Archives for September 2009

Cordle hurt, Browning is a Captain

OSU FootballTwo quick notes before we get to the Toledo preview.

Jim Cordle has injured his ankle, opening the door for JB Shugarts to take over the tackle spot for the time being.

Senior right tackle Jim Cordle has an injured ankle and is expected to miss the next 3 or 4 weeks. Sophomore J.B. Shugarts will start against Toledo on Saturday, his first career start.

The linked article is actually full juicy nuggets. Among them:

Browning, a Cleveland native, is the offensive captain this week. The game will be played in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

I find this interesting, because I think Browning has been struggling (that’s being generous), but maybe this is the kind motivation that could light a fire under his ample behind and he finally starts blowing some people up.

Jordan Hall is the third tailback right now. Jaamal Berry has been nursing a minor injury, possibly a hamstring. Neither has played this season, but Tressel said he still intends to play both at some point.

The order at receiver now is so: DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher are the top two, followed by Duron Carter as No. 3, Ray Small is No. 4, Lamaar Thomas is 5 and Taurian Washington 6.

Surprising to see TW so low, but I’d really like to see more of Lamaar Thomas.

Salt, meet wound

Ugh. I don’t know if you’ve seen this already or not (I haven’t perused today’s Buckeye Blogosphere yet) but reader Andrew sent us this image (screen cap credit goes to Becca Howard) that is just gut wrenching:


You are looking at USC’s first “touchdown” on the fourth and goal play. The Buckeyes’ D-line just got infinity more Buckeye Leaves.

Don’t read this.

OSU FootballKeeping with my attempts to keep things positive, I’m going to urge you to not read this, because it contains quotes like this:

There’s no sugar-coating this: Jim Tressel and his staff were outcoached against Southern Cal and Pete Carroll, . Again. Particularly on offense, Ohio State’s gameplan against the Trojans was utter rubbish, and it failed to meet the number one requirement of every gameplan: put your players in position to succeed.

Deconstructing: The grisly demise of ‘Tressel Ball’


USC Game Recap (Buckeye Leaves)

OSU FootballI’ve decided that complaining is not going to make me feel any better. It’s been done elsewhere, with much more vitriol than I would have spilled, so I’m just going to move on. There are glaring problems that my scarlet tinted glasses have been obscuring for a while, but it’s all becoming so clear. Part of the problem can be improved with time and patience. Hopefully it will. The other part of the problem most likely will not.

So I’m not dwelling on the bad. I’m looking at the positives. This is not some fanciful idea that everything is grand, viewed through those scarlet and gray tinted glasses. This is objective (mostly) praise that was earned and something we, as Buckeye fans, can be happy to see.

So let’s pass out some helmet stickers.

First, a big Buckeye Leaf is given to the defense as a whole. Some context: As a team last year, USC averaged 37.5 points a game. They averaged 454 yards of offense a game. Joe McKnight averaged 7.4 yards per carry. This year, they racked up 620 yards (342 on the ground) against SJSU. The Buckeye’s D, who, prior to kick-off, weren’t given a snowball’s chance against the vaunted USC offense, held them to 18 points (11, really, but we’ll be nice), held the team to 313 yards (take away the final drive and you’ve got a whopping 227 yards) and stuffed McKnight to the tune of 3.8 yards per carry. This was a defense possessed and deserves a world of credit, and more.

Another Buckeye Leaf goes to the defensive line as a whole. For all the statistical reasons listed above, plus the fact that they were supposed to be pushed around by the Great Wall of Linemen. This did not happen almost all game. They were in the backfield, roughing up McKnight and his buddies, disrupting rhythm and making big plays all over the place. It’s a shame they didn’t get the final victory, but this was a fantastic outing by the D-line.

Defensive Line

In addition to the D-line as a whole, I’m calling out Doug Worthington as a recipient as his own Buckeye Leaf. I know everyone played lights out, but for some reason I remember getting more excited about Worthington’s plays. Maybe it’s because I like the way he plays and the way he’s gotten where he is as a Buckeye. Hammerhead Heyward also deserves one. Everyone played great, but these guys anchored the best performance out of the D-line in a long time.

The linebackers (Brian Rolle and Company) and the defensive backs deserve credit as well. Torrence and Rolle led the way, but Chekwa held his own and Coleman did what he needed to do. Even Spitler looked like he was 100%, looking much quicker this time around.

What a shame such a dominating performance gets squandered. Let’s hope this game doesn’t crush the D’s will to play like that again because we’ll need it against Penn State and Michigan.

I can’t pass out many Leaves to the offense, as much as I’d like to. The only bright spot I saw was how Boom Herron was running the ball. He didn’t have much to work with, but his collision with Taylor Mays proved he deserves the moniker “Boom”. He gets a sticker for that hit alone.

I can’t give a full sticker to the OL for their performance, but they get one for their improvement. They didn’t play the entire game like they should have, but they were getting a push and often did a decent job of pass protection. It wasn’t perfect, no, but Terrelle’s happy feet hurt the overall perception of their performance. This was a step in the right direction, and if the play calling hadn’t been a string of gigantic turd rockets, we might be singing a different tune.

Finally, our special teams are still special, as Thoma consistently pinned the Trojans deep in their own territory. Congratulations, Jon, you get an imaginary helmet sticker from a mouth-breathing sports blogger. I know that’s some consolation.

So: Defense good, Offense bad (mostly). Coaching N/A (my momma taught me…)

And that’s about all I have to say about that.

2009 Blogpoll Ballot, Week #2 (draft)

Not a lot of time to write this morning, but here is my first swipe at this week’s Blogpoll ballot:

Rank Team Delta
1 Florida
2 Alabama 2
3 Texas 1
4 Southern Cal 1
5 Brigham Young 3
6 Penn State
7 California 3
8 Mississippi 1
9 Boise State 2
10 LSU 2
11 TCU 4
12 Georgia Tech 1
13 Ohio State 4
14 Oklahoma
15 Nebraska 1
16 Cincinnati 6
17 Utah
18 Virginia Tech 6
19 Houston
20 Oregon State 1
21 Michigan
22 West Virginia
23 Miami (Florida)
24 North Carolina 4
25 Georgia
Last week’s ballot

Dropped Out: Oklahoma State (#5), Notre Dame (#18), Kansas (#21), Pittsburgh (#25).

I’ve mourned the requisite twenty-four hours, now I can start digesting Saturday night. More will come later.

Can’t win them all…

… but it sure would have been nice to win that one.

Week #2 Open Thread (and USC semi-live blogging)

FootballI meant to post this earlier, but I was struck dumbfounded retroactively after I saw what Sparty did in crapping themselves for a loss to Central Michigan.

But still a ton of good football to watch. I’m currently watching two powerhouses (Michigan and Notre Dame) slap-fight each other for bragging rights. It’s so cute when the little guys think they’re good.

What are you watching?

Update: I won’t be participating in this week’s live-blog/chat that Jeff at the BBC started. I’m expecting company for the game and would rather not be distracted too much by constantly updating everyone with my exceptionally witty comments and deep insights into the game. If you’re interested in joining other Buckeye’s for a live chat, you can go over to Jeff’s site and join in.

I will be checking in periodically here, so feel free to drop in a vent from time to time. I’m sure sportsMonkey and YNBA will be around as well.


OSU 0 USC 7, First Quarter.


Don't Panic

I don’t know how many times I’ll have to post it, but now is not the time to panic.

After further review…


It is a shame to see Taylor Mays hurt, but I can just see the talking heads’ typewriters furiously pounding out excuses for USC

At the half: OSU 10 USC 10

Do you think Mark May is having a heart attack right now? Didn’t he say, a few hours ago, that Ohio State had no chance?

Also, can anyone block Cameron Heyward?

OSU 12 USC 10


OSU 15 USC 18


Week #2: USC – Open Thread

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. The Buckeyes are major big-game chokers. They need to win this game like Charlie needed that golden ticket. The reputation of OSU as a big-time program rests firmly on the shoulders of this game. The reputation of the Big Ten as a premier conference rests on the outcome of this game (thanks a lot, rest of the Big Ten for scheduling Towson and Eastern Illinois). Jim Tressel can’t win the big game. Hopefully you’ve already skipped on to the next paragraph. But I could go on with the hyperbole.

At what point does all this become a self-fulfilling prophecy? We’ve been hearing it for the past couple of years. We got it, thanks. Our beloved team stinks and should be playing in the Ohio Valley Conference. Got it. Please move on.

But we still play the game, right? The outcome hasn’t been decided, right? I didn’t think so. So let’s pretend that either team has a chance to win and discuss some reasons why either team could win.

Why USC will win

Offensive Line – Let’s start here. It’s good. It’s real good. Besides passing the look test, USC’s offensive line has been consistent and is heralded as one of the best in the country. If it can handle OSU’s pass rush earlier, run block consistently and assert itself at will, USC will control the clock, run at will and handle the Buckeyes.

Keeping Barkley upright will be their number one priority and if Ohio State can’t get to the QB early, he’s going to gain confidence and that spells DOOM with a capital D-O-O-M. The Trojan Offensive Line is one of the many reasons of their frustratingly consistent success and a source of me waking up in a cold sweat.

Running Backs Galore – You may have heard: USC has a couple decent running backs. They’re all talented, sure, but what’s really scary is how each one brings a different look to bear in the backfield. While McKnight will most likely be the workhorse, we’ll see a little of everyone.

Pete Carroll – I list Pete Carroll here, but maybe I should have listed this one under “attitude.” USC always looks calmer, plays looser and seems to be having more fun than anyone else (playing in Southern California probably has something to do with that). Even when they lose, no one seems to shrug it off more easily than USC.

I’d point to Pete Carroll being one of the biggest reasons for this. Besides exuding all the characteristics above, he just seems to instill the confidence and swagger so many teams lack. Must have been that time he spent in Columbus.

Why Ohio State will win

Defensive variety – Ohio State has a chance if it can switch up its defensive looks with new alignments, disguising blitzes and coverages and keep fresh legs on the field. There has been talk that we will see some 3-4 looks, with Nathan Williams and Thaddeus Maximus at the ends. I would love to see Cameron Heyward at the nose. I would assume we would see Etienne Sabino in on those looks. At least that’s my hope. I would expect blitzes galore out of that set.

Besides throwing Barkley off his game, this could give the Buckeye D some needed confidence and momentum. It could also cover some deficiencies we know exist in the defensive backfield. Mixing up looks will force sound assignment football. Something that was lacking in the Navy game.

Freshman QB + a rockin’ ‘Shoe = disaster? – It’s been quoted before, but recall what Vince Young said about playing in the Horseshoe at night. I was at that game, I can attest to how loud it was. It was so loud that you couldn’t think enough to realize you couldn’t hear yourself think. It was insane. I expect it to be just as loud. And so Matt Barkley can think we’re “cheering for him” but he would be sorely mistaken. It will have an effect on his pysche.

It may not last all four quarters, but if it gets to him early and he makes a mistake or twenty, it could swing everything in the Buckeyes’ favor.

Terrelle – And yes, we save the best for last. He came in last year’s game, wet behind the ears and still made some impressive looking plays. He is the game changer here. Not Matt Barkley’s freshmanness. Not Joe McKnight and the backs that never end. It’s Terrelle Pryor’s arms and Terrelle Pryor’s legs (don’t read this unless you want to get really excited). They couldn’t handle Vince Young in 2005, Dennis Dixon in 2007. How about Terrelle Pryor in 2009.

Still want more? Your first stop should always be Eleven Warriors (Even though it hurts my heart that Alex didn’t pick the Buckeyes to win). Buckeye Planet has data. They always have data. So does The Gerd. We Still Will Always Have Tempe looks at USC’s defense. Trojan Football Analysis breaks down the match-ups in excruciating detail. Just click and keep scrolling.

So there you have it. USC comes in with confidence. OSU has redemption on its mind. Let’s play some football.

So now comes the most important part. Predictions. We have a copy of 100 Things Buckeyes Fans Should Know & Do Before They Dieto give away to the commenter who gets closest to the final score. Predict away:

Final score?
How many times is Barkley sacked? Who sacks him first?
What does Pryor have on his eye-black?
Will Mark May apologize when the Buckeyes win?

el Kaiser’s predictions
Final score: OSU 30 USC 28
Barkley sacked: 3 times, firstly by one Brian Rolle
Pryor’s eye-black: “Suck it” and “May”
Mark May will spontaneously combust when the Buckeyes win

Sylvester Yon-Rambo’s predictions
Final score: OSU 23 USC 12
Barkley sacked: 2 times, 1st by him tripping on his own feet going backwards
Pryor’s eye-black: “I HEART” and “PUPPIES”
Who is this Mark May you speak of? I miss Trev Alberts FTW lol seriously I dont miss him lol

sportsMonkey’s predictions
Final score: OSU 26 USC 23, in OT (tied 20-20 at end of regulation)
Barkley sacked: 1 time officially, by Thaddeus Maximus. However, will be chased out of sideline for a few unofficial negative yard rushing attempts.
Pryor’s eye-black: “35” and “3”
Mark May will apologize with complete insincerity if Bucks win; will earn FCC violation for obscene act with a Barkley doll if USC wins

Additional sportsMonkey thoughts: I think the difference will be that Pryor will be given the responsibility to win with his hands and feet, while Carroll will not expect the same of his QB, instead placing that same responsibility on the shoulders of his O-line leadership. As a result, I think that USC will move the ball more patiently and consistently, while OSU’s success may rely on more dramatic efforts. (Dramatic efforts like TP’s practically indefensible fade route TD against Texas… Anyone else wonder REALLY why Bauserman was played in the 2nd quarter last week? USC’s cornerbacks are on the small side of average, ranging from 5’10” to 6’1″…)

Anyway, I see the offenses being equally handicapped… USC’s freshman QB issues should offset OSU’s offensive coordination & line issues. It might come down to punts and field goals, which favors the Buckeyes. Trojan FG kicker Jordan Congdon has mediocre accuracy and a notoriously weak leg – his career long is 41 yards. Back at Nebraska in 2006, he had worsened to the point where the coaches once famously refused to allow him to try a 45 yard attempt – even with the wind at their back. Pettrey, is, well, Pettrey. His career long is 54 yards, and inside 50 yards, he has literally hit it 9 out of every 10 times. USC also has a mediocre punter in Billy O’Malley, a walk-on who averaged only 34.7 yards in eight punts last week. If the game comes down to field position and field goals, the Buckeyes win.

Getting excited

Just a little something to get the juices flowing until the Open Thread goes live.

Shot of the Week

We need a little help here at MotSaG. One of our favorite things to post is our “Picture of the Week,” whether that be a shot of Mount Vernon’s pipes or Beanie Wells’ Stiff Arm of Justice. This year, we haven’t settled on a weekly shot. So we’re looking to our fellow MotSaG’ers for some inspiration.

Some have suggested we keep the Stiff Arm of Justice motif, as Terrelle Pryor sports a pretty mean Stiff Arm himself. Some have even branded it the SAoJ 2.0:


That’s a solid suggestion. But how about a “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” shot of the week:


Eh? Eh?

This is where you guys help us out. We’ve already had a few good suggestions come through the MotSaG inbox, but if you’ve got a gem we’ve missed, let us know!