Entering the San Diego State game, I felt the key for the Buckeyes was
playing physical. Even with a special teams blunder, or a negative turnover
ratio, or missed red zone opportunities, or the other traditional “keys to the
game,” SDSU was an opponent OSU should beat. Playing physical would create
enough “three-and-outs” by the defense, and it would keep the time of
possession in our favor with a sustained Buckeye running game. At the end of the
day, the defense was physical, and OSU dominated the clock. The running game was
adequate and the SDSU team, especially the offense, should be sore the early
part of this week.
The defense will occasionally give up the big one. It is bound to happen. I
would almost rather see a defense susceptible to a big play every now and then
than I would see a defense that has an offense jam it down their throats for a
15-play drive. These other offenses give scholarships to really fast players. In
addition, the coaches spend 365 days a year drawing plays on a chalkboard. It
We need to be concerned if a team like SDSU comes out and bullies OSU’s
front seven. We need to be concerned when the defense looks intimidated and worn
down from bigger, stronger bodies shoving them around. That was not at all the
case on Saturday. We might question why that touchdown took place on the first
play of the game, but I think it might have been coincidence actually. That
could happen halfway through the third quarter. That is why we practice and
recruit offense as well as defense. That is one for SDSU.
Anyone who asks “What does Troy do that Justin doesn’t do?” had their
question answered on the first OSU touchdown. A 14-yard red zone rush for Smith
showed us why they tagged him “Athlete” instead of “Quarterback” during
the recruiting process. Smith is shifty and often times creative. His vision of
the passing game and physical dimensions don’t always add up to other
All-American quarterbacks we’ve seen in college football, but he can many
times out-athlete some very athletic defenses. It is what it is. He is an
athlete playing quarterback. Troy Smith or Jim Tressel don’t need to apologize
for that. If the Buckeyes had a healthy secondary helping him in the first half
of that Purdue game last year, Smith would probably be undefeated as a starting
quarterback. He had some blunders yesterday, but that is expected considering he
had only played half a ball game since last November. His vision, rhythm, and
control of the offense should improve week by week.
Well, the Buckeye fan base certainly voiced their opinion on what is needed
in the red zone after the loss to Texas. Saturday, the coaches revealed their
opinion on what needs to happen in the red zone – establish a running game. A
blend of option, quarterback keepers, and traditional I formation rushing plays
will allow OSU to go after teams. So the Buckeyes play on a short, tightened
field when they cross the 20. Good. They can get in a fight on the line of
scrimmage in a long or short field. They can pound people with a tightened or
wide-open field. Red zone is less about play-calling and more about mindset.
Defensive coaches always preached to me and our defense about mindset near the
goal line. Offensive coaches are allowed to do the same. OSU will need to spread
things out as the Big Ten approaches, but that is the easy part. The hard part
is laying the foundation of an aggressive mindset inside the red zone.
Iowa will keep us busy this week in practice. Tate was 15 of 18 for 247 yards
last week. Iowa didn’t beat us last year. They owned us. I wouldn’t be
surprised if the coaches called some practices off a few minutes early to create
more time to watch the game film from last year. Unlike SDSU, playing physical
in the Big Ten opener won’t be enough. Without it, we will be blown out.
However, to begin 1-0 in league play, the Buckeyes need to play physical and
also carry out the traditional “keys to the game.”
Santonio Holmes – He is teaching teams that kicking away from Ted Ginn Jr.
might not be that good of an idea. In addition, I love watching wide receivers
that take ownership of spacing, the defensive backfield, their route running,
and the ball once it is put in the air. He is special.
Josh Huston – Kickoffs, field goals, and extra points. “Huuuuuuuuuuu.”
I never thought I’d see a kicker be Team MVP like last year. If it weren’t
for #47, we might have another kicker MVP through three games.
Mike Kudla – Coach Heacock is giving a lot of credit to the defensive line
for their performance the last 59:49 of the game. Kudla seemed to spark things.
He was like the mosquito that wouldn’t go away for that SDSU offense. Motor
and effort earn a Buckeye Leaf in my book.