Echoes' 2010 Ohio State Football Thread


4 legs good 2 legs bad
This thread is going to be a blog of sorts where I'll post my thoughts and analysis of the Buckeyes for the 2010 season. Hopefully some other people will get involved as well.

I'll start with my thoughts from the first game.

Week 1 - Thursday, September 2
Ohio State 45, Marshall 7

The Buckeyes have a lot of hype and they're ranked #2 coming into the season, but they've been known to be pretty lackluster in these early season non-conference games, sometimes struggling to put away inferior opponents. Not this game. Other than some special teams mistakes they looked good and made big plays on both offense and defense.

Let's start with the offense. All eyes are on Terrelle Pryor this season, and I thought he looked great in this first game. He completed 17/25 for 247 yards and 3 TD's. He looked comfortable in the pocket and made some nice throws both from the pocket and on the run. He hit Sanzenbacher for a 65 yard touchdown, and just missed Posey on another deep ball. A couple of his shorter throws were poorly thrown, however. He's definitely looking to throw first, run second, which is a good sign. It also looks like the tight end is going to be more involved in the passing game this year.

The offensive line had a good game, giving Pryor good time to throw and opening big holes in the running game. They did allow a couple sacks and had several false starts, but that could be expected in the first game.

Brandon Saine racked up 103 yards and two TD's on just 9 carries, including two long runs of 40+ yards. The other backs looked good as well, with Herron, Hall, and Berry all averaging over 6 yards per carry. This is a very deep backfield.

Defensively they played a strong game, but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement. They held Marshall to just under 200 yards and forced two turnovers. Brian Rolle returned an interception for a touchdown just before halftime, and just when it looked like Marshall was going to score Chimdi Chekwa forced a fumble down in the redzone that was recovered by Ross Homan. The defense pitched a shutout, but did allow some big plays, especially in the passing game. The coverage looked pretty soft and there were several missed tackles. The secondary could be somewhat of a concern this year.

The biggest mistakes were on special teams. They did force a turnover on the opening kickoff, but later gave up a big kickoff return, had an extra point blocked, and a 53 yard field goal blocked and returned for Marshall's only score. I have to question Tressel's decision to even attempt that field goal though. You have a 4th and 3 inside the opponent's 40, you're up 14-0 and your offense has been moving the ball while your defense has been playing well, GO FOR IT! The chances of making a 53 yard field goal with a true freshman kicker are pretty slim, and I think the risk/reward of going for it is better than the long kick.

Overall, I'm really pleased with their performance. There are certainly some areas they need to work on, but I expect them to get better as the season goes along.

Next up: Miami


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
Really good read. I'm hoping that their next game will be televised in my area, since I want to make my own judgements on Pryor and the Buckeyes.

The Miami game will be tough, I still think the Bucks will come on top with a victory, but it won't be a walk in the park.
I would assume that the OSU/Miami game would be widely televised since it has serious National Championship repercussions.

Hopefully OSU can keep up it's offensive performance from the Marshall game and take some pressure off it's younger defense.
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4 legs good 2 legs bad
Week 2 - Saturday, September 11
Ohio State 36, Miami 24

A win is a win, especially against a good team like Miami, but it wasn't always pretty. I think Ohio State proved they were the better team in most areas of the game, but there are some glaring weaknesses on this team and I'm going to be very critical of them.

Coming into the season there were two big things that Tressel said his team needed to improve on - special teams (kick coverage, to be more specific) and red zone offense. The kick coverage in this game speaks for itself. They gave up a kick return for touchdown as well as a punt return for touchdown. The special teams has now allowed three touchdowns in the first two games, while the defense has only allowed one.

The red zone offense was pretty poor and it seems like Tressel is content just settling for field goals. Out of eight red zone opportunities, they came away with three touchdowns, four made field goals, and one missed field goal. Especially unnerving was the clock management at the end of the first half. On 1st and goal they wasted a down by spiking the ball to stop the clock. They had plenty of time to get up there and run a play. Then on 3rd down they rushed to get the play off when they could have called a timeout to set something up. Of course the play they ran was out of sync and went nowhere, so they had to settle for a field goal. They have to start coming away with six points in these situations if they want to win a national championship.

Outside of the 10 yard line the offense actually played pretty well. They racked up 414 yards of offense with 233 through the air and 181 on the ground. Pryor only completed 12 of 28 passes, but I thought he managed the game well. He continues to struggle with the short passes. Pryor rushed for over 100 yards and was the team's leading rusher, but that brings up another concern. The offensive line looked pretty poor in run blocking for Saine and Herron. They were hit several yards behind the line of scrimmage several times. This will have to improve considerably for Big Ten play.

The defense played great for the most part. They held Miami to 352 yards and 10 points. Most of those yards came in the second half when the defense started playing really soft coverage. I would have liked to see them apply more pressure instead of allowing Miami to drive down the field at will. They also need to tackle better. Seemed like the Miami running backs were getting a lot of yards after contact. On the plus side they had four interceptions, most of which were miscues by Miami receivers.

In the end it's a big win over what is probably a very good team. Miami is easily the fastest and most athletic team Ohio State will face all year. Luckily the next four games are against Ohio, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, so there's a good chance to improve some of their weaknesses before they go to Madison to take on Wisconsin on October 16th. I think this is easily a top 5 team, but I'm not sure they could compete with Alabama right now.


4 legs good 2 legs bad
Week 3 - Saturday, September 18
Ohio State 43, Ohio 7

This was an easy win over the Bobcats. Ohio State jumped out to a 34-0 lead halfway through the second quarter, but after that they got pretty sloppy. Pryor looked sharp, completing 16 passes in a row at one point and spreading the ball around to lots of different receivers. He did throw his first two interceptions of the season though on two deep balls into coverage. He needs to make better decisions.

The defense looked great. They forced five turnovers and held the Bobcats to just two first downs in the first half, and 158 total yards for the game. The second teamers allowed a touchdown in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately there were a lot of injuries to the secondary, most of which seemed to happen on special teams plays. The secondary was already thin, especially after losing starting safety C.J. Barnett for the rest of the season last week. Can't afford to lose anyone else back there.

Even in a 43-7 win there are some glaring concerns. First is that the Buckeyes only averaged 3.9 yards per rush. Against an inferior team like Ohio the offensive line should be dominating and opening big holes. The other big concern is still special teams. Ohio blocked a punt and also had a kickoff return for touchdown that was called back because of a penalty. These things just can't keep happening. One bit of good news is that Ohio State committed zero penalties the entire game, which is the first time I can ever remember that happening. They are always one of the most penalized teams in the Big Ten.

Next week is the last chance to iron out all the kinks before conference play starts. Eastern Michigan is really terrible, and I expect a dominant performance for Ohio State.
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4 legs good 2 legs bad
The Buckeyes are 42 point favorites over Eastern Michigan. Stanford were 41 point underdogs when they beat USC a few years ago, so I guess anything really can happen.

I like that the tight end is a lot more involved in the passing game this season, but I'd like to see them start working him down the field more instead of throwing to him underneath every time. Stoneburner is fast enough to stretch the field. Let him run some seam routes or something. It would open things up for Posey and Sanzenbacher as well.
I agree with the utilization of Stoneburner. It may very well be that Tress has some of those plans drawn up but is saving them for the Big Ten conference schedule to keep them kind of a surprise. Or it might also be that Ohio State's offense isn't exactly what I would call flexible. We tend to stick with a few core things it seems at times.


4 legs good 2 legs bad
Week 4 - Saturday, September 25
Ohio State 73, Eastern Michigan 20

This was the most points Ohio State has scored in a game in 60 years, and the first time they've scored 70+ since they did it twice in 1996. Needless to say, the offense played extremely well. And the EMU defense was almost non-existent. Besides one punt, one turnover, one field goal, and running the clock out at the end of each half, the Buckeyes scored a touchdown on every possession.

Pryor had a Heisman-like performance. 20/26 for 224 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. All four TD passes went to Sanzenbacher, who was clearly Pryor's favorite target in this game. Pryor also rushed for 104 yards on 7 carries, including an awesome 53 yard run for a touchdown on the first possession of the game. If that's not enough, Pryor also had a 20 yard touchdown reception on a halfback throwback pass from his high school teammate Jordan Hall. All this in three quarters of work.

As a team, Ohio State gained 645 yards of total offense, 303 through the air, and 342 on the ground. Even the second and third teamers looked good, scoring three touchdowns in the 4th quarter. Once again though, Herron and Saine struggled to find running room at times. Jaamal Berry and Jordan Hall seem to be more explosive runners. Berry had a nice 67 yard run for a touchdown on one of his four carries. I'd like to see him get more carries as the season goes along.

The defense was both great and really bad. They held EMU to 248 yards, almost all of which came on three consecutive drives where they marched down the field at will. Credit has to go to their quarterback though. All of his passes were right on the money on those drives and the receivers made some nice catches in tight coverage. Still, there were several plays where Ohio State made it way too easy for them, particularly the ones where they let the tight end find huge holes in the zone coverage. Besides those three drives though, the defense held them to three-and-out almost every time.

There were no special teams disasters this time. However they did give up a 27 yard punt return on the only punt, so kick coverage is still somewhat of a concern. On the plus side, they did block an extra point and have a couple nice kick returns of their own.

Overall I'd say it was a good performance, but then again it was against Eastern Michigan, who has lost 15 or 16 games in a row. Next week they go on the road for the first time this season to face Illinois. It's definitely a game they should win without too much trouble.
I think the defensive issues were more or less a matter of the coaches not really trying. It seemed like the coverages they were using were pretty simple and when EMU figured out how to exploit them, the coaches didn't really bother to change anything up. I think it also might have been a case of the players kind of slacking off a bit. You could tell that after the three series resulting in scores the defensive players were pissed and they did a good job from there on out.

All in all I agree that it was a pretty solid performance. I was really happy to see no real special teams miscues, and you gotta love the Pryor TD reception.


4 legs good 2 legs bad
you gotta love the Pryor TD reception.
Yeah, some people are complaining about Tressel running up the score or trying to win Pryor some Heisman votes. On one hand, you do have to wonder why they ran that play when they were up 45-20 when Tressel NEVER calls trick plays. That play might have been better used in a bigger game. On the other hand, Tressel never runs up the score and I don't think he was trying to do that in this game. EMU couldn't even stop us when we were running every down with our 2nd and 3rd stringers. What are we supposed to do, take a knee the entire 4th quarter? Even Ron English, EMU's head coach, said it was their own fault for not playing defense.

In other news, I'm gonna be going to the OSU/Indiana game in Columbus a week from Saturday! I cannot wait!