Opelt just threw this recap out of bounds (Toledo Recap)

OSU FootballIt can’t be easy to be an OSU opponent after a tough loss (see: Iowa in 1998). More often than not, the previous week’s loss was not the fault of the defense. Hence, the defense is out for blood, seeing as how it can’t take its frustrations out on its own team. So you get a poor team like Toledo and a poor QB like Aaron Opelt.

Out of bounds it goes

We’ll get back to that in a moment. First, let’s take a look at last week’s prognostications. Each week we ask readers to predict the final score and this time I think I get to claim the best prediction (34-3) as Ohio State cruised to an easy victory over Toledo, 38-0. It seems like everyone needs to caveat the fact that Toledo is a MAC team. Eventually, we’ll all agree that MAC is a decent mid-major conference that produces quite a few NFL players every year. Until then, we must invoke the MACaveat.

The next question we poised was what kind of numbers Terrelle Pryor would put up after a lackluster outing against USC. I said 275 yards, and I am happy to report that I wasn’t even close (even though I was the closest). Pryor’s output was the best of his career, 262 yards through the air and a cool 110 on the ground (MACaveat). This should be the offense we can expect from here going forward.

Not all was perfect with Pryor. He needs a week of practice where Posey doesn’t line up with the first team. Maybe Posey has a really nice derriere that Terrelle can’t take his eyes off of, but Holy Moses in Suspenders he stares Posey down. A simple glance to someone else, anyone, will work wonders with his progressions. I’m happy to see Posey blossoming into a player, but everyone on opposing D’s can key on Pryor’s eyes and know exactly where he’s going.

He also needs to realize his freakish abilities can’t save him everytime. A pass out-of-bounds is an okay result of a play (just ask Opelt). Taking a sack instead of trying to force something into triple coverage is also something we can live with. I know this will come with experience, but it also takes humility. I’m not sure if Pryor is at that point in his growth.

I’m going to skip the last question, where we asked about surprise performances from back-ups in garbage time. It turns out that there wasn’t a whole lot of that this game. Jordan Hall impressed but I think part of that has to be due to an exhausted Toledo defense that had been pushed around all day. Saine also looked good and is starting to look more and more like he should be starting.

So the offense has shown some improvement. Offensive line blocking looks better and the push is starting to show up on a consistent basis. We should be pushing everyone around. There’s still room to grow, but we can’t be too mad about how things are progressing.

OH! And we had a quarterback sneak. AND IT WORKED! I sure hope that play was inserted into the playbook after the USC game when the coaches discovered it was previously missing.

On to the Defense.

I’m not sure what more I can say that I haven’t already said. If Aaron Opelt holds on to the ball a moment longer throughout the game, the Buckeyes notch eight or ten sacks. At the mere appearance of pressure, he was winging that ball out of bounds like it was his job. On more than one pass he hurled downfield, I thought “oh no, he’s got someone deep” only to have the ball harmlessly hit the turf, with no Toledo receiver in sight. I’m not ready to say this D-line is on par with the 2002 line, but it’s getting close.

And even though I haven’t designated this year’s man crush (front runner: Brian Rolle), Kurt Coleman is slowly winning over hearts around the MotSaG HQ. That strip, preserving the defensive shut-out, was one of those moments that galvanize a defense. Don’t think for a moment they didn’t want a goose egg on the scoreboard.

Also, I am loving the defensive front looks we’re throwing out there. Some 3-4 thrown in to counter the spread, dropping Gibson into coverage, moving Heyward down the line, all of it. I’m digging it. I don’t understand how we can be creative on defense and not see it on the other side of the ball.

Overall, Toledo was just what the doctor ordered for a USC hang over. Now it’s time to gear up for Illinois!


  1. Buckeyeholicwompa says

    Only one man is the reason why the D is as good and his name is Luke Fickel. Why do you think HE is down on the sideline this year and Jim Heacock is now in the booth? I am seeing a rising star on the coaching staff and while offensively I don’t see much happening coaching wise due to Tressel’s offensive system containing himself and Jim Bollman.

  2. It has to be an interesting relationship between Heacock and Fickell…

    Fickell grew up in the Pagac Defensive Mindset in the 90’s, which was aggressive as heck. Those defenses in the 90’s were awesome…even though 2002 set the bar for all other OSU defenses to be measured against.

    I just havent ever seen Heacock that aggressive…even when he has the talent to ‘unleash hell’ on other teams (See Chris Leak).

    I love this year’s defense…regardless of the hiccups against USC and Navy. They are fast to the ball and hit people with ‘extreme prejudice.’

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