Saturday, September 02, 2006

First thoughts on the first game

Consider this a "cliff notes" version. I'll get into more detail tomorrow.

The good:
  • Brady Quinn will get a run for his money. Troy Smith's fast start (3 first quarter touchdowns, 2 of which to Ginn), plus no turnovers is a heck of a beginning of what could be a great season.
  • Ted Ginn is da bomb. Believe it or not, Teddy's five yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was the first one under 45 yards he's had as a collegiate player. There is no doubt that he has become a more complete receiver and will score plenty of touchdowns this season.
  • Antonio Pittman is the most underrated running back in college football. Not only that, but he seems to get better as the game wears on. That's a good thing, because we're gonna need someone to run down the clock and hold leads for us. It was also good to see him make the tough runs that he probably wouldn't have been able to make last year.
  • The offensive line is incredible. Troy Smith had all day to throw, and not once (as far as I can remember) was he forced to scramble. The only running play that I can think of right now is that speed option on the first drive.
  • The secondary wasn't half bad. Malcolm Jenkins played much better than I expected him to, but only time will tell if he can do what he did to the NIU guys to the Texas guys. The talent jump is huge.
  • The pass rush was awesome. I can't remember a Buckeye defensive line that got to the quarterback so easily. NIU's line isn't that bad either. Then again, we were awful against the run. Speaking of which...
The Bad:
  • The whole team was terrible against the run. I know Garrett Wolfe is great, but we have a long way to go to live up to our past run defenses. Now, to expand.
  • The D-Line. The line just got sucked in way too often, and it looked like they were just expecting pass on every play, and not really reacting to what happened. As a result, the NIU line got a great push all day.
  • The linebackers. The linebackers were incredibly disappointing all day. On the big Garrett Wolfe screen pass that took NIU into the red zone, the linebackers blitzed and got sucked into Phil Horvath. That left a whole lot of green for Wolfe. Also, John Kerr played absolutely horribly. He was absolutely no good to us, seeing how he was getting pancake blocked on every other play. Laurinaitis did a pretty good impression of the "invisible man," completely disappearing at times. I think Marcus Freeman was the only starter who came ready to play. Ross Homan did play well.
  • The secondary. None of them are very good tacklers, and they seemed to be getting blocked by the wide receivers an awful lot. These shouldn't have been the guys tackling Garrett Wolfe all day long, but for some reason it was.
  • And, of course, who could forget the field goal kicking? Two missed field goals, none made. I guess the days of Huston and Nugent are officially in the past. Pettrey was real good at kickoffs, though. Why did we randomly bring in Pretorious to do a kickoff in the second quarter? He's terrible at it compared to Pettrey.
Looking to next week at Texas, Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young are now Garrett Wolfe (thank goodness), but we still need to do much better in run defense, regardless. Most teams make their biggest improvements between weeks 1 and 2, and lets hope that that is the case here.

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