Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Taking a Look at Ohio State

Whenever you think of the greatest programs in the history of college football Ohio State always comes to mind, in fact they were undefeated, and playing for the National Title against Florida only last January.

Ohio State is one of the most storied programs in the history of college football. When you think of Ohio State you think of Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Archie Griffin, Hopalong Cassidy, Eddie George, and Keith Beyers just to name a few. You can also think of a team that has won thirty-one Big Ten Championships over the years. No doubt about it, anytime you play Ohio State you are playing a prestigious program.

Ohio State brings another strong squad into Husky Stadium in 2007. This is the first major test for the Buckeyes since the title game against Florida. That game was a disaster for the Ohio State faithful, and they really haven't recovered even though they opened this season up with wins against Youngstown State, and Akron.

The Florida game showed how vulnerable the traditionally stout tOSU defense is against a mobile QB. Tim Tebow just ate the Buckeyes up, and now they face another multi dimensional QB in Jake Locker. I am not trying to compare UW, and Florida because we aren't there yet, but UW will present some of the same type of challenges that Florida did. According to Tim Lappano, UW hasn't come close to showing it's entire offensive package during the first two games, and you have to think they have been saving it for the next three games, tOSU, UCLA, and USC. UW is currently 2-0, and any win over the next three weeks is going to be an upset that will go a long way at the end of the year when it come to being picked to participate in a bowl game.

2007 is a rebuilding year for the Buckeyes. Starting QB Troy Smith and other prominent playmakers are gone. Head coach Jim Tressel still has a fine team, but many players lack experience.

With the exit of Troy Smith look for a more disciplined offense. The starting QB will be junior Todd Boeckman. He is big and has a strong arm. Sophomore RB Chris Wells (104 CAR, 576 YDs, 5.5 AVG, 7 TDs) has power and speed but has to hold onto the ball. The Buckeyes can use consistency from him. At receiver, junior Brian Robiskie (29 REC, 383 YDs, 13.2 AVG, 5 TDs) and sophomore Brian Hartline (17 REC, 256 YDs, 15.1 AVG, 2 TD) will provide sure-hands and smarts. The wildcard is receiver Ray Small—a speedy sophomore capable of turning up just about anywhere.

The defense features MLB James Laurinaitis (115 tackles, 53 solo), who won the Bronco Nagurski Trophy in 2006. The line-backing unit is stellar, which should give the Huskies some problems after facing less than stellar LB corps the last two weeks. Locker will be a lot more challenged once he turns the corner by this group.

The frontline is almost all new, with junior DE Vernon Gholston being the only returning starter. Gholston is a massive and often unstoppable presence. Junior corner Malcolm Jenkins, who has speed, experience and smarts, will be the stabilizing force in the secondary. Although the rest of the front and secondary lack experience, there's plenty of talent and potential. In 2006 the "D" held opponents to 12.8 PPG, placing 5th in the nation. In last weeks game against Akron they virtually stopped the Zip's offense all day, and held them to only two points which came on a safety.

Does this club have a chance at the Big Ten title again? I think they can compete, but would have to rate Wisconsin, Penn State, and even Iowa ahead of them at this point. It all depends on how Tressel brings them along over the season. He is one of the best coaches in the country, and he has plenty of young talent to work with.

Washington is a big challenge for the Buckeyes because they are going to be playing in the hostile environment of Husky Stadium, facing a mobile QB, and will be breaking in a young offense against what is proving to be one of the better defensive units on the West Coast. UW has also been tested by better competition in the two games leading up to this one. Practicing for, and playing against a team like Boise State gives UW a little edge going into this one. Ohio State is actually much easier to prepare for.

To me this game comes down to who ends up controlling the line of scrimmage. This one is going to be decided in the trenches, and the words smash mouth are going to be used by the announcers all day long.

Is UW ready to take the step up, and beat Ohio State? I think they can win the game even though the oddsmakers have made the Buckeyes a small favorite going in. I think our defense can play with these guys. Our offense needs to step it up a notch. There aren't going to be any green LB's to exploit in this game. UW is going to be going against one of the better defenses they will see all year. For UW to win they are going to need to show more on offense. They need to get the TE involved, we need to see FB's catching the ball over the middle, we need to see a power running game with no more dancing, and finally we can't put this one completely on the shoulders of Jake Locker, he needs the rest of the skill players to step up and hold onto the ball.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Ohio State

The university was founded in 1870 as a land-grant university. and is currently the largest university in the United States. Ohio State began accepting graduate students in the 1880's, and, in 1891, the school saw the founding of its law school. It would later acquire colleges of medicine, dentistry, commerce and journalism in subsequent years. Although development had been hindered in the 1870's by hostility from the state's agricultural interests and competition for resources from Miami University and Ohio University, both issues were eventually resolved. In 1906, Ohio State's status as the state's flagship campus was written into law by the Ohio legislature through the Eagleson Bill. In 1916, Ohio State was elected into membership in the Association of American Universities.

Ohio State's main urban campus is located in Columbus. Its 1,755 acres (7 km²) are approximately 2.5 miles north of the city's downtown. Columbus is the capital and the largest city in the state of Ohio. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816. In 2006 Columbus was ranked as the United States 15th largest city, with 733,203 residents, and is the country's 32nd largest metropolitan area.

Ohio State's intercollegiate sports teams are called the "Buckeyes" (after the state tree, the Buckeye), and participate in the NCAA's Division I in all sports (Division I-A in football) and the Big Ten Conference in most sports. The school colors are Scarlet and Gray. The teams' nickname is "Buckeyes" and "Brutus" the Buckeye is their mascot. Ohio State is one of only three universities (the University of Michigan and the University of California at Berkeley being the others) to have won national championships in baseball, men's basketball, and football.

Outstanding sports figures that were student athletes at Ohio State include 1936 Olympics gold medalist Jesse Owens "the Buckeye Bullet" (track and field), John Havlicek, Jerry Lucas, Bobby Knight, and Larry Siegfried (basketball), Katie Smith and the first 3-time player of the year in Big Ten Basketball history Jessica Davenport (women's basketball), Frank Howard (basketball and baseball), Jack Nicklaus (golf); and Chic Harley (three-time All-American football running back). Ohio State football players have combined for seven Heisman Awards including the only two-time winner Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975, Eddie George in 1995, and most recently Troy Smith in 2006. Hall of Fame coaches at Ohio State have included Paul Brown and Woody Hayes in football, Fred Taylor in basketball, Larry Snyder in track and field, and Mike Peppe in swimming and diving.

In their 116-year-history, the Buckeyes have been consensus Division IA National Champions four times (1942, 1954, 1968, and 2002), and officially recognize titles in three other years (1957, 1961, and 1970).

Jim Tressel, who is a cousin of Don James wife, Carol, has been the Buckeyes head coach since 2001, and won his first national IA title in 2002. Former Husky assistant Jim Heacock is a longtime OSU assistant coach, and current UW assistant Randy Hart played and coached at his alma mater Ohio State.

Puppy Chow

ESPN will be broadcasting the game this Saturday rather than ABC. Ex Husky Ed Cunningham is going to be up in the booth as one of the announcers calling the game. ESPN's schedule for Saturday, Sept. 15, will include home games from the Pac-10 (No. 10 Ohio State at Washington at 3:30 p.m.) and Big 12 (Florida State at Colorado at 10 p.m.), marking the first time ESPN has televised a home game from the Big 12 and the first from the Pac-10 since 1994. Any remaining UW games not already picked up for TV will be selected either six or 12 days prior.

FB Luke Kravitz is back in the depth this week and should see action against the Buckeyes. Kravitz suffered a hand injury against Syracuse, and sat out against Boise State.

Jake Locker, QB Washington. The honeymoon for Boise State is officially over thanks to the the Huskies. Locker, a redshirt freshman, passed for a TD and ran for another as Washington beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 2003. Enjoy it while it lasts, Jake -- your next opponent is Ohio State.

Washington's Roy Lewis was named the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Week. Lewis had 11 tackles against Boise State along with an interception and three pass breakups.

Kickoff has been set for the game at UCLA at Sept. 22 and it's another night game. The game will begin at 7:15 p.m. and will be televised on FSN. As the huskies keep winning the TV dates keep coming.

Byron Davenport is listed as a second-team corner, so apparently his hamstring injury suffered against Boise State isn't all that bad. He actually injured the other one, not the one that was previously injured.

Look for RB's Brandon Yakaboski, and Willie Griffin to redshirt this year. The Huskies seem to be happy with Rankin, Hasty, Johnson, and Shaw.

Seven true frosh have played do far this year. Johnson, Shaw, McDowell, Williams, Sylvester, Aiyewa, and Foster.


Chris Durham said...

Great post about OSU...my wife and I are coming in from Columbus for the game and can not wait to come out and share some pregame beers with Husky fans!!! Would love any advice on where to go on gameday...feel free to email me: chrisdur1@gmail.com

Looking forward to a fun weekend in Seattle!!

Health Insurance Expert said...

Hi Chris - Thanks for taking the time to read, and post. If you haven't been to a game in Husky Stadium before you are in for a real treat. The stadium while not modernized like tOSU's is yet, is in one of the most scenic locations in the country.