The Ohio State Buckeyes displayed what may be, sadly, the best offense in Ohio yesterday in a 16-3 victory over Purdue. Frustrating is the adjective that seems most fitting to describe the players, play calling, and game plan, however a win is a win. Unfortunately with the Big 10 being cast as more than a step slow, second fiddle type conference, these type of games for the face of the Big 10 do not do anything to repair the national rep.
On the message boards, near the coffee maker, and in text messages across the nation Jim Tressel has taken a lot of flak for his play calling, and his coordinators offensive game plan. When it comes down to it, you could put together the best game plan in the world, or call a sequence of plays that stymies defensive coordinators around the league, but if you do not have the players to execute the plays, all of your work is useless. I am not totally exonerating Tressel and Bollman of all blame, but the players on offense are not great. Yet. TP is taking a lot of heat after the game he had yesterday. He holds the ball too long. He tries to make a big play every time. He misses open receivers. The bottom line is 365 days ago he was breaking every tackle, running by everyone once he got into the secondary, and by all reports had a better offensive line in Jeanette than in Columbus. He is growing into the position slowly but surely. Remember, Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith had a lot of trouble beating out Justin Zwick early in his career, let alone figuring out what to do with the ball when he was on the field. Once he gets it, and by it i mean experience, he is (for all redundancy sake) going to be scary.
TP does not have much help immediately around him right now. The line is not so good. Adams needs to play every snap. Wouldn't it be fun to watch Beanie run behind the line that Maurice Clarett was afforded as a freshman? Olivea, Stepanovich and the rest clearing the road for Clarett made it seem like he was never touched in the backfield. Beanie is having to make cuts seemingly before he even gets the ball. It was nice to see Posey get some touches and Lamaar Thomas also had a reception and a nice little run after catch. Have to find some guys who can create separation.
Defensively, I am still not 100% sold on Malcolm Jenkins as a cover corner. He had a great day yesterday. However, I am not sure if he is going to be able to shut down above average receivers. We shall see what Clevelander Brian Hoyer has in store for him next week. On the other side of the field Chimdi Chekwa showed some great promise in breaking up a few passes and making some nice open field tackles. Denlinger provided some spark on the interior of the Dline. I would like to see the defense create more turnovers, but you really can't get upset when the defense allows just 3 points, and were never really in trouble of giving up a touchdown all day.
The weeks ahead will decide the Big 10 title as Michigan State looked good in beating Northwestern, and Penn State bulldozed Wisconsin last night.