to not only what happened, but why it happened. Not surprisingly, OSU's 18-15, last-minute loss to USC is no exception. What is surprising are the ovious conclusions as to why the Buckeyes lost the game. What it wasn't:...What it was..."We didn't think we would be able to take him (Pryor) out of the game as a runner," said USC Head Coach Pete Carroll...Pryor could not make the plays with his arm or his legs, but it was by far his lack of productivity as a rusher that hurt OSU's chances for the win."
Ohio State's defense still agonizing over the victory that got away vs. USC September 13, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "...The Trojans, like Texas on the winning play, picked on players other than the OSU corners for big plays in the passing game. Until that final drive, USC's offense possessed the ball for 25:56 and 57 plays, gaining an average of 4 yards per play. On the winning drive, the Trojans held it for 6:10 and 14 plays, averaging 6.1 yards per play. Holding USC to 18 points should have been enough for Ohio State to win, but when it was going to take holding the Trojans to 10, the Buckeyes lost their grip once again. "The defense should have stopped them," Homan said. "But we didn't."..."
What Would Woody Think of Pryor? September 11, 2009 Source: New York Times - "...In the 1970s, Ohio State and its archrival Michigan consistently went to the Rose Bowl as favorites, only to lose most of those games, usually in excruciating fashion. It got to the point, like it has now, where people wondered if the Big Ten would ever win one of those games. From 1970 to 1980, only one Big Ten quarterback led his team to a Rose Bowl victory. His name is Cornelius Greene, and he had a lot in common with Pryor. Like Pryor, Greene was a flashy black quarterback who supplanted a successful older starter.
Greene was not simply black by color; he was a product of 1970s black culture...Greene celebrated his first collegiate touchdown by dancing in the end zone. Hayes’s players did not dance in the end zone. The coach often told his players, "these days everybody wants to do their own thing. (Expletive) doing your own thing." Yet Hayes kept Greene in the lineup. He loathed the look-at-me antics of the younger generation, but he was determined to help the first black quarterback in school history succeed. Before Greene’s second game, against Texas Christian, Hayes held up a T.C.U. team picture and asked his team: "Does anybody know why we’re going to win this game?" The Buckeyes tried to answer: they had better coaches, better players, a better team..."
Three Big Ten coaches make top recruiters' list September 10, 2009 Source: ESPN - "ESPN Scout's Inc.'s JC Shurburtt recently ranked the nation's 25 best recruiters and three Big Ten assistants made the rundown. No major surprises with any of these three picks, who have helped their teams bring in top-rated classes. Here's Shurburtt's thoughts on each coach:
Ohio State co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell: The Buckeyes have a geographic advantage, being located in a top-five talent-producing state. Still, it takes an excellent recruiting staff to corral all of that talent and to also spot recruit nationally. Several, including those who are close to the Ohio State program, believe Fickell, the team's co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, is the best at doing just that. In this recruiting cycle, Fickell has three of the 12 committed recruits..."
Apparently hating Ohio State runs in the family September 9, 2009 Source: Men of the Scarlet and Gray - "It sounds like Carson’s little brother, Jordan Palmer, has taken up the mantle of bad-mouthing Ohio State and its fans on a local LA sports radio talk-show. If you’ll remember, Carson had some choice words for OSU fans this time last year. This year it’s Jordan’s turn. I don’t have the exact quote but i did hear the entire clip on 97.1 The Fan this afternoon on the drive home. The gist of the comment was:
I hate Ohio State fans and their stupid Ohio State decals and their dumb state pride and I can’t wait until USC comes in to the ‘Shoe and WE beat the Buckeyes again.
Yes, he did say "we". For those of you who might remember, Carson Palmer played at USC. Jordan, on the other hand, played at that perennial power house UTEP. The same Jordan Palmer who received a vote in the Heisman from, you guessed it, his brother..." ( 7/18/08: Carson Palmer Hates Ohio State w/audio)
-- Jermale Hines is a good bet to start Saturday, even though Jim Heacock would not commit to it. He said Hines would play more, that Hines was one of the best 11 defensive players....and of course, he was with the starting unit when we watched practice Tuesday. So....
-- Heacock would not throw Anderson Russell, a fifth-year senior, under the bus. Defended his leadership. attitude, etc etc. My guess is Hines starts at free safety and Kurt Coleman at strong. Russell remains the free safety in nickel sets, with Hines sliding back to the "Star" or nickel position.
-- DE Lawrence Wilson may play a bit more this week, they've been bringing him along slowly, but they need all the help they can get against USC. Heacock mentioned Rob Rose, as well.
-- Freshman DT John Simon got in for a couple plays last week, and Heacock said he's ready.
-- Jim Bollman said left guard Justin Boren had the only "winning performance" on the offensive line last week, then said several others were close. Keep in mind, it's traditionally tough to earn a winning grade, so that doesn't mean the other four had "losing performances."
-- As I suspected after reviewing tape, Bollman said there were some adjustment and communication issues up front on some pass-protection calls. He didn't single out center Michael Brewster, but he did say that responsibility generally falls in the middle of the line...same thing!...
Jim Bollman said Andrew Miller performed adequately in his first career start at left tackle last week. "He had a pretty decent game," Bollman said. "It was a good start for Andy. He keeps improving, keeps learning, and is very intelligent about his play."..."
Offensive line's struggles just 'miscommunication' that can be fixed September 9, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "..."We were just screwing up some plays and not blocking the right guys," right tackle Jim Cordle said. "We were getting confused with the defense a little bit, and we just kind of lacked technique." The line, which wasn't consistently driving the smaller Navy defenders off the ball, needs to have a lot of other things straight before they can focus only on their own basics of blocking. Offensive line coach Jim Bollman said there was miscommunication that led to some of the mistakes...
...The Buckeyes will be facing a USC defense that coach Pete Carroll said isn't as raw as people first think when seeing that the Trojans lost eight starters. Eight USC defenders went in the NFL draft, four in the first two rounds. "Most of the guys have played extensively the last couple years, so it doesn't feel like these guys are brand new players or we were forced into breaking them in and all that," Carroll said. "The guys that left were dominant guys in this program, but the other guys have all played. We don't feel they're as new as other people do looking from the outside in."..."
Lou Holtz's advice to Buckeyes: There's no room for doubt in football September 9, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - " ESPN college football analyst Lou Holtz... is going to take a similar message down to Ohio State later this week, where he will speak to the Buckeyes, who have had their own challenges winning big games recently. With powerhouse USC coming to Columbus on Saturday, Holtz said the Buckeyes can't go in with a "here we go again" mentality. "It can creep in until you win two or three," the former Notre Dame head coach -- and OSU assistant under Woody Hayes -- said of playing in those big games. "You have to have that attitude nobody can beat us. But [until that happens] there is always that element of doubt..."
Weekly Affirmation: Revisions and Rebuttals September 9, 2009 Source: CollegeFootballNews.com - "...REBUTTAL: No, don't be burying Ohio State after the Navy game. Some of the postgame reaction to the Buckeyes' close-shave win against Navy has suggested (if not explicitly stated) that barely beating Navy is an ominous sign. Let's defend the honor and reputation of the Midshipmen here: Alongside Texas Tech, Navy has overachieved more than any other program in the country over the past several years. Paul Johnson and now Ken Niumatalolo squeeze the maximum amount of production and effort from their charges, who just keep cranking out winning seasons, bowl bids, and Commander-In-Chief conquests. The triple-option is a bear to prepare for, and Ricky Dobbs executed it extremely well this past weekend.
Ohio State should have won this game comfortably; Jim Tressel mismanaged the fourth quarter to put his club in a bind. OSU's performance wasn't as bad as some observers have made it out to be. Moreover, it's not as though USC flourished in the first one and a half quarters against San Jose State. If USC is better than Ohio State in week two, the Trojans will be better because they'll prove it on the field. Week one games against lower-profile opponents should not be viewed as primary reasons for week two outcomes. (Week one games against equal or superior opponents SHOULD be viewed as primary reasons for future outcomes against similarly accomplished ballclubs--that's the key distinction here.)..."
Newbies noticing negative vibes September 9, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Ohio State defensive lineman Doug Worthington found himself playing counselor to some of his younger teammates recently...several freshmen were perplexed and came to Worthington with questions:
We won, didn't we? We've got an awesome game coming up this week with Southern California, right? So what's with all the negativity around town?
As a fifth-year senior and grizzled veteran of many similar experiences, Worthington only chuckled and filled them in on what to expect from the Ohio State faithful. "They didn't really understand it too much," Worthington said. "A few were talking about USC and (asking), 'Why do they think we're going to lose?' "I was telling them this is the media's job; it's people's job to make stories. We've got to prepare and take one practice at a time and don't worry about what's in the headlines."...
As the national chorus of disrespect and Big Ten/OSU bashing has reached a crescendo, it's almost as if the fans' defense mechanism has kicked in this week: Please, just let it be respectable.
"Of course, in the outside world, everyone thinks that Ohio State can't win the big game," running back Daniel Herron said..."
"You've got to rattle him, make him unsure of what's happening. If this would happen to him, if he would have an interception for a touchdown on the second series of the game and get hit at the same time so hard his teeth chatter, he will be dubious from there on in." (former OSU head coach Earle Bruce)
The issue at hand is whether Matt Barkley is like most college freshman quarterbacks. USC coach Pete Carroll, who has coached Heisman winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart as well as NFL starters Mark Sanchez and Matt Cassel, hasn't seen anyone like him. "He is just ahead of what most people would be at this stage," Carroll said Tuesday..."
Hines in, Russell out as starting safety September 8, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "The change that many Ohio State observers thought was coming has been made, it appears. Jermale Hines worked with the first-team defense at safety today, while former starting fee safety Anderson Russell worked with the second team. Previously, Russell was in his third year as a starter, with Hines a backup safety and the No. 1 nickelback at the "star" position. But Russell was in coverage for both Navy passing touchdowns on Saturday, and Hines is a player that coaches have been saying needs to be on the field a lot.
To accommodate their skills, it looks like Kurt Coleman will move from strong safety to free safety and have slightly more coverage responsibilities, and Hines will take over at strong safety, where he can come up more often and help in the run game.
Don't be surprised if the Buckeyes also use three cornerbacks more often in passing situations on Saturday against USC..."
Coach Tressel's Weekly Press Conference Transcript September 8, 2009 Source: OSU Official Site - "...REPORTER: In your mind, Jim, is this bigger than just this season, this game kind of thing, they've beaten you six straight times, the school, not many schools have that success rate against Ohio State. In your mind, is this -- will this have a bigger scope Big Ten-wise?
COACH TRESSEL: I probably don't think that far out. The opening kickoff, if we're kicking to them, is going to be the biggest thing going on in the world and the next play and the next play. And at the end of the game, if we're successful, all of a sudden the world isn't perfect because we're still going to have to grade the film and come in and get ready to do it again. And if we're not successful, chances are, as long as there's no tragedies, the world won't end. But we're excited about this opportunity and we think this is a big deal. If you put our guys under hypnosis or whatever in the summertime and ask them the question, what game are you thinking about, you know, I'm sure it would be Ohio State/USC and that's -- it's big..."
USC safety Taylor Mays last month referred to Pryor as "the little deuce" and himself as "the big deuce." Both players wear No. 2. Tressel's response? "They're both big deuces if you ask me, man."
Tressel called USC's return men "frightening." (Source: ESPN)
"OSU football coach Jim Tressel's press conference from Sept. 8, 2009 (38:23)."
National Reputation Not On Tressel's Mind September 8, 2009 Source:BuckeyeSports.com - "If the future reputation of the Ohio State football program is on the line Saturday night when the Buckeyes play host to No. 3 USC (8 p.m., ESPN), no one apparently told Jim Tressel. The head coach of the No. 8-ranked Buckeyes said Tuesday he does not intend to tell his players, either. "Gosh, I hope they're not thinking about that, because if you're thinking about something that's at the end of those 60 minutes, I'm not sure you're going to play each of those minutes the way that you should."...
...In updating personnel, he seemed optimistic he would have the services of two of the team’s top receivers. The coach said Ray Small, a senior who missed the season-opening 31-27 win over Navy last Saturday, "looked peaked" Sunday when he showed up at the team’s training facilities but had improved by the time the coach saw him Monday...Meanwhile, DeVier Posey did not practice much Monday but is expected to be able to get more work as the weeks moves along...
Finally, the coach addressed the situation Saturday regarding Terrelle Pryor’s choice to recognize embattled Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick by wearing an eyeblack patch with "Vick" inscribed on it. He said issues of personal expression have come up in the past when a player wrote something on his shoes or a towel or a wristband but that he had never decided to limit such actions. "It's a little bit tough in this country to have too much of a policy on personal expression, but it's unfortunate when that distracts from situations that were so extraordinary as the weekend we had," Tressel said, adding he did not think Pryor intended to cause a stir..."
Boom Herron, Doug Worthington and Aaron Pettrey sat down with reporters at the weekly press lunchion to talk about last weekend's game and the upcoming game with USC.
Buckeyes hope Shoe fits against Trojans September 8, 2009 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "By any objective measure, Ohio Stadium remains one of college football's least hospitable venues for visiting teams. Ohio State is 39-4 on its home field since 2003, the fourth best winning percentage in the country and easily the best in the Big Ten. Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel owns a 24-1 record against nonconference games at home. More than 105,000 fans routinely flock to the banks of the Olentangy River, providing Ohio State one of the best home-field advantages in all of college sports.
But as No. 3 USC prepares to visit Columbus on Saturday night, The Shoe could use a little polish. So could Ohio State's performance in big nonconference games. Ohio State has stumbled at home in three of the last four years, and three of its four home losses since 2003 have come against top 15 opponents (Wisconsin, Texas, Penn State). Beginning with the 2006 BCS title game, Ohio State has dropped five consecutive games against top 5 teams, including three by 14 points or more. "We talked about it to a certain extent," senior defensive tackle Doug Worthington said...
USC owns a nine-game win streak against the Big Ten, stretching back to 1996. Eight of those losses have come by 14 points or more, including each of the last seven. The good news for Ohio State is the league's last eight losses to USC took place on the road or at neutral sites. USC hasn't won on Big Ten soil since crushing Illinois 55-3 in 1996..."
Tale of the tape: Navy September 8, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "OK, I've finished my review of the Navy game. For those new to my reviews, I try not to re-state too many obvious observations, but maybe point out some things that you may not have noticed at first glance. That said, this rundown is going to be a little different, because I spent a lot of time charting the offensive line. I felt obligated to do that, based on how much criticism they've received in recent years. I rated each play on a pass/fail system, no in betweens. When it was close, I considered if the result of the play was successful or not...
Conclusion: The line performed better in pass pro than run blocking, which is a bit different than I expected..."
He hopes, and other members of the offense believe, that the short passing game the Buckeyes employed in their win over Navy is a sign of what's ahead. Of the 17 passes the Buckeyes completed, 10 were to running backs and tight ends for 118 yards. This for an offense that over the previous four seasons averaged between 3.2 and 4.9 catches for the backs and tight ends each game..."
Wanted: TDs inside red zone September 8, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Ohio State was in the red zone again Saturday, and Jim Tressel wanted to make a point. Last year, he watched his offense lead the nation in scoring efficiency after penetrating the opponent's 20-yard line. After getting there 41 times, the Buckeyes went on to score on 39 of them, a 95 percent success rate. But just 25 of those scores were touchdowns. The Buckeyes settled for 14 field goals, meaning that more than a third of the time OSU got inside the 20, it settled for three points.
A couple of those red-zone trips came in the game at Southern California. Shuttling quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor and Todd Boeckman, the Buckeyes drove down the field late in the first quarter, only to bog down in the red zone and kick a field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead. Trailing 14-3 in the second quarter, the Buckeyes drove to the USC 19, only to see two holding penalties on the next three snaps -- the second one wiping out a touchdown pass -- lead to a missed field goal. Obviously, touchdowns on both drives would have been preferred, and might have prevented USC from coasting to a 35-3 win.
Determined to do something about the red-zone failures, Tressel told his offensive linemen in he spring he wanted them to be more physical and aggressive in such circumstances, believing that approach would result in more touchdowns. So it should not have come as a shock when, with Ohio State leading Navy 29-14 in the fourth quarter and facing fourth-and-2 at the 15-yard line, he eschewed yet another field-goal try and went for it. He'd already watched Aaron Pettrey make three field goals, including two from within the red zone..."
Navy Game 9/5/09:
Offensive Player of the Week: Daniel Herron, RB
Defensive Player of the Week: Kurt Coleman, S
Attack Force Award: Brian Rolle, LB
Jim Parker Lineman Award: Justin Boren, OG
Special Units Player of the Week: Nate Oliver, DB
Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award: Nate Oliver, DB
Scout Team Champions: Offense: Zach Boren, K.C. Christian, Bo DeLande, Joe Gantz, James Georgiades, Chris Malone, Rocco Pentello, Ryan Schuck, Scott Sika, Spencer Smith; Defense: Tony Jackson; Special Units: Joe Gantz
Buckeyes keep their options open with quarterback Terrelle Pryor September 7, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Ohio State should be glad to be done with Navy, but the Buckeyes aren't done with the option. While the Midshipmen used their triple option to push Ohio State to the brink Saturday, the option also was one of the best offensive choices the Buckeyes made. It probably won't be a go-to in the game plan against USC in five days, but running the option five times against Navy, the Buckeyes gained 37 yards and averaged 7.4 yards per play, while on their other 21 runs, tailbacks Dan Herron and Brandon Saine averaged 4.2 yards per play. "I think that we definitely feel really comfortable doing it, and Terrelle makes real good decisions out there," Saine said, "so hopefully we'll see it a lot more."...
The option is just one way to work the threat of Pryor running the ball into the game plan...the option can provide relief under the right circumstances, though it will be tougher against USC's defensive speed. "It's a hard play to defend, and it's easy to block," right tackle Jim Cordle said. "As long as you execute the pitch, it's going to be a good play for us with the guys we have in the backfield."..."
OSU Insider September 7, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "What's hot?: The collars of Ohio State's defensive coaches after watching their players lose focus on the Navy "flexbone," a spread version of the wishbone offense, as they turn their periscopes toward USC. It started when Navy put together an 8 1/2 -minute, 99-yard drive in the third quarter. Then came two huge gaffes in the fourth: Anderson Russell and the secondary allowing an over-the-top, 85-yard TD pass; and the interior allowing quarterback Ricky Dobbs to follow the fullback and prance up the middle for the TD that put Navy within two points...
What's not?: The offense's ability to finish things off in the red zone with a TD. The Buckeyes settled for too many field goals last year after penetrating the enemy 20-yard line. So it was again in the opener. In six trips, they scored just four times, and two of those were field goals...
Catch that?: The offensive line had good and bad moments against Navy's angling, shifting front, especially on a fourth-and-2 in the fourth quarter when Daniel Herron was stopped a yard short. But there were signs of what might come, like on a wide screen pass from Joe Bauserman to Herron late in the second quarter that gained 19 yards to the Navy 14. Herron had a caravan in front of him, including left guard Justin Boren, who blocked a Midshipman almost back to the boat..."
Buckeyes say they didn’t overlook Navy September 6, 2009 Source: Associated Press - "Terrelle Pryor surveyed the landscape of Ohio State’s close win over Navy and stated the obvious. "We’re not worried about USC," he said of the Buckeyes’ looming opponent on Saturday night. "We’re just worried about getting better this week." That should be enough to keep Ohio State busy.
...The Buckeyes swore they weren’t looking ahead to USC. Maybe they weren’t. Maybe Navy was that good. Or maybe the Buckeyes do have that much to work on. The offensive line didn’t protect and the running game was mundane. The defensive line got blown out by Navy’s smaller front wall. Pryor had an average game. And the Midshipmen looked as if they had more stamina and more speed down the stretch...
...The Buckeyes are well aware that much of America considers them a good team from a bad conference that can’t play at the same level as Florida, USC and other top-tier squads. They’ll likely fall in the next weekly Associated Press Top 25 on Tuesday. "This is a huge opportunity to prove the to country that we can win a big game," linebacker Ross Homan said of Saturday night’s nationally televised game against the Trojans...
..."We’ll have our doubters," Spitler said. "We have to go out and prove we’re good."
Pryor Has Progressed...Watching him out there Saturday, it’s clear he has made tremendous strides in his throwing abilities from what we saw out of him against Texas, let alone earlier in the 2008 season
O-line has Work to Do...It’s important to keep in mind that with Jim Cordle and Bryant Browning playing new positions, this is really a whole new line learning to play together...I was expecting to see a different kind of intensity from Ohio State up front
Run Game is Coming Along...With all the talk of the failed fourth down conversion, the Buckeyes had to be pleased with what they saw from their running game
Catch and Release...It might sound silly considering the Buckeyes put 31 points on the board Saturday, but the offense really suffered from a lack of playmakers in the passing game down the stretch.
Hard to Gauge the Defense...There’s been a lot of talk about the play of the OSU defense in the opener against Navy, but realistically how much can we learn from a game like this? I say not much.
Secondary Concerns...it’s also important to highlight their 156 passing yards, which more than doubles their average of 61 yards through the air last season (second worst in the country). To me, this was my biggest concern with the OSU defense Saturday, especially when I think back about the way USC picked them apart in the secondary last season..."
What we learned in the Big Ten: Week 1 September 6, 2009 Source: ESPN - "Five lessons from the week that was in the Big Ten.
...5. Buckeyes need a major boost -- Penn State might be the Big Ten's best team, but the league's reputation rests heavily with Ohio State. The Buckeyes struggled to separate from a tricky Navy squad on Saturday, and players admitted they might have relaxed early in the fourth quarter. Ohio State's defensive breakdowns are a major concern with USC looming, and the Buckeyes need to polish up things in every area to win the most important game in recent Big Ten history next week at The Shoe."
Who's Hot & Not - Week 1 September 6, 2009 Source: CollegeFootballNews.com - "Who’s Not…8. Ohio State – The good news is that the Buckeyes escaped with a win over Navy. The bad news ... well, you can see where this is going. The Middies are plucky and tough to defend, but when you need a two-point stop to avoid overtime, it could be a sign of pending problems. Ohio State looked ordinary at the point of attack, which is not the way you want to head into the USC showdown...3. The Big Ten – Grab the flag for piling on if you must, but the Big Ten did little to prop up its tattered image in Week 1. Let’s see. Ohio State darn near got stunned by Navy. Minnesota needed overtime to beat Syracuse. Illinois got embarrassed by Missouri. Purdue gave up a million yards to Toledo. Indiana had to break a sweat versus Eastern Kentucky. And Iowa had to block two last-second kicks to fend off Northern Iowa. While only one league member lost, peeling the Big Ten onion reveals a familiar odor..."
Winning isn't enough for Big Ten September 6, 2009 Source: Los Angeles Times - "The conference goes 9-1 in season openers, but close calls for Ohio State (against Navy) and Iowa (against Northern Iowa) sully its reputation. Atlantic Coast Conference teams went 4-6 Saturday -- two of the losses to Division I-AA teams -- and somehow still came away having not any less luster than the Big Ten, which went 9-1 in openers. The reason: two nationally ranked Big Ten teams needed special plays from their special teams to avoid what would have been huge upsets..."
Party’s On, Buckeyes. Now, How to Be in Two Places at Once? September 5, 2009 Source: New York Times - "The Hineygate party has been an Ohio State tradition for 26 years. This year, however, will be decidedly different..."We recognize that Hineygate has been a tradition for many alumni and fans over the past 26 years. But we’re first about students, and it just didn’t make sense to have the world’s largest tailgate party in front of a residence hall with 18-year-olds."...WTVN-AM, the original sponsor of the party, moved the outdoor event a few doors down to the Thirsty I..."There was just no way I was going to let this tradition die," Mike Elliott, the executive producer of WTVN, said...But a key ingredient is missing: the Danger Brothers...When an agreement with WTVN could not be reached, the band teamed with the owners of Across the Field, an Ohio State shop housed in a charming brick church (built in 1870, the year Ohio State was founded) about a mile and a half from the stadium..."
Buckeyes football, whether from Ohio or not, players have it in their blood, and some on their skin September 4, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Terrelle Pryor was at Ohio State less than a year before he became a Buckeye for life. This spring, the sophomore quarterback went home to Jeannette, Pa., and came back with a scarlet Block O covering most of his right forearm. Once you add ink like that, it's hard to go back. Pryor didn't grow up with the Buckeyes, but they're part of him now.
"This is where I live now, this is my home," Pryor said when asked why he chose to mark himself with that scarlet letter. "It's in my blood now. I love Ohio State football, scarlet and gray."..."
Got an Ohio State tattoo? September 4, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Terrelle Pryor isn't the only Ohio State player to wear his OSU allegiance on his skin. Junior defensive end Thaddeus Gibson of Euclid High and redshirt freshman fullback Jermil Martin of Glenville High have also inked up for the Buckeyes..."
Five predictions that haven’t already been predicted to death for the 2009 Ohio State Buckeyes September 4, 2009 Source: BucksInsider.com - "The start of the college football season is less than twenty four hours away. On the eve of my favorite day of the year, I wanted to take a different look at the Ohio State Buckeyes: We’ve basically been reading the same articles and asking the same questions over and over again all summer long. Will Terrelle Pryor improve as a passer? Will the defense be able to replace All-Americans James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins? Will the running-back-by-committee work in Columbus? Who’s going to protect Pryor’s blindside at left tackle? So, in an effort to bring a fresh look to the 2009 season, here are five predictions that haven’t already been predicted to death for the Ohio State Buckeyes..."
Mitch: I will go with Terrelle Pryor... I think Pryor has the most natural ability of the group — and that is saying a lot. Griffin is a spectacular athlete and he will have tremendous stats because he is such a big part of the Baylor offense, but Pryor will play a major role on a team that should be ranked in the top 10 all season long...
Jake: I really like Russell Wilson. Robert Griffin and Terrelle Pryor have plenty of upside and could be the better Heisman candidates in 2010..."
Study shows NCAA athletes 'work' long hours September 4, 2009 Source: Dallas Morning News - "If Michigan players complained about spending long hours on football, they were only voicing what many other athletes have told the NCAA. While the Wolverines' football program confronts allegations it broke NCAA rules, including the 20-hours-per-week limit on practices, the governing body's survey data show top-level college football players report spending well over twice that time per week on athletic activities. The 2006 survey of 21,000 athletes, the NCAA's first attempt to measure time commitments, attracted little national notice. But it alarmed many educators and administrators when discussed at last year's NCAA convention. The most glaring statistic: Football players in major college programs estimated they spent 44.8 hours per week on athletic activities..."
80 Reasons to Love the Big Ten September 3, 2009 Source: The Rivalry, Esq - "No. 1 - Greatest Rivalry in All of Sports...Ohio State/Michigan is the greatest rivalry in all of sports. No other contest shares the same fusion of competitiveness, unrest, and devotion. In putting the Rivalry on top of its list of The 10 Greatest Rivalries ESPN noted:...No. 4 - Woody...It's a name that needs no qualification. Woody Hayes isn't just the best General to ever lead the scarlet and grey. He's one of the best commanders the sport has ever known. In 28 poignant years he won 5 national champions and 13 Big Ten titles. As one historian describes: There has never been anyone like Coach Hayes, and there never will be again...No. 3 - Most National Championships...Esteemed from the glory days, the retro-eleven boasts more national championships than any other Division 1 conference (in case you wondered, when factored using its present membership roll, the BCS collective ranks as follows: Big 10 - 27, SEC - 26..."
Best case-worst case: Ohio State September 2, 2009 Source: Wall Street Journal - "BEST CASE: Terrelle Pryor puts it all together, the defense fills the gaps and the Buckeyes head back to Pasadena, but not for the Rose Bowl...The Buckeyes ascend to No. 2 nationally and head to Pasadena for the first time since January 1997 -- but not for the Rose Bowl. They face a heavily favored Florida team in BCS title game.
WORST CASE: The offense sputters again, the defense takes a step back, Ohio State's big-game blues continue and the Buckeyes give up their Big Ten crown...Ohio State misses a BCS bowl for the first time since 2004. The Buckeyes beat Kansas in the Alamo Bowl but leave San Antonio feeling extremely unfulfilled about the season..."
The Big Ten: Down and Out? September 2, 2009 Source: Wall Street Journal - "Bowl Losses and Population Shifts Sink a Revered Conference; 'Graceless in Defeat'...To win a national championship today in college football, a school must have certain building blocks. A massive fan base that buys tickets and makes donations. A legacy of success that attracts recruits. An administration willing to pay for top-flight coaches and facilities. But it's become clear that one element trumps them all: local talent. The best players, increasingly, come from the South and West, and that's a problem—potentially a permanent one—for the Big Ten Conference.
As the college-football season starts this week, the Big Ten...is again out to rebuild its tattered reputation. The conference has lost its last six appearances in the Rose Bowl, equaling its longest losing streak there ever. It has won two Associated Press national titles since 1969—in 1997 and 2002—while the Southeastern Conference has won the last three in a row. The general knock on the Big Ten is that its players are slower than those in the other power leagues. Last year's 1-6 bowl record weighs on the minds of its fans and players alike. "I feel personally responsible," says Minnesota linebacker Lee Campbell..."
Passes to the backs??? September 1, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...the media was allowed into the last 30 minutes or so of practice today...Here are a few observations: It seemed like the offense was doing a lot of short passing, specifically screens and dump-offs to the running backs. I've seen more than a few shovel passes recently, as well. Often, the QB would roll one way, then turn and drop it off to a RB on the other side, with a couple big linemen in front...TE Jake Stoneburner (foot?) was back in there and did not look hobbled. I thought left guard Justin Boren was just the slightest bit gimpy (knee sprain)...The Nos. 3, 4, and 5 wide receivers today (behind DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher) were Taurian Washington, Carter and Ray Small, in no particular order that I could discern. It appears that Lamaar Thomas may still be hampered by a minor injury, although he was dressed..."
Spot Fake OSU Football Tickets September 1, 2009 Source: NBC4 - "NBC 4 GOT ANSWERS to help you know how to pick out a fake ticket. Buckeye Nation fans don’t want to be ripped off with fake tickets, right? Unfortunately, though, some fans do purchase fake tickets. Fans can take simple steps to keep the same thing from happening to them..." (video)
The ABCs of OSU football September 1, 2009 Source: Associated Press - "A look at the 2009 Ohio State Buckeyes from AA to Z:...D is for defense. Seven starters are back, although even the most avid of Ohio State fans would be hard pressed to name more than one or two of them...M is for Miller, one Andrew Miller. Seldom seen in his first two years with the Buckeyes, Miller has surprised almost everybody by apparently stealing the starting left tackle job...T is for TWash. It's Pryor's nickname for wide receiver Taurian Washington, expected to be one of his favorite targets."