Friday, August 18, 2006

Defense prevails in jersey scrimmage

Conditions were soggy in Columbus today (to say the least) for the annual fall jersey scrimmage. The defense went out with a mission to retain their scarlet jersies as the offense went to try and fight off the newcomers. The biggest storyline today obviously was around the new defense and how they would man-up to the high powered offense. Well, man-up they did, as they fought their way to a 66-65 victory. The defense won on the last play of the game as Brandon Mitchell broke up a pass from Troy Smith to Ted Ginn that would have won it for the offense. Although the rain really ruined a lot of the day's playcalling, a lot was learned about the young guns on defense. Here's some of the major storylines from the scrimmage (much thanks to BuckNuts and their nice little summary):

Troy Smith 9-17, 102 yards, INT - Smith was crippled by the black no-contact jersey all game, which made him purely a pocket passer. The one interception was a pass that hit off of Gonzalez's hands and got picked by Brandon Mitchell.

Justin Zwick leaves with shoulder injury - Unlike Smith, Zwick was allowed to get hit, and apparently he got completely trucked by Kerr. No word yet on the seriousness of the injury. If it is serious, that could mean that Boeckman and Schoenhoft could see some mop-up time in games this year.

Wilson, Homan, D'Andrea, Hartline sit out - Wilson and Homan will probably be back on Monday. On an unrelated note, Homan will need to get his behind back on the field, because apparently Tyler Moeller has taken his spot in the two-deep. Pretty surprising considering Moeller seems undersized and Thaddeus Gibson appears to be much more ready to play than he. Also, Tressel said about D'Andrea, "He won't be back soon." Doesn't sound good. Larry Grant better be ready.

Chris Wells: 20 carries, 95 yards - Unfortunately, it was against the twos, so who knows what it means. Pittman was 8 for 35 against the ones and Maurice Wells was 13 for 32 (ouch!). Well, if our defense can shut down MoWells, then that's a good sign for when we face up against Garrett Wolfe in week one. Both players are pretty similar.

Linebackers step up: Marcus Freeman (6 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack), Larry Grant (6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 pass breakup), James Laurinitis (6 tackles, 1 TFL), Thaddeus Gibson (7 tackles, 1 pass breakup, 1 fumble recovery), John Kerr (7 tackles, 1 sack) all had strong performances. Hopefully this is a sign.

James Laurinitis seems to be the hot-commodity
in Columbus these days. Let's hope it stays that way.

Defense does a heavy rotation: Guys were constantly going in and out all day long, and they still managed to hold on for victory. At one point the defense was leading by as much as 19 until the offense came back. As Tressel put it, "I would guess in the first two games at least, we’ll have a whole bunch of people playing a lot of positions on the defensive side. One, because we don’t know for sure, and, two, when you play an early September game in Austin, you’ll have to roll people in." Good to see so many guys stepping up so early.

I think it also goes without mentioning that the defense has a more difficult time racking up points. The score 1 point for forcing 4th down, 1 point for a negative gain, and 5 points per turnover. Whereas, the offense scores 6 points for touchdowns, 3 for field goals, 1 for first downs, and 3 points for plays over 20 yards.

UPDATE: The O-Zone has just released their game report. As it turns out, our first and second team defenses were able to contain the ones and twos on offense, but the lower strings really struggled. That makes me feel much better.

As it turns out, all the stats I've already posted are totally unofficial, and just guesstimates by the boys at Scout.

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