There was some overreaction this week after Maurice Clarett criticized the team for a lack of intensity in practice. Clarett never should have said stuff like that to the
media; those things should be kept in-house, but it was just one man's opinion. I tend to believe veteran guys like Craig Krenzel and Ben Hartsock, who say the Buckeyes are plenty focused for the Texas Tech game.
"That stuff is only a distraction for the media," Krenzel said. "We're focused on what we have to do."
The big tight end agreed.
"I haven't seen a lack of intensity at all," Hartsock said. "We've had a good camp and we're just anxious to get out there. We don't worry about the little stuff."
START 'EM UP
Clarett might have let his mouth get ahead of his mind this week, but that is going to be old news soon. The real story is that he will become OSU's first true freshman to start an opening game at tailback. Maurice Hall and Lydell Ross will still play, but the bruising Clarett separated himself with his blocking, by not missing a snap all of preseason camp and by running over at least two guys every practice. He also proved to be an effective receiver out of the backfield and has more open field moves than you would think... It is quite an honor that Clarett is getting the start, especially when you consider how impressive Hall has been in camp.
EAT FROM THE SPREAD
Here are some key's to slowing down the Red Raider offense:
1. Force turnovers
2. Gang tackle
3. Punish receivers on the crossing routes (Anyone else love Donnie Nickey's comments this week? "Maybe if we
hit them in the mouth a couple of times, they'll start dropping a few.")
4. Sack Kingsbury
5. If #4 fails, hit Kingsbury after he throws, without getting a roughing-the-passer penalty (just beat up No. 16 anyway possible without getting stupid penalties... get the gist?).
6. Force a lot of third-and-longs and don't let them convert many.
7. As for the four-foot gap in between offensive linemen, make them pay for looking so silly. Tech does that to force defensive ends to line up as far away from Kingsbury as possible. Well, don't be surprised to see Will Smith and Darrion Scott line up inside the tackles from time to time. Somehow, the Buckeye D-Line will be giving the Raiders fits all day. I'm sure Mark Dantonio has some wrinkles that they're not ready for.
DOSS READY TO ROLL
Strong safety Mike Doss says he has been preparing for TT's unusual offense for months.
"Me personally, I've been looking at them on film all summer," Doss said. "We're looking at them everyday now, getting prepared for what they're going to bring to the game on Saturday."
What are the keys to slowing Kingsbury and Co. down?
"Speaking for the DBs, it's keeping guys in front of us and making open field tackles," Doss said. "If you miss a tackle in the open field, there is a good chance the guy is going to the house. We want to make our tackles, keep the ball in front of us and hopefully make some big plays when we get the opportunity."
Any chance of OSU's front seven getting a few sacks, even with the quick passes?
"If they go with a 3-step, then it's going to be pretty hard for us. But if they go with a 5-step, then hopefully we can get to him. I'm looking for a lot of intermediate stuff and a lot of deep crosses. It's hard to say exactly what they are going to come out with, you have to watch for a lot of trick plays and things like that. We just have to keep our nose on the ball and get ready to play some physical football," Doss said.
As recently as 1998, teams feared coming into Ohio Stadium to play the Buckeyes. Is the fear factor gone?
"We can make a statement Saturday to get that started once again. Right now, a lot of teams are coming into the 'Shoe feeling like they are evenly-handed with us, it's not like they have one hand behind their back, so they're coming out swinging. But, hopefully we can put the fear back in them so everyone knows that Ohio State is going to be ready to play in Ohio Stadium."
What about the discipline problems over the last year?
"On this team, we're only 18-22 years old. We're going through maturity and making the right decisions in life and a few guys haven't made all the right decisions. As far as our team, we can do some group things and what not, but people are going to make mistakes. It's how you bounce back from those mistakes that tells you what type of man you are."
Does it get to the point when the seniors/captains call a player's-only meeting to get things in order?
"Definitely. As a senior class we definitely do those things. But, at the same time, these people are individuals, they're their own person. There is only so much you can say, but guys know that the off-the-field stuff has to stop."