Sunday, September 10, 2006

Post Game thoughts/analysis

I knew that I needed a grace period to calm myself down before I got into any sort of in-depth analysis, and what better way to do that than to watch my Brownies begin their quest for an 0-16 season and a shot at drafting Adrian Peterson.

By now we've all read the wide array of post game analysis from the mainstream media sources, but here are some of the more underappreciated follow ups from around the blogosphere:

  • Buckeye Commentary - Don't worry, Keith will post his full analysis in the coming days, plus his play of the week. My guess is the fumble recovery, but I'm sure Ted Ginn will find his way on to there too.
  • MotSaG - Round table style. Again, I'm sure that they'll come out with something more in-depth in the coming days. Because, you know, there's not as much to talk about when it comes to Cincy.
  • The 614 - Breaks down all the key parts of the offense and defense. He also brings up something that crossed my mind while I was watching - John Kerr. It looks like Ross Homan will most likely make his debut as the starter next week, and Kerr is just not cut out to play weakside.
  • Around The Oval - Addresses issues such as the early defensive breakdown and how the media will play out the win. Is Ohio State that good or is Texas that bad? I guess only time will tell. Oh yeah, he also brings up that Troy character...
Texas views:
  • Burnt Orange Nation - A very well written breakdown of the game. Considering this is written just hours after the game ended, I'm surprised he handled the situation so well. If I were in his shoes there would be curse words flying left and right, and I would probably end up saying things I'd regret.
  • Still looking for some other breakdowns outside of the message boards. I'm sure Bevo will have one up in the coming days, but if you have any, please let me know.
Now, onto my analysis. I'll begin with revisiting my "keys to the game" post from a couple days ago.

  • Slow Down the running game - Well, we all saw that our defense was far from successful in this aspect. However, Greg Davis and the Texas coaching staff did us a huge favor by escaping the run game even though the game was still in reach. Anything outside was guaranteed to be at least four yards, which is something that has to change soon. However, we did a much better job on reading the swing passes/swings, as we saw a prime example with Antonio Smith. He flew in on a blitz, stopped, and changed direction to get the tailback in the backfield. He sure didn't look like a brand new starter that game.
  • Be better on special teams - This one could be judged with an emphatic "Yes!" The stats don't lie on this the least bit. AJ Trapasso's 50.8 punt average outdid Texas by an average of 8 yards a boot. The missed 25 yard field goal is still far from desired, but Pettrey made up for it with another field goal in the second half. Texas' only field goal attempt was missed. Field position was another crucial stat in our favor, as our average start was on our own 32, whereas Texas only started past the 30 yard line once.
  • Early lead - After blowing the first opprotunity, Ohio State got onto the scoreboard first (barely) when Anthony Gonzalez caught a 14 yard touchdown from Troy Smith. Of course, we nearly started out with a one touchdown deficit, but thanks to the Animal, that didn't happen. The whole flow of the game would have changed had Texas punched it in there.
  • Get McCoy on his back - McCoy really surprised me in this game, because everytime he got hit down, he was up before anyone knew it. He always bounced back, something redshirt freshmen don't normally do. The Bucks only registered one sack on the day, but McCoy got hit often when he threw. So often, in fact, that the refs decided that a clean hit on a quarterback who still has the ball in his hands is roughing the passer. Whatever, this turned out to be less important than what most people thought, but we still succeeded.
  • Play ball control offense - Although the Buckeyes lost the time of posession battle (30:26 to 29:34, almost dead even), most of this can be put to the fact that Ohio State relied much more on the pass early on than most people expected. In the second half, when the game was at hand and Ohio State began running the ball more, the results on the clock showed. Also, Ohio State shut out Texas in the turnover battle 2-0, something that needs to be brought up, because that is, "ball control."
  • Win in the trenches - After seeing Troy Smith get plenty of time to throw against a line with two potential all-americans and a third all-conference player, Lee Corso described the front five as "better than advertised." That may be true to fans outside of Columbus, but I think us Buckeye fans knew just how good these guys were. Sure, Alex Boone got burned a couple of times, but he is a true sophomore starting his first ever night game, mistakes were expected. Other than that, the line was pretty much flawless. The run blocking was decent, but when you have to go up against a D-Line that good, decent is pretty damn good. In my book, the defensive line could have done a little better, but did just enough to get to McCoy and slow down the interior running game.
Now, onto some other analysis.

Offensively, this game was a total masterpiece. Ted Ginn's late touchdown, Anthony Gonzalez's domination, all the big plays were a result of what the spread offense is designed to do: Create mismatches. I'd like to refer to my game preview for a quote I put in for just a moment here,
Honestly, what defensive coordinator in his right mind would just go tell their cornerback, "Okay, you go out there and go 1-on-1 on Ginn." It's completely ludicrous to even think that would be the case.
Okay, maybe Gene Chizik would do that. I saw that from the moment we got up to the line and thought, "You have got to be kidding me. This can't be real." I don't know how that happened, but Jim Tressel made it happen. To be critical of the team, I think we went with the pass far too soon, and we should've dictated the tempo of the game by establishing some solid runs to the outside, something there wasn't many attempts at throughout the course of the game. Also, despite Troy Smith's heroics, I think it's time we stop comparing him to Vince Young. Both are exceptional leaders, both wear #10, both have exceptional speed for quarterbacks, and that's it for the comparisons. Young is 4 inches taller than Smith, making him harder to bring down, and Smith is more of a pure passer. Smith proved this by being more of an actual quarterback as opposed to a dual threat quarterback. He managed the game from within the pocket (too a fault, if you ask me), and picked apart the Texas secondary. Young did things that Smith could never do, and Smith will do some things that Young couldn't do. It's that simple.

On defense, can someone please fill the gaps on the outside? Yes, that even means the leader of our back seven, James Larinaitis. Although JL's performance was heroic, it still wasn't to the level of last year's trio. Then again, he shouldn't be expected to do the things they did, so I shouldn't be too critical. It just annoys me to see so many off tackle runs be so successful on a consistent basis. John Kerr is all but done as a starter now, and Marcus Freeman seems to be understanding his job more and more, but these guys still have a ways to go if they have any hopes of going to Glendale. I can't say enough about the front four. Although I mentioned earlier that they were outmatched on the line, they were excellent when it came to not getting sucked in, as well as putting pressure on McCoy. We won't face another offensive line this talented the rest of the season, which means sacks should be plentiful. The back four was also excellent when they were being challenged, which wasn't often. The jury is still out on those guys, and honestly I feel that Malcolm Jenkins didn't have that good of a game, but we'll see just how good these guys are when we get to Iowa.

Other things to say:
  • I can't leave here without giving at least one Tressel-esque comment. I can't say enough about Texas and how good of a program that is. Colt McCoy will be the man sometime soon, just not now. I wish the best of luck to this program in the future, seeing as how it will be a long, long time until we see them again. But then again, we could end up seeing them come January, you never know.
  • Did Robert Rose play? Jim Tressel said he would, but I don't recall seeing him in the game at all.
  • One of these kickers is bound to step up sooner of later. Remember, back in 2001 when Mike Nugent and Josh Huston were in a similar battle? Neither one was very impressive then, and just look how they turned out.

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