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Was Hazell calling some plays? September 24, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "There were times last Saturday when it appeared Ohio State assistant head coach Darrell Hazell was calling the offensive plays instead of head coach Jim Tressel during the Buckeyes’ 38-0 win over Toledo.
When asked after practice today whether it was true, Hazell paused. "I don’t know, I’m not sure," he finally said, then offered no further clarity. Media members laughed, but Tressel and his offensive staff were under fire this time a week ago after what many saw was unsatisfactory production in the 18-15 loss to Southern California...Against Toledo, there were a couple of times when quarterback Terrelle Pryor seemed confused about a play call, but instead of approaching Tressel for clarification he appeared to seek out Hazell...
The Buckeyes also used the quarterback sneak a couple of times, once for a touchdown, a week after being criticized for not making a similar call when they had the ball near the USC goal line on a possession when they settled for a field goal. Tressel joked after the Toledo game that one reason for those sneaks was that in the emails he’d received following the USC game, he found many of them to be from members of his offensive staff.
No matter whether Hazell, the receivers coach, was making calls against Toledo, it’s likely the OSU mechanism for deciding on a play didn’t change. Tressel, though considered the triggerman, long has said he consults members of the staff by headphone from play to play before picking from the play list..."
"Luke Fickell (co-defensive coordinator): echoed what many players said in Tuesday: Illinois has as much talent as anyone OSU plays. To me, that's damning the Illini program a bit. If you have that much talent and you went 5-7 last year, and have looked uneven this year, what is that saying? Fickell feels good about the run defense, and how well-prepared they are to try and limit Illini QB Juice Williams. It comes down to making plays, "there's no magical defense we draw up that can stop everything." Good line. (Source: Columbus Dispatch) [Ozone Video in preview section]
"Darrell Hazell (wide receivers): says the receiver grades from last week were the best of the year so far: Sanzenbacher with a 93 (rare to get into the 90s), Posey with a 90 and Small with an 88. Says it's very gratifying to see Small work his way back into the mix and contribute, his speed stretches defenses and gives them an element..." (Source: Columbus Dispatch) [Ozone Video in preview section]
Zach Boren and Adam Homan will share the fullback job. Jordan Hall may work in more at tailback, but Jim Tressel seemed to downplay questions about an expanded Hall role this week. (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Defensive tackle John Simon, earning a regular spot in the defensive line rotation, and receiver Duron Carter, the No. 3 wideout, are the Buckeyes fresh out of high school most ready to handle a Big Ten load. They aren't there on talent. "It's confidence," Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said Wednesday on what's most important for a freshman to show in order to play. "They show the confidence in practice. Is a guy going to class, doing things right, that you just have enough confidence in them that they can go out there. All these guys can play. The next step is the confidence factor, the trust factor." (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Is Cincinnati the best team in Ohio? Bearcats? Or Buckeyes? "Hey, if we ever have to strap it on with them, we're going to win," Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead said Tuesday, not even flinching when the question was raised..."I think as long as you're in the state of Ohio and you're not looked at as an equal or partner, you're going to play with a chip on your shoulder," Kelly said Tuesday. "And I'm not saying we should be looked at as an equal or a partner. But our players sense and feel that every day by who they talk to and who they see at the mall and, 'Did you see the Ohio State-USC game?' 'Yeah, did you see our game?' "So they're going to carry that (chip), and I'm certainly not going to tell them to change the way they think because as a coach, I kind of like that role that we have." (Source: Associated Press) Also: Cincinnati Vs. Ohio State: Who Would Win?(Source: Bucknuts)
Shaking Up the Polls: "...two reporters are challenging the very foundations of rankings, basing their polls less on which teams are expected to be the best and more on which team they believe is playing the best football. Doug Lesmerises of The Cleveland Plain Dealer has dropped the Gators to No. 5..." (Source: New York Times)
The football season twists and turns: "...Michigan Wolverines fans are over the moon about their team's being undefeated, ranked in the Top 25 and quarterbacked by a kid who looks better than Ohio State's more heralded signal-caller. What's more, this season could look even better a month from now. If Michigan can win its next four games -- which they'll be favored to do against Indiana, at Michigan State, at Iowa and Delaware State -- it'll set up a titanic clash against No. 5 Penn State. In other words, exciting times for fans of the Maize and Blue..." (Source: ESPN)
Tressel says he learned lesson September 23, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "OSU coach Jim Tressel said today he made a mistake last week in chastising his most virulent critics as "miserable" and chronically unhappy. Tressel was asked about the comments and the reaction to them by a Detroit columnist in today's Big Ten conference call(click to listen below). "One of our TV people mentioned they’d really gotten some really strong emails, very unkind ones," Tressel said. "They asked me if I’d gotten any. I told them that I had. They asked a question, 'Well, what do you think about someone who would write something that strong?' "Probably in error I said, 'Well, they must not be real happy people.' I think I was referring to the very venomous and raunchy ones, as opposed to anything from a general standpoint. Sometimes you learn your lesson no matter how long you’ve been doing it. Reserve comments more conservatively. But as far as what the reaction has been, I guess you’d have to ask the media because we’re kind of in a cocoon where we are at the football office with our players watching film. But lesson well-learned."..."
Winning Big Ten still main goal September 23, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...The focus changed from winning every game and probably playing for the national championship to winning the Big Ten, being guaranteed a BCS-game bid and holding out hope that fate propels 13th-ranked OSU (2-1) back into the title game anyway...A Big Ten title, though, is in their control. The Buckeyes have won or shared four straight conference championships, and it remains a big deal to them. "That's our goal every year," receiver DeVier Posey said. "Coach (Jim) Tressel always keeps that embedded in our head: win the Big Ten and beat Michigan." To that end, the players say it's disheartening to hear it said that the Big Ten stinks. Winning a conference title has been devalued. There's nothing they can do about that until bowl season, though...
Last week, the mood was that of picking through smoldering wreckage. Tressel found his play-calling questioned, and he created controversy when he referred to angry e-mailers as "miserable people." This week, the questions centered on mundane topics such as the third-string tailback. To add spice to the week, Tressel reminded his players about the 2007 loss to Illinois, which happened on Senior Day in Ohio Stadium and featured a postgame scuffle at midfield when the Buckeyes thought the Illini were trying to dance on their logo. "We look at it in team meetings now; that's our headline poster up there," Spitler said..."
Interesting Stats Heading into Big Ten Play September 22, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "...-After three games, Terrelle Pryor leads the Big Ten it total offense at 263 yards per game. He is currently seventh in the conference in rushing with 176 yards, while averaging 6.29 yards per carry, but only ninth in passing at 204 yards per game. His four touchdown passes are tied for fifth most in the conference, but his four interceptions are second most and as many as he had all of last season.
-Following his 5-catch, 126-yard performance Saturday against Toledo, Dane Sanzenbacher is now the fourth-leading receiving in the Big Ten with 241 yards, an average of more than 80 per game. His three receiving touchdowns are second most in the conference behind only Michigan State’s Blair White (4) and his average of 26.8 yards per catch is not only tops in the Big Ten, but also fourth best in the entire country.
-Sophomore Lamaar Thomas ranks third in the Big Ten in kick return average (23.7 yards per return), but senior Ray Small ranks last in punt return average (2.7 yards) after leading the conference in that stat a year ago. Kicker Aaron Pettrey leads the Big Ten in points (26) and field goal percentage (85.7).
-Ohio State currently ranks seventh in the Big Ten in scoring offense and fifth in rushing offense. Illinois is eighth in scoring offense and second in rushing offense. On the defensive side of the football, OSU is ranked third in scoring defense and second in total defense while the Illini are near the bottom in both categories at No. 10 in the conference.
-The Buckeyes are the fourth-least penalized team in the Big Ten at just over 40 yards per game, but Illinois ranks dead-last in the conference and 106 th in the country, at 77.5 penalty yards per game. On the flip side, Ohio State’s opponents are the least penalized in the Big Ten at 30 yards per game, while the Illini’s opponents are averaging 55 penalty yards per game, fourth fewest in the conference..."
Time to Tweak Tresselball September 22, 2009 Source: LeBrowns Town - "...A key to anything in life is adjusting to external forces, or, in football, one’s opponent. Coaches make changes in personnel and scheme at halftime. These modifications may or may not work. When they don’t pan out for a period of three years— Ohio State last knocked off a top-five adversary in 2006 — more grand-scale fine-tuning must take place. The unrest in Buckeye nation comes from the lack of adjustments from Tressel and his staff...Now, the name of the game in college football is speed and athleticism. Spread offenses, popping up around the nation like unwelcome groundhogs, are forcing defenses to get smaller and quicker. Athletic, versatile quarterbacks are the latest fad. OSU has its multi-faceted signal caller in Terrelle Pryor, the No. 1 high school recruit in 2008. But instead of making adjustments to accommodate the 6-foot-6, 235-pound quarterback, Tressel has squeezed the rare breed into his vanilla, run-based offense...To catch up to the rest of the college football world, Tressel and Co. must implement changes on both sides of the ball. They must design an approach that suits the strengths of the athletes they have collected. Pryor is probably best equipped for a spread attack, which would give him space to operate with both his developing throwing arm and his nimble feet. He needs the instruction to focus on scoring touchdowns, not controlling field position. If Ohio State is to be recognized among the nation’s college football titans, the Buckeyes must prove they can beat bona fide competition..."
Freshman Jordan Hall helps give OSU's offense some ground strength September 20, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "In the second half against Toledo, freshman Jordan Hall got his chance, and on three straight handoffs, he seemed to find holes that weren't obviously there, gaining 10, 9 and 17 yards in one sequence. As a true freshman, he's shouldn't be asked to serve as an every down back. But at 5-10 and 190 pounds, he's about the same size as No. 1 back Dan Herron, and given how the season has unfolded for the running game, Hall should start earning some carries before the fourth quarter..."
Other Freshmen Making Noise September 22, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "...While Hall has certainly been the talk of the town this week, he is not the only freshman making noise for the Buckeyes. In fact, it’s a youngster on the defensive side of the football that has caused the most stir with his strong play as he has quietly worked his way into the rotation on the defensive line.
"John Simon is a great player, active guy, first guy into the meeting room, first guy into the weight room, he's going to be a good football player," Tressel said. "He really enjoys it. You can tell the guys, you see the Homan brothers in the weight room and you see Simon in the weight room and you've got to throw them out – (Austin) Spitler, you've got to throw those guys out. John Simon loves it." In fact, Simon is so zealous about getting stronger that even his workout partners had to tell him to pump the brakes the night before a game. "John is a huge meatball. John will live and die in the weightroom," linebacker Ross Homan said.
"Friday night, at the hotel up in Cleveland, (we) were walking back to the hotel room and John asked me and Spit where the fitness room was at. Me and Spit looked at him like, ‘You gotta be crazy, the night before a game, you can’t be working out.’ Spit’s like, ‘Just go in your room, chill out and relax.’ And he did."
One freshman who likely won’t see the field this season is Chris Fields. The wideout from Painesville was named the scout team offensive player of the week and he drew some serious praise from his head coach Tuesday with a lofty comparison. "I think Chris is going to be a good player. I told (receivers coach) Darrell Hazell and those guys more than once that Chris reminds me of the way that Santonio (Holmes) looked as a freshman," Tressel said. "Over there on the scout team, making plays, just has that certain something about him and I tell Chris that too. I mean, that's who he reminds me of. I think Chris Fields is going to be a good football player and we'll see if he gets to the Santonio Holmes level. Santonio obviously climbed, but at this moment, I've got a lot of good feel about what he's going to become."..."
Tressel, Homan On Simon's Early Impact September 22, 2009 Source: Bucknuts - "If you had to pick the player on Ohio State’s defense that is getting more playing time than anyone expected entering the season, the clear choice would be true freshman defensive tackle John Simon. Most defensive tackles redshirt at OSU, but the coaching staff has been extremely impressed with the 6-foot-3, 285-pound Simon..."
Coach Tressel's weekly Press Conference September 22, 2009
Big Ten has yet to gain respect September 22, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Conference play begins Saturday in the Big Ten, but for a beleaguered league desperate to acquire some national respect the first three weeks of the season, not much has changed....Against schools from the five other Bowl Championship Series conferences plus independent Notre Dame, the Big Ten has gone 5-6. That includes 2-1 against the Big East's Syracuse, which gained its first win of the year over Northwestern last week after losing to Minnesota and Penn State...But what matters now is what happens from here. Just like this time a year ago, No. 4 Penn State and No. 11 Ohio State are poised to make the most national noise, while No. 22 Michigan is at least waking up the echoes with its unanticipated ride up unbeaten row..."
Ohio State Football: What Needs to Be Done September 22, 2009 Source: Bleacher Report - "Jim Tressel has taken Ohio State as far as he can take them. He's reached his peak, but unfortunately, even though our peak is high, Ohio State is still looking up at the peaks of USC, Florida, Texas, etc. If Ohio State wants to catch up quick, a few things have to be done:
1. Jim Tressel must remain the head coach: Ohio State is still an elite program and Tressel has been an instrumental part in building that. Bringing in a new coach could have disastrous consequences and chances are, he wouldn't be better than Tressel.
2. Bring in an OC:..Bringing in a new OC would not cause a major disruption in the program and at the very worst could provide another educated perspective.
3. Let Tressel do what Tressel does best: Tressel is a very good coach in almost all facets, but he excels in two areas. Special teams and recruiting. His favorite play is the punt. What does that tell you? The guy loves special teams! Why put him in charge of the special teams instead of the offense? Then let him put a little bit more emphasis on the already stellar recruiting. I don't see any downside to this..."
Five Things: Toledo September 21, 2009 Source: Eleven Warriors - "We must keep in mind it was only Toledo but it felt good to get back on the horse as the Buckeyes dismantled the Rockets 38-0...After the firestorm last week it was good to see Tressel show his sense of humor – or at least that’s how I’m taking it – as he actually dialed up the QB sneak facing 3rd and 1 on OSU’s second possession...As in fall camp, Jordan Hall looked as good at RB as anybody and he was certainly a bright spot yesterday with 7 for 44 (6.3 ypc)...Pryor's Big Day: I liked how much more in control TP appeared near the end of the half leading OSU from their own 31 to Toledo’s 31 to set up Pettrey’s 47 yard FG giving OSU a 24-0 lead at the break...Defensive Domination: So much for Toledo’s high octane spread. Admittedly, I thought Toledo would score 10 points on the starters but that was pure silliness thanks to a balanced effort spear headed by the defensive line’s ability to get pressure without a blitz coupled wih Heacock’s scheme of blitzing anyway on obvious passing downs leaving Opelt with a hair trigger and a 22/45 afternoon..."
2009 CFN Rankings: Week 3 September 20, 2009 Source: CollegeFootballNews.com - "...18. Ohio State 2-1; Last Week: at Toledo 38-0; This Week: Illinois
Why the ranking is too high: If Washington could get the job done at home against USC, why couldn't Ohio State? The offense still isn't producing at a consistently high level, and the defensive line isn't doing nearly enough to get into the backfield.
Why the ranking is too low: Terrelle Pryor finally started to play like Terrelle Pryor. It was only one game, and it came against Toledo, but Pryor was fantastic and the defense was swarming against Aaron Opelt and the high-octane attack..."
Toledo Game 9/19/09:
Offensive Player of the Week: Dane Sanzenbacher, WR
Defensive Player of the Week: Ross Homan, LB
Attack Force Award: Cameron Heyward, DT
Jim Parker Lineman Award: Bryant Browning, OG
Special Units Player of the Week: Ben Buchanan, P
Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award: Not Awarded
Scout Team Champions: Offense: Chris Fields; Defense: Jordan Whiting; Special Units: Tony Harlamert
OSU hate, OU love creates double standard September 21, 2009 Source: ESPN - "The Ohio State Buckeyes are victims of a double standard, and they deserve better. Ohio State has seen its national approval rating steadily decline since the 2007 BCS national title game, the first of six consecutive losses against top 5 opponents. Much of the heat directed toward Columbus is warranted...
But another national powerhouse deserves the same treatment. Another big-name has been just as disappointing in big games, if not worse. And yet that team continues to escape the hate. Meet the Oklahoma Sooners. They're apparently made out of Teflon. Let's review some of the similarities between Ohio State and Oklahoma:...
Despite the parallels, Ohio State continues to be the nation's piñata, while Big Game Bob Stoops and the Sooners get a pass. The latest example arrived Sunday, as Ohio State moved down two spots to No. 13 in the AP Poll, while Oklahoma moved up two spots to No. 10...Explain to me how USC's loss, which came on the road with the backup quarterback (Aaron Corp) at the helm, should punish Ohio State, while BYU's loss, which came with the Cougars at full strength and on their home field, rewards Oklahoma. It's ridiculous. And it needs to stop..."
OSU Insider September 21, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - " In the BCS
Go figure -- voters in the coaches' poll didn't find Ohio State's 38-0 win over in-state foe Toledo nearly as impressive as Oklahoma's 44-0 win over in-state foe Tulsa. That's why the Sooners jumped from 12th to ninth. And surely you didn't expect Southern California, despite its shocking loss at Washington, to drop below OSU. Thus, USC fell to 10th while OSU remained 11th. The Buckeyes did drop two spots to 13th in the Associated Press poll, but it's not part of the BCS formula.
Coach Jim Tressel. In a week when -- in the wake of the 18-15 loss to USC -- the criticism reached arguably the highest pitch of his nine seasons, he prepped his team for one of the more dominant wins of his reign. The Buckeyes scored five touchdowns, ranging from a bomb to a QB sneak, and the defense shut out a Toledo offense that had averaged 42.5 points in a loss to the Big Ten's Purdue and win over the Big 12's Colorado.
What's not hot?: The offensive line's jump. Five false-start calls were five more than the goal...
What went right?: Most of the time it was Terrelle Pryor's reading of the defense and his ensuing pass. Toledo blitzed from all angles, and it often got pressure. But usually Pryor kept his cool, made the correct read and delivered with authority, like on his three TD throws (two to Dane Sanzenbacher, one to DeVier Posey)...
Back to the drawing board: Toledo's idea to challenge OSU cornerback Chimdi Chekwa deep down the sideline a couple of times. Chekwa, faster than the intended receivers, toyed with both plays. Can Chekwa keep up the play against Illinois on Saturday?...
Catch that?: Freshman Jordan Hall looked fluid and natural in his first action. A former high school teammate of Pryor at Jeannette, Pa., Hall has impressed every chance he's gotten since the start of preseason camp. Could he have made a difference against USC?
Up next: Illinois, which already has made the watch list for most disappointing Big Ten team in 2009 after the egg it laid in the season-opening, 37-9 loss to rebuilding Missouri. The Illini beat up lesser-division Illinois State the next week, then had last week off...there is going to be a lot of weight riding on senior QB Juice Williams.
This week's challenge: Now it's Big Ten season...there is at least one major goal up for grabs for OSU: gunning for a fifth straight Big Ten title. A slip like the one against Illinois two years ago would make that an uphill fight..."
Top 25 Overview WEEK 3 2009 Source: ESPN - Overview of all Top 25 Teams for the first week of the season, including Recap, Box Score, Play-by-Play, Drive Chart, Photos
OSU drops in poll: Ohio State actually fell two spots in the poll to No. 13, a surprising result after its 38-0 pasting of Toledo. The Buckeyes' drop had very little to do with their performance Saturday and stemmed more from USC's shocking loss to Washington. Most voters couldn't justify putting Ohio State ahead of USC after the Trojans won in Columbus on Sept. 12.
Still, tell me how Oklahoma moves up two spots and Ohio State falls? Oklahoma lost to a BYU team that embarrassed itself against Florida State. Sure, the Sooners shut out Tulsa, but Ohio Stat shut out Toledo. I'll have more on this Monday, but the favoritism toward Oklahoma and the hatred of the Buckeyes is getting a little ridiculous. Source: ESPN
What we learned in the Big Ten: Week 3: 3. Terrelle Pryor is still a threat -- Sure, it was Toledo, but Pryor desperately needed a game like the one he had Saturday in Cleveland. Pryor played the way he needed to against the Rockets, racking up 110 rush yards and a touchdown to go along with 262 pass yards and three touchdowns. His two interceptions are a bit unsettling, but he got some confidence back as Ohio State finally put together a complete effort. Pryor needs to follow it up next week against Illinois. Source: ESPN
Mr Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets: Upon further review: "Ohio State turns the ball over on their first series against powerhouse USC. The big linebacker runs it down to the OSU 2 yard line. The Bucks defense throws up a historically fabulous goal line stand. Stops them on first down. Stops them on second down. And on third down! Now, it’s fourth and one. Back up the middle. Knee obviously down. Ball obviously not over the goal line. Not so obvious that it is USC 7 OSU 0. Should have been OSU’s ball and an inspirational goal line stand!
Feels like the Illinois game where the entire stadium watched the kid fumble through the end zone. Only the OSU coaches didn’t see it or watch the replay. Or insist that the refs review it. On your checklist of 1) New offensive coordinator, put down 2) A coach in charge of replays." Source: Bucknuts
Also: Mr Bucknuts Bucket of Bullets: Taking the goal line offense to new heights: Forget running our 6’6" 240 pound quarterback on fourth down. Too easy. Where’s the challenge? I’ve got one- and a challenge for any opposing D-coordinator to defend. Bring in Bauserman or Guiton at QB (a la Boeckman in the Fiesta Bowl…). Split out Terrelle Pryor and Duron Carter. Run Reid Fragel and Jake Stoneburner as tight ends. That averages about 6’6"+ in receivers and there’s four of them. Then go man to man against those puny 5’7" Michigan DB’s match up and let the fun begin. Just sayin’…Source: Bucknuts
Michael Arace commentary: OSU fans want offense that sizzles September 19, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Keith the Plumber, senior member of my college football staff and ardent fan of Theeee Ohio State University, is not miserable. Not generally. "The only time I'm miserable is when I watch that offense," KTP said yesterday. "Other than that, I'm a happy-go-lucky guy."..."I know there are crackpots," KTP said. "There are idiots everywhere. But the majority of us are just Buckeyes fans who want to see improvement. What is Ohio State football? What is the plan? I love the Buckeyes but, on offense, it's just hard to watch. Those stats don't lie."..."
Rob Oller commentary: Big losses bring on hotter scutiny for Tressel September 19, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "The collective thinking toward Jim Tressel has shifted. The previous position, in which principles and peripherals found traction, has given way to a new place where the Ohio State coach is judged only on big wins and losses. The glow of the 2002 national-championship season? Nearly gone. Getting credit for caring about players? An appreciated afterthought. Now it is "Can he beat the best teams? Can he design and run an offense? Can he ... coach?"..."
Tressel is back, as are concerns September 19, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "The return of the native Saturday coincides with the most fire directed at him in at least five years...The atmosphere at OSU might be turning toxic, the way it was in 2004. The Buckeyes played in the minor Alamo Bowl after a four-loss season...The problem in 2009 is Tressel's string of losses in the biggest games. And, as was the case in 2004, he also needs to resolve a problem at quarterback...Pryor has not been a good fit with Tressel's conservative offense...Tressel used to hide a spark of creativity beneath his conservative front...Where is such spark now?Ohio State fans are unhappy that it has been seven years since the Buckeyes won it all, although, before Tressel, it had been 34 years since the Buckeyes won an undisputed national championship..."
Talking Rockets, Trojans, And Bucks September 18, 2009 Source: Bucknuts.com - Matt Littlefield writes: "...My take on Toledo: On defense, Toledo matches up better against the pass than the run. They have one of the MAC’s best pro prospects in Barry Church, who plays their ‘star safety,’ a hybrid weakside linebacker-strong safety in their defense. Ohio State ought to be able to move the ball on the ground...
Looking back at Southern Cal: Ohio State coaches had a fantastic game plan for Southern Cal. The Buckeyes played hard, fast, and physical. This game was not lost due to a lack of effort or ingenuity. Unlike some recent big-game losses, they were not over-matched on the field. They were just as big, fast, and physical as their high-profile West Coast rivals...Don't despair. Ohio State is a very young football team...
However, there are some lingering issues: The mistakes made by the Buckeyes against USC were mostly due to a lack of execution when it counted. The good news is these are all correctable looking forward. Here are the most disappointing mistakes from my vantage point:.."
Bob Hunter commentary: Rumblings September 18, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...In defending his play-calling against Southern California, coach Jim Tressel said he didn't think he put Ohio State in a position to win. "No," he said. "It was 18-15. Obviously, we didn't. I've never left a game saying 'You know what, I did my part and (the players) didn't.' "
But there was a different, yet subtle, message in his answers. On attempting two passes instead of running out the clock in the first half: "There were some things we (wanted) to go after. So we went after one of them and completed and then we came back and ran it for about 5 or 6 (yards) and then went to a base thing that we had done before and really had a chance with it, didn't have a great route, so, therefore, we didn't execute it." Didn't have a great route? Hmmm.
On then punting it back to USC: "Did I think that it was being daredevil to punt it back to them with 48 seconds? No, but they hit a run and we got out-leveraged." Out-leveraged?
That sounds an awful lot like he's saying it wasn't his fault..."
Is Jim Tressel Capable Of Becoming A New Coach? Or Will He Remain Stuck In The Past? September 18, 2009 Source: FanIQ News - "...The crisis of wining on the biggest stage at OSU is not a crisis built on a lack of hunger, effort, speed, physical play, or swagger, for in the last three losses OSU's players went toe to toe with the best of them. They have the players with the confidence and the ability to win the games against any team on any field.
Great recruiting of players who know nothing but winning means these kids are used to winning and crave it. The fact that the players from last year and this year came so close, in equally the same way, on the biggest stage, tells us that the problem is not the players, nor really player execution. Rather, the problem at OSU belongs to JT.
The losses are a reflection of the inadequacy of his response to the needed coaching changes that would set his players loose to light up the scoreboards and win, dare I say, easily, against the best teams. Remember, the shift to Pryor was a shift in leadership and it had an effect..."
Who deserves the most blame for Ohio State's offensive woes this season?
20% Terrelle Pryor
80% Jim Tressel
Read from over 300 comments
Should Ohio State coach Jim Tressel be on the hot seat? September 17, 2009 Source: Orlando Sentinel - Andrea Adelson writes: "This has been an awful week for Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. His Buckeyes blew a fourth-quarter lead, thanks in part to his conservative play calling, and lost yet another big non-conference game.
The 18-15 loss to USC sent the criticism pouring in, the loudest of his nine-year tenure...Yes, these fans have called for Tressel to be fired. That is not a misprint.
The frustrations are understandable...Tressel defended his decisions, and said this week he would continue to call the plays and change nothing about his conservative philosophy.
I agree, the calls he made on those plays were questionable, and I thought to myself after the game that he needed to stop being so conservative. But perspective is important here. His conservative approach helped win a national championship in 2002 and has made the Buckeyes one of the most consistently good teams over the last eight years.
Fans have every right to question the play calling and to be angry about the embarrassing losses. They have a right to demand improvements. But for those who want Tressel fired, who do you want as coach? Winning Big Ten titles and posting consistent 10-win season is nothing to take for granted. Just ask Michigan fans..."
Tressel to keep his hand on plays September 16, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "He's fully aware that fans are frustrated with lack of offense...As fan frustration over a stagnant Ohio State offense has mounted in recent years, a growing number of people have been calling for change. Most of them don't want to change the coach -- they enjoy the benefits that come from having Jim Tressel at the helm...
But some fans are becoming more vocal about what they view as major negatives: a conservative offensive philosophy that emphasizes field position and minimal mistakes, and Tressel's insistence on calling plays himself..."
An identity crisis September 17, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Should coaches adjust more to Pryor's abilities, or should sophomore QB tackle current offensive scheme?...In August, Terrelle Pryor said that being named preseason offensive player of the year in the Big Ten was an honor, but what really mattered was whether he played that way during the season. Two games in, the sophomore has looked more like he's trying to set himself up for comeback player of the year...
"Just what is the identity of the offense?" said Craig Krenzel, quarterback of the Buckeyes' 2002 national championship team. "It's a question we seem to go back and forth on every year with coach Tress." That identity rests with the development of Pryor, Krenzel said. In that case, quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano said yesterday, it's premature to judge the offense or Pryor...
...former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman offered some constructive criticism during his sports-talk show on WBNS-FM (97.1). He said one thing Pryor can fix right away is his determination. His passing might need work, Spielman said, but with Pryor being 6 feet 6 and 240 pounds and with 4.33-second speed in the 40-yard dash, his passion to run should not.
"Even in the Navy game I felt like, 'Come on, Terrelle, take it and go. Stiff arm, punch, drive,' " Spielman said. "Now don't take any unnecessary hits, but run with some passion and abandon. I mean, run like you can run. You have God-given gifts that people would die to have. Use them." Critics can debate the merits of Tressel's play-calling, Spielman said, but "until (Pryor) becomes consistent, this offense, no matter what plays are being called, is going to struggle."
Siciliano said the development of Pryor into a mature quarterback is a work in progress, but one worth watching. "His ultimate goal is to be a finished product when he leaves here," Siciliano said. "He knows he's not going to be a Dan Marino right now, but he wants to work toward that..."
Numbers with Dave Revsine September 17, 2009 Source: Big Ten Network - Revsine , of the Big Ten Network writes: " The biggest game was once again a big disappointment for Ohio State, and the discussion afterward has focused on two issues: OSU's offensive failings and the team's general inability to beat highly ranked foes. The numbers back up both assertions: 0-6: OSU is now 0-6 against Top 10 teams since playing Florida in the BCS Championship Game in January 2007. Of the six schools nationally that have played at least six games against Top 10 foes in that time, Ohio State is the only one that hasn't won at least one of those games.
As for the offense, or lack thereof:
15: The Buckeyes' 15 points against USC were the fewest they've scored in a non-conference home game since a 13-10 win over Colorado in 1986 – a span of 57 games.
2-for-8, 14 yards: Terrelle Pryor went 2-for-8 for 14 yards on third and fourth downs against USC. Only one of those eight passes went for a first down.
33 percent: Yes, it's early, and, yes, their level of competition has been awfully good, but Ohio State has converted just 33 percent of its red zone trips this season into TDs. That's the second-lowest percentage in the Big Ten.
On the flip side, after a so-so performance against Navy, Ohio State showed off a defense that should keep them among the Big Ten's elite.
18: OSU become just the fifth team in the last eight seasons to hold USC to 18 or fewer points.
18 points would be a solid accomplishment against this week's opponent.
Ohio State QB coach Nick Siciliano on Terrelle Pryor
On Pryor growing into the quarterback job at Ohio State...On Pryor's footwork and the times when he throws off his back foot...On Pryor's ability to call audibles from run plays to other run plays on from run plays to pass plays...On whether Pryor is not able or allowed to audible out of pass plays, which Jim Tressel seemed to say on Tuesday...On Pryor bouncing back from this loss compared to the Penn State loss last year, when he was visibly upset after the game...On whether people expected more consistency from Pryor by now...On whether Pryor is getting better at recognizing things on the field...
On Ohio State getting the ball back with 1:01 to play after USC scored, needing to gain about 25 to 30 yards for a field goal attempt and Pryor not seeing two more open receivers and throwing a pass out of bounds for an intentional grounding penalty on first down..."
The Pryor problem: Either the coaching or expectations are overrated September 16, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Terrelle Pryor, the athlete, has yet to wake up the collegiate echoes of Vince Young or Michael Vick, other than the "Vick" eyeblack-patch Pryor wore against Navy. Pryor, the quarterback, is not even close to playing in the NFL...Pryor might be a receiver or even a running back in the NFL. He stands 6-6, weighs 235 pounds, and runs a 4.33-second time in the 40-yard dash. Such athleticism commands respect. At quarterback, he is not close to the level of Florida dual-purpose quarterback Tim Tebow, and Tebow is doubtful at the position in the NFL. Ironically, Pryor spurned Michigan -- which, like Florida, runs the spread -- because he felt it wouldn't prepare him for playing quarterback in the NFL...
The final drive was an indictment of Pryor's coaching and poise. The grounding penalty was awful. The scramble on the next play, out of timeouts, was also a bad move. Even had he gotten out of bounds, it takes too much time.
It can change, but so far, despite playing in an offense that does not really showcase his talents, he has been overpublicized. So far, with one winning drive against a so-so Wisconsin team, with killer turnovers against Penn State and USC, he has been overrated..."
The Pryor problem: Ohio State has avoided a Vince Young analogy, but can Buckeyes' QB emulate former Texas star's rise? September 16, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "The quarterback was sagging under high expectations, unable to pass the ball as part of an ineffective offense that fell short, once again, against an elite opponent in a devastating loss. The coach was on the hot seat and there were demands for a change in who called the offensive plays...Asked about fixes, the coach said "we're not going to have household changes." After 12 career starts, the quarterback "looks a world away from being refined," wrote another reporter. Where to go from there?
When the scenario just described unfolded for Texas and quarterback Vince Young five years ago, Young went out and didn't lose for the rest of his college career. His last defeat was a 12-0 shutout against Oklahoma in the 12th game since he became a starter..."
Buckeyes Seem A Year Away September 17, 2009 Source: Bucknuts.com - Dave Biddle writes: "Analyzing Ohio State’s 2009 football team, I keep coming back to the same conclusion: the Buckeyes are going to be pretty darn good next year. I know, not exactly what the "what have you done for me lately" crowd wanted to hear. Ohio State still has the chance to be a quality team this year, but right now I expect one more regular season loss (likely at Penn State) and then we’ll see what happens in the bowl game.
Is it way too early to start talking about the 2010 season? Certainly. Am I still going to do it? Absolutely. Look around at Ohio State’s best players – almost all of them are juniors and sophomores..."
Jim Tressel on the play calls he regrets against USC
Punter placed on scholarship September 16, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "The day after having a good punting game against Southern California, Thoma was told by coach Jim Tressel that he was one of three walk-ons who will be on scholarship when fall quarter starts. "It was relief and joy when he said I was one of the guys," Thoma said. "I went into his office yesterday and thanked him." Thoma, a fifth-year senior, has paid the price, literally, to be a Buckeyes player. He said he has a student loan debt in the tens of thousands of dollars..." (From Ironton Tribune:Tressel also awarded RB Marcus Williams, a walk-on for the Ohio State Buckeyes the past three years, an OSU athletic scholarship. Also getting scholarships were Andrew Moses, Ryan Schuck, Joe Gantz and Tom Ingham.)
Pryor needs to mature to succeed September 16, 2009 Source: PSU's The Daily Collegian - "...How Ohio State public relations representatives or coaches haven't trained him more effectively is simply amazing. However, the lack of maturity also presents itself on the field. There is no denying Pryor's raw talent. He's a freakish athlete at quarterback, and his potential is enormous...Against a talented but young Trojans' defense, Pryor completed just 11 of 25 passes and showed little poise on the Buckeyes' final drive that ended on a fourth-and-10 throw into triple coverage...But given the amount of hype around him, from his high-profile recruitment to preseason Heisman talk, it's fair to start questioning. Will he develop poise as a passer? Will he mature as a leader? Will his questionable passing mechanics prevent him from becoming a great quarterback? At this point, there are more questions than answers..."
New Playbook for Ohio State September 15, 2009 Source: All Football Blog - "Here is your new playbook for your all-world sophmore QB, Terrell Pryor. I know you are a throwback, tough football kind of coach, so I have put together a power offense in shotgun formations to utilize the QB as a backfield running threat. Start with the BASICS: Zone Read..."
Out of the doghouse? September 16, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "
Sophomore offensive tackle Mike Adams, held out of the first two games for disciplinary reasons according to insiders, could be eligible to play Saturday, sources said..."
The Toughest Loss September 15, 2009 Source: Earle Bruce's Blog - "...The lack of ability to score when in the red zone, the lack of ability of the offense to make plays when needed and indecisiveness, causing delay of game penalties, all led to our demise. And when a freshman USC quarterback comes into OUR stadium and outshines our own great quarterback, Terrell Pryor, things couldn't be worse! There needs to be more emphasis put on Terrell and his passing - I see no improvement since last year in his passing ability. His release and technique really needs to improve if we are to be successful. There was tremendous inconsistency in the offense. Having only 36 plays in 3 quarters simply is not enough! As in the Notre Dame game this past Saturday - clock management killed us!..."
Ohio State's Tressel addresses criticism September 15, 2009 Source: ESPN - "..."I haven’t had a game yet where I haven’t had a significant number of decisions or thoughts that we didn’t really critique and see if we could do better."...On quarterback Terrelle Pryor's play: "He wanted to be a big reason that we won that game. That's the way he is, that's the way he'll always be, and I'd mentioned to him on Sunday, I said, 'Not that it has any relevance, but keep in mind that at this stage Troy Smith was a kickoff returner and at this stage, Vince Young was getting spot duty going in when things were pretty good with a couple little things to do. At this stage you were lined up against a very good defense with a very young offense and it was tough sledding out there, but we have to grow from it.'"..."
How low can you go? September 16, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "
A year-by-year look at Ohio State's national rankings in total offense and scoring offense in coach Jim Tressel's tenure (the number of teams went from 115 in 2001 to 117 in 2002, 119 in 2006 and 120 this year):..."
Big Game Coaching continues to be a concern for OSU Football September 14, 2009 Source: Examiner.com - "Our kids played hard. They've been preparing hard. They were in a dog fight and flailed right along with it, and what we need to do is keep working, stick together and get better. That's what life's about and that's what our guys will do." Jim Tressel-Ohio State Football Coach...Pardon me, but that sounds like a coach that accepted the loss as a moral victory. The last time I checked, the program we’re discussing is The Ohio State University. Effort is something Buckeye fans should always expect from players that wear the scarlet and gray..."
1. Nick Siciliano
Nick who, you say? Get to know him, folks. Siciliano is the quarterbacks coach at Ohio State, the guy who this season officially replaced longtime successful Buckeyes assistant Joe Daniels, who was moved to an administrative role while he courageously fights cancer. I say "officially" because Siciliano coached Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor last season while Daniels fought the disease.
Here's the problem: When faced with the possibility of hiring an outsider who could expand his team's methodology, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel gave the third-most important assistant coaching spot (behind the two coordinators) to a 34-year-old whose coaching career includes jobs with Oklahoma (assistant video coordinator), Youngstown State (tight ends), Urbana (offensive coordinator/offensive line) and North Carolina A&T (receivers and quarterbacks).
Siciliano might be a terrific coach someday. But right now, one of the most talented players in the game (Pryor) isn't reaching his full potential. The biggest jump a player makes is from his freshman season to his sophomore season, and Pryor doesn't look any better—or any worse—than he did last year.
He still makes bad decisions, still has poor mechanics, still bails and still doesn't trust his protection or progressions. Bill Walsh taught me years ago a simple phrase that holds true to this day: Players play how they're coached.
Look at the other side of the field in last week's game against USC. When Pete Carroll needed a quarterbacks coach to replace Steve Sarkisian, he hired Jeremy Bates, a successful, experienced NFL coach. USC freshman quarterback Matt Barkley didn't win the game for USC, but he didn't lose it, either. And he played with a ton of poise.
Now look at the other sideline. You do the math..."
Chat with Pat Forde September 14, 2009 Source: ESPN - "Mike (Akron): How should Ohio State feel after Saturday? It shows me that they can play with the Big Boys (Texas and USC) but can they get over the hump. What do you think?
Pat Forde (2:10 PM): Mike: Good question. I think Ohio State fans are still trying to decide how they feel -- other than bummed out about losing. Clearly, the Buckeyes were not outmanned in this game the way they were last year in LA or against LSU and Florida. But that only makes the questions about gameplan and use of Terrelle Pryor all the more pointed and painful. Ohio State has not maximized Pryor's talents at all, and I think that's partly on the player and partly on the coaches.
steve (columbus): Can you argue Pryor didn't play badly as much as the coaching staff simply did not set him up to win (scheme, prep, playcalling...)
Pat Forde (2:49 PM): Steve: I can't quite make that argument. I didn't like the OSU gameplan for a couple of reasons; thought the coaches took some weapons out of Pryor's bag, especially in the run game where he is most dangerous. But Pryor threw some very bad passes as well, especially in key situations. Enough blame to go around..."