As I do every year at this time, I’m getting psyched up for what could be another run at the national championship. And why shouldn’t I? I’m confident that Pryor’s all around game has matured and that he is going to be a serious force leading this team. I believe that the receiving corps has the speed it needs to open up the field for Pryor. I’m sure that Boom Herron and a healthy Brandon Saine are going to step right into Beanie’s shoes. I even know that the Ohio State defense is going to open a big ‘ol can of whoop ass on a couple of untested USC quarterbacks.
And yet here we are, just a week and a half from opening day (and only 2.5 weeks from USC) and while I should be talking smack with the best of them, something is holding me back. Some little voice down deep inside keeps popping up from the inner depths of my consciousness saying, “Yeah, but what about the o-line.” And with that I suddenly I find myself reliving a lackluster offensive line performance against Troy or OU. I shut my eyes and I see Chris Spielman storming up and down the sidelines steaming with frustration as he points out how the offensive line was sitting back on their heels. That they weren’t getting the jump. (Spielman was great that day. He made the transition from ESPN commentator to assistant coach in front of our eyes. If he had a clip board in his hand, he would have thrown it repeatedly.) I have visions of them turning into a sieve against USC.
They’re all painful images and no matter how I try, I just can’t seem to shake them. Could it be that I’m over reacting?
Since I don’t have a media pass (a travesty, I know), and seeing as how I live out of state and can’t get to open scrimmages and such, until I see the Buckeyes take the field on game day, I am forced to form my opinions based on second hand knowledge. And there’s nothing out there to give me much confidence.
A couple of things to
Boren’s back. Yes, my favorite former Michigan player was back in practice and it sounds like he’s ready to go. He’s got a lot to prove this year and he’s big enough and mean enough to do it. He’ll also provide some much needed leadership and help fill a left side that is somewhat scrambled.
The offensive line gave up six sacks in last Saturday’s scrimmage. Not to worry though right? Ken Gordon at the Columbus Dispatch tells me that everything’s going to be O.K. According to Gordon, several of the sacks might not have really been sacks if they were allowed to tackle Pryor. Pryor was working on specific passing plays–64 percent of the plays were pass plays. This is a good thing right? Almost none of the plays were roll outs–one of Pryor’s biggest threats.
This is all good news right?
Gordon’s got a few other insights that may help me sleep a little better at night but here’s the one I like the most, “…Ohio State’s defensive front might be as good or better than any the OSU offensive line faces all season.” I don’t know if that really says much but if you’re counting USC, then I guess it does. Actually, the Buckeye defense provides great practice for USC. I think both d’s have a lot in common.
Bottom line, there’s a ton of pressure on the Ohio State offensive line. They know they were a week spot last year (sure were plenty of fans to remind them if they forgot) and a lot of it came down to attitude. There were times when it seemed like they were beating themselves way worse then the other team. All signs point to an improving offensive line. The question is, can they improve enough in the next 2.5 weeks to stop USC?