Tuesday, September 29, 2009

TRESSEL ISN'T A TWEETER — 'I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO SPELL IT'

Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — If you think you're following Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel on Facebook, Twitter or MySpace... well ... you're not.

When told by a reporter at his media luncheon on Tuesday that he was following his twitter page, Tressel replied, "You're following the wrong guy."

Tressel said that he hasn't gotten into the whole social networking — via the web — craze. He said, though, that he doesn't prohibit his players from tweeting, but he does warn them that what they say on those sites can greatly affect themselves, their team and in some cases, their families.

"We don't counsel them on what to say or what not to say or 'hey, Terrelle, why don't you go Twitter this and they'll think we're throwing this pass or something,'" Tressel said. "So just good, common sense and that you represent more than yourself, you represent your family and your school and your teammates and your team and college football and all the rest."

Tressel did say that they do have a person who checks out the what's what on the social networking sites that involve OSU and its players.

"We do check all those pictures that are — what's that on — MySpace, Facebook?" Tressel said. "We have a person check that out because you never know who's putting you on where, it might not even be you and that's the hard thing we tell our guys, hey, if you're anywhere near where someone can have a camera phone and you're not doing something appropriate, you might be on record."

As for those folks that are going on those sites posing as Coach Tressel?

"If someone's representing me on Facebook or Twitter," Tressel said. "I hope they're doing a good job because it's not me.

"I don't even know how to spell it."

Monday, September 28, 2009

COLEMAN SUSPENDED BY BIG TEN; SMITH, TRESSEL ISSUE STATEMENT

Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Ohio State senior safety Kurt Coleman will be suspended from the Buckeyes game this Saturday at Indiana for the helmet-to-helmet hit he delivered on Illinois backup quarterback, Eddie McGee, in last week's 30-0 win over the Fighting Illini.

Both Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith and head coach Jim Tressel were not pleased with the one-game suspension issued by the Big Ten Conference, especially after Coleman was pulled from the game and penalized following the hit.

Smith and Tressel issued a joint reaction to the Big Ten's decision.

"Obviously, we will abide by the one-game suspension from the Big Ten Conference," the statement said. "But, we feel as if there was poor judgment throughout.

"We concur that Kurt's hit was late and a result of poor judgment; he was thus penalized and removed from the game by his coaches. We do not agree that it was 'pre-meditated' or that he was 'targeting a defenseless' player.

"The decision to suspend points to the Conference office's feeling as if there was poor judgement by the game officials for their decision not to eject at the time.

"In our estimation, the final 'poor judgment' is in levying a one-game suspension in this particular case. We will abide by the decision, learn from it, and move forward."

Coleman has recorded 29 tackles (second on team), one interception, and has forced three fumbles for the Buckeyes this season.

Coleman is also a team captain and an integral part of the Buckeyes defensive unit which has posted two consecutive shutouts since falling to Southern California in their second game of the season.

The No. 9 Buckeyes will replace Coleman with senior Anderson Russell, who has recorded 11 tackles and a half-sack this season.

The university said that they will not comment any further on this subject. The Big Ten also issued a "no comment" to Smith and Tressel's statement about the suspension.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

OSU UP TO NO. 9 IN AP, USA TODAY POLLS; NO. 8 IN FIRST HARRIS POLL

Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

Ohio State moved up to No. 9 in both the Associated Press and USA Today (coaches) polls which were released Sunday. In the first Harris Interactive Poll — which is figured into the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) formula — the Buckeyes are ranked No. 8.

The Buckeyes, who recorded their second consecutive shutout with a 30-0 win over Illinois Saturday, moved up four spots in the AP poll and two spots in the USA Today.

The latest polls are listed below:

AP (first place votes)
1. Florida (55) 4-0
2. Texas (1) 4-0
3. Alabama (4) 4-0
4. LSU 4-0
5. Boise State 4-0
6. Virginia Tech 3-1
7. USC 3-1
8. Oklahoma 2-1
9. Ohio State 3-1
10. Cincinnati 4-0
11. TCU 3-0
12. Houston 3-0
13. Iowa 4-0
14. Oklahoma State 3-1
15. Penn State 3-1
16. Oregon 3-1
17. Miami (FL) 2-1
18. [tie] Kansas 4-0
18. [tie] Georgia 3-1
20. BYU 3-1
21. Mississippi 2-1
22. Michigan 4-0
23. Nebraska 3-1
24. California 3-1
25. Georgia Tech 3-1

USA Today (first place votes)
1. Florida (58) 4-0
2. Texas (1) 4-0
3. Alabama 4-0
4. LSU 4-0
5. Boise State 4-0
6. Virginia Tech 3-1
7. USC 3-1
8. Oklahoma 2-1
9. Ohio State 3-1
10. TCU 3-0
11. Cincinnati 4-0
12. Oklahoma State 3-1
13. Penn State 3-1
14. Georgia 3-1
15. Houston 3-0
16. Kansas 4-0
17. Iowa 4-0
18. Mississippi 2-1
19. California 3-1
20. Michigan 4-0
21. [tie] Miami (FL) 2-1
21. [tie] BYU 3-1
23. Missouri 4-0
24. Nebraska 3-1
25. Oregon 3-1

Harris Poll (first place votes)
1. Florida (99)
2. Texas (4)
3. Alabama (11)
4. LSU
5. Boise State
6. Virginia Tech
7. USC
8. Ohio State
9. Oklahoma
10. Cincinnati
11. TCU
12. Penn State
13. Houston
14. Iowa
15. Oklahoma
16. Kansas
17. Georgia
18. Mississippi
19. BYU
20. Michigan
21. California
22. Miami (FL)
23. Oregon
24. Nebraska
25. Missouri

Saturday, September 26, 2009

OBSERVATIONS FROM OHIO STATE'S 30-0 WIN OVER THE FIGHTING ILLINI

Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Saturday's 30-0 win over Illinois was perhaps the best overall performance by Ohio State in the past three or four seasons.

The intensity was ferocious, the play calling was fantastic, the blocking was incredible, the tackling was stellar. The only negative about the game was that it had to end.

Where do we begin?

Offensively, the play calling was run-heavy — 46 of the 59 offensive plays were on the ground — obviously because of the poor weather conditions. However, it wasn't in the traditional Jim Tressel style, you know, I-formation follow the fullback for a yard type of runs. No, Tressel employed a shotgun look on nearly every carry and it worked to perfection, as the Buckeyes tallied 236 yards (5.1 avg.) on the ground in the win.

Boom Herron and Brandon Saine were a sensational 1-2 backfield punch for the Buckeyes in the win, as the two combined for 156 yards on 27 carries in the win. Saine led the team with 81 yards on 13 carries, while Herron ran for 75 yards on 14 totes and two touchdowns.

"Well, we wanted to lead with the run and mix in the pass had it been a beautiful day," Tressel said. "We wanted to be very balanced, but that didn't make sense with the circumstances. It was hard to throw the ball, but I think it was even harder to catch it."

Buckeyes quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, only attempted two passes in the first half — when the rain was coming down in buckets — but in the second half, when the skies began to dry up, the big QB, who ran for 59 yards of his own in the win, put the rock up in the air with great effectiveness.

Pryor completed eight of the 11 passes he threw in the second half for 82 yards and a TD. Oh, and that TD was sent with a message courtesy of James Patrick Tressel which stated "the conservative approach is dead and gone."

With the Buckeyes ahead 23-0 with 1:18 to play in the game — and facing a fourth down and goal from the 3-yard line — Tressel decided to loosen up the vest and go for it to the delight of his players and fans in the stands. Pryor hit receiver Dane Sanzenbacher on a quick out-pattern in the end zone for the score.

Now, to the defense.

Wow! The Buckeyes defense was nasty in the win, shutting out the Illini offensive attack led by quarterback, Juice Williams. Illinois gained just 170 total yards (2.7 yards per play) in the win and Williams, who killed the Buckeyes defense in their last meeting at Ohio Stadium was held to just 95 yards total.

Safety Kurt Coleman led the Buckeyes with nine tackles, while Doug Worthington, Todd Denlinger, Rob Rose and Andrew Sweat all recorded sacks in victory.

However, it was linebacker, Brian Rolle, who stole the show once again, tallying eight tackles, a half-sack and a huge interception on Illinois' opening series in the first quarter that killed a potential scoring drive deep in Buckeyes' territory.

"Yeah, I think that was huge," Tressel said of Rolle's interception. "I thought that was a huge momentum change. (Illinois) came in and made a couple first downs, made a couple good plays, and then when our guys were where they were supposed to be and B. Rolle was on the spot and picked it off and got it back there ... that set the tone for (Illinois) that it was going to difficult to score on us."

Other quick observations ...

— Sophomore Donnie Evege was spectacular on special teams in the win, recording four tackles, including a big pop on A.J. Jenkins in the first quarter.

— Kicker Aaron Pettrey didn't seem to be affected by the driving rain, as the senior booted three field goals of 50, 46 and 27 yards.

— The Buckeyes offensive line with Mike Adams at the left tackle spot played by far its best game, paving huge running lanes for the Buckeye backs.

Friday, September 25, 2009

PREVIEW: BUCKS NEED TO AVOID A 2007 REPEAT VS. ILLINI

COLUMBUS — Before the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes begin making plans for Pasadena, because of their stellar 38-0 performance last weekend against Toledo, let's remember one very important thing — they were playing the Rockets.

Let's be real, Toledo's defense resembles a glacier — slow moving and full of cracks and crevices. It's safe to say that their defense will never be mistaken for the 1985 Chicago Bears, that's for sure.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TRESSEL TALKS JORDAN HALL, ILLINOIS AND PREVENTATIVE HEALTH

Photo of Jordan Hall by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

COLUMBUS — Call him Dr. James Patrick Tressel.

During Tuesday's press luncheon at the Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus, Ohio State head coach, Jim Tressel, talked about the Buckeyes' Big Ten opener this Saturday against Illinois, freshman tailback, Jordan Hall, and even gave some advice on how to prevent one's self from getting the flu.

When asked about punter Jon Thoma — who missed Saturday's game against Toledo with a case of the flu — Tressel gave an update on his health, as well as some ways to avoid becoming ill.

"Yeah, (Thoma) was here yesterday and feels better," Tressel said Tuesday. "What you do to prevent (getting the flu)? Wash your hands a lot, you know, and try to stay away from (others). They did a little seminar in athletic department meeting the other day ... "

Tressel then picked out a reporter and gave an example on how to greet a person in a more health conscious way.

"Instead of shaking hands ... " Tressel said. "you go like this ... "

Tressel bumped elbows with the reporter, then he continued "that's the way, you're supposed to elbow bump, that's the newest thing. So, you can go back to the office, give a little 'what's happening,' you know.

"So wash your hands a lot and elbow bump, stay rested and stay hydrated."

The Buckeyes will need to be hydrated this Saturday, as they open up the Big Ten campaign with a showdown against a very speedy and athletic Illinois — a team that defeated OSU the last time they visited Ohio Stadium just two seasons ago.

Although Illinois is just 1-1 in 2009, Tressel understands what kind of athletes the Fighting Illini possess and what sort of damage they can do to your season hopes.

"I felt going into the Big Ten year that Illinois probably had as good a personnel as anyone in the league," Tressel said. "The explosive ability they have over on the offensive side, the uniqueness they have over on the defense. They've got a big, strong front on defense. They have a coverage scheme that's something we don't face other than once a year against Illinois."

The "explosive ability" that Tressel is referring to is none other than senior quarterback Juice Williams and junior wide receiver, Arrelious Benn — two players who were part of the Illini's upset over the Buckeyes in 2007.

"Arrelious Benn and Juice Williams, and their tight end (Michael Hoomanawanui) who's a heck of a player and (Jeff) Cumberland out wide and (Jarred) Fayson out wide and all those running backs. I think our defense is going to have a tremendous challenge," Tressel said.

One player that Tressel spoke about Tuesday with great confidence was Jordan Hall, a true freshman tailback that looked quite promising in limited action last Saturday against Toledo.

Look forward to seeing more of No. 29 in the coming weeks.

"Jordan's been impressive ever since he's been here," Tressel said. "He's a hard-nosed kid, studies the game, has done well running the football every chance he's gotten, so now that we've seen him in a game, obviously it makes it easier to put him into a game ... he's going to be a good player.

"He's tough — oh, he's a tough kid."

Hall finished the Buckeyes' 38-0 victory last weekend with 44 yards on seven carries, including a 17-yard run in the fourth quarter that set up a Terrelle Pryor to DeVier Posey touchdown pass.

GAME BALLS — Wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher and linebacker Ross Homan, were named the offensive and defensive players of the week (for the Toledo game), respectively.

Ben Buchanan, who filled in for the ill Jon Thoma, was named special units player of the week.

Scout team champions were Chris Fields (offense), Jordan Whiting (defense) and Tony Harlamert (special units).

The "attack force" award went to defensive lineman Cameron Heyward and the "Jim Parker lineman of the week" award went to Bryant Browning.

Monday, September 21, 2009

FOR SOME REASON BUCKEYES DROP TWO SPOTS IN AP POLL, STILL NO. 11 IN COACHES

Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

For some reason the Ohio State Buckeyes, even after shutting out Toledo, 38-0, dropped two spots in the latest Associated Press Poll.

The Buckeyes remain No. 11 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll.

Lose 18-15, drop four. Win 38-0, drop two. I guess it goes to show you that being a member of the media requires minimal education.

Listed below are this week's polls:

AP (first place votes)
1. Florida (55) 3-0
2. Texas (2) 3-0
3. Alabama (3) 3-0
4. Mississippi 2-0
5. Penn State 3-0
6. California 3-0
7. LSU 3-0
8. Boise State 3-0
9. Miami (FL) 2-0
10. Oklahoma 2-1
11. Virginia Tech 2-1
12. USC 2-1
13. Ohio State 2-1
14. Cincinnati 3-0
15. TCU 2-0
16. Oklahoma State 2-1
17. Houston 2-0
18. Florida State 2-1
19. Brigham Young 2-1
20. Kansas 3-0
21. Georgia 2-1
22. North Carolina 3-0
23. Michigan 3-0
24. Washington 2-1
25. Nebraska 2-1

USA Today (first place votes)
1. Florida (59) 3-0
2. Texas 3-0
3. Alabama 3-0
4. Penn State 3-0
5. Mississippi 2-0
6. California 3-0
7. LSU 3-0
8. Boise State 3-0
9. Oklahoma 2-1
10. USC 2-1
11. Ohio State 2-1
12. Virginia Tech 2-1
13. Miami (FL) 2-0
14. TCU 2-0
15. Cincinnati 3-0
16. Oklahoma State 2-1
17. Georgia 2-1
18. North Carolina 3-0
19. Kansas 3-0
20. Brigham Young 2-1
21. Missouri 3-0
22. Michigan 3-0
23. Houston 2-0
24. Nebraska 2-1
25. Florida State 2-1

Sunday, September 20, 2009

QUICK OBSERVATION OF SATURDAY'S 38-0 WIN OVER TOLEDO

Photo by D. Dunkle-Hudnell

CLEVELAND — It didn't long to see on Saturday that Ohio State head coach, Jim Tressel, realized that the "miserable" fans — and offensive coaching staff were correct. If the Buckeyes are going to win, they need to take chances.

Tressel allowed the offense to come out with guns blazing, as his quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, went vertical to junior Dane Sanzenbacher on the third play of the opening series for a 76-yard touchdown.

Tressel apparently took the leash off of Pryor and let the star do his thing with both his feet and his arm. Pryor finished the game with 372 yards of offense (262 passing, 110 rushing) and four TD's (3 passing, 1 rushing).

Perhaps the biggest statement that Tressel made in the 38-0 win was letting Pryor run two QB sneak plays, something he hasn't done in two previous games, most notably on a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line during the Buckeyes' 18-15 loss last Saturday to Southern California.

Pryor converted both sneak plays in Saturday's win over the Rockets, including one for a TD from, yes — the 1-yard line.

Tressel laughed about it after the game.

"We did, we did (run the sneak twice)," Tressel smiled. "Well, you know the thing I found out, you guys brought up this stuff about emails and all that — well a lot of those emails were from my offensive staff. And so, they must of gotten their point across."

I guess they did.

I'll have more in Monday's edition of The Bryan Times.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

PRYOR DAZZLES IN BUCKEYES' 38-0 VICTORY OVER TOLEDO

Photo by Darla Dunkle-Hudnell

CLEVELAND — On the third play of the opening series against Toledo on Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio State sophomore quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, showed his coach why he needed to open up the offense and let him do what he does best.

On a third-and-seven at their own 24-yard line, Pryor displayed his strong right arm, firing a high, spiraling moon shot down the middle of the field to a speeding Dane Sanzenbacher for a 76-yard touchdown, causing an eruption from the crowd of 71,000-plus — mostly OSU fans — at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

It was a much better start than the one he had last week when he tossed an interception on the Buckeyes' opening series against Southern California.

Pryor admitted after the game that it was of vital importance that he and the Buckeyes offense knocked out seven on the first drive.

"It was very crucial," Pryor said. "We had a lot of energy coming in (to the drive) because the defense had just got a three-and-out. That was big for us on third down to get the touchdown. It was big to score on that first drive."

Pryor continued to shine in the passing game during the second series for the Buckeyes, as he hit on passes of eight yards to DeVier Posey, 12 yards to Duron Carter and capped off the drive with another scoring strike to Sanzenbacher — this time from 17 yards out.

Pryor finished the game 17-of-28 passing for 262 yards and three touchdowns in the Buckeyes 38-0 victory over the Rockets.

The sophomore star also showed why he was heralded as a multi-threat talent coming out of high school, as Pryor rushed for 110 yards on 12 carries and a TD.

The Buckeyes signal caller said that it doesn't matter what it takes, whether he uses his arm or his legs — or both — it's all about getting the 'W.'

"I'm just here to win. Whatever I can do," Pryor said. "Whether it's 100 yards rushing, 100 yards passing, four yards rushing ... whatever I can do to get a win and contribute, that's what I try to do."

The only negative to Pryor's performance on Saturday was the two interceptions he threw. However, he understands what went wrong on each play and what he needs to do to prevent it in the future.

"Coach said — I heard him from out in the hallway — I should have stepped up and threw or stepped up and ran," Pryor said. "I was going to throw it to Ray (Small) on the sideline, so he could catch it and get out, but the ball took off after I got hit.

"The second one was just a bad ball," Pryor continued. "You know, those things happen. For us to be successful and not put our defense in a bad spot, I need to throw the ball with more power and put my legs into it. I just made a bad decision right there. Those things happen."

Ohio State head coach, Jim Tressel, who caught a lot of flack this past week for his conservative play calling, most notably not running Pryor on a QB sneak at the 1-yard line against USC, opted to let his 6-6, 240-pound signal caller run two sneak plays in the win — one on a third-and-one during the second series of the game, and the other on a second-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the third quarter. The first one Pryor converted into a first down. The second one — he scored a TD.

After the game Tressel chuckled when asked about finally using Pryor on a couple sneak plays.

"We did, we did," Tressel smiled. "Well, you know the thing I found out, you guys brought up this stuff about emails and all that — well a lot of those emails were from my offensive staff. And so, they must of gotten their point across."

So was his offensive staff the "miserable" and "unhappy" people he was referring to?

Who knows? But nonetheless, his staff — and the fans — aren't "miserable" anymore!

OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT SATURDAY

THE BUCKEYES' DEFENSE
— Coming into the game, the Rockets had one of the most high flying offenses in the nation, scoring 42.5 points per game. Well, the Buckeyes blanked the Rockets attack and held the nation's leader in total individual offense — Toledo senior quarterback, Aaron Opelt — to just 181 yards and no scores. The Buckeyes defense, led by linebacker Brian Rolle (8 tackles) held Opelt to minus-16 yards rushing in the Buckeyes win.

DANE SANZENBACHER — The junior wide receiver from Toledo burned his hometown team for five receptions, 126 yards and two touchdowns.

"I don't know if they'll let me come back home now," Sanzenbacher laughed.

Sanzenbacher showed his incredible speed on the first series by hauling in a 76-yard score on a go route, and then displayed his great hands on the second series snagging a TD on a 17-yard missle from Pryor.

TRUE FRESHMAN TAILBACK, JORDAN HALL — Pryor's former high school teammate at Jeannette (PA) looked like the real deal during his first collegiate action Saturday. The quick back rushed for 44 yards on just seven carries, and had a run of 17 yards in the final quarter, which set up a 4-yard TD pass from Pryor to Posey.

Hall's elusiveness and vision were apparent, and the frosh could become more of an impact as the Big Ten Conference play begins this coming up Saturday.

Friday, September 18, 2009

PREVIEW: TRESSEL, BUCKEYES HOPE TO MAKE FANS LESS 'MISERABLE'

CLEVELAND — Warren G. Harding was the President of the United States the last time Ohio State lost a football game to a school which resides within the borders of the Buckeye State.

John Wilce was the Buckeyes head coach during that game nearly 88 years ago, and yet, even after dropping a 7-6 defeat to Oberlin College, he probably didn't face the firestorm that current head coach, Jim Tressel, has endured since his squad lost to No. 3 Southern California last Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

Of course, when Wilce lost to the Yeoman in 1921, it wasn't his sixth straight loss against a Top 5 rated team.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

OSU TACKLE CORDLE OUT 3-4 WEEKS

Ohio State senior right tackle, Jim Cordle, will miss 3-4 weeks with an ankle injury, head coach Jim Tressel announced on Thursday.

"(Cordle's) ankle was bothering him a little bit Monday and we didn't think it would be a problem," Tressel said. "I thought it would get better Tuesday and it got progressively worse. I think it's a big deal anytime you lose somebody who's played so much."

Cordle has been a starter all across the line in his career with the Buckeyes and his leadership could be missed during the next few weeks, including this Saturday in Cleveland against Toledo.

Sophomore, J.B. Shugarts, will more than likely start at right tackle this Saturday, as he has been listed as the backup at both right and left tackle spots the past two games.

Fellow sophomore, Mike Adams, could also get a look on the right side, as he will ready to play for the first time this season, since being thrown in Tressel's doghouse during fall camp.

Is he finally out of the kennel?

"He's getting there," Tressel said Tuesday.

The Buckeyes will leave tomorrow by bus for Cleveland.

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.

Monday, September 14, 2009

OSU DROPS TO NO. 11 AFTER LOSS

Ohio State — after losing in the final moments to Southern California on Saturday night —dropped to No. 11 in both the Associated Press and USA Today (Coaches) Top 25 college football polls that were released on Monday.

The Buckeyes' arch-rival, Michigan, debuted at No. 25 in the AP poll and finished just outside the USA Today rankings.

Listed below are the complete polls:

AP (first place votes)
1. Florida (56) 2-0
2. Texas (1) 2-0
3. USC (1) 2-0
4. Alabama (2) 2-0
5. [tie] Mississippi 1-0
5. [tie] Penn State 2-0
7. Brigham Young 2-0
8. California 2-0
9. LSU 2-0
10. Boise State 2-0
11. Ohio State 1-1
12. Oklahoma 1-1
13. Virginia Tech 1-1
14. Georgia Tech 2-0
15. TCU 1-0
16. Oklahoma State 1-1
17. Cincinnati 2-0
18. Utah 2-0
19. Nebraska 2-0
20. Miami (FL) 1-0
21. Houston 2-0
22. Kansas 2-0
23. Georgia 1-1
24. North Carolina 2-0
25. Michigan 2-0

USA Today (first place votes)
1. Florida (56) 2-0
2. Texas 2-0
3. USC (3)
4. Alabama 2-0
5. Penn State 2-0
6. Mississippi 1-0
7. [tie] LSU 2-0
7. [tie] California 2-0
9. Brigham Young 2-0
10. Boise State 2-0
11. Ohio State 1-1
12. Oklahoma 1-1
13. Georgia Tech 2-0
14. Virginia Tech 1-1
15. TCU 1-0
16. Utah 2-0
17. Oklahoma State 1-1
18. Nebraska 2-0
19. North Carolina 2-0
20. Georgia 1-1
21. Cincinnati 2-0
22. Miami (FL) 1-0
23. Kansas 2-0
24. Oregon State 2-0
25. Missouri 2-0

Saturday, September 12, 2009

QUICK OBSERVATION FROM OHIO STATE'S 18-15 LOSS TO USC

COLUMBUS — After losing to No. 3 USC on Saturday night, it has become apparent why Ohio State has finished on the short end of the stick in big games against the elite teams, and it can be summed up in just two words — Jim Tressel.

Tressel's conservative style once again bit the Buckeyes in the tail on Saturday night, as basic play calling and the lack of imagination enabled the Trojans to go on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to take the victory, 18-15.

The Buckeyes defense was stellar all game long, holding the Trojans to just 227 yards and 10 points before the final drive. In fact, the only touchdown the Trojans scored was on a 2-yard drive — which took four plays — following a Terrelle Pryor interception on the opening series of the game. After that, the Buckeyes defense surrendered just three points until the final series of the night.

The Buckeyes offense scored following USC's first touchdown, when Pryor led the Buckeyes down the field on a six-play, 72 yard touchdown drive, which was capped off by a Dan Herron 2-yard TD run to tie it at 7-7.

Ohio State controlled the game, that is, until Tressel decided to pass on a fourth and goal at the 1-yard line and kick the field goal to go ahead 10-7, instead of taking a chance and using his 6-6, 240-pound quarterback to go on a sneak.

You could see that Pryor was upset that Tressel didn't show any faith in he or the offense — and that set the tone for the rest of the game.

We can sit back and point to this and point to that, but the loss — and more than that, all of the big game losses since Florida in 2006 — can be laid at the feet of Tressel.

Tressel's philosophy isn't "let's play to win" — it's more like "let's play not to lose."

Show me a champion and I'll show you a gambler — a guy or gal that takes chances.

Well, Tressel didn't — and doesn't — take chances.

Now, the 'chances' of the Buckeyes getting to the mountain top is about as good as JT going for a fourth and inches at the one — zero 'chance.'

Friday, September 11, 2009

PREVIEW: OSU'S RALLY CRY VS USC? 'STAY IN THE MOMENT'

COLUMBUS — "Stay in the moment."

Those are the words Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel is stressing to his No. 8 Buckeyes, as they prepare to take on No. 3 Southern California on Saturday night in Columbus.

The Buckeyes' mentor doesn't want his players thinking about nearly being upset by Navy last weekend. He doesn't want them dwelling on losing in the final seconds to Texas in last season's Fiesta Bowl. And, he certainly doesn't want their minds consumed with thoughts of the 35-3 drubbing by the Trojans out in Los Angeles last September.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

BUCKEYES DROP TWO SPOTS IN AP, ONE SPOT IN USA TODAY POLLS

After barely escaping Navy in last Saturday's season opener at Ohio Stadium, the voters penalized Ohio State in the latest Associated Press and USA Today college football Top 25 polls, which were released on Tuesday.

The Buckeyes, who were rated sixth in the both preseason polls dropped to eighth in the AP and seventh in the Coaches (USA Today). However, with No. 3 Southern California coming up this Saturday night at the Horseshoe, the Buckeyes have a great opportunity to shoot back up the charts — or fall way off of it.

Tuesday at his weekly press luncheon at the Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus, OSU head coach Jim Tressel said it really doesn't matter where you're ranked now, as much as it is later in the season.

"You know, it's so early that those (rankings) are irrelevant unless you win all your games or nearly all your games," Tressel said Tuesday.

Listed below are both of the latest polls:

AP (first place votes)
1. Florida (56) 1-0
2. Texas (2) 1-0
3. USC 1-0
4. Alabama (2) 1-0
5. Oklahoma State 1-0
6. Mississippi 1-0
7. Penn State 1-0
8. Ohio State 1-0
9. Brigham Young 1-0
10. California 1-0
11. LSU 1-0
12. Boise State 1-0
13. Oklahoma 0-1
14. Virginia Tech 0-1
15. Georgia Tech 1-0
16. TCU 0-0
17. Utah 1-0
18. Notre Dame 1-0
19. North Carolina 1-0
20. Miami (FL) 1-0
21. Georgia 0-1
22. Nebraska 1-0
23. Cincinnati 1-0
24. Kansas 1-0
25. Missouri 1-0

USA Today (first place votes)
1. Florida (56) 1-0
2. Texas (2) 1-0
3. USC (1) 1-0
4. Alabama 1-0
5. Penn State 1-0
6. Oklahoma State 1-0
7. Ohio State 1-0
8. Mississippi 1-0
9. LSU 1-0
10. California 1-0
11. Boise State 1-0
12. Brigham Young 1-0
13. Georgia Tech 1-0
14. Oklahoma 0-1
15. Virginia Tech 0-1
16. TCU 0-0
17. Utah 1-0
18. Nebraska 1-0
19. North Carolina 1-0
20. Notre Dame 1-0
21. Georgia 0-1
22. Miami (FL) 1-0
23. Cincinnati 1-0
24. Oregon State 1-0
25. Kansas 1-0

Sunday, September 6, 2009

OSU vs. NAVY ... 'THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Ohio State's 31-27 victory over Navy on Saturday should have been billed as the 'The good, the bad and the ugly.

THE GOOD ...

Terrelle PryorOSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor looked much improved in Saturday's opener against Navy, throwing the football with more confidence than he did as a freshman a season ago.

In the first half, Pryor was sharp going 10-of-13 passing for 127 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown strike to Dane Sanzenbacher on the opening series.

Pryor distributed the ball very well in the first half, connecting with six different receivers. Perhaps his finest drive was his final one in the first half, when he went 4-of-4 passing (all to different receivers) for 47 yards. He capped off the drive with a two-yard TD run.

Pryor stated that he feels good where he is in his progression as a passer.

"I felt good," Pryor said. "It's good to get back into Ohio Stadium. I'm just trying to get the ball to my receivers. Whatever my footwork and all that stuff does, I'll work on it during the weekdays in practice. Out here, I'm just worried about winning the game."

It wasn't all peaches and cream with Pryor, though. But, we'll save that for the "Bad" section below.

Brian Rolle and Kurt Coleman — Even though the defense looked suspect at times, mike backer Brian Rolle and safety Kurt Coleman were incredible all game long.

Coleman looked like he was in mid-season form on Saturday, co-leading the team in tackles with nine, while recording a forced fumble and an interception — two plays that could be seen as game savers.

Rolle, who also led the team with nine tackles — including one for a loss — actually did make the "game saver" late in the fourth quarter, when he picked off a two-point conversion pass from Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs and raced the distance of the field for the nail in the coffin.

Coleman said that the close call will help the team next week against USC.

"Even though they scored and we got two points when B. Rolle intercepted it and took it back, I think a lot of guys got some good experience from the close game. That's something we haven't had going into the big games. So, this is great game for us to take steps forward."

THE BAD ...

ATTITUDE — If the Buckeyes have any aspirations of knocking off No. 3 USC and getting over the 'big game' hump, they must change their ways — and fast.

After jumping ahead of the Naval Academy by 10 points on Saturday, OSU head coach Jim Tressel decided to insert backup quarterback Joe Bauserman into the game for Pryor midway through the second quarter. That sent a bad precedent to his squad. Tressel's decision basically said "well boys, no worries — we have this game in the bag."

It was evident that the players on the team let their guard down, and if there is one thing we can learn from the U.S. service academies is that you should always be on the defensive (and offensive).

This attitude is one of the primary reasons why the Buckeyes have had such difficulties against the elite programs. Teams like Florida, USC, and Texas bring it hard for 60 minutes and don't let off the gas until the clock looks like a bag of donuts.

"I don't concern myself with our guy's effort," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "Our guys gave excellent effort to prepare, to come into the game, but we're going to need to get much, much better. We know that."

Knowing it and doing it are two different things, and to disagree with Coach Tressel, the effort — which was there at times — wilted after he inserted Bauserman in the second quarter. You could see it in the player's faces and by the way they carried themselves on the sideline. The fact is, they ended up winning because they were able to turn the intensity off and on like a light switch because they were going against Navy, a team that has tremendous heart and desire, but lacks in athleticism and talent.

Also, replacing Pryor got him out of a good rhythm. After going 10-of-13 for 127 yards and a TD in the first half, Pryor looked uncomfortable and a little indecisive in the second half, going 4-of-8 for just 47 yards, no TDs and an interception.

If they try to play with the same attitude against USC, the outcome won't be as favorable.

No Jaamal Berry — Nothing against OSU running backs' Dan Herron or Brandon Saine, both are fine players who work hard, can get you some yardage and help move the chains. But, it was evident on Saturday that neither back has that extra gear, the one that can take it the distance.

True freshman, Jaamal Berry, has that extra gear. And yet, he never got any action.

Berry is a player that can be a compliment to Herron and Saine, and can be the home run threat out of the backfield that the Buckeyes have been missing when going against the speedier, elite teams around the country. I'm not so sure that he will be effective at all against USC, being that he has never touched the football in a collegiate game.

AND THE UGLY ...

Play Calling — The Buckeyes play calling was still too much on the conservative side. Sure, it can be said that the Buckeyes didn't want to show USC anything. However, the OSU coaches didn't see anything either, as in — will this work, will that work?

Trying new schemes against a powerful defense like USC just seems a bit dangerous, am I wrong?

Look, great teams don't care if the other team knows what they're doing, they just line up, snap the ball, bust guys in the mouth and dare you to stop them.

As for going for it on fourth and one in the second quarter and not converting, instead of just going for the field goal?

"You know, I probably let the emotion of wanting to score — and wanting our offensive guys to knock a hole in it — get the best of me, and when we didn't make it, what went through my mind? I was hoping the next voice on the phone wasn't (OSU AD) Gene Smith's because you know, it was a poor decision."

No, it wasn't a poor decision to go for it. It was poor play call. You have a 6-6, 240-pound quarterback. Let him plunge it through to move the chains. But instead, they gave it to Herron on a simple dive play and the Midshipmen read it out and blasted through the OSU front.

Which brings me to the final "ugly" ...

The Offensive Line — How can a unit that averages 300 pounds per man, be pushed back by a defensive front that averages 260? The Buckeyes o-line did open some lanes for the runners (166 yards on 38 carries, 4.0 avg.), but when going up against a much smaller and much less talented defensive front like the Midshipmen's, the numbers should have been double that.

The interior line needs to get nasty, and the tackles must get the footwork in step or the USC d-line will make their life — and in turn, Pryor, Herron and Saine's — a living hell.

BOTTOM LINE ...

The team's overall attitude and philosophy needs reform and they need it this week. A close call to Navy can be forgotten with a victory over the Trojans.

However, if they don't change dramatically and end up losing big to Southern California ... well ... that phone call from Gene Smith could be coming sooner than later.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

KUDOS TO OSU FANS

There was nothing but great respect paid by the OSU fans in the crowd toward the Naval Academy prior to Saturday's kickoff.

Both teams shook hands and then ran onto the field together, while a chorus of cheers echoed throughout Ohio Stadium.

Friday, September 4, 2009

LEE'S HIGH FIVE: OSU vs. NAVY

Saturday should be quite a special day for Ohio State fans.

Not only is it the kickoff to the Ohio State football season, but it is also a day that we can really stand up and give thanks to the men and women who serve and protect our country.

I am hopeful that all Buckeye fans will stand up and cheer when the Midshipmen take the field, because if it weren't for men and women like those in the Naval Academy — as well as the Marines, Air Force and Army — there would be nothing in this country to cheer (or boo for that matter).

Listed below are fives things to watch for in Saturday's opener at the Horseshoe:

1. TRIPLE TROUBLE: Navy is known for their triple-option running attack, in fact, the Midshipmen were the top rushing team in the land last season. With dual-threat quarterback Ricky Dobbs at the helm, along with backs' Shun White (2008: 1,092 yards rushing, 8 TDs) and Eric Kettani (2008: 982 yards rushing, 4 TDs) serving as the other two-thirds of the triple option, the Buckeyes defense will need to be quite sharp and extremely, extremely disciplined.

2. DEEP PASSING: Most OSU fans on hand will be curious to see how much progress OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor has made as a passer from last season to now. Obviously, Pryor is as dangerous as they come with his feet, but his passing mechanics last season were poor and his ability to read the defense and see downfield were not where they needed to be for the Buckeyes to be national contenders.

However, Pryor has busted his tail during the offseason trying to become a more polished passer and it has been evident in camp that he is well on his way. Pryor will need to show that he can see and throw the ball effectively downfield against Navy, because if he doesn't, USC will be lining up nine in the box next Saturday. And if the Bucks can't run against the Trojans, their title hopes will be dashed.

3. YOUNG BUCKS: There will be quite a few true freshman on the field Saturday for the Buckeyes. Running backs' Jaamal Berry and Jordan Hall will surely see their share of touches, as well as receiver Duron Carter, both fullbacks — Zach Boren and Adam Homan — and tight end Reid Fragel. Offensive lineman Marcus Hall and Jack Mewhort may see time as well.

Linebackers' Dorian Bell and Storm Klein, defensive lineman John Simon and defensive back C.J Barnett, should all see some time during the game on defense and special teams.

4. TAURIAN WASHINGTON: I felt coming into last season that if given an opportunity, Taurian Washington could be the next great Buckeyes' receiver. I still feel the same way this year, and with Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline gone to the NFL and Ray Small residing in Tressel's dog house, Washington will definitely get his chance. Washington has the size and speed to be a very dangerous weapon for the Buckeyes offense. Look for him to make big plays downfield Saturday — just like he has in the last two spring games.

5. HALFTIME: John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth will be dotting the 'i' during the halftime performance of "Script Ohio." How awesome is that?

PREVIEW: MIDSHIPMEN WILL TRY TO TRIPLE ATTACK BUCKS

COLUMBUS — Saturday in Columbus, when Navy comes sailing into the Horseshoe, the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes are going to be facing a much different animal than they are accustomed to.

In a day and age of spread offenses and zone read schemes, the Midshipmen bring it old school, delivering a triple-option attack that has 'new age' defensive coordinators scurrying to the nearest spiritualist for a seance with the late, great Knute Rockne.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

CHECK OUT FRIDAY'S BRYAN TIMES FOR THE OSU-NAVY PREVIEW

Be sure to check out The Buckeye Times preview page in this Friday's edition The Bryan Times.

The page will include the game preview of the Ohio State football team's 2009 season opener against Navy, as well as predictions of every Big Ten conference tilt be played this weekend.

Will Navy's triple-option offense give the Buckeye defense fits?

Will OSU's offense, under sophomore star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, have a few new wrinkles in the game plan?

Can Western Michigan hand "That School Up North" another MAC beatdown?

Can Akron zip past the Nittany Lions?

Find out by reading The Buckeye Times on Friday!

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