Tuesday, September 15, 2009

'TRESSEL BALL' NEEDS REFORM — AND PRONTO!

Since Saturday's loss to Southern California, many Ohio State football fans have called for Jim Tressel's head.

They are disgusted with the conservative play calling, they're upset about him not unleashing sophomore quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, and most of all, they're tired of not seeing any urgency from the Buckeyes mentor to change up what apparently is not working — at least when playing against the elite programs.

Now, I'm totally not for axing Tressel, let's be real, the man is a class act, a great football mind and an incredible recruiter. But, he needs to understand that a philosophical change needs to take place or his Buckeyes are never going to get out their current big-game rut.

"I'm not sure what a wholesale change would entail," Tressel said Tuesday. "I mean, are we going to go to the Navy triple option? Probably not."

Sure, I don't think anyone out there is calling for the Buckeyes to break out the triple option attack, but a spread offense, a lot like the one he ran in 2006 isn't too much to ask for, is it?

He has the personnel to run such an offense. He's got a big, strong-armed, freakishly athletic quarterback in Pryor. He has some quick, elusive running backs in Dan Herron, Brandon Saine and Jaamal Berry (if he ever plays) who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. And, he has a good mix of size, speed and athleticism at the wide receiver position in Dane Sanzenbacher, DeVier Posey, Duron Carter, Ray Small and Taurian Washington.

"If you look at our teams from 2001 on, they haven't been exactly the same because, you know, you don't have the same people," Tressel said.

Exactly! And yet, the Buckeyes are running an offensive scheme, as if Scott McMullen were under center.

To use a NASCAR term when describing Tressel's style — he's restrictor plate racing. He's got a 1,000 horsepower Bugatti Veyron to put on the track and what does he do with it? He slaps a great big governor on the engine.

It's time for Tressel to grab the offensive reins and cut loose.

This Saturday in Cleveland — against Toledo — is the perfect opportunity to remove the restrictor plate and take his high performance vehicle on a test run, because Tressel has eight weeks to get it in gear before their next 'big' game at Penn State.

Will he actually change his philosophy?

"No, I'll always believe that you win tough ball games by making sure that you're the group that makes less mistakes, wins that field position battle, wins the battle in the trenches statistically, and you guys love statistics — that is true," Tressel said. "So, no, I philosophically wouldn't go against that, and I think the people that maybe line up differently than we do or might be perceived differently than we do, the games that that happens for them are the ones they win."

The problem is, that isn't happening with the Buckeyes and the reason why — whether he likes to hear it or not — is Tressel's offensive "philosophy."

Sorry coach, but any way you cut it, remaining status quo and playing "Tressel ball" just isn't an option anymore.