Preview and postgame sections for the 2009-10 season here.
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Offensive Player of the Week: 'Boom' Herron, RB
Defensive Player of the Week: Brian Rolle, LB
Attack Force Award: Nathan Williams, DE
Jim Parker Lineman Award: Justin Boren, OG
Special Units Player of the Week: Jonathan Newsome, LB
Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award: Storm Klein, LB
Scout Team Champions: Offense: Verlon Reed; Defense: Stewart Smith; Special Units: Dionte Allen
Sabino likely to keep redshirt October 28, 2010 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com - "Despite rumors all week that Sabino could have his redshirt lifted Saturday at Minnesota, it seems as if Tressel and the coaching staff will keep him on course to fulfill his redshirt season. "He probably won't play," Tressel said in his weekly Thursday press conference. "We were all talking about it. That was something that we were considering. Then as we've gone through the two days of practice, we've just decided that probably won't occur."
Sabino, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker that sports great strength and speed, was expected to step in as the team's starting strongside linebacker this season. Instead, Sabino was beat out for the job by Andrew Sweat in fall camp and agreed to redshirt in order to preserve two more years of eligibility as a potential starter. With just four regular season games remaining on the schedule, Sabino's redshirt would have been pulled late in the season. Tressel admitted the coaching staff strongly considered playing him, but it looks as if the Buckeyes will fill gaps without him.
"We are thin," Tressel admitted. "Not only are we thin at linebacker but we're thin at special teams because you lose those linebacker and defensive back kind of guys. We just went through all of those things and evaluated. We'd love to have him, but it's game nine."
Perhaps part of the motivation of not brining Sabino back was the fact that he may have felt he has come too far this season to burn an entire year's eligibility on a handful of games. While Tressel didn't indicate that Sabino was against it, he did admit that he wasn't sure the linebacker was thrilled with the coaching staff's discussions. "I'm not sure that he's 1,000 percent sure that it's the best thing," Tressel said, "and if you're not 1,000 percent sure, this is the wrong sport."..."
Sabino to Have Redshirt Lifted Against Minnesota October 26, 2010 Source: The Ozone - "Junior linebacker Etienne Sabino has not played a down for Ohio State this season, but that will likely change Saturday when the Buckeyes travel to Minnesota for their ninth game of the season. "I just found out today that he was going to step out and play," senior cornerback Chimdi Chekwa said Tuesday after practice. The junior out of Miami was competing for a starting spot during the off-season, but agreed to take a redshirt after losing the starting Sam linebacker spot to classmate Andrew Sweat during fall camp. "I was a little surprised," Chekwa said of the initial decision to redshirt a third year player like Sabino. "I havenít seen it, but it is what it is."
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker is one of the most physically gifted athletes on the team but he struggled to pick up the mental aspect of the Sam linebacker position after moving outside from the Mike linebacker spot he played at Dr. Krop High school. Because he is a year behind most of his classmates, the staff decided it might be best for Sabino to take a year to focus on learning the system so he can come back strong with two years of eligibility starting in 2011. Sabino agreed, and in a perfect world, that would have been the end of it. Only football doesnít happen in a vacuum. Guys get hurt every year, but Jim Tressel and his staff never could have imagined facing the type of widespread injuries that have hit the back seven of their defense in 2010. "I donít know the details of the situation," Chekwa said. "He was redshirting this year but weíve got a few guys banged up and now heís going to step up and play."..."
Sabino situation troubling: Rumors that linebacker Etienne Sabino may play on Saturday at Minnesota grew legs last night when CB Chimdi Chekwa said he had "found out" that Sabino was indeed going to play. I'll hold off buying into this 100 percent until I see it, or when I hear a coach confirm it. But if it's true, the coaching staff has mishandled this situation...Again, IF this actually happens, I think the staff is guilty of over-thinking on this one -- hoping to get two years of starting time out of Sabino, rather than doing what was best for 2010..."
The real reason we lost to Wisconsin: ..."Every elite team (letís call them the "Top Twenty" teams) has elite players. They are recruited as elite, they play elite, and then they typically go on to make a bunch of noise and money at the next elite level. Think not? Well, how good is Florida this year without Tebow? How good was Michigan for three years with no elite players at all? What happened to (fill in the blanks) when they lost (fill in the blanks). Thereís so much evidence here that it would make my fingers twinge if I typed it all out. In the past, we relied on elite players, who ultimately saved our collective asses. As Buckeye fans, do you remember guys like Michael Jenkins or Chris Gamble or Ted Ginn or Troy Smith or Beanie Wells? In big games, they came up big.
On with the "Mr. Bucknuts Elitist Theory"ÖEach team at this enlightened level has about three players that are truly elite; who can carry a team or make the difference between an "L" and a "W". Wisconsin Ė IMHO Ė had three: Scott Tolzien, John Clay and JJ Watt. Ohio State had three: Terrelle Pryor, Cameron Heyward and Devier Posey. If you look (at least on paper) at our three versus their three, you would take our three every time. Thatís why we should have won. But it didnít work out that way on October 16, 2010. Thatís why we lost.
On a scale of 1-10, Tolzien and Clay and JJ Watt played at levels of between 8-9. On a scale of 1-10, Pryor and Posey and Heyward played on a scale closer to 3-4. Thatís right. Heyward disappeared. Pryor and Posey looked nervous and immature. Add it up. Thatís why we lost. Big players have to make big plays in big games. Theirs did. Ours didnít..."(Source: Bucknuts.com)
Buckeyes must get help in Big Ten: Michigan State, Wisconsin are roadblocks to title...The math for the path to at least a share of a sixth straight Big Ten championship would be like first grade arithmetic for Ohio State, if a couple of variables had fallen into place last week...the Buckeyes need more help as they prepare to travel to beleaguered Minnesota (1-7, 0-4) on Saturday night...For OSU's hopes, it's paramount that MSU lose at least once. Should they both finish 11-1 overall and 7-1 in the league, the Big Ten's first tiebreaker would be the higher rank in the final BCS standings on Dec.5. It's likely the Buckeyes - 11th in this week's BCS - would pass MSU (fifth this week) should the Spartans lose.
But at the moment, a three-way tie at the top involving Wisconsin (7-1, 3-1) seems just as likely. The Badgers, off this week, close out with Purdue, Indiana, Michigan and Northwestern. That's no murderers' row, especially considering the Northwestern game will be in Madison, Wis...Since the Spartans do not play OSU, a three-way tie would be decided by paragraph 4, clause "e" of the Big Ten tiebreaker rule: e. If three teams are still tied, and all three teams have the same winning percentage of all games played, the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings shall be the representative..."(Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Stolen Signals? Remember when the Oregon coaches "hinted" that the only reason Ohio State beat them in the Rose Bowl was that they had stolen their sideline signals? Well, they have fixed that issue now. Below, take a gander (is that Ducks or Geese?) at what an actual sideline card now looks like for the high-flying Oregon offense:
Building momentum, looking ahead: ..."I really want to see what Jaamal Berry can do as the go-to back for the Buckeyes...I want our offensive line to be huge and dominating...Those were basically my two thoughts during the dull second half on Saturday. Here are a few more really quick ones: There is no way that Pryor enters the draftÖ right? right??? Boom Herron is not a bad running back, he will benefit from my monster dream scenario offensive line next year as well. The 2011 defense is going to be interesting, we lose A LOT but we also have plenty of young talent. Will they take a step back, or reload a la 2006? Speaking of 2006, dream scenario: dominating offensive line, Pryor and Posey returning, Berry unleashed, Corey Brown being the dynamic play maker we are starting to see, the return of Duron CarterÖ could next years offense be better than 2006?..."(Source: Buckeye Battle Cry)
Ohio State focuses on stretch run: ..."Every game you learn something about yourself,'' defensive end Cameron Heyward said. "Then you build on it. We need to do that at Minnesota...We have to take this challenge seriously,'' Heyward said. "They've got their backs against the wall and will play us hard. We have to be ready.''...
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor isn't looking forward to the late kickoff time for Ohio State's first game ever at TCF Bank Stadium. "I hate night games - you just sit around all day,'' he groused. "We need to be more focused and to make it a more businesslike trip. But no matter where you go on the road, if you play at night it's tough.'' The public perception is that the Buckeyes seldom play well at night. They have lost several high-profile games after dark, including the recent loss at Wisconsin, several flops in bowl games and a humiliating 35-3 beating at Southern California two years ago. They've also lost three of their last four night games at Ohio Stadium. But the Buckeyes have won seven of their last nine night games on another team's home field..."(Source: SI.com)
What we learned in the Big Ten: Week 8: ...The Vest is a master at revenge: You don't want to face Jim Tressel after Ohio State loses a game. Purdue learned this lesson the hard way Saturday, as Ohio State jumped ahead to a 42-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 49-0 win. The Buckeyes never gave the Boilers a chance at a second consecutive victory, holding Purdue to nine first downs and only 118 total yards. Ohio State is now 20-2 after losses under Tressel and hasn't dropped consecutive games since a three-game slide during the 2004 season, the last time the Buckeyes didn't win or share the Big Ten championship. Since 2004, the Buckeyes have won seven straight Big Ten games against teams that had beaten them in the previous meeting. By the way, Ohio State remains very much in the Big Ten title race..."(Source: ESPN)
Big Ten far from decided heading into November: ...knows what you're thinking: If Ohio State wins out, and Michigan State slips someplace, the Buckeyes could still grab a piece of a sixth straight Big Ten title. That's true. Here's what's left for each of the top teams in the standings, with a quick word on each:
1, Michigan State (8-0, 4-0): at Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue, at Penn State; A manageable schedule ó if the Spartans can escape Iowa City on Saturday with a win.
2 (tie), Ohio State (7-1, 3-1): at Minnesota, Penn State, at Iowa, Michigan; It all comes down to the showdown on Nov. 20 against the Hawkeyes.
2 (tie), Wisconsin (7-1, 3-1): at Purdue, Indiana, at Michigan, Northwestern; Easiest schedule of any of the contenders, although last two aren't walkovers.
4 (tie), Iowa (5-2, 2-1): Michigan State, at Indiana, at Northwestern, Ohio State, at Minnesota; Roughest road to hoe of the lot. This is a good Hawkeyes team, but not a stretch to see it losing three more times.
4 (tie), Purdue (4-3, 2-1): at Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, at Michigan State, Indiana; After landslide loss at Ohio State, doubtful Boiler Pete has enough horses to finish above .500..."(Source: Associated Press)
Iowa's Ferentz downplays timeout call: Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz downplayed his decision to call timeout with 12 seconds left against Wisconsin rather than clock the ball, a choice that proved costly in a 31-30 loss. "We wanted to burn the timeout and just go from there," Ferentz said. "I guess we could have gone the other way. Might have saved us two seconds, something like that. I don't think that was exactly the turning point in the game." Hawkeyes quarterback Ricky Stanzi looked ready to spike the ball after gaining a first down at the Wisconsin 39-yard line, but Iowa instead used its final timeout. Iowa's Adam Robinson was tackled in bounds on the next play, and the clock ran out before the Hawkeyes could attempt a field goal. "We took the timeout," Ferentz said. "We talked about it ahead of time. Could have clocked it. Cost you a couple, three seconds there. You could flip a coin on that one. Again, I don't think it's exactly the turning point." Les Miles might agree. Iowa fans probably won't...."(Source: ESPN)
From Ferentz post game press conference: Q. Last drive, quarterback sneak, was the plan to get up and spike the ball? COACH FERENTZ: No, we wanted to burn the timeout and just go from there. I guess we could have gone the other way. Might have saved us two seconds, something like that. I don't think that was exactly the turning point in the game.
Special teams need new attitude October 23, 2010 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Ohio State still might be undefeated, ranked No.1 and on track for the national championship game if only the Buckeyes had pounded Wisconsin into powder during the time it took to read this sentence..."You've got to be a little crazy," said Donnie Nickey, the former Ohio State safety who has played on specials teams since joining the Tennessee Titans in 2003. "You have to turn your common sense off and be willing to run into a wall. That's how I've made my living." It's also how the Buckeyes need to make their living the rest of the season and beyond; otherwise their coverage teams will always be a weak link."
Ohio State Must Cut the Cupcake Diet October 20, 2010 Source: The Bleacher Report - "Feast on too many cupcakes, get a rude awakening. Thatís not a lesson from health classóthatís the lesson the Ohio State Buckeyes should have learned Oct. 16, when the Wisconsin Badgers punched them in the mouth on the way to a 31-18 manhandling of the now-former No. 1 Bucks..."
Offensive Player of the Week: 'Boom' Herron, RB
Defensive Player of the Week: Cam Heyward, DE
Attack Force Award: Andrew Sweat, LB
Jim Parker Lineman Award: Bryant Browning, OG
Special Units Player of the Week: Jake McQuaide, LS
Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award: Andrew Sweat, LB
Scout Team Champions: Offense: Marcus Hall; Defense: David Durham ; Special Units: Chris Maxwell
"They lined up and ran the ball down our throats every play." - Purdue DE, Ryan Kerrigan.
BuckeyeGrove.com caught up with Cameron Heyward after the game on Saturday to talk about how the defense played and the mood of the team moving forward as there are only four games left in the regular season.
OSU Insider October 25, 2010 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "In the BCS/polls
The theory that it's better to lose early in Bowl Championship Series era is alive and well. Alabama, which lost three weeks ago at South Carolina, is back to No.6 in the coaches and Harris polls. Ohio State, which lost two weeks ago at Wisconsin, stayed No.10 in the coaches and Harris. Oklahoma, which lost at Missouri on Saturday night, plummeted from No.3 to No.11 in the coaches' poll (also No. 11 in the Harris), and from No.1 to No.9 in the BCS rankings. Ohio State is No.11 in the BCS, while Alabama is No.7. Meanwhile, coming off the win at Iowa, Wisconsin moved around OSU to No.9 in the coaches and Harris polls, No.10 in the BCS.
Terrelle Pryor. He directed the most prolific first half (415 yards) in the 10 years of Tressel ball. With 268 total yards, he passed Troy Smith by 110 yards into third on the school's career list (6,998). With 270 passing yards he climbed over Jim Karsatos to eighth on the OSU career list (5,180). With three more TD passes - Pryor now has 48 in his career - he is fifth on the OSU list, nine short of No.1 Smith's 57.
What's not hot?
The idea that Jordan Hall was the answer for the running game's doldrums. This isn't ripping on the sophomore, but after Daniel Herron was the driving force behind the opening touchdown drive, Hall took the field for the second possession. It floundered, but when the ensuing punt was muffed by Purdue and recovered by Jermale Hines, Herron returned and promptly scored his second TD. Maybe he doesn't look like Eddie George or run like Robert Smith, but Herron is gaining more of a rhythm each week.
What went right?
On the way to the first shutout since last year against New Mexico State, the OSU defense never let Purdue inside the red zone. After giving up just 118 yards, the Buckeyes now lead the Big Ten in total defense (234.50-yard avg.), rushing defense (94.23), scoring defense (14-point avg.), and pass efficiency defense and turnover margin (plus 1.83).
Back to the drawing board
Actually, offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and his staff ought to preserve last week's chalkboard. Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan ripped up the Buckeyes in 2009. Saturday, they took advantage of his aggressiveness, thus neutralizing it. And as Purdue showed, it had no one else to pick up the slack on defense.
The secondary lost another able body when sophomore backup Corey "Pittsburgh" Brown went down with a knee injury. It lost starting safety C.J. Barnett (knee) for the season in Game 2; nickel back Tyler Moeller (torn pectoral muscle) in Game 5; and new nickel back Christian Bryant (foot infection) last week for at least a few games. Linebacker Ross Homan (foot sprain) also isn't expected back until November.
Corey "Philly" Brown sure did. He went high to pull in his first touchdown pass, a 15-yard flip from Pryor in the first half. The freshman receiver has moved to No.3 in the rotation behind starters DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher. It's obvious the coaches like his potential and his smarts..."
Ohio State's loss to Wisconsin has opened things up for teams like Oklahoma, Oregon, Boise State, Auburn, TCU and a bevy of others in the college football landscape. Former Buckeye LeCharles Bentley knows this isn't the last we've seen of OSU this season.
"We still had 59 minutes and 48 seconds. So we had plenty of time to make up for that. But weíve got to get better at that." - Jim Tressel, while disappointed with the coverage yet again, said the returned kick didnít lose the game for his team.
"You think? I havenít noticed." - Jim Tressel, said sarcastically on Tuesday when asked if OSU fans get desperate after one loss.
Fire Tressel??? October 19, 2010 Source: Duane Long Report - "...I am at a loss to explain how anyone can decide that Jim Tressel should be fired over this loss. We got beat, Buckeye fans. It happens. We had a match-up that is not a good one for us. Wisconsin has been a thorn in our side going back to the Earle Bruce years. It is a solid program. They do not have the athletes we have but they do what they do very very well. It is the anti-athlete offense. Big, physical and tough. We will always have trouble with Wisconsin.
My question for those that want to fire Jim Tressel is why? Based on what, the fact that we lost a game? There were coaching mistakes. In blowouts there are coaching mistakes. The biggest problem we had is being outmanned up front. Huge tough linemen got into our chests and there was nothing we were going to do about it. We are undersized for this kind of game. We tried not to be. Tried very hard...When John Simon was looking so good and everyone was talking about the recruiting services for missing the boat on him, this is why he was not more highly rated. He is at a disadvantage against huge good well coached linemen. Same with Dex Larimore...
I think Jim Tressel can be too conservative. This is not news to anyone who has followed me over the years. I believe he waits on teams to lose the game. I would like to see him go out and win the game. I just don't see that as why we lost this game..."
Buckeyes banged up as Boilermakers loom October 19, 2010 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...OSU coach Jim Tressel said today at his weekly media luncheon that outside linebacker Ross Homan could be out for a couple of games after suffering a foot injury in the first half Saturday night. Jonathan Newsome took his place and likely will against Purdue. There also is the mysterious foot infection that has afflicted nickel back Christian Bryant. What started out as athlete's foot has escalated into a more serious condition for the freshman, insiders said. Bryant currently is receiving treatment at the OSU Medical Center and could be there through Thursday, Tressel said. Bryant won't be available for Saturday's game for sure, the coach said. That means the Buckeyes might roll starting safety Jermale Hines into the nickel slot when the occasion calls for it, with Aaron Gant taking Hines' spot. Jamie Wood and Nate Oliver also have practiced at nickel in recent weeks..."
Ohio State strayed from its foundation in upset loss to Wisconsin October 18, 2010 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - Doug Lesmerises analysis: "Ohio State didn't panic Saturday night. For that, and for their two confident and controlled touchdown drives in the second half, the Buckeyes deserve credit. But for the first 30 minutes of their 31-18 loss to Wisconsin, Ohio State didn't play with the confidence worthy of a No. 1 team or the urgency necessary for a team on the ropes...
ē The opening kickoff: Yes, Wisconsin returned it for a touchdown, exploiting an Ohio State weakness. Who cares? Ohio State returned the opening kickoff against Florida in the title game four years ago, and the Gators didn't exactly wilt. It's one play, seven points. Yet the Buckeyes talked after the game about what a tough punch that was to take.
ē Ohio State's second offensive play: The first was a 14-yard pass over the middle to DeVier Posey, exactly the kind of thing Ohio State has worked to success the season. The second was a Terrelle Pryor option toss from the pistol formation, when I can't remember the last time the Buckeyes ran that formation or that play. Should it have been a surprise that the toss was high, fumbled and resulted in a drive-killing 12-yard loss? Adjusting the game plan is great. But would a defiantly confident team try a play it hasn't run this season in the first minute of the game? Make Wisconsin stop what you do best first.
ē Wisconsin's two killer touchdown drives: The Badgers' offensive line was unbelievable. The OSU linebackers were continually blocked or took themselves out of the play. And they kept letting it happen. After it was established the defensive line was going to be handled on most plays, something needed to be changed quickly to let the back seven attack the holes. If Wisconsin beats you throwing over the top, well, at least you got them away from their bread-and-butter. Safety Jermale Hines attacked the run from the edge on a few plays, but it wasn't enough.
ē A third-down completion: With the Badgers ahead, 14-0, they faced third-and-6 from the 25. Guarding against the run, the Buckeyes were left in single coverage and cornerback Devon Torrence gave receiver David Gilreath a huge cushion to make an easy catch for the first down. Torrence is a senior with speed, so why wasn't he aggressively in Gilreath's face, daring him to beat him deep but refusing to allow an easy first-down throw? Chimdi Chekwa later was beaten by a crucial third-down throw in the fourth quarter when he lined up right over the receiver, but he at least made that throw a little more difficult.
ē Ohio State in the red zone: Down, 21-0, the Buckeyes at the Wisconsin 4 called two Pryor runs and a Dan Herron run from the wildcat. Not giving Pryor at least one pass/run option on a rollout was surprising, and the Buckeyes settled for a field goal after seeming like they were afraid to throw it in the end zone. They didn't let Herron try to power it in, either, which is what worked when they scored inside the 5 in the fourth quarter...
ē Not calling timeout at the end of the first half: The Buckeyes could have called a timeout with 59 seconds left after Wisconsin was stopped for no gain on second-and-14 at their 37, setting up a difficult third-and-14 for an offense that was not going to risk a pass after quarterback Scott Tolzien had been picked off the previous series. The only reason not to call a timeout is because you're afraid of Wisconsin converting. If your defense can't win that matchup, you're done anyway. A stop, another timeout, an average punt and a decent return would have given Ohio State the ball at its own 30 with 40 seconds left. A great return and you're past midfield...
There's nothing to change here. This team is what it was, and for all the special teams and defensive line issues, that's still pretty good. For the first 30 minutes Saturday, Ohio State didn't do enough to remind Wisconsin how good they were..."
Blame the offensive line? Weíre getting warmerÖ
The offensive line was dominated. This has been a weakness that has been talked about all season long, and against Wisconsin it finally caught up with the Buckeyes. Pryor was sacked three times, and was constantly hurried. Early on they couldnít get any push for the running game, and it took a few wildcat plays by Dan Herron to open things up. Iíd also argue that the Wisconsin defense was well rested by long Badger drives, and the Buckeyes were unable to get a push up front until Wisconsin had shorter offensive possession...
Blame the defense? A little...The Buckeye defense got dominated in the first half. They let the Badgers run all over them, and allowed them to own time of possession 18 minutes to 12 minutes. Their inability to stop the run dug a hole that OSU couldnít climb out of, and they surrendered a late touchdown at the most crucial time in the game, when a stop was needed and the offense had momentum.
Blame the special teams? YES! OSUís poor special teams finally cost the team a game. Everybody contributes when a team loses, but in this game, I put most of the blame on the special teams. OSU started the game down a touchdown when David Gilreath took the opening kickoff 97 yards to the house. A missed field goal with 4:25 left in the first half cost OSU the chance to be down two scores at halftime. Those ten points ultimately were the big difference in the game, and changed the entire dynamic of the contest. Just think of how different the game would have been if OSU was down 14-6 at the half instead of 21-3. Imagine if Dan Herronís second touchdown run put the Buckeyes up 20-14 instead of down 21-18..."
NBC 4 Buckeye analyst, & former Buckeye, William White discusses how the Buckeyes can bounce back from their loss vs. Wisconsin
NBC 4 Sports' Jerod Smalley and Bucknuts.com's Steve Helwagen discuss what happened to Ohio State's rush defense against Wisconsin
OSU Insider October 18, 2010 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...Who's hot?: Daniel Herron and Andrew Sweat...hard-running Herron is the No.1 tailback. Actions speak louder than words, and Herron gained 91 yards on 19 carries, scoring two touchdowns. As for Sweat, the outside linebacker made two defensive plays that should have changed the game. His interception in the first half gave OSU the ball deep in Wisconsin territory, but the Buckeyes squandered it, missing a field goal. Sweat's submarine tackle of James White on third and short made sure Wisconsin had just three plays in the third quarter when the OSU offense held sway.
What's not hot?: The offense at times, the defense at times, and kickoff coverage one big time. David Gilreath's 97-yard return of the opening kickoff was the first salvo. The OSU offense's inability to counterpunch immediately helped the Badgers jump to the 21-0 lead. And, of course, the defense looked like Indiana's in the first 20 minutes trying to stop the Badgers and again in the fourth quarter after OSU had cut the lead to 21-18.
What went right?: The OSU offense at the start of the second half. Terrelle Pryor and his teammates put together consecutive drives of 77 yards...and 94 yards... Each was capped by Herron TD runs, the second coming with 11:38 to play. The Buckeyes lined up and took it to the Badgers with a physical running game augmented by timely passing. But when they got the ball back 10 points down again, Pryor and the passing game suddenly couldn't click... Three and out; game over.
Back to the drawing board: ...the kickoff coverage team. Sure, it only gave up one touchdown, but on the opening play, it was huge. Kicker Drew Basil ran into the midst of the coverage and was promptly knocked over, which meant after David Gilreath sprinted through the breach where an unidentified Buckeye had been removed, there was no one at safety to at least make him change direction. The bad news, for the first time in modern history, according to the OSU stats department: The Buckeyes have given up two kickoff returns for TDs in a single season (Miami). Worse news: There are still five regular-season games to play.
Dinged up: Linebacker Ross Homan apparently suffered an ankle sprain in the first half, according to observers... Right tackle J.B. Shugarts played all the way despite his right foot problem. But it did seem to bother him on one play in particular, when he let Wisconsin defensive lineman J.J. Watt past him for a huge third-down sack of Pryor late in the second quarter with OSU threatening to score...
Catch that?: Herron was credited with a 1-yard run near the start of OSU's second TD drive. In fact, he had pushed the pile 12 more yards, only to have a holding call against left guard Justin Boren wipe out those steps. Herron sat on the ground for a moment to soak it all in and then caught a pass and carried the ball five more times - including 1 yard for the TD - to cap the 94-yard march..."
Buckeyes begin moving on right away October 18, 2010 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel - focused on the moment as always - told his players that, "the mark of a person is what they do after they're disappointed." He did not want to talk about the severe blow that was dealt to the Buckeyes' national-title hopes, or the fact that Michigan State will have to lose a game for OSU to extend its streak of Big Ten championships to six. "We're not thinking about what we're going to do the next five games," Tressel said. "We're going to go back to work and see if we can go undefeated in Tuesday's practice and go undefeated in Wednesday's practice, and that's the way we approach things." For the most part, the players dutifully followed Tressel's lead. They talked about trying to win out and about how the next few weeks will reveal their true character...
Crucial failure: Ohio State's halftime deficit could have been less daunting than it was (21-3) if OSU had punched in a touchdown to cap its first good drive of the night. In the second quarter, the Buckeyes had to settle for a field goal after three plays failed inside the Wisconsin 5-yard line. Pryor ran for a 1-yard loss, Daniel Herron gained a yard, and Pryor again lost a yard on a keeper. Tressel was asked if he regretted his play calls there, or if it was a lack of execution. "Probably both," he said. "I mean, obviously we shouldn't have called them, because they didn't work. And obviously, they didn't work because we didn't execute."
Caught by surprise: Rolle said the OSU defense was not expecting Wisconsin to come out throwing on the fourth-quarter TD drive that gave the Badgers a 28-18 lead and sealed their victory. Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien threw four straight passes to jump start the drive. "We expected them to run the ball, and they play-action threw the ball," Rolle said. "That's a great game plan by their coaches."
Who Is To Blame For The Ohio State Buckeyes Loss On Saturday?: There are plenty of fingers to point after Ohio Stateís 31-18 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday night. It was a loss that was disappointing as well as stunning in the way that the Badgers dominated...Defensive Line: Wisconsinís offense ran the ball whenever and wherever they wanted and that started in the trenches, where Ohio Stateís defensive line looked completely overmatched...Terrelle Pryor: Pryor was made a fraud on Saturday night. His Heisman campaign didnít just take a hitóit was given a redshirt...Jim Tressel: The Vest certainly needs to shoulder the blame for a lot of the negatives that have already been discussed. Letís just take it from the top. Special teams play is supposed to be Tresselís bread-and-butter, but itís hardly amounting to crumbs at this point. The opening kickoff is on the players, but the teamís difficulties on kick coverage all season fall on Tressel..." (Source: Bleacher Report 10/18/10)
Diagnosing OSUís woes: ...Special teams: Itís a dead horse, but itís still worth beating. A 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the opening kick is tough to overcome on the road, let alone in any game. The run defense: If there is one thing worse than not being able to stop the run, it is knowing what is coming and still not being able to stop it. Thatís what happened against the Badgers. Terrelle Pryorís left quad:...Pryor had no extra gear on Saturday. He had 94 yards rushing, but was sacked for -38 yards in situations he often escapes. The gliding pull-away speed on the heels of a quick take-off simply werenít there. And with the number of underthrown and off-the-mark throws, one has to wonder if the quad affects his passing, too. Saineís disappearance: Saine hasnít carried the ball in two weeks, which is understandable, but now heís not even an option in the passing game, and that is a mystery..." (Source: The Morning Journal 10/18/10)
Destiny slips from OSU's grasp: ...Maybe it's time to face the truth. Obviously this defense isn't as good as it's made out to be. The signs have been building to this: lack of front line depth, a huge falloff in takeaways and Cam Heyward's inability to force his will. Stop with the double-team nonsense. You think Ndamukong Suh wasn't being double-teamed? Some are calling Wisconsin's 31-point outburst a shocking aberration. Maybe we shouldn't be shocked. In their past 18 games against ranked opponents -- since to the 42-39 win against Michigan in the 2006 classic between No. 1 and No. 2 -- the Buckeyes have allowed three or more touchdowns eight times. In five of those games, four of them losses, the opponent scored above 30..." (Source: Lancaster Eagle Gazette 10/18/10)
2010 CFN Big Ten Week 7 Roundup : "Ohio State got beaten up. The defensive front got shoved around, the offensive line was average and never established itself, and the special teams had yet another breakdown that set the tone for the game from the start. Terrelle Pryor needed to be magical, and while he had his moments, too many throws were too low, he didnít run well enough, and he didnít carry the offense like the star he needed to be. This was a bad performance, and now the national title is out of the picture. However, if the Buckeyes can beat Iowa impressively and win out, and get some help with a loss from Michigan State, then the Rose Bowl is still there for the taking. The goals might have to be adjusted, and there will be time to right the ship with Purdue, Minnesota, and Penn State for easy wins before going to Iowa..." (Source: College Football News 10/18/10)
Buckeyes Still Shocked By Lapse On Defense: "...Jim Heacockís unit has been ranked among the best in the nation since he took over in 2005, but the Buckeyes were no match for a hefty Wisconsin offensive line and the tailback duo of John Clay and James White. The two ran for 38 times for 179 yards, and Wisconsin did not have a single three-and-out in the win. When asked if he had ever been on a team that was beaten as badly on defense, linebacker Brian Rolle was quick to answer. "Not at all, except from playing video games," he said. "It was one of those things of, ĎDid they really just do what they just did?í Itís hard to even take it in. We just got beat."..."They lined up and said, ĎYou canít stop the run,í and obviously we didnít have an answer for it," senior defensive tackle Dexter Larimore said..." (Source: Fox Sports Ohio 10/18/10)
Hitting the reload button: Remember all of those things I wrote about establishing momentum early on the road and how important that would be? Going down 21-0 is not doing that. The Buckeyes fought back and made it a gameÖ before getting steamrolled in the fourth quarter. That is all I am going to say about the game itself. And honestly, that is all I want to say about the game...My mind has hit the reload button. All of my hopes for this team start over, and they start this weekend. It is time to rebuild the season one week at a time. Purdue and Minnesota are winnable games, but this team has to respond a little bit better than I do to make that happen ..." (Source: Buckeye Battle Cry 10/18/10)
Big Ten race muddled by Wisconsin upset: ...As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes started the season ranked No. 2 and thinking national championship - pretty much business as usual for Jim Tressel's team. Forget that. The fans in Columbus will probably have to wait at least another season to get that national championship the Buckeyes last won in 2002. Pryor is awe-inspiring, but his lack of polish as a passer leaves him a less-than-great quarterback. Maybe Pryor would be Cam Newton if he and the Auburn quarterback swapped places and offenses. But that doesn't matter. Pryor is very good and his shortcomings didn't cost Ohio State the Wisconsin game nor will they be the biggest hurdle for the Buckeyes to clear if they want to get back to the Rose Bowl..." (Source: Washinton Post 10/18/10)
Loss proves costly to OSU in BCS standings: The damage assessment continues for the Ohio State Buckeyes. They are still calculating the cost of Saturday night's defeat at Wisconsin, and it appears to be adding up to a staggering amount..." (Source: Toledo Blade 10/18/10)
Breaking Down Where the Ohio State Buckeyes Stand: Probably the biggest pitfall to Ohio State winning the Big Ten is the team that has the easiest road in the Big Ten: Iowa. The Hawkeyes have Wisconsin, Michigan State, and OSU all coming to Iowa City this season, though they have a back-to-back against the Badgers and Spartans. Iowa almost upset Ohio State in Columbus a year ago behind a stellar performance by backup QB James Vandenberg for a chance to go to the Rose Bowl..." (Source: Bleacher Report 10/17/10)
Tressel's image model for corn maze: Ohio Stadium isn't the only place Jim Tressel's face will be this football season. The MAiZE at Little Darby Creek kicked off autumn with a tribute to Ohio State football by depicting Tressel and Woody Hayes' faces in a nine-acre corn maze. "Each year, we try to pick out something different that people can relate to and with Ohio State football being so popular in this area, we thought it was a good fit," owner Randy Rausch said..." (Source: The OSU Lantern 10/18/10)
Wisconsin Game 10/23/10:
Offensive Player of the Week: 'Boom' Herron, RB
Defensive Player of the Week: None selected
Attack Force Award: Not presented
Jim Parker Lineman Award: Mike Adams, OT
Special Units Player of the Week: None selected
Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award: Not presented
Scout Team Champions: Offense: Bo DeLande; Defense: Chris Maxwell; Special Units: Spencer Smith
OSU's Jermale Hines safeguards secondary October 13, 2010 Source: ESPN - "Jermale Hines laughs when told that he's the old man among Ohio State's safeties. "Something like that," he said. Hines is a little old by college football standards -- he turns 23 next month -- but he also boasts by far the most experience of any Buckeyes safety. He's one of Ohio State's most valuable players because if there's a spot on the depth chart that looks a little, well, young, it's safety. Jermale Hines has helped lead an Ohio State secondary that ranks 13th nationally in pass defense...Ohio State's two-deep for Saturday night's showdown at No. 18 Wisconsin lists Hines as the starting free safety, sophomore Orhian Johnson, a first-year starter, at strong safety, and true freshman Christian Bryant at the "star" position. There's little doubt as to who leads the group.
"It's been an experience trying to tell guys what to do and where to be, just helping them out as much as I can," Hines said. "Somebody came along and did it to me, Kurt and Anderson and those guys, so I'm just looking to give back and do the same thing." The 6-foot-1, 216-pound Hines knows he needs to show some patience as a leader. After all, he wasn't always the easiest pupil for Coleman and Russell. "There were times where I didn't want to follow them, but they made me," said Hines, who moved past Russell on the depth chart in 2009 and recorded 57 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. "Just basically going to seek me out, talking to me, making me listen, telling the coaches and things like that. Or putting me on the spot. They showed me the ropes, the little things to be successful. And that's what Iím trying to do with these guys." Hines has led by example on Saturdays..."
ESPN's Trevor Matich Talks About Pryor's Improvement
'Big Hank' Makes Large Impression October 11, 2010 Source: Bucknuts.com - "When true freshman defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins arrived at Ohio State over the summer and announced to his teammates that he wanted to be called "Big Hank," some of the veterans like senior defensive lineman Cameron Heyward werenít sure what to think. First of all, not many true freshmen play right away for defensive coordinator Jim Heacock. Heyward and John Simon were two of the few exceptions to that rule. So, Heyward thought he was probably looking at a guy headed for a redshirt year and a lot of work on the scout team...
However, it didnít take long for Hankins to earn his keep. He was solid during summer workouts, especially for a big guy that many figured would struggle in OSUís conditioning program. He then backed it up with a very impressive preseason camp in which he made it clear he was going to provide quality depth right away.
Hankins is listed at 330 pounds, but his teammates say heís closer to 350. Either way, heís been a very good backup to fifth-year senior Dexter Larimore at the nose guard position...And yes, heís even earned the respect of guys like Heyward who arenít easy to please.
"I think he helps us stuff the run even more," Heyward said. "But he also helps bolster our pass rush and we were really surprised by that. Big Hank, you knew he was going to stop the run because heís that big. But he moves so well and itís surprised so many people that he can get to the quarterback too."
Hankinsí role has increased in recent weeks. Heís not going to supplant the rock-solid Larimore as the starter, but just the fact that heís been able to add depth right away has been a luxury that Heyward didnít see coming.
"I would say heís become more-comfortable with the system," Heyward said. "Every week heís talking more and more, and itís hard to get him to shut up now. (Laughing.) The main thing is he moves so well for his size and heís producing. Thatís all you can ask out of a defensive lineman. He gives Dex a little bit of a spell sometimes, but I think you can have both of them in. They are some big, big boys and itís good to have those guys on your side."..."
Jim Tressel Weekly Press Conference Source & Story Link: Bucknuts.com
Tressel all alone in one winning category: The NCAA confirmed for OSU officials that Tressel is now the first coach to win 100 games or more at two Division I schools. He had a record of 135-57-2 in 15 seasons at Youngstown State which included four I-AA national titles, before taking over at OSU in 2001. With the victory over Indiana last week became the third-fastest coach to reach 100 wins at a Big Ten school (121 games), trailing only late former Michigan coaches Fielding Yost and Bo Schembechler, who both did it in 119.
Tressel (235-78-2) is the second-winningest active Division I coach, but is well behind Penn Stateís Joe Paterno (397-132-3). Source: Columbus Dispatch 10/12/10
Cameron Heyward Press Conference 10/12/10 Source: OSU Official Site
"It was ridiculous. It was at night as well, and the student section I think is one of the best in the nation as far as making noise. They're in the game the whole time. We know how it's going to be." - OSU senior linebacker Brian Rolle on remembering the Buckeyes last visit to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison in 2008.
OSU players should relish being teams' No.1 target October 12, 2010 - Bob Hunter writes in the Columbus Dispatch: "Not long after top-ranked Alabama lost at South Carolina on Saturday, one of the dozen reporters in the Ohio Stadium press box still sweating blood over their deathless prose about Ohio State's lopsided win over Indiana erupted with some surprising news. "Hey, some of the OSU players are tweeting that they don't want to be No.1," he said.
A surprised "really?" escaped from more than one mouth. No one would deny that it made sense on one level: No.1 puts a target the size of Montana on the back of any team that wears it, and at this stage of the season, there are no guaranteed benefits. Only six times in 12 BCS title games has the team ranked No.1 in the first BCS standings (which come out Sunday) even played in the championship game. But really, Ohio State players posted that?..."
Boise State projected as BCS No. 1: According to the projection of ESPN's Brad Edwards...According to the projections, the No. 1 Buckeyes would place fifth in the BCS standings, percentage points behind Oklahoma...Edwards explained that although the Buckeyes are No. 1 in the two polls the BCS uses -- the Harris and the USA Today coaches' poll -- they're deemed 10th-best by the BCS computer rankings, due in part to the Buckeyes' strength of schedule to date compared to the other unbeaten teams. The computers do not take margin of victory into consideration... (Source: ESPN)
Will the SEC get shut out of the BCS championship game?: Tony Barnhart, whose blog for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is called "Mr. College Football"..."Like it or not, if No. 1 Ohio State runs the table, the Buckeyes will be in the big game. So unless Ohio State loses at Wisconsin on Saturday or at Iowa on Nov. 20, everybody is playing for No. 2..." (Source: Atlanta Constitution)
The Path Ahead: "...The obvious tough games are at Wisconsin next week and the final two games at Iowa and home against Michigan, but with such high stakes at hand, the team cannot afford to sleep on any opponent. Let's take a look at the remaining games on the 2010 schedule and what the Buckeyes need to do in order to earn a coveted ticket to The University of Phoenix Stadium at season's end...." (Source: Eleven Warriors)
How have the Buckeyes fared as the nation's No. 1 team?: "Ohio State claimed the top spot in The Associated Press national rankings on Sunday for the first time since the final regular-season poll in 2007. But donít celebrate just yet. Holding the top spot has not always ended well for Ohio State. Hereís a rundown of OSUís finishes when ranked No. 1 at some point during the regular season..." (Source: Associated Press)
Why the Buckeyes and Terrelle Pryor Deserve To Be No. 1: "...But even with the tremendous amount of success that the Buckeyes have had in the season up to this point, they have not been tested like some of the other teams in the hunt for a national title spot....Despite the computers, Ohio State has the makings of a true No. 1 team, with a great offense to complement a very consistent defense...The biggest improvement for this team has been the fact that the special teams has started to turn itself around after a disastrous stretch of giving up three special teams TDs in the first two games and lengthy kickoff returns for most of September..." (Source: Bleacher Report)
Ohio Stateís weakness may help them in Madison: "Itís clear that Ohio Stateís offensive line is consistent in two areas. They seem to pass blocking well however they cannot run block for anything...Going into this week, you think this would be a cause for concern...do the Buckeyes need a dominant run game to win this week? The answer is no. If they try to do this, theyíll play right into Wisconsinís hands...Ohio State needs to unleash a Rose Bowl type of attack. Run the no-huddle offense, stretch Wisconsinís defense wide with short passes and run up and down the field..." (Source: Examiner.com)
**Kalis gets piece of the Rock Ö : "As defensive end Chris Rock (Columbus, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales) piled up the scholarship offers during the spring including Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Stanford and Boston College, some Ohio State fans wondered why the Buckeyes had not offered the hometown standout. But a source close to OSU told Bucknuts the Buckeyes were not sold on the 6-foot-5 and 250-pound Rock and his ability to make plays, and needed to see him play as a senior. However, Rock did not wait and committed to the Wolverines in late May. After watching Rock play as a senior, one scout said Rock still Ďdoes not make many plays.í Rock was matched up against Ohio State junior offensive line commitment Kyle Kalis on Friday night and Kalis and his Lakewood St. Edwardís teammates rolled to a 62-0 win. Kalis dominated Rock, seeming to confirm OSUís evaluation. Had it been a fight, as Roberto Duran once said, ĎNo Mas.í" (Source: Bucknuts.com)
Luncheon Day Notebook: Another Epidemic? October 12, 2010 Source: The Ozone - "Ohio State left tackle Mike Adams was supposed to be available for interviews Tuesday after being named the Jim Parker Offensive Lineman of the Week for the second time this season. Instead, Adams wonít even be available for practice. The junior out of Dublin Coffman was said to have a "violent stomach illness" Tuesday as the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes prepare for one of their biggest games of the year at Wisconsin. "There were two guys that came in for sick call (this morning)," said Tressel, who couldnít recall who the other player was. "Am I worried that it's an epidemic? Not this moment. We had one last week. J.B. (Shugarts) was out Tuesday's practice."...
Shugarts Too: Along with Adams, the starting left tackle, the Buckeyes expect Shugarts, the starting right tackle, to ready for what will assuredly be a physical game up in Madison. "I think his foot will be bothering him all season like it did all (last year)," Tressel said. "He's got bad feet. I don't mean movement-wise, I mean, his feet bothered him all of last year and I don't know if it's the makeup of them or Ė when you're down there in the trenches, your feet get tromped on all the time, so, yeah, I think he'll be fighting that battle all year." The junior out of Klein, Tex. has started 16 games at right tackle for the Buckeyes, including eight in a row dating back to last season. He was in the starting lineup against the Hoosiers, but left the game in the first half and sat on the bench while freshman Andrew Norwell played the rest of the game at right tackle. "I'm sure he could have gone back in last week, but we thought it was a good opportunity for Andrew Norwell to get 30 plus snaps and we think very highly of Andrew, but you need experience to be ready," Tressel said...
Lingering Ankles: Though the lingering foot problems arenít expect to affect Shugartsí effectiveness at right tackle, a lingering ankle issue has kept tight end Jake Stoneburner off the field for more than two weeks. The first-year starter was Ohio Stateís third-leading receiver through the first three games of the season...It sounded like Stoneburner was close to being ready to go last week, but he did not dress against Indiana. And after missing two straight games with the ankle sprain, however, Stoneburner is being called "probable" for the game at Wisconsin. "He was back doing individual drills on Sunday night. I'm told that he's probable, but that was said cautiously with let's see how he does banging into people a little bit today," Tressel said of Stoneburner, who has nine catches for 110 yards and a touchdown this season. "So I think we'll have a little better idea after today."
Pryor Ready to Run?: A week ago Tressel declared that OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor was 100 percent heading into the game against Indiana. Clearly, he wasnít. Pryor did everything right with his armóalthough not enough to earn a winning performanceóbut it was clear his injured quad was not the same..."He's ready," Tressel said. "I've said to you before, we don't do a whole bunch of designed called quarterback runs. We think that he's naturally going to get some step-ups and so forth. We didn't really have that need. The protection was good. When it broke down, it broke down such that there was nowhere to go." Nowhere to go had never stopped Pryor before, but he finished with -19 yards rushing after taking three sacks in the backfield. He was able to offset his lack of mobility by completing 24 of his 30 pass attempts for a career-high 332 yards, but this will be a different kind of test against the Badgers...Outside of the three sacks, the offensive line did a good job protecting him from the Indiana pass rush, but Wisconsin comes in with the second most sacks in the Big Ten (12), and one of the best defensive linemen in the country in junior J.J. Watt. "No. 99, Watt, is one of the many, we've got obviously the Cameron Heywardís and the (Adrian) Clayborn and the kid at Purdue (Ryan Kerrigan), and there are some real good ones, but in my mind, Watt matches up with a lot of those guys," Tressel said. "He's knocked down like six balls already this year, six-foot-six kid, plays on the edge. He's very difficult for a tight end to handle when he has to block them."..."
Midseason review: Ohio State October 12, 2010 Source: ESPN - "Ohio State entered the season as a bona fide national championship contender, and the Buckeyes are halfway to their Glendale goal...No. 1 ranking in both polls Sunday...tougher second half of the season. Ohio State has surged behind an opportunistic defense (17 takeaways, third nationally) and junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who has met and arguably exceeded expectations... All of Pryor's passing numbers are way up from 2009...he hasn't had to take off (run) nearly as much... Receiver Dane Sanzenbacher is having an All-Big Ten type season, and DeVier Posey isn't far behind. The improved pass game has been vital because Ohio State still lacks consistent production from its running backs... The defense has been a little banged up...but boasts enough depth and enough playmakers to make life miserable for most opponents. Ohio State will be tested on the road... While the Buckeyes looked shaky in their only game away from Columbus -- a 24-13 win at Illinois -- their recent Big Ten road record under Tressel speaks for itself.
Offensive MVP, QB Terrelle Pryor: He'll always be a victim of his recruiting hype, but Pryor has delivered in a big way for Ohio State in the first half. The junior ranks sixth nationally in pass efficiency (170.5 rating) and 23rd in total offense (283.8 ypg), and while he hasn't run the ball as much, he remains very dangerous... Pryor has played through some pain and deserves to be in the Heisman mix. Sanzenbacher also merits a mention after recording a league-leading seven touchdown grabs.
Defensive MVP, LB Ross Homan: One of the nation's most underrated defenders, Homan does so many things to help his team win games. He leads the Buckeyes with 37 tackles and boasts a sack, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and three pass breakups, including a deflection against Indiana that fellow linebacker Brian Rolle intercepted. Rolle, Moeller, cornerback Chimdi Chekwa and defensive lineman Cameron Heyward also have been big for the defense..."
Indiana Game 10/16/10:
Offensive Player of the Week: Terrelle Pryor, QB
Defensive Player of the Week: Devon Torrence, DB
Attack Force Award:
Jim Parker Lineman Award: Mike Adams, OT
Special Units Player of the Week:
Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award:
Scout Team Champions: Offense: ; Defense: ; Special Units:
OSU Insider October 11, 2010 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "In the polls: Ohio State is No.1 across the board: in the USA Today coaches poll, the season's first Harris Interactive poll, and the Associated Press poll. The only two that matter in the Bowl Championship Series rankings are the coaches and the Harris. The first BCS rankings won't come out until Sunday, and the Buckeyes could use a win at No.16 to help them with their status in some of the six computer ratings, whose average makes up the third component of the BCS formula.
Who's hot?: Terrelle Pryor. The man who once was considered mostly legs with a little bit of arm now stands No.6 nationally in passing efficiency after his effort against Indiana, which included a career-best 334 passing yards. Going back to his MVP performance in the Rose Bowl win over Oregon, he has passed for 233 or more yards in six of his last seven games. Including the three touchdown passes Saturday, he's thrown for 15 TDs with just three interceptions halfway through this regular season.
What's not?: It seems to be the Ohio State running game, but maybe that's deceiving. The diverse 2010 Buckeyes apparently have no intent to line up in the I formation more than a couple of plays at a time. As for the "Wildcat," it has possibilities. Running back Daniel "Boom" Herron took the direct snap and then cut up through left end for OSU's final TD. It was his second score, going with the 39-yarder he popped on a draw play for the first score of the game. Overall, though, the Buckeyes ran 32 times, for 130 net yards, and passed 32 times, for 348 yards.
What went right: Granted, throwing the ball against Indiana's deep-dropping zone was like shooting fish in a barrel at times, but hey, you've still got to hit the fish. With DeVier Posey pulling in eight passes for 103 yards and one TD, Dane Sanzenbacher shaking loose for four catches, and running back Brandon Saine putting in yet another bid to join the WR fraternity with four catches, Pryor had plenty of willing and able targets. Pryor even caught his own pass for the first time in his life, off a batted ball.
Back to the drawing board: Jordan Hall finally got the much-clamored-for chance at tailback early in a game. Chance is the key word: The sophomore had one carry for three yards. Jaamal Berry had more fun in the mop-up role in the second half. He toted the ball five times for 42 yards, including a long of 23 yards when he broke a tackle in the backfield. Maybe Berry - he returned three kickoffs for 81 yards, including a 29-yarder he almost popped - deserves the clamor now.
Dinged: Right tackle J.B. Shugarts left the game in the second quarter because of what coach Jim Tressel said was a sore foot. Although he was replaced capably by freshman Andrew Norwell, Shugarts is expected to be able to play at Wisconsin. Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward had to leave in the second half because of a leg-muscle cramp, but he was none the worse for the wear afterward.
Catch that?: Ben Buchanan averaged 50 yards on his three punts, including a long of 53. Considering Indiana's lone return was for minus-four yards, the Buckeyes averaged 51.3 yards in net punting - that's right, more yards than the punts traveled. Thus, the Buckeyes are no longer last in the Big Ten in net punting (31.74). Minnesota (31.70) is..."
Look Who's No. 1 October 10, 2010 Source: OSU Official Site - "...The last time Ohio State was No. 1 was the final regular season poll of 2007. Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel and player comments:
Jim Tressel: "When you take a look at the Top 10 week to week, the precarious nature of any ranking is obvious Ė just review the change in the makeup of the Top 10 between the beginning of the season until now. The Buckeyes know whatís itís like to have a target on our back, especially since we are now well into Big Ten play. We expect that every team will give us its best shot. How we respond will determine our ultimate ranking."
OL Bryant Browning: "Itís a good feeling. Now we just have to work to have the chance to stay No. 1 the rest of the season. We will keep focused on each game and hope weíre still up there in January."
DL Cameron Heyward: "The No. 1 ranking just means that more than ever, weíre in control of our own destiny."
LB Ross Homan: "Itís a good feeling to be No. 1, but it really doesnít change how we work. We still have to work hard every day and try to get better. Weíve just got a bigger target on us now."
QB Terrelle Pryor: "I love it for the Ohio State students and fans, but itís a big responsibility and opportunity for us. How we react to being No. 1, and how we stay determined in our focus and in our work habits, will tell us how long we will stay there."
LB Brian Rolle: "Itís good to be No. 1, but if we donít play like it every week, then all the hype will be for naught."
RB Brandon Saine: "Maybe the polls have changed, but I donít feel much difference in our team than I felt last week. We still have to take it one game at a time and remain true to our goals."
WR Dane Sanzenbacher: "The top ranking is obviously a challenge we welcome, but we all know how much more important it is to be No. 1 at the end of the season."..."
AP Top 25 1. Ohio State (34) 2. Oregon (15) 3. Boise State (8) 4. TCU (1) 5. Nebraska 6. Oklahoma (2) 7. Auburn 8. Alabama 9. LSU 10. South Carolina 11. Utah 12. Arkansas 13. Michigan State 14. Stanford 15. Iowa 16. Florida State 17. Arizona 18. Wisconsin 19. Nevada 20. Oklahoma State 21. Missouri 22. Florida 23. Air Force 24. Oregon State 25. West Virginia
Coaches Poll 1. Ohio State 2. Oregon 3. Boise State 4. Nebraska 5. TCU 6. Oklahoma 7. Auburn 8. Alabama 9. LSU 10. Utah 11. Michigan State 12. South Carolina 13. Arkansas 14. Iowa 15. Stanford 16. Wisconsin 17. Florida State 18. Oklahoma State 19. Missouri 20. Arizona 21. Nevada 22. Florida 23. Air Force 24. Michigan 25. West Virginia
"I think he's honest. There's a lot of coaches out there who are used car salesmen, just trying to sell a product. With Tress, he really cares about his kids. He's going to look out for you the best way possible and get the most out of his players." - Craig Heyward when asked about what makes Tressel such a successful coach on the recruiting front and why he is perceived as being popular with parents of recruits.
'Pop' Pryor heard wasn't the muscle but his leg brace: It turns out that it wasn't Terrelle Pryor's quadriceps that popped, but his knee brace. That's what Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said yesterday by way of explaining why his starting quarterback apparently has not been bothered by an injury that seemed serious when it occurred last week at Illinois. On a third-quarter run, Pryor heard a pop in his left leg and felt more pain than he had in a while, he said after the game. He missed about six minutes of game time before returning, but he could not run, he said. Since then, however, OSU players and coaches all have shrugged off the injury and said that Pryor looks fine in practice. "He's been good; he's been 100 percent," Tressel said. "He looks ready to rock 'n' roll." Asked about the popping sound, Tressel said: "I think what happened, it was his brace, the brace popped." Pryor has been wearing the brace because he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in February.
Source: Columbus Dispatch (10/8/10)
"I wish we had more balls." (After a hesitation and some nervous laughter, he added) "That sounds terrible. Man, I am getting old. But you know what I'm saying."
- Jim Tressel, on finding enough carries for his many talented TBs
Coach Tressel Weekly Press Conference Source: ScoutingOhio.com via Bucknuts
COACH TRESSEL: Sunday we did a little bit of drills and weight lifting and all that, so we didn't really test it, per se. Yesterday was our day off and he was in doing his film study and his rehab and all. I would expect every day he'll get closer to 100%. I don't know who's 100% after five games that has as much wear and tear as a guy that has his hands on the ball, but I think he'll be fine.
REPORTER: Is it a strain or what's the nature of it?
COACH TRESSEL: That would be as good a word as anything. I don't really even know.
It is definitely a Tressel Speak answer, but I share the same opinion. Quad strains can be nagging injuries, much like ankles. Pryor's seemed to be minor, though. He was a virtual non-factor in the mobility department after his return, but his movements off the field seemed to indicate he wasn't that injured. Not to mention, the trainers, doctors and facilities Pryor will use in his rehab will help a tremendous amount..."
Senior Tyler Moeller, out for the season with a torn muscle, talks about his injury and his hopes for another season of eligibility in our video interview!
Illinois Game 10/02/10:
Offensive Player of the Week: Boom Herron, RB
Defensive Player of the Week: Brian Rolle, LB
Attack Force Award: Cameron Heyward , DE
Jim Parker Lineman Award: Zach Boren, FB
Special Units Player of the Week: Ben Buchanan, P
Jack Tatum Hit of the Week Award: Not awarded
Scout Team Champions: Offense: Chris Malone; Defense: Zach Domicone; Special Units: Chris Roark
Remember this name: Joel Hale October 4, 2010 Source: ESPN - "(Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) With the strength of this class being in the trenches, it seems only appropriate to keep an eye on a promising big man from the state. Hale, an Ohio State commit, is not someone you would say flew under the radar (he had a healthy amount of scholarship offers to chose from), but he is somewhat of a hidden gem and has the tools to develop into a good defensive tackle in Columbus. Hale, 6-4, 290 pounds, has good size and should be able to add more bulk and comfortably play at around 300 pounds. He plays with a good motor and can move well. He is tough versus the run and with some development could also be a disruptive interior pass rusher. Hale combines good size and ability and should develop into a very productive member of the Buckeyes' defensive line. Ohio State has only signed two other prospects from the Hoosier state since 2006 they have gotten a pretty good third one from here in Hale..."
Buckeyes eventually need sense of style October 4, 2010 Source: ESPN - "The exciting thing about Ohio State through the first four weeks wasn't that the Buckeyes won their games. By most measures, they were supposed to beat Marshall, Miami, Ohio and Eastern Michigan. It was how Ohio State won that got people really jazzed. Ohio State not only looked really good, but, dare I say, flashy.
And in today's college football, where perception is everything, flashy can be better than really good. There are a lot of good teams, and people need ways to distinguish the best. They look at the competition. They look at who's impressive. They look at style points. And that's where Ohio State fell a bit short in Saturday's 24-13 win against Illinois...Saturday's game didn't get people excited about Ohio State. The Buckeyes won in a manner they often do under Tressel: controlling the clock, running the football, executing on special teams and defense, and most important, and making fewer mistakes than their opponent. The game's defining drive was a 14-play, 59-yard push that ended with a field goal and ate up 7:52 of clock...
The Illinois game didn't cost Ohio State in the polls, as the Buckeyes remained No. 2. And the Miami win keeps looking better for Ohio State. But Oregon closed to within just 22 points in the AP Poll and 77 points in the Coaches' Poll. Despite Ohio State's win against Oregon in the 2010 Rose Bowl, the Ducks always will be cooler than the Buckeyes to most college football observers. That's not a knock against Ohio State. Oregon might have the highest Q Rating in the country with its dynamic offense, surplus of speed, rowdy stadium, ever-changing uniforms and Swoosh connection. But to keep the Ducks at bay, the Buckeyes will need to win impressively along the way (my rhymes are sick).
To remain in the national title discussion, Ohio State must continue to handle its business. But at some point, the Buckeyes will need to show some style, too..."
Cause For Concern? October 4, 2010 Source: Eleven Warriors - "The Pass Defense: I don't know how many of you were able to listen to the Big Ten announcers yesterday, but I was going to get sick yesterday if I heard how good Chimdi Chekwa was one more time. I'm not sure what everyone sees, but I'm tired of everyone thinking Chek is a number one corner. He continually can't stay with top receivers, serves as an average tackler, gets beat at the line of scrimmage when trying to jam his opponent, and most importantly, never turns his head when the ball is in the air. Devon Torrence has been OK as a second corner and I'm fine with him there, but when it comes to the top dog at Ohio State, we expect more out of you Chimdi, and I think your play thus far has not given this defense what it expects on a weekly basis...
The Offensive line/Running Game: I'm not sure whether the offensive line or the running backs are responsible for the weak production on the ground thus far this season, but one or both need to be accountable. Yes, the rushing stats are there if you look in the box score, but many yards have been collected late in the blowouts this season and Terrelle Pryor continues to rack up a majority of the team's yards on the ground. It seems Brandon Saine decided the last few weeks that once he touched the ball he would run right into the closest defender and fall down. Where is the running back we saw against Marshall? The staff needs to find a way to put Zoom in space where he can use his straight line speed and get the ball and head to the end zone. As for his counterpart, Boom runs hard and I appreciate his effort, but the bottom line is, he's just not as physically talented as other OSU backs in past years...
The Injury Bug: This isn't something the staff can control so much, but it is a reality of the game of football and Jim Tressel will need to figure out answers to personnel that has gone down this year. Tyler Moeller will be replaced by Christian Bryant, but as previously mentioned, will Bryant be able to handle the STAR position as a true freshman?...Other injuries that have bothered the team are the season-ending one to CJ Barnett, minor issues with Dorian Bell, Andrew Sweat, and Travis Howard, and the recurring issues with Chimdi Chekwa. The staff needs to prepare some of the team's younger players to step up and develop quicker, as the team appears to need more depth immediately with the way players are dropping like flies. Maybe the most important injury everyone is scared to talk about is Terrelle Pryor's. Yes, the junior did come back onto the field running yesterday, but didn't you find it a little strange that the Bucks barely passed the ball and TP didn't run it once he came back into the game?
Summing it all Up: While the above issues and JT's play calling this past week definitely need to be addressed, I could certainly be overreacting to a single poor game by Ohio State. I do know that I have seen the writing on the wall for other teams and when there is smoke there is usually fire coming down the road..."
OSU Insider October 4, 2010 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "What's hot?: The Ohio State defense. As defensive end Nathan Williams put it, when Terrelle Pryor limped off for a while, the defense had to step up and save the day. It was gashed a couple of times by the Illini and their talented redshirt-freshman QB Nathan Scheelhaase, but in the second half OSU - playing without its cannonball Tyler Moeller - gave up only three points. The bottom line is the only thing that truly matters.
What's not?: The offensive line. It took the Buckeyes entirely too long to make blocking adjustments against an Illinois defensive line that did what it always does: slant, angle and befuddle. Just like Purdue's defensive front, the Illini almost always make the OSU line look like a bunch of fellows who just started playing together. One man missing a block is akin to one singer being flat in a barbershop quartet. The harmony is horrendous.
What went right: Pryor on those keepers that set up the Buckeyes touchdowns in the first half. He simply ran past the problems of the trench and took off up the right side on two runs - the 66-yarder was the longest his career - to set up his two touchdown passes. Then, when he ran left on a promising keeper in the second half, he suddenly stumbled as the quad muscle above his left knee sort of popped. He was able to return but he might not be right for a while.
Drawing board: Again, it's that pecking order of the running backs. Daniel Herron gained the tough yards when needed in the fourth quarter. Brandon Saine is looking more and more like a beefy wide receiver - he and Dane Sanzenbacher caught the two TD passes from Pryor, Saine making a nifty move in the end to separate from his defender. So when is the elusive/decisive-cutting Jordan Hall going to gain an extended shot with the big boys?
Dinged up: Nickel back Moeller is believed to have suffered a torn pectoral muscle, which is expected to require surgery to repair. If that's the case, he likely will miss the rest of the season. That means freshman Christian Bryant, who stepped in Saturday, likely takes over that key position, although free safety Jermale Hines - a former nickel back - could be shifted there, too. Pryor still can play, but his quad isn't going to heal quickly, which means he'll likely be more selective about when he runs.
Catch that?: With Bryant's rise, several true freshmen now appear to figure prominently in OSU's plans. They include defensive tackle Johnathan "Big Hank" Hankins, already playing a lot, and kicker Drew Basil, who has gotten better each week as the kickoff man. Several times at Illinois, tackle Andrew Norwell was on the field, too. He and senior Andrew Miller entered to give the Buckeyes a seven-man jumbo line as they tried to shove the Illini out of the way. Receiver Corey "Philly" Brown was in the rotation early..." ..."
Buckeyes Jermale Hines Gives Ohio St. a Coach on the Field October 3, 2010 Source: Chicago Now - "...Ohio State suffered a key injury Saturday when starting DB Tyler Moeller went down. Freshman Christian Bryant stepped right in, and his transition was eased by the aid of Hines. The senior leader instructed Bryant on the fly, showing/telling him where he needed to be. "He's (Hines) an active player, plus he was coaching Christian Bryant out there the whole time. It gave him every confidence that Christian needed," Tressel said of Hines. I asked Hines about his showing Bryant the ropes. "He's a young guy, this is really his first action so I just wanted to slow the game down for him. Help him out on the calls and the checks," he responded.
And this is why NFL scouts are so high on Hines as a professional safety prospect. His football IQ and leadership is a perfect complement to his ideal size, great speed and versatile athleticism. He always plays well against Illinois, earning the team's Attack Force award for the '09 game and recording his first interception of the season Saturday.