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Current Football News Archive

Then and Now

Jim Tressel Weekly Press Conference

Weekly Press Conference Transcript


Ohio State overlooked Purdue, Jim Tressel and players admit
October 20, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - " The official line from Ohio State now is that the Buckeyes overlooked 1-5 Purdue before Saturday's upset loss. Asked immediately after the game if there was anything in the preparation leading up to the game that made him think the Buckeyes weren't ready to play, Jim Tressel said, "That's a tough one because I'm always a nervous nellie. No more than any other time." Today, Tressel changed that tune, believing his player didn't get the message about what needed to be done to beat Purdue.

"I wasn't totally convinced that I was getting across to the group the extent of the challenge," Tressel said, "and that's our job. That's our job to make sure that we can get across the difficulty of the challenge and that things don't just happen, you make things happen. And every year at the beginning of the year we set goals, shoot, we always do. That's in our mission to be the National Champions and the Big Ten Champions, that's the way it is. We've got to make sure we understand when you set that or just like individually our kids want to be all Big Ten and they want to be starters and they want to go to the NFL and we've got to make sure we do a good job of helping them understand, here's what it takes to do that. Yeah, there's been a National Championship here in the last 30 years. Yeah, there's been a dozen or nine or 10 or whatever Big Ten Championships here in the last 30 years but here's what it took to do those. This is the kind of play we need. This is the kind of coaching we need and so. So those are all the reflective things that you think about."

Fifth-year senior defensive tackle Todd Denlinger said he had never seen the Buckeyes overlook an opponent as much as they did the Boilermakers. "To the extent we saw last week, I've never seen before," Denlinger said. "We didn't have a lot of guys in the film room. We have didn't have guys staying after practice trying to get better. There was too much joking during the week."..." Click to Read the rest


Tressel Grilled About Pryor, O-line
October 20, 2009 Source: Bucknuts - "It was expected to be a lively press conference on the Tuesday following Ohio State’s 26-18 upset loss at Purdue. The Buckeyes’ sophomore quarterback – Terrelle Pryor – is under extreme fire from fans and media. And of the 18 questions that were posed on Tuesday to OSU head coach Jim Tressel, 11 of them were about Pryor (that’s 61 percent if you’re scoring at home)...

A lot of fans and reporters believe that Pryor is actually regressing. But Tressel doesn’t agree with that assessment. "From the film standpoint, he probably had less minus plays than he did the past couple weeks," Tressel said. "That’s the good news. Now, here’s the bad news: the minuses that we had were those triple minuses. It just so happens in our grading system to get your job done and hand it off, or block a guy or whatever. If you have a misses assignment on the offensive line, that’s like three minuses. That’s just the way we weigh it mathematically. So, his total grade didn’t end up better. But the numbers of plays where he had higher grades were higher than they’ve been. That’s the reality and the beauty of what we do. You could have 72 good plays as a corner and if you get beat one time deep, you probably didn’t have a good game. You didn’t have a game good enough to win..."

O-line Shaky As Well: To put all the blame for OSU’s offense woes on Pryor isn’t fair considering the porous way the Buckeyes’ offensive line is performing. Pryor has been shaky, but so have the men up front that are supposed to be protecting him. Ohio State is getting healthier on the offensive line, but that’s about the only good news with the group at this point in time.

Moving On: With two losses on the season, one of them being an unexpected loss to a one-win team, this Ohio State team now faces the challenge of regrouping and trying to keep focused on the rest of the season. With goals of national championship contention now seemingly unobtainable, Tressel was asked if the team is re-evaluating any of their preseason goals. "We don't talk about it," he said. "I'm sure it rolls around in people's heads, especially let's pretend I'm a senior. I'm probably thinking as if one of the goals that I had been shooting for is not going to happen. But it might roll around there for thirty seconds, and then you get back to work on what you've got to do. But no, we don't talk about it as a team. We don't say, 'Ok, let's take this out of our mission statement because it can't happen.' "..." Click to Read the rest

spacerCrisis management
October 20, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Tressel weathered other storms, but Pryor dilemma might be more dicey...Jim Tressel is in a pickle now that he's facing what I count as the fifth crisis of his nine-season stay at Ohio State. Teflon Tress has managed to slip past the previous four without his reputation being permanently damaged. The latest red alert might be a stickier predicament from which to free himself...

5) And now the Pryor-can't-perform thing, which could end up being the toughest flaming dart for Tressel to dodge, in part because a happy ending is becoming increasingly hard to imagine. Tressel is caught in a trap. He has so highly praised Pryor's talents that it reflects poorly on both coach and player when Pryor struggles. Fans are finding failure with the coach on several fronts, including recruiting -- even though Pryor was a consensus top high school prospect -- coaching quarterbacks and an inability to create an offense that best suits Pryor.

If Pryor continues to struggle, at what point does OSU switch to Joe Bauserman? But there's the catch. For the moment, Pryor is playing the part of human shield, taking much of the heat for the offense's struggles. That's not to say Tressel isn't coming under fire, but they're not installing metal detectors in the football offices just yet.

Bench Pryor and, unless Bauserman saves the day -- hey, it's happened before -- Tressel will take the blame when the offense continues to sink. This latest crisis has The Vest cornered. He might want to buy some cooking spray..." Click to Read the rest

Tressel's Stock Rising and Falling with Pryor's
October 19, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "Just two years into Jim Tressel's OSU head coaching career he was the ultimate Blue Chipper...Now? He's sideways at best.

Following consecutive seasons in which the Buckeyes made it to the BCS National championship game then lost, there was growing sentiment within the fan base that they would gladly trade one mediocre (say four of five loss) season for the ability to win a national championship every four or five years...The same people poo-pooed the fact that the Tressel-coached Buckeyes win the games they're supposed to win and that he beat arch-rival Michigan with a regularity that has never existed before in the annals of OSU football. That is not good enough, the sentiment became. Winning the Big Game from time to time is much, much more important. That's where the return really is.

Like any other good CEO, Tressel set about to improve his stock. If winning the Big Game is the measure, then you have to move in that direction. The Buckeye Market, it turns out, is a bit fickle, and Tressel's calculated risk is currently eroding some of his equity with the OSU faithful..." Click to Read the rest


Second Coming or Second Rate?
October 19, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "March 19, 2008 – a date which will live in infamy. One way or the other. With fans holding their collective breath, Terrelle Pryor took the podium at Jeannette (Pa.) High School for what Sports Illustrated called "one of the most anticipated" college decisions in history...

Creating a Monster: Before we get into what has gone wrong with Pryor, and why there is still hope, we have to go back; even before that day in March 2008, back to the creation of a monster: a media frenzy that raged out of control during one of the most highly-covered recruitments in history...

What Has Gone Wrong with Pryor?: It’s the question on everyone’s mind. What has happened with Terrelle Pryor and why does he look like a worse player this season than he did as a freshman a year ago?...

Not Time to Give Up: There’s no question Pryor has not adjusted well to what teams are doing to defend him. He is used to being able to do whatever he wants on the football field. The reality that that is no longer the case seems to be affecting him mentally. He is used to being the best player on his team, but right now he is really playing like the weakest link..." Click to Read the rest

Don't place all blame on Ohio State's offense
October 20, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "As Ohio State returns to practice today to get on with the rest of its season, the Buckeyes do so facing two stark realities. First, they are not going to be one of the school's great teams...But there is a second reality, OSU safety and senior captain Kurt Coleman said in the wake of the loss to the Boilermakers. "It's one loss (in the Big Ten), and we play everybody else who has one loss or zero losses, so we have a chance to still share the Big Ten title if not win it all," Coleman said. "We have a lot to still play for..." He was almost right. Iowa (7-0, 3-0) is in sole possession of first place, and the Buckeyes -- gunning for at least a share of a fifth straight Big Ten title -- play host to Iowa on Nov. 14, one week after they play at Penn State (6-1, 2-1). But the Buckeyes don't play Michigan State (4-3, 3-1).

Of course, for OSU to look any further down the road than the homecoming game with Minnesota on Saturday would be folly, based on the way things went at Purdue. The offense had problems that have been well-documented, discussed and dissected the past couple of days. Except for a couple of drives, quarterback Terrelle Pryor and his group couldn't run the ball with authority, couldn't pass it with consistency and couldn't block with certainty. The sporadic performance, punctuated by five turnovers, is one reason why OSU is 10th in the Big Ten in total offense, averaging 331.0 yards. That's a mere 91st in the nation...

And the defense, despite being second in the Big Ten in total defense behind Penn State, doesn't escape scrutiny. It was being lauded as potentially one of the better units in the country after putting together back-to-back shutouts of Toledo and Illinois, then delivering strong performances in wins over Indiana and Wisconsin, in which it returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Ohio State grabbed two turnovers against Purdue, too, but then, as the offense mellowed out in the third quarter, let the Boilermakers and quarterback Joey Elliott pass for two touchdowns that turned out to be game breakers. OSU put pressure on Elliott almost all day, but in the spread passing game, he often fired quickly..." Click to Read the rest


Buckeyes fans angry at offense: It seems everyone has an opinion on how the seventh-ranked Buckeyes ended up losing to Purdue, a team that had won just one of its first six games, 26-18 on Saturday. Here are a few of those random (edited) opinions, comments gleaned from posts by angry fans to Web sites:

-- "I'm starting to get the awful feeling that we might not win any more games this year if something drastic doesn't happen. Penn State will cream us."

-- "All week long all I heard was how this was going to be the breakout game for the Bucks offense. Hey, Terrelle (Pryor), nice footwork. Week after week, you throw off your back foot. Where is your QB coach???"

-- "Pryor looks like a lost child out there — as if he forgot how to play. Let the other guy (backup Joe Bauserman) have a chance to play some QB, he couldn't do any worse. ... Also, I heard Lou Holtz say something utterly stupid on TV after the game; he said, 'Pryor is going to need some help.' I thought to myself...HELP!?!?!? Yeah, he needed to help himself to a seat on the bench. Makes me wonder what the offense actually does in practice."-- "Yes, the team is mediocre. But, under JT's coaching style, he needs all the talent in the world to have a highly competitive team. His offense has ONE gear, and ONE style. It's like driving a four-wheel drive vehicle in 4x4, low gear wherever you go, even on a highway trip."

-- "Tressel only knows five plays — he figures the other team doesn't know which one he will call." Source: Associated Press)

spacerDoug Lesmerises answers your Ohio State questions
October 19, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "The fact that Terrelle Pryor continues to repeat the same types of mistakes lends credence to anyone who wonders if the Buckeyes should have hired a quarterbacks coach with more of a pedigree...How would you assess Terrelle Pryor's development so far and how does that reflect on the position coaches for the Buckeyes?

Let OSU quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano tell you himself how it reflects on him. Siciliano said this about his relationship with Pryor before the Purdue game, after the ineffective performance against Wisconsin:

"If we don't play as well as an offense, he thinks it's his fault. If it's his fault, it's my fault. That's the way I feel. My job is to make sure he's ready to play football on Saturday, and if he doesn't play well, in the end it is my fault."

Pryor said he talks some with head coach Jim Tressel and former quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels, now in the football administration, about playing his position. But most of his time is spent with Siciliano. At the moment, the fact that Pryor continues to repeat the same types of mistakes lends credence to anyone who wonders if the Buckeyes should have hired a quarterbacks coach with more of a pedigree. Siciliano is working as hard as he can, but the results aren't there."

Former Ohio State Head Football coach Earle BrucespacerEarle Bruce's Take on Purdue
October 19, 2009 Source: Earle Bruce A Coach's Blog - "Any loss is hard to take. But when you lose to a 1 - 5 team that played like a 5 - 1 team and made you look like a 1 - 5 team instead of a 5 - 1 team, it is terrible! Away from home you MUST be TURNOVER FREE!!!! And OSU turned the ball over 5 times, 4 by the quarterback! Penalties didn't help - 9 penalties for 65 yards by the Buckeyes and only 1 penalty for 5 yards by Purdue. Holding and offsides penalties were costly, especially when you are then starting out 1st and 15 instead of 1st and 10.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THE QUARTERBACK'S PLAY!, but, it seemed the protection and offensive line was sporatic. When you win, everything is fine, but if you lose, everything is suspect; Play-calling, execution, individual performance vs. team performance, leadership, discipline, etc.

IT WAS AN OLD FASHIONED ASS- KICKING! 28 - 16. Obviously it was a BAD game for the Buckeyes and we need improvement in ALL areas - Offense, Special Teams & Defense. REMEMBER - Players win, coaches lose! But I think this might be a little of both..."

Football Bowl Subdivision National Rankings

Current National Rankings
National Rankings
The Ohio State University


Stat Watch

Big Ten
TOTAL OFFENSE            G  Rush Pass Plays Yards Avg/P TD Yds/G
10.Ohio State..........  7  1099 1218   429  2317   5.4 19 331.0

TOTAL DEFENSE            G  Rush Pass Plys Yards  Avg  TD Yds/G
2. Ohio State..........  7   615 1377  482  1992  4.1  11 284.6

SCORING OFFENSE          G   TD  XP 2XP DXP  FG Saf  Pts   Avg
6. Ohio State..........  7   22  20   1   1  12   2  196  28.0

SCORING DEFENSE          G   TD  XP 2XP DXP  FG Saf  Pts   Avg
2. Ohio State..........  7   11   9   1   0   7   0   98  14.0

RUSHING OFFENSE          G    Att   Yds   Avg  TD  Yds/G
5. Ohio State..........  7    261  1099   4.2   9  157.0

RUSHING DEFENSE          G  Rushes  Yards  Avg.  TD  Yds/G
2. Ohio State..........  7     232    615   2.7   5   87.9

PASS OFFENSE             G   Att  Cmp Int  Pct.  Yds  Avg TD Yds/G
11.Ohio State..........  7   168   93   8  55.4 1218  7.2 10 174.0

PASS DEFENSE             G   Att  Cmp Int  Pct.  Yds  Avg TD Yds/G
3. Ohio State..........  7   250  139  12  55.6 1377  5.5  6 196.7

RED ZONE OFFENSE         G  RedZone Percent TDs  R/P  FG-AT Fumb/Int/Downs/Other
10.Ohio State..........  7   21-28     75.0  14  9/5   7-10    1/  1/  1/  1

RED ZONE DEFENSE         G  RedZone Percent TDs  R/P  FG-AT Fumb/Int/Downs/Other
4. Ohio State..........  7   11-14     78.6   8  4/4   3-4     0/  1/  1/  0

KICKOFF RETURNS          G   Ret  Yds   TD   Avg
1. Ohio State..........  7    23  597    1  26.0

PUNTING                  G  No. Yards   Avg  Ret  Yds  Avg Net/P
7. Ohio State..........  7   30  1187  39.6    3   15  0.5  39.1

PUNT RETURNS             G   Ret  Yds   TD   Avg
10.Ohio State..........  7    19   78    0   4.1

PASS EFFICIENCY          G   Att  Cmp   Pct  Int  Yds TD Effic
8. Ohio State..........  7   168   93  .554    8 1218 10 126.4

PASS DEF EFFICIENCY      G   Att  Cmp  Int  Pct.  Yds TD Effic
3. Ohio State..........  7   250  139   12  55.6 1377  6 100.2

3RD-DN CONVERSIONS       G  Conv  Att   Pct
9. Ohio State..........  7    35   91  38.5

TIME OF POSSESSION       G  Total Time   Avg/G
7. Ohio State..........  7     201:32    28:47


2009 Big Ten Conference
Conference Standings
Through games of Oct 18, 2009

  Last week's results:
  Indiana 27, Illinois 14 (Oct. 17, 2009 at Bloomington, Ind.)
  Michigan 63, Delaware State 6 (Oct. 17, 2009 at Ann Arbor, Mich.)
  Michigan State 24, Northwestern 14 (Oct. 17, 2009 at East Lansing, Mich.)
  No. 14 Penn State 20, Minnesota 0 (Oct. 17, 2009 at State College, Pa.)
  Purdue 26, No. 7 Ohio State 18 (Oct. 17, 2009 at West Lafayette, Ind.)
  No. 11 Iowa 20, Wisconsin 10 (Oct. 17, 2009 at Madison, Wis.)

                        Conference  Points          Overall   Points
  Team                    W  L  T  For Opp   Pct    W  L  T  For Opp   Pct
  ----                    -  -  -  --- ---   ---    -  -  -  --- ---   ---
  Iowa................    3  0  0   71  48 1.000    7  0  0  174 105 1.000
  Ohio State..........    3  1  0  112  53  .750    5  2  0  196  98  .714
  Michigan State......    3  1  0  104  86  .750    4  3  0  205 151  .571
  Penn State..........    2  1  0   65  38  .667    6  1  0  207  61  .857
  Wisconsin...........    2  2  0   92 109  .500    5  2  0  198 174  .714
  Minnesota...........    2  2  0   98  95  .500    4  3  0  162 163  .571
  Michigan............    1  2  0   84  89  .333    5  2  0  261 153  .714
  Northwestern........    1  2  0   65  80  .333    4  3  0  189 161  .571
  Indiana.............    1  2  0   74  83  .333    4  3  0  161 183  .571
  Purdue..............    1  2  0   67  80  .333    2  5  0  197 201  .286
  Illinois............    0  4  0   45 116  .000    1  5  0   99 170  .167

Ohio State Players of the Week
Purdue Game 10/17/09:
Offensive Player of the Week: Not awarded
Defensive Player of the Week: Not awarded
Attack Force Award: Not awarded
Jim Parker Lineman Award: Not awarded
Special Units Player of the Week: Solomon Thomas, DE
Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award: Not awarded
Scout Team Champions: Not awarded : James Georgiades; Defense: Stewart Smith; Special Units: Spencer Smith

Op-Ed BlogspacerTerrelle Pryor must be Ohio State's answer at quarterback
October 18, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - Doug Lesmerises writes"This is odd advice for understandably angst-ridden Ohio State fans accustomed to success. But don't worry about wins right now. It's not really Saturday's loss to Purdue that drove the backers of the Buckeyes crazy. It was the proof that the offense, now 91st in the nation in total yardage and 101st in passing yardage, isn't progressing. Things might have to get worse, or at least stay that bad, before it gets better...Because Ohio State has to stick with Pryor, and all that matters now is figuring out what the sophomore does best, what he'll never do well, and devising an offense to fit that. It's hard to imagine Jim Tressel and his coaches sat in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Sunday and thought, "You know, we're on the right track."..." Click to Read the rest

Mr. BucknutsspacerMr. Bucknuts Issues A Statement
October 18, 2009 Source: Bucknuts.com - "Some random notes from Despair Parts: 1) For the first time this year, I have some bones to pick with our defensive game management. Just like the offensive side, they did nothing to adjust. Pick-pick-pick, you say? That’s just what Purdue was doing and finally the dam broke and the points poured forth.

2) The Purdue game plan on offense would have been a pleasure to watch if I was an unemotional objective observer. They mixed it up nicely and, well…actually had a plan!

3) Special teams? They didn’t save us yesterday. In fact they made things worse. Kickoffs that weren’t deep and were returned for field position advantage. Punts dropped. Mediocre coverage over all.

4) The coaches and Terrelle Pryor said that it felt like this offense was "ready to explode". Yes, like a suicide bomber, perhaps. There is a huge abyss between the practice fields and the fields of battle where you have to perform.

5) Have you ever seen two more damaging penalties that the Bryant Browning accidental hold and the Doug Worthington accidental face mask? After Browning tugged on a jersey, we lost our TD and then Pryor turned the ball over near mid-field! The Worthington unnecessary and totally coincidental facemask simply ended the game.

6) That Purdue field goal before first half. Groundhog Day, anyone? Purdue has two timeouts and would have to use them both. Ohio State is grinding out the clock. Then we throw a pass, stop the clock, give it back and they come right down to kick a field goal – go up by two and change the dynamic of the game. Think USC from four weeks ago. Think Texas in 2005. Over and over again- the same thing.

...The play calling and offensive "scheme" doesn’t help of course. We are now 92nd in the nation in offense after four straight Top Five recruiting classes. What does that tell you?..." Click to Read the rest

spacerQuote of the Day: Resign." - Coach Tressel when asked what was the most entertaining suggestion he's recently gotten from a fan.

Where do they go from here?: Ken Gordon writes: "...what strikes me today is that the most damaging thing about how OSU looked yesterday was that the worst performances came from the most highly-touted young recruits. I do not agree that Bauserman should be the starter against Minnesota, but I absolutely agree that Pryor should have been benched, at least for a series or two, yesterday...The next biggest concern, as I see it, is the play of the offensive line...clearly, the line was a disaster, and there are three sophomores starting -- all big time recruits: Mike Adams, Mike Brewster and J.B. Shugarts.

What does all this say? That the recruits are all busts, all of them? Really? That they aren't getting the proper coaching? That they just had a bad day? I believe the truth lies somewhere between bad coaching and bad day...I was willing to write off Wisconsin as a weird game...But now....the only time Pryor has looked comfortable the past two weeks was in running the hurry-up, two-minute drill. OSU scored three times in its past four possessions in the hurry-up...If all of this is merely growing pains for Pryor and the other young players, then it's worth it. If the Buckeyes are signficantly better next season, and contend for a national title in 2010 or 2011, then as hard as it is to write off 2009, it's a means to an end...But the problem with what's happening for OSU right now is it's hard to see the growth coming out of this process. It appears to be regression. It appears to be the exposure of Pryor rather than a refining process...I see a QB who gets rattled way too easily, and the first trait you want to see in a QB is mental toughness. That's the biggest concern, to me..." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)

Commentary: Time for Buckeyes fans to admit the team is mediocre: Jim Morris writes: "For a longtime Ohio State football fan, Saturday’s game at Purdue was difficult to watch. I am sure I was not alone as I squirmed in my La-Z-Boy and occasionally hollered things like, "Oh, no!" and "This is ridiculous!" and, yes, "Time to get him outta there." Perhaps I am the type OSU coach Jim Tressel referred to a few weeks ago when he as much as told some of the Buckeye faithful to get a life...This year’s team is mediocre. It is a team with a good defense, but not a great one — not as great as some of the Buckeyes’ recent editions. It is a team with a poor offense. Each week we have waited for the explosion. Each week seems to be worse than the week before. Tressel, as head coach, has to take most of the blame. And Tressel, as the guy who calls the offensive plays, should take all of the blame for a team that moves the ball with infrequency. He was clearly outcoached on Saturday as the person calling the Purdue plays kept mixing it up, keeping the OSU defense off balance..." (Source: Dayton Daily News)

Big Ten is still winnable; what happened to Brandon Saine?: Doug Lesmerises writes: "...If the Buckeyes would lose one more but wind up in a tiebreaker at 6-2 with several ties, the solution would be more complicated. OK, back to the matter at hand. Here's a point I didn't touch on much in the stories from Purdue: Where was Brandon Saine, especially in the second half? Ohio State's tailback carried the ball just once for no gain after halftime, and finished with seven carries compared to 21 for Pryor. Was Purdue so dominant up front that the Buckeyes stopped trying to run? The third quarter was eaten up by Pryor's two picks, but why weren't any of the 10 plays in that quarter a handoff to Saine?..." (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Fraud Alert: "Ohio State (and its quarterback). Not only did the Buckeyes lose to one of the worst BCS teams, they lost convincingly. Purdue had double the first downs (24-12), dominated time of possession (36:08 to 23:52) and led by 16 in the fourth quarter. Get ready; losses to Iowa and Penn State are on the way, and no longer can the Buckeyes chalk up Michigan as an automatic W. Ohio State could be staring at 7-5." (Source: Sporting News)

Who's hot?: "The fans. There is no truth to the rumor that Saturday's offensive performance was sponsored by the new movie Men Who Stare At Goats. But the loss sure got Buckeye fans' goat. Losing close to Southern California, which was No. 3 at the time, left a bruise. Losing this game left a black eye. As the embarrassment/anger/grief/despair/second-guessing/coaching tips in the incoming e-mails suggest, OSU fans are weary of watching other teams play offense while theirs just muddles forth." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)

What's not hot?: "Ohio State's open-door policy. The offensive line and pass-protection schemes made the Purdue defense look like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Seeing one fellow break through on a well-timed blitz was one thing. Watching several burst through like the start of a Kentucky Derby was inexplicable. No argument that Terrelle Pryor has a long way to go and might not ever get there; no question Joe Bauserman should get a chance just because. But Tim Tebow couldn't deal with some of the chaos that is the OSU pocket these days. Still, your quarterback just cannot turn the ball over four times, no matter what." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)

Buckeyes not among BCS uncertainties: "Terrelle Pryor got one thing right on Saturday. "Right now, we've just got to be worried about the Big Ten," Ohio State's quarterback said after a 26-18 loss at Purdue, "because the national championship game is gone." The Buckeyes had best be worried about the Big Ten because they still have games against Iowa, Penn State, and, yes, even Michigan. Nothing is automatic now because the offense has officially been declared inept...but deficiencies are often colored by winning. It's a different story when one of the worst teams in any of the BCS conferences holds the Buckeyes to 66 net rushing yards and forces five turnovers." (Source: Toledo Blade)

Creativity, not coddling, will fix what's wrong with OSU's Pryor: Jon Spencer writes: "...You know things are bad when Jim Tressel is asked in his post-mortem about the two picks thrown by Pryor and can't distinguish them from the other 29 passes he threw. "I can't remember exactly which ones we're talking about," he said. "There's no margin for error if we want to be Big Ten champions, that's for sure," Tressel said...While he can't be held accountable for Pryor's miscues, it's the coach's fault for not doing more to take some of the onus off his pained prodigy. On an afternoon when the offensive line was clearly overmatched by Purdue's defensive front, why not take advantage of your speed on the flanks with more quick passes to a Ray Small or underused Lamaar Thomas? Purdue, still executing its "basketball on grass" approach under Joe Tiller disciple Danny Hope, made a killing with its possession passing to neutralize OSU's sack attack. Why not mix in a few screen passes or reverses to take some of the steam out of the Boilers' pass rush and lighten Pryor's load? Why abandon the running game, so effective with Saine, when the deficit was only 16-7?...That's on Tressel, not Pryor...Unless Tressel gets more creative to offset his QB's shortcomings and the tutoring he apparently isn't getting, it's going to get tougher to see the mountains that frame the Rose Bowl through all the clouds in Columbus...at the very least Tressel should be forced in the offseason -- are you listening Gene Smith? -- to overhaul his offensive staff and hire someone other than himself as coordinator..." (Source: Mansfield News Journal)

Nightmare in West Lafayette: " I have been strictly opposed to sidelining Pryor, but his performance today against one of the weakest defenses in the Big Ten has reversed my opinion. I want Joe Bauserman, and I want him now!...In addition to throwing two interceptions, he also committed two costly fumbles...When Pryor committed to the Ohio State University as a high school senior, I was positive he would only stick around for three years and then bolt for the NFL. Now that there is no chance of that happening, I have realized we will have to endure another two seasons with TP as our quarterback unless someone steps up and takes the job from him...Each week, Pryor seems to regress in his ability to read the defense, make smart decisions, and complete quick, intelligent passes. If we want to run an offense that throws the ball 31 times like we did today, we need a pocket passing quarterback (Joe) not a scrambling quarterback (Terrelle)...Mr. Bauserman is better suited to lead this football team. Joe just turned 24 years old, so his maturity is light-years beyond the maturity of Pryor. Joe is a typical pocket passer, but he is still athletic enough to move around in the pocket (4.7 in the 40-yard dash). Though he is certainly unproven at the collegiate level, I would argue the same about Pryor..." (Source: Curse of Cleveland)

Difficult day for offensive linemen: "Granted, Terrelle Pryor did not have a great game yesterday, but The Great Houdini would have had difficulty escaping some of the traps the Ohio State offensive line left its quarterback in at times. "We didn't have a good day," right guard Bryant Browning said. The running game all but vanished after Ohio State's first touchdown, a 6-yard run by Pryor set up by a 20-yard gain by Brandon Saine. Pryor was sacked five times. Other times, he was ducking or working to evade Purdue's perpetual pressure. He still went 17 of 31 passing for 221 yards and a TD, but he threw two interceptions " (Source: Columbus Dispatch)

Debunking the myths of this college football season: "Ohio State will soar with Terrelle Pryor maturing at quarterback. Not yet he hasn't. The Buckeyes were stunned by a 1-5 Purdue team whose intent was to force 3rd-and-long, and then put the pressure on Pryor. He had four turnovers. "At this point in his career," Purdue coach Danny Hope said, "Pryor struggles in those situations." "The true test of a team is how they handle difficult situations," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "And we're in that right now." Consider the Buckeyes' November: At Penn State, home to unbeaten Iowa, at Michigan." (Source: USA Today)

Pryor, Boise State biggest frauds in college football: Cory Giger writes: "Hype is one thing, reality is another. This is the reality for the five biggest frauds in college football this season: No. 1: Terrelle Pryor. He's not an average quarterback. He's not a below-average quarterback. Terrelle Pryor is a bad quarterback whose lack of progress midway through his sophomore season has to be alarming at Ohio State. Pryor is a phenomenal athlete with great potential. But it's looking more and more like he's a phenomenal athlete who's playing the wrong position. The 6-foot-6, 235-pounder has wide receiver written all over him, and that's where he likely will play in the NFL...As crazy as it sounds now, it may be a good thing Pryor did not come to Penn State. He would be in his second year sitting behind Daryll Clark - a much, much better quarterback at this point - and given that he hasn't developed much as a starter so far, there's little reason to believe Pryor would be reliable after being a backup for two years. The Buckeyes and coach Jim Tressel don't seem to know what to do with Pryor. Do they continue to try and make him comfortable as a drop-back passer, or do they revamp the offense and take advantage of his overall athletic abilities? "He's definitely a tremendous talent," (Penn St. QB Daryl) Clark said when asked Saturday about Pryor. OK, but is he a quarterback? "I feel like he's a quarterback," Clark said. "He can definitely hurt you both ways [running and throwing]. "I feel like he's more of a runner right now, still has to work on becoming a polished passer," Clark added. "It could definitely happen for him."..." (Source: Altoona Mirror)

"Can Jim Tressel Revive Ohio State's Offense in the Short Term?: How can Jim Tressel possibly turn Ohio State's offense, and season, around? Here are some suggestions for short-term changes that Tressel and his offensive staff can implement. 1. Go to a four wideout set with Brandon Saine in the backfield with Terrelle Pryor...2. Let Terrelle Pryor Be Terrelle Pryor...3. Make Brandon Saine The Focal Point Of Ohio State's Offense...4. Incorporate Lamaar Thomas More Into The Offense...5. Use Jake Stoneburner At Tight End More..." (Source: Bleacher Report)

OSU misfired on quarterback Stanzi: "...The only thing recruiting doesn't allow is do-overs, especially when we're talking quarterbacks. Which brings us today's topic. If Ohio State coach Jim Tressel had to do it all over again, do you think he would have given Lake Catholic's Ricky Stanzi more than just a look-see four years ago when he was a high school senior and had his offer from Iowa in his back pocket? Stanzi, though, is proof recruiting is the most inexact aspect of the game. Projecting how players, especially quarterbacks, handle adversity, pressure and criticism, adapt to an offensive system and execute in front of 100,000 fans is why coaches are paid millions..." (Source: The News Herald)

XQ Pressure on Terrelle Pryor growing: Angelique S. Chengelis writes: "Frustration is beginning to mount in Columbus with regard to Ohio State sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor. After a stunning 26-18 loss at Purdue to a team that was 1-5 entering the game, the Buckeyes' offense headed home with its confidence surely shaken. Pryor committed four of the Buckeyes' five turnovers and was sacked five times. Still, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said nothing critical about Pryor afterward, although he was asked several times if he had considered benching Pryor. The answer, by the way, was "No." Pryor received vocal support from OSU sophomore receiver DeVier Posey. "He's a sophomore, and he's going to get better," Posey told the Columbus Dispatch. "I don't know what you guys want. I don't know if you guys want a Heisman candidate right now, but everybody's path is different. "I'm going to defend him. He has a lot of getting better to do, but he's a great player. We're going to get together, and when we win, he's going to be our quarterback."..." (Source: The Detroit News)

BCS ratings leave OSU in the dust: "The first official Bowl Championship Series standings were released yesterday and, for the first time in years, Ohio State is more bystander than participant. After being knocked off Saturday at Purdue, OSU is ranked 19th in the initial standings. The BCS standings are volatile from week to week, but the Buckeyes are so far back that virtually nothing will make them a major factor the final month of the season. Considering their mounting troubles, a little anonymity might be a good thing..." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)

Shocking Loss Provides Teachable Moment for a Young OSU Team: "...While almost everyone around Columbus is calling for the head of Terrelle Pryor, I take a slightly different approach. Take this game, and learn from it. This loss had all the signs of a young team who came in cocky. They expected to take the field and steamroll the Boilermakers... They (Purdue) threw the kitchen sink at Terrelle Pryor, forcing him to make quick decisions. The result was a slew of terrible passes, fumbles, and interceptions. He was unable to make quick decisions on his feet. He passed when he should have run, he ran when he should have passed, and he fumbled the ball trying to make too many plays. OSU’s defensive game plan was the exact opposite; it couldn’t have been less effective. I credit the defense for holding Purdue to two field goals after two red zone turnovers. However, they failed to get consistent pressure on Purdue quarterback Joey Elliot, rarely blitzing him...So where do we go from here? While most people in Columbus push the panic button, I say we learn from our mistakes...With the exception of Kurt Coleman, the key members of this Buckeye squad on both sides of the football are all sophomores and juniors..." (Source: LeBrowns Town)

The Big Ten picture: "Iowa solidified its position as the team to beat. The Hawkeyes overcame an early deficit to win at Wisconsin. Ohio State is regressing, and Iowa already has beaten Penn State on the road. Michigan State stayed on track by beating Northwestern, setting up next week's showdown against the Hawkeyes. Penn State stayed in the chase by beating Minnesota. Michigan whipped up on Delaware State. (Seriously, Delaware State?) As for Illinois, can someone put Ron Zook out of his misery already?" (Source: Columbus Dispatch)

Bad Buckeyes: In recent years, no matter how poorly it stumbled on the big stage, Ohio State could kick around the Big Ten. Now that safety valve is gone and Terrelle Pryor will be under more scrutiny than the stock market. Pryor, who comes off as a me-first player, has it all on his shoulders now. The kid has NFL talent — as a tight end. In a dismal loss 26-18 at Purdue on Saturday, Oct. 17, he looked like he couldn’t locate the fan dressed as a giant Care Bear. His touchdown pass was even a bad throw. For better or worse, OSU fans are stuck with Pryor because there isn’t a better option. The kid came to Columbus expecting to win a Heisman and a national title. He might have to settle for a trip to the Alamo Bowl. (Source: Dayton Daily News)

25 words or fewer: Who needs 25? Three will suffice: Just block somebody. No more excuses. Find an offense. Pryor needs help. Why not Bauserman? UC has quarter backs (Ouch!). (Source: Columbus Dispatch)

Top 25 Overview
Top 25 Weekend Review
Top 25 Coaches Poll

BCS Standings

Harris Poll

AP Poll

Top 25 Overview WEEK 7 2009
Source: ESPN - All Top 25 Teams for the 7th week of the season,
including Recap, Box Score, Play-by-Play, Drive Chart, Photos

Jeff Sagarin NCAA football ratings & Jeff Sagarin Conference Rankings
Check out all of the polls on our Polls, Rankings & BCS page.

Op-Ed BlogspacerTerrelle Pryor hasn't met high expectations: Bill Livingston
October 16, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "By now, I thought Terrelle Pryor would show signs of pushing Troy Smith and Joe Germaine as the best quarterbacks I have seen in my 25 years around Ohio State football. Hasn't happened. Not even close. Instead, the most ballyhooed quarterback in Buckeyes history is becoming another Craig Krenzel, a game manager, a guy who doesn't lose the game and lets the defense and special teams win it. Actually, since Krenzel was the quarterback for the white-knuckled national championship season of 2002, he has a card that trumps anything Pryor can play. Pryor was better last season, when he was thrown in as a true freshman, when he started from the fourth game until Todd Boeckman took the opening snap in the Fiesta Bowl. He threw for 12 touchdowns against four interceptions with a 60.6 percent completion rate last year. This year, his stats show nine TD passes and six picks, 56.3 percent completions..." Click to Read the rest

Another VoicespacerPryor, Purdue Expose Tressel's Inadequacy
October 18, 2009 Source: Bleacher Report - "Jim Tressel has consistently placed The Ohio State University in the top ten, defeated that team up north, and brought top notch talent to the flag ship of Ohio. Several years ago these accomplishments had given the “good guy” of Buckeye football a nearly unassailable place at the helm of the scarlet and gray, but after a few nationally televised losses—and now one shocking upset—that position is under fire. There clearly is a problem, and it is not with his conservative play calling. The problem is much deeper. He may be heralded as the good guy of college football, but this problem begins with Jim Tressel’s character.

I committed a cardinal sin. Instead of thinking for myself I went along with what everyone said. Tressel is a big character guy. When athletes come to Ohio State they learn how to play football, and how to be a man. I’d go along with it just as much as the next guy, while not a thinker, I was a believer. Then the Texas game rolled around and Tressel said something so fundamentally wrong it shook me out of my sinful ways. In an interview before the game, Tressel was asked if he felt any professional pressure to win. He responded no.

...The Buckeye players are not in positions to be successful because of Tressel’s inadequacy...He is has strengths and he has weaknesses. Tressel needs to start utilizing the first and masking the second. But before that can happen, Tressel needs to dedicate his team to success and allow other coaches to contribute.

Pryor isn’t a great decision maker, he’s proven that. So Tressel sits him in the pocket with five wide. That means the reads are complicated, quick and difficult. Why not simplify things for him by giving him fewer reads. That makes the reads less difficult and gives him more time to make them as he typically would have more blockers to slow down the rush.

Pryor’s best plays are characteristically his rush attempts, so why is Pryor being told to sit in the pocket? Design boots, get Pryor moving so he has more time to make decisions. Force defensive backs and linebackers to dedicate themselves to his legs so they have less to devote to his arm..." Click to Read the rest

Another VoicespacerEx-NFL scout, former Buckeye not sold on Pryor
October 15, 2009 Source: Canton Repository - "When the rest of the recruiting analysts gushed over Terrelle Pryor, there was one who wasn’t convinced. There was one guy who practically guaranteed Pryor would not win the Heisman Trophy and walked a fine line on whether he believed the Jeannette, Pa., star would become the passer everyone thought he would. Bill Urbanik, who played at Ohio State and spent 53 years in football, most as a coach and personnel scout in the NFL, still doesn’t believe Pryor will be become an accurate passer. He has height, yes height, on his side...

"You look at big quarterbacks, guys 6-5 and taller, and tell me how they turned out," Urbanik said. "I saw (Pryor) on tape, and here’s what I know after 53 years in this game. If you’re called quarterback, but you’d rather run it than throw it, you have a problem being called quarterback. "When it becomes more comfortable to run it than throw it and you have more confidence in your ability to run it, you have problems. Ask Steve McNair. Ask Vince Young. Ask JaMarcus Russell."...

Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger are currently two of the most successful quarterbacks. Derek Anderson is 6-6. Carson Palmer is 6-5. "If you’re height is 6-6 and 6-7, maybe even 6-5, you don’t have the fine-motor skills to throw it accurately," Urbanik said...

Are the Buckeyes slowly getting to where Tressel wants? "Slowly," he said. Urbanik isn’t convinced. A half century in the NFL game tells him Pryor’s size isn’t conducive to being a fine passer. He likes Pryor as an athlete and believes his best position in the NFL, ultimately, will be tight end.

"I don’t think he’s going to get much better," Urbanik said. "He is what he is. You take it or leave it and you either like it or you don’t. But he’s midway through his second year and I don’t know that he’s changed that much. How do you change? How do you become a pocket passer if you’re Terrelle Pryor?" Perhaps to study Troy Smith...." Click to Read the rest

Best of the Buckeyes
In a survey of 13 other writers who cover Ohio State every week, Kurt Coleman and Cameron Heyward were the runaway leaders as the best players on the Buckeyes. Writers were asked to vote for their top three in order, with points awards on a 3, 2, 1 basis. First-place votes in parentheses.

Rank, player -- points
1. S Kurt Coleman (7) -- 33
2. DL Cameron Heyward (5) -- 23
T3. DL Doug Worthington (1) -- 5
T3. LB Ross Homan -- 5
T3. LB Brian Rolle -- 5
T6. OL Justin Boren -- 2
T6. S Jermale Hines -- 2
T8. QB Terrelle Pryor -- 1
T8. TE Jake Ballard -- 1
T8. OL Bryant Browning -- 1

The Plain Dealer Top 20
Doug Lesmerises' list of the best 20 current Ohio State football players, listed with their previous ranking from the preseason list.

Rank, player -- preseason rank
1. S Kurt Coleman -- 2
2. DL Cameron Heyward -- 6
3. LB Ross Homan -- 5
4. DL Doug Worthington -- 12
5. DE Thaddeus Gibson -- 3
6. OL Justin Boren -- 4
7. S Jermale Hines -- 10
8. LB Brian Rolle -- NR
9. RB Brandon Saine -- 18
10. QB Terrelle Pryor -- 1
11. CB Chimdi Chekwa -- 7
12. WR Dane Sanzenbacher -- 16
13. DT Dexter Larimore -- NR
14. TE Jake Ballard -- 14
15. WR DeVier Posey -- 19
16. LB Austin Spitler -- NR
17. DE Nathan Williams -- NR
18. OL Bryant Browning -- NR
19. CB Devon Torrence -- NR
20. K Aaron Pettrey -- 17

Kurt Coleman has been Ohio State Buckeyes' top performer this season
October 16, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Kurt Coleman sees it in Cameron Heyward. Other observers of Ohio State football see it in Coleman. It's the intersection of talent, experience and desire, the attributes that turn a good player great, the qualities that have made the senior safety and the junior defensive lineman the Buckeyes' best two players halfway through the season. "I always thought Cameron Heyward was a monster," Coleman said, "but I think this year he's taking it personally...

Pressuring the quarterback and punishing receivers, forcing bad throws and grabbing interceptions, Heyward and Coleman have worked in tandem as Ohio State's defensive line and defensive secondary have proven to be game-changers. "I hope so," Coleman said when asked if he has lifted his play this season. "I don't want to become complacent. I want to challenge myself every day. I want to become the best."...

"I think it starts with the whole defense," Heyward said when asked for one player who has raised his game. That's hard to argue..."This weekend and the next six, seven games, we'll (the offense) be better," Pryor said. "A lot better."...The defense doesn't have to make that promise. For the most part, 'it has shown it, with Coleman as a senior captain leading the charge...

When Haynes tweaks Coleman by saying he's getting slower, Coleman counters like a veteran, saying "I got faster in my mind, so I play faster." That has allowed Coleman to believe that he's playing on a level with the best in the country, such as Tennessee's Eric Berry, at the position he loves. "I love to hit, and the great thing about safety is you're not isolated on one side on the field," Coleman said. "You're able to see the whole field, and you're able to make the majority of plays." If he can't make a play, Coleman has plenty of talent around him ready to help. Click to Read the rest

Bucknuts TV: Brewster Takes Inventory
Center Michael Brewster talks about the offensive line, Pryor, the offense and more.

Is the Offense Worse than Last Year?
October 15, 2009 Source: Eleven Warriors - "Despite a 5-1 start and just four points separating the Buckeyes from a 6-0 mark, there’s still plenty of concern from members (you said members) of the fanbase who continue to struggle with the notion that a team with so many big time recruits can struggle to consistently move the ball both through the air and on the ground, especially against stiff competition.

Obviously, most of the criticism the last two years has fallen upon the offensive line and Terrelle Pryor, so much so that the less objective members of Block O Nation cling to reasons/excuses like a security blanket but the bottom line is the Buckeye offense hasn’t gotten it done consistently enough to be considered competitive on an elite scale. Trying to set aside preconceived notions, I decided to throw together some data comparing last season’s offense to the current one to see if anything stood out. The numbers are as follows:

2009 Offense vs. 2008 Offense
Year Rush Off Rank Pass Off Rank Total Off Rank Sacks Rank
2008 192.46 24 150.23 105 342.69 76 2.23 83
2009 172.17 42 166.17 108 338.33 86 1.33 37

...Obviously, the main difference in these two offenses is the key cog in the machine. Last year, Beanie was the guy whenever he wasn’t on the sidelines whereas Pryor is the man tabbed to carry the offense on his back this year...Knowing this offense can only go as far as TP and his development takes it, let’s scan his ‘08 season numbers in comparison to the first six games of 2009:

2009 Terrelle vs. 2008 Terrelle
Year Pass Eff Total Off Comp Att Comp% TD/INT INT% Rush APG Rush YPG
2008 146.5 149.38 100 165 60.6% 12/4 2.42% 10.7 48.5
2009 132.3 213.50 72 128 56.3% 9/6 4.69% 10.8 55.5

...Looking for other reasons to explain his accuracy dip, I checked to see if maybe he’s throwing deeper routes but the numbers say his completions are going for 13.16 yards in ‘09 versus 13.11 last year. Add in the fact he’s throwing INT’s at nearly twice the rate this year combined with the aforementioned improved protection and I’m left scratching my head. So what’s your take on the drop in accuracy?..." Click to Read the rest

Quote of the Day"I find a way every week to get confident, but I really feel confident about this week. I really feel like I got something done with my footwork by watching the last game, and I feel like our timing is so much -- it's real good this week. The coaches have put in some pretty good plays this week, too, and I think we could light up the scoreboard." - Terrelle Pryor responding to reporters on Wednesday.
Quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano was quick to avoid providing any bulletin-board material. "I don't want it misinterpreted that he says, 'Purdue is not very good, and we can go out and score 40' -- nuh-uh," Siciliano said. "That's not what he was getting at. He was just saying he believes, 'Hey, it could come together this week.' "

VideoPryor Meets the Media October 14, 2009 Source: The Ozone
Terrelle Pryor talked with reporters on Wednesday about his progress as a quarterback and the high expectations for him from the media and fans.

VideoSiciliano Meets the Media October 14, 2009 Source: The Ozone
Quarterbacks Coach Nick Siciliano answered questions about Terrelle Pryor from the press on Wednesday, like "When are you moving Terrelle to Wide Receiver?"

spacerTerrelle Pryor hears the complaints, and OSU's QB is certain better times are coming
October 14, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Coaches and players like to claim that they don't hear or read outside criticism, but Ohio State sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor has always made it clear that he gets the message when people think he's not playing well. "I think he knows," Ohio State quarterback coach Nick Siciliano said Wednesday. "I don't know if it gets to him. He's a very motivated kid. Anything you do to throw some gas on the fire, he gets going even more. He understands what everybody expects from him, not only in this building but everywhere else. He's very aware of that."...

He's seventh in the Big Ten in both passing efficiency and total offense, but for a first-place team that's ranked No. 7 in the country. A path that hasn't exactly been a smooth uphill climb, yet has been filled with wins and the occasional spectacular play, always makes Pryor difficult to evaluate. The fact that he was the No. 1 recruit in the country complicates it further -- and he knows it...

Pryor said he wasn't sure how to express it, but he agreed with the assessment of senior receiver Ray Small that a breakout for the offense is coming, maybe Saturday at Purdue. Pryor thinks he fixed a flaw in his footwork that may help that effort. "Some offensive teams, they don't get to their peak until midseason," Pryor said. "Sometimes you get down, but you've got to jump back up and get confident again. I feel real comfortable this week. I think we can light up the scoreboard."

spacerBoth Pryor and Siciliano added the requisite respect for the 1-5 Boilermakers, but regardless of the opponent, a lot of people are looking for more offense from the Buckeyes...

"People will try to put the blame on him," sophomore center Mike Brewster said of Pryor, "but that's what they do everywhere when the offense doesn't put up the points you expect." In Pryor's case, everything is amplified...

"It's rough. He's a college quarterback, he's not an NFL guy," Siciliano said. "You've got to understand there is a learning curve here. He's still working at his craft, and we can't forget about that."...

But, just so you know, he's a quarterback -- he's not moving to receiver..." Click to Read the rest

Simpler defense is a better defense, say OSU's Coleman, Homan
October 14, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - " Ohio State defenders across the board have talked about it this season -- the defensive linemen are worrying less about filling gaps and just attacking, the linebackers are doing less reading and reacting and just attacking. Safety Kurt Coleman and linebacker Ross Homan helped explain it even more, or even less, this week. The players think the defense is better this season because it's simpler.

"It allows the linebackers and safeties to just fly," Coleman said. "The last few years we've had some technicalities of 'got to do this, got to do this, blah, blah, blah.' This year, it's kind of like this, 'go.' It's just allowing us to roam."...

Coleman said the shift came out of year-end meetings between the defensive players and coaches, a typical part of every season. Gradually over the course of last season, the defense was pared down to allow for more play-making, and that trend has carried over to an even greater extent this season, at the players' suggestion.

Safeties coach Paul Haynes said the idea carries over to the weekly game plan, which shrinks by the end of the week after watching what the players can and can't do in practice. "It doesn't matter what we know as coaches, it's what they know," Haynes said. "If they know, they'll play fast, and that's the bottom line."..." Click to Read the rest

spacerJim Tressel, playcalling and the Ohio State offense
October 14, 2009 Source: ESPN - "When Wisconsin opened Saturday's game with a defense that Ohio State didn't expect, Jim Tressel was talking into his headset and actively examining his playcard. In previous weeks, observers of the Buckeyes had been reading the head coach's lips, attempting to discern how much Tressel was or wasn't contributing to the offensive playcalls during the game. Had assistant head coach and receivers coach Darrell Hazell really emerged as the Buckeyes' playcaller, and maybe, offensive coordinator? Was the offense headed in a new direction in his hands?

It can be difficult to get a straight answer from Tressel, who has always maintained two things, that the offensive playcalling is collaborative and that he can never imagine removing himself from the process. Tressel has always said that he held veto power, but it came across as more like final say - a final decision, not just a final no.

Yes, Jim Bollman, who holds the title of offensive coordinator...But in the end, Tressel was the guy. But this year, at times, he looked less so, standing more off to the side as Hazell signaled in the plays (though Hazell has always signaled in the plays.) When Terrelle Pryor came to the sideline, the quarterback sometimes appeared to communicate more with Hazell than with Tressel.

After the Toledo game, Tressel said that yes, Hazell had called some plays, as he had in the past. Hazell calling plays? That seemed like news. And as the offense transitioned to much more of a shotgun look, and away from the I formation, there was less of an obvious Tressel stamp on the scheme. So who is really calling the shots for this offense now, and where is it headed? I certainly don't have all the answers. But from several conversations, this is my belief of what might be happening.

spacer1. The gameplan and, to a large extent, the playcalling, really does take place during the week. Tressel and his offensive assistants create a plan and script that puts them on the same page and allows them on third-and-3 from the 35-yardline to know what they want to do against that opposing defense. Maybe there's a choice of two or three plays to call, but really, the decision of how to attack is made long before kickoff. So whichever coach is actually making "the call" during the game is less of an issue that we may believe...

2. Has Tressel accepted more outside input from his coaches this season? Maybe. Coincidentally, Hazell was the coach who first mentioned the idea of going away from a formation that the coaches saw wasn't working, and then the I almost vanished from the gameplan for a game...

3. A point that has been made by my colleague Marcus Hartman of Buckeye Sports Bulletin, with whom I have discussed this offense many times, is that the Buckeyes are still headed to the same place as an offense - which is a mix of shotgun and I, run and pass, short throws and deep throws, read option running and power running - but that they're just taking a different path...

4. What really matters is what happens during the game when adjustments need to be made. When a defense surprises the Buckeyes, or what they planned isn't really working, what happens then? Who's in charge? I think the Wisconsin game showed that it's Tressel...

I haven't necessarily agreed when some have called for the Buckeyes to hire a new offensive coordinator, but I've always thought Tressel could be more open to input from outside his comfort zone and circle of trust...I think almost everyone that follows Ohio State believes Hazell to be a sharp mind with a promising future, so maybe we're seeing more of his vision this season.

But ask yourself this. Would Jim Tressel, a man whose greatest joy as a coach is the chess game against the opposing defense, recruit the No. 1 quarterback in the country, maybe the most gifted athlete he's ever coached, and then choose that moment to take a major step back from what he loves? I do believe that Pryor's offensive skills and Tressel's offensive philosophy aren't a natural fit. But Tressel helped Troy Smith win a Heisman Trophy and reach the national title game in this offense. I can't believe he'd take a step back from trying to match, or even better that, with Pryor..." Click to Read the rest

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany On
New Big Ten Bowl Lineup

Buckeyes may have known when UW was going to run or pass
October 15, 2009 Source: SportsMadison.com - "The University of Wisconsin offensive line had so many problems against Ohio State last week, it was almost like the Buckeyes' defense knew what was coming. Maybe it did.

One of the things that may have happened during the game was redshirt freshman center Peter Konz tipping off whether it was a run or pass, based on what he did at the line before the play. Konz said that's something he is working on this week, after offensive line coach Bob Bostad talked to him about it. "Coach said sometimes I was giving it away," Konz said. "I definitely don't want to make it obvious. When they see me getting up to the line, they can (tell) if it's pass or run sometimes."..." Click to Read the rest

OSU's offense must improve in-game adjustments
October 14, 2009 Source: ESPN - "As Ohio State's defense continues its superb play this season, Buckeyes fans have turned their attention toward Terrelle Pryor and the offense. Despite the loss to USC, the Buckeyes are playing like a BCS bowl champion in two of the three phases. But the third phase has been inconsistent for much of the season, as Ohio State ranks last in the Big Ten in passing and 10th in total offense.

What must the offense improve on during the second half of the season? I asked this of head coach Jim Tressel on Tuesday, and he cited two areas. The first was no surprise, given Tressel's pillars for success. He wants Ohio State to cut down its turnovers. Though the Buckeyes have committed a league-low nine giveaways this year, they're already approaching their total for all of last season (13). Tressel's second area for improvement was much more intriguing.

"We've got to do a little bit better job of adjusting to whatever it is our opponent's going to [use] that perhaps isn't exactly the way they played it on the film," he said. "Sometimes when you have a younger group and you're trying to train them off the film and then people don't come out and do exactly that, we have to learn on the run a little bit better so that we can have a little bit more consistency."

In other words, adjustments have been a challenge for an offense led by a sophomore quarterback and featuring only one senior starter (tight end Jake Ballard) and only two seniors (Ballard and wideout Ray Small) in the regular rotation. It's not that Pryor and the offense aren't prepared for what an opponent has done in previous games. But when opponents shake things up, the Buckeyes haven't caught on fast enough..."It's not simply a quarterback issue. It's an issue for everyone involved."

With this defense, Ohio State could have a special second half. But most teams don't win BCS bowl games without more consistency from the offensive side...." Click to Read the rest

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