Death Cab for Woody

Sunday, September 03, 2006

OSU 35 - NIU 12 - Missed Tackles, Kickers, and Fumbles...Oh My!

Well.... seems to have gone as planned.

Troy and the Wide Receivers...

We finally got to see the offense that we had envisioned from the end of the Fiesta Bowl through Spring and Fall Camp. It was efficient and effective. Troy Smith looked like he could do no wrong, and ...Uh-oh....Ted Ginn learned how to run crisp routes (Sorry Brian). Another bright surprise was the emergence of Brian Robiskie. Robo is first the tall receiver that OSU has had in its stable, since Michael Jenkins was still here in 2003. He replaced Sr. Roy Hall at the 3rd WR spot, due to an ankle injury.

Running Backs...

Antonio Pittman looked solid as usual. It needs to be stated over and over again that we will not see too many 195lb RBs that have the ability pound a defense. This is a strength of Tony and he did not disappoint yesterday. He got his 100 yards and left the field. It was also the debut of uber-frosh Chris Wells. He ran strong and had a very good showing (sans fumble at the goalline). Chris and Antonio pretty much displayed what was expected of them during this game. Now the running back I would really like to talk about is Maurice Wells. This is the guy that Chizik and Mack Brown will be having nightmares about this week. He was finally put into a situation where had some space to work with and not running between the tackles. He took a dump pass and we finally got to see what all of the hype over Maurice was about with a twenty yard scamper. Now only if JT and Co decide to use him a little more. This could possibly happen and might be part of he master plan for next weekend. The offense in general was magnificent, but went very "vanilla" after getting out to the 28-point lead in the first half.

The real test...and kudos...

The defense looked new and inconsistent. There were times that the D-line was in there and causing all sorts of confusion for Horvath and the NIU offense, while there were other times that the intensity was just lacking. From my standpoint, Gholston and Richardson had the best performances on the D-line yesterday. I know that there are a lot of people worrying about the play of the defense, but the fact remains that the O-line that NIU brought into Columbus on Saturday was one of the best it will see all year. It uses a good zone blocking scheme and has NFL-level talent at the tackle and tight end positions. I will admit that it was a bit disconcerting that Wolfe was able to get to the corner a lot on screens and sweeps, but let's give credit where it is due. Wolfe will probably be the best overall running back that this defense will face all year. There may stronger or bigger backs on the schedule, but there isnt a back with better vision and field awareness than Wolfe. When you combine that type of talent with his sheer speed, it becomes awfully hard to stop him. He will have a great year and should be invited to NY for the Heisman ceremony, but it most likely wont be in the cards for the MAC school talent.

Jay Richardson....dreaming of Colt McCoy and bringing the whammy...

I am not even going to talk about the linebacker play in this game. There were too many people rotating into the positions for this game. Larry Grant had a nice interception, but geesh man...wait for your freakin' blockers next time. It was good to see some agressiveness from Homan and Freeman, but there were too many missed tackles. Give credit to Wolfe on this again. He is a very slippery target to bring down. For the Texas game, I just dont see S. Young of Jamaal Charles making the kind of moves that were put on display by Wolfe. No offense to the Texas running backs, but if G. Wolfe was in Austin...Jamaal and Selvin wouldnt be playing very much...IMO.

The secondary...yuck...

Nick Patterson needs to take off the D-Line shoulder pads . Maybe that will make him a look a little faster than Mike D'Andrea. Antonio Smith and Mitchell played pretty well, but, again, missed tackles were the message of the day.

Kicking game....

Trapasso = 1 punt for 43 yards. Could turn into this year's version of Tom Malone.
Pettrey and Pretorious...OMG...We know the conditions were poor, but come on that was too Garrett Rivas-ish for Buckeye tastes...

Donuts are the buckeye friends.

Overall, this was the best way the season opener before the Texas game could turn out. OSU played a team with an experienced O-Line and Backfield and the D played a "bend but dont break" style that we have all come to know and love. We should see a great deal of improvement between week 1 and week 2, as NIU provided a lot of learning material for the coaches this week. The "O" was lights out, but the competition was suspect on the NIU defensive-side of the ball. Regardless, the offense looked solid and will give Chizik and Brown a lot to think about this week in the film room. The offensive explosion in the first half was refreshing and really reminded me of watching a game from the mid-90's where OSU would be up by 35-42 points before the 1st half expired. The best part of the offensive display was that a LOT of players got to play in this game in the second half, which gave the coaches a better chance to the see some of the non-starters show their stuff in a game-situation.



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