Archives for October 2009

Gameday Open Thread and Live in-game Chat

OSU FootballI’m heading to the ‘Shoe here in a minute to see the game in person (yay for lame Alumni Tickets!) but am planning on watching the rest of the slate of games when I get back. I’ve got the in-game chat embedded after the jump.

Feel free to drop a note in the comments on any of the games today, or anything else that’s on your mind.

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Week #9: New Mexico State Ė Preview and Open Thread

OSU FootballI wonder what it’s like to be a football player at a school like New Mexico State. New Mexico isn’t exactly a hotbed of high school football (a good friend of mine told me some interesting stories of his days on his high school football in the middle-of-nowhere New Mexico. They were passionate but not necessarily talented). So you’re not exactly the cream of the crop. But at the same time, you are playing division 1A football and you are living the dream, whether you win or not. Still, it can’t be fun playing on a bad team gearing up to play one of the best programs in the country.

Lambs to the slaughter.

I used to scoff at ranking schools on an academic scale. I went to Ohio State to study electrical engineering and always laughed at the idea that someone’s education at, say, MIT, could be any better than what I was getting. I mean seriously, were they learning nuances of Ohm’s Law that we didn’t get? I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much left to interpretation. Same goes for pretty much everything else. Math and physics are pretty much set in stone. They weren’t operating under a different set of assumptions. The equations are the same on OSU graph paper as on MIT’s graph paper. But while Ohio State’s EE department was ranked in the top 30, MIT was consistently one or two. I didn’t get it.

Then, I went to my first academic conference where a lot of the presentations were done by MIT and then later I interviewed at Lincoln Labs at MIT it became clear what the difference was. It wasn’t one single thing, either. It was a combination of the people, the opportunities, but more than anything, it was the facilities. Some of the things we had in our labs were twenty year hand-me-downs while MIT had bleeding edge equipment. It was suddenly all very clear.

All that is to say that Ohio State is college football’s MIT. It’s on a different level. New Mexico State is not a very good team. They don’t have the facilities that Ohio State has at its disposal. They don’t have top athletes. Things come easy to OSU. New Mexico State has to fight for everything it has (which isn’t much).

So there’s no breakdown, no match-ups, no hidden strategies. This is a straight-forward game where Ohio State will dominate New Mexico State with extreme prejudice in every facet of the game. We’ve already looked at the statistics. This is a tune-up, a walk through. This isn’t even a scrimmage. This is a massacre.

Vegas is giving New Mexico State 44 points. I have no idea what to even propose for predictions. And since we’re gearing up for three intriguing games to close the season (with some really cool give-aways to boot) that for this week, we’ll just ask for your predictions for the final score. And how much time is left in the third quarter when Joe Bauserman plays.

el Kaiser’s predictions:
OSU: 42 NMSU: 0
Bauserman comes in at the 8-minute mark of the third quarter and leads two scoring drives.

sportsMonkey’s predictions:
OSU: 52 NMSU: 3
Defense plays well enough for a shutout but is likely to be betrayed again by the offense turning the ball over in their own red zone. Pryor will play through the 3rd, and perhaps even a series in the 4th if the Bucks have the ball at the start of the quarter. High points because I think the defense and/or special teams will score (or at least set up several scores on short drives).

New Mexico State, On Paper

Yes, Virginia, this could get ugly.

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
New Mexico State
Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 172.0 (39) 186.6 (102) Rushing Defense (ypg) Ohio State+
Passing Offense (ypg) 181.3 (101) 182.9 (27) Passing Defense (ypg) New Mexico State+
Pass Efficiency 128.7 (63) 182.9 (58) Pass Efficiency Defense Push
Total Offense (ypg) 353.3 (77) 369.5 (75) Total Defense (ypg) Push
Scoring Offense (ppg) 29.3 (42) 28.0 (88) Scoring Defense (ppg) Ohio State
Rushing Defense (ypg) 92.2 (10) 150.7 (56) Rushing Offense (ypg) Ohio State
Passing Defense (ypg) 192.5 (29) 103.9 (117) Passing Offense (ypg) Ohio State++
Pass Efficiency Defense 100.2 (15) 84.5 (120) Pass Efficiency Offense Ohio State+++
Total Defense (ypg) 284.8 (13) 254.6 (120) Total Offense (ypg) Ohio State+++
Scoring Defense (ppg) 13.1 (7) 13.3 (119) Scoring Offense (ppg) Ohio State+++
Turnover margin +0.75 (23) -1.0 (108) Turnover margin Ohio State++
Penalty Yards/game 40.1 (8) 53.4 (56) Penalty Yards/game Ohio State+
Sacks (/game) 3.13 (10) 1.75 (54) Sacks Allowed (/game) Ohio State
Sacks Allowed (/game) 1.75 (54) 1.63 (79) Sacks (/game) Ohio State
Redzone Offense (%) 71.9 (107) 89.3 (103) Redzone Defense (%) Push
Redzone Defense (%) 80.0 (53) 70.8 (109) Redzone Offense (%) Ohio State+
3rd Down Conv. (%) 40.0 (58) 41.8 (90) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Ohio State
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 34.2 (30) 34.7 (91) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Ohio State+
 Legend
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push   Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

That 72% Red Zone conversion sticks in my craw something fierce. Other thoughts?

The Maturation of Terrelle Pryor

OSU Football(el Kaiser here. This post is the first of MotSaG’s newest contributor, Johnny Utah (aka Kade from the comments). Have a read and welcome Johnny as our newest member.)

Terrelle Pryor is not a wide receiver, a strong safety or a defensive end. Terrelle Pryor is a quarterback. He will remain a quarterback until his career at THE Ohio State University is finished. Pryor may end up playing another position at the next level like players before him. He can worry about that after he is handed his 4th pair of gold pants.

Pryor is the victim of out of this world expectations brought on by a fan base that is known for being not only the best fans in the country, but often times the worst fans in the country. On many recruiting lists, he was the #1 recruit in the nation after putting up staggering numbers in high school and leading his team to back to back State Championship games. He was a man among boys. He was Superman — at least in the eyes of many Buckeye fans.

After an impressive freshman year, Pryorís sophomore season has been a very inconsistent one. With a sharp increase in turnovers from his freshman year, Pryorís detractors have included everyone from skeptical Ohio State fans, to the ever so dreamy [I know, right? – ed] Kirk Herbstreit to just about every other annoying talking head in college football.

Pryor, like every other player in college football (Tim Tebow included) certainly has things that he needs to improve on:

  • Pryor needs to look off receivers, as he continually locks onto them. Watching him throughout the year, he locks onto a single receiver, will pat the ball multiple times and fire away. For obvious reasons, this can be disastrous. Pryor seems to easily fall in love with the prettiest girl at the dance — in this case, Posey. Pryor needs to be a Casanova and spread the love around or at least make it look like he is going to spread the love.
  • Throw the ball away. Yes, when you are pressured itís okay to put away the red cape, remove the ďSĒ on your chest and simply throw the magic bean away.
  • See open receiver – throw ball. He seems to wait far too long to throw the ball to open receivers. A receiver will not get more open than when he breaks his route. When a receiver creates separation, the ball needs to be thrown on time because the covering defender will only close that separation gap and be able to make a play on the ball. This has happened far too often. It has cost Pryor interceptions, completions and big plays. Just read and react — too much thinking is a bad thing sometimes.
  • Poise during pressure. In situations when Pryor is pressured, his mechanics completely break down and he rarely delivers an accurate ball. He needs to stand in the pocket and make the throw. Pryorís throwing mechanics are already inconsistent.
  • This may seem like a small thing, but he needs to carry out his fakes each and every time. On the zone read option, after handing off, he needs to continue like he has the ball. This will help keep the backside DE/OLB from tackling OSUís RB and will also open him up for big plays down the road.
  • When he runs, he needs to run more north/south. Hit the running lanes quicker and harder. This is something that he could learn from Tim Tebow. He is bigger, stronger and much faster than Tebow. If Pryor did this he would be lethal.
  • Most importantly, Pryor needs to control his emotions and his attitude during games and play football.

We all know that Pryor can do many things to improve his game and be more consistent. With that said, Pryor is often times not helped by other factors. The game of football is of course the ultimate team game.

First and foremost, Pryor struggles the most when the offensive line breaks down. The unfortunate thing for Pryor is that this offensive line is very young and like Pryor, still learning. Itís very difficult for any QB to be effective when running for their life. The Purdue game is a great example of that. Pryor had defenders in his face on a consistent basis and it cost OSU. Many blamed the Purdue loss solely on Pryor, but if you look deeper, the offensive line was very much to blame.

Very much related to the issues on the offensive line is the fact that OSUís running game is not nearly as productive as it was last year. Pryor excelled last year using play-action passing off a super star running back and veteran offensive line. Iím not saying last years offensive line was award winning, but it was clearly better than this yearís model. This yearís line was pushed around by Navy for Godís sake! When teams arenít afraid of the running game, play-action doesnít work. It makes it more difficult to create separation as a wideout and only adds LBs and secondary to defend the pass.

Youth on the offense — itís staggering when you look at the offensive depth chart and see just how many underclassmen are starting for the Buckeyes. (See table at the right)

OSU Offense
Position Player Year
QB Terrelle Pryor Sophomore
HB Jordan Hall Freshman
FB Zach Boren Freshman
OT Mike Adams Sophomore
OG Justin Boren Junior
C Michael Brewster Sophomore
OG Bryan Browning Junior
OT JB Shugarts Sophomore
WR DeVier Posey Sophomore
WR Dane Sanzenbacher Junior
TE Jake Ballard Senior

7 of the 11 starters on offense are either freshmen or sophomores. Jordan Hall may be starting for a concussed Brandon Saine this week vs. mighty New Mexico State. 3 of 5 linemen are sophomores and there is 1 – count íem – 1 senior starter on offense: Jake Ballard. The entire offense is a work in progress, not just Terrelle Pryor. The rest of the offense is learning just as Pryor is learning. People act as if Pryor is the only player on the OSU offense that is making mistakes. What they donít seem to realize or donít want to realize is that these other young players are making mistakes too; players dropping passes and running the wrong routes, linemen missing blocks, running backs missing blitz pickups and not reading running lanes properly.

All of these things contribute to Pryorís inconsistency.

Many people have compared Pryor to Vince Young. Terrelle is not Vince and never will be. Terrelle Pryor will never be anyone but Terrelle Pryor. He is already a very special player and he is only 20 years old. People seem to forget that he is a true sophomore, a college student and still very much a kid.

That ďkid,Ē for all his flaws and inconsistencies this year has 2 of the top 9 total yards by an Ohio State player in their history, both coming this year.

372 vs. Toledo

343 vs. Minnesota

This coming from a quarterback that some fans and talking heads want moved to wide receiver. Pryor is a very special player and can do things that no other player in college football can do. I remember watching the OSU at PSU game from 2005, the game that OSU lost 17-10. Troy Smith was playing poorly and was ruthlessly being heckled by some guy at the party. He said that Troy Smith was not a quarterback, but an athlete playing quarterback. A year later Troy Smith was busy winning the Heisman and guiding Ohio State to the National Title game. I often wonder if that guy heckling Smith was ever fitted for a helmet, because he was clearly challenged mentally.

If you are a skeptic of Pryorís, please keep in mind that the kid is young, the team is young. He will continue to improve. If you are already a fan of Pryorís as I am, sit back and enjoy the ride, because Terrelle Pryor is one of the most gifted and unique athletes that has ever played the position of quarterback.

The Chosen One vs. The Blessed One

Some food (engineers and smart people like you can subsist for months on pure data) for thought:

Quarterback Comparison
Player
Rushing Yards
Passing Yards
Completion %
Tim Tebow 66.6 ypg (6 TDs) 166 ypg (8 TDs) 63.6%
Terrelle Pryor 58.9 ypg (5 TDs) 176 ypg (12 TDs) 55.4%

Well, that’s rather interesting, no? (via Lori Schmidt)

Tebow does lead the world in other statistical categories, like miracles wrought and leprosies healed.

For what that’s worth.

We’ve got a more detailed look at Pryor’s progression coming soon.

2009 Blogpoll Ballot, Week #8 (draft)

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

Dropped Out: Idaho (#20), Oregon State (#21), Texas Tech (#22), Navy (#25).

I’m struggling with the top three right now. I still think Alabama has the best overall resume. Both Florida and ‘Bama struggled with Tennessee, but Florida hasn’t dominated this season the way Alabama has. ‘Bama roll over Arkansas, who should have upset Florida. And let us not forget Alabama’s over Virginia Tech. Which brings us to Texas. They had played nobody up until two weeks ago and they looked lukewarm up until that point. But their victory over Missouri was impressive. Right now, Texas looks like the best team, but the Big 12 as a conference is playing such terrible (and unexplainably weird) football that I think it detracts from what Texas has done thus far. So I’m sticking with my 1-2-3 of Alabama, Florida and Texas. Do you disagree? Please tell me why.

After that, I put Iowa over TCU and Donkey State because the Hawkeyes have a victory over a top ten team and play in a real conference, not a pretend one like the WAC or MWC. But I will give the two undefeated teams the nod over USC who has not played dominating football over anyone of note yet. (Cincinnati fits in there somehow, too).

After that, it gets harder to justify one over the other, but I’m comfortable with how I shook things out. Penn State and Oregon flip-flopped for some reason, which may have been a brain fart, but both teams had impressive wins, so consider them 9a and 9b.

UConn is #25 this week out of respect.

Progress

Minnesota Ohio St Football
2012 Heisman Hopeful?

One game does not cure what ails this football team, nor does it answer every question we had going into this week’s game. Minnesota’s defense was one of the more terrible defenses (on paper and on the field) in the Big Ten.

That qualifier being said, this was a pretty solid win. Miscues in the first half had most Buckeye fans still feeling like we were stuck in neutral, but the second half put those thoughts to rest. The offense looked fluid, we were moving the ball on the ground and through the air and Jermil Martin was a revelation. So yeah, the positives outweighed the negatives. 509 yards of offense and only giving up 286 yards on defense will do that for you.

We’ll have a more thorough look back at the game shortly (brought to you by the newest member of the MotSaG team) but for now, we’ll hope whatever ails Brandon Saine is short-lived and we’ll enjoy the victory.

Gameday Open Thread and Live in-game Chat

FootballFeel free to drop any thoughts you might have on this beautiful day for football. Hit the jump for the live in-game chat. I’ll be dropping in there from time to time. GO BUCKS!

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LOLBucks

I find your lack...

A million force chokes at CBSSports.com staff.

Week #8: Minnesota – Preview and Open Thread

OSU FootballOnce.

Only once in Jim Tressel’s career has he lost two games in a row (during the 2004 season, if you’re wondering). Unless you’re the type to have spent the week poking your Pryor doll in the shoulder with pins, you’re probably not expecting that stat to be duplicated.

The fact is that Pryor is not as terrible as we scapegoat-hunters would have you believe. Don’t mis-quote me on that – Pryor obviously has issues – but it’s much too early to assume that he’s a lost cause. One has only to look at Vince Young to see what rewards patience might bring.

Their stats are eerily similar:

Pryor vs. Young – first two seasons
Year 1
Cmp
Att
Yds
TD
Int
Young 84 143 1155 6 7
Pryor 100 165 1311 12 4
Year 2
Cmp
Att
Yds
TD
Int
Young 148 250 1849 12 11
Pryor (proj) 153 273 2000 17 14
Year 3
Cmp
Att
Yds
TD
Int
Young 212 325 3036 26 10
Pryor .. .. .. .. ..

For those wondering whether Pryor could turn the corner and achieve greatness someday, look at the huge jump that Young made in his third season.

Of course, similarity in one year does not guarantee similarity in later years. And there are some apples-to-oranges comparisons of the Texas and OSU coaching staffs, offensive lines, etc. I’m not predicting that Pryor will be another college football legend like Vince Young, I’m only pointing out that he very well could be someday. And OSU fans should note that they probably won’t find a Texas fan that isn’t glad Mack Brown stuck with Young, even when the Texas offense was crumbling and inconsistent.

Still don’t believe me? Read this recap of a Texas loss, also humiliating, also halfway through VY’s second season, and compare the similarities with the last weekend’s Ohio State game.

If you’re still looking for a scapegoat for Pryor’s slow development, then it should start with Tressel and flow down to OSU quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano. When QB coach Joe Daniels moved on last year, Tressel gave the job to Siciliano, a loyal assistant from his Youngstown State days. At the time of his promotion, Siciliano’s position with OSU was listed as “Offensive Quality Control,” which is nothing more than a glorified film room assistant.

In case you missed that, they essentially put the team’s A/V club president in complete charge of developing the #1 recruit in the country. Are we shocked that Pryor’s struggling? Grab your torch & pitchforks, boys.

But what does all this have to do with Minnesota? Nothing.

This week’s questions:

  • How many turnovers does Pryor account for this week?
  • What is the fewest number of points the offense will have to score for you to be encouraged that solid progress is being made? (Consider that Minny’s giving up 23 points per game)
  • How many officials will the SEC suspend next week for continuing to ensure Tebow victories?
  • Penn State vs. Michigan?

sportsMonkey’s predictions:
Pryor’s TOs: One (thinking positive)
# of offensive points: 63
SEC officials suspended: The remainder, as the SEC will soon announce that Tebow himself will be making all the calls for the remainder of the 2009 season
PSU vs UM: Going with the upset – UM.

el Kaiser’s predictions:
Pryor’s TOs: One (thinking really positive)
# of offensive points: I’m torn here. Less than four touchdowns will mean to me that the offense isn’t progressing. But I think anything less than 40 points and I won’t feel sated. But I know we’ll win this game 17-7 and everything will not be honky-dory.
SEC officials suspended: The SEC is going to install “Tebow Sessions” with the refs. Just five minutes with the guy will make them all better (at their jobs) men.
PSU vs UM: Michigan shocks the world and Penn State fans melt the internet down. Their tears are going to be so delicious.