Now that the various Conference Lunch-Ins and preseason hype machines have started to crank up, it may just be time to go open the playbook and script the game plan for what Ohio State must do this year to be in the hunt for another Big Ten title and a chance (shhhhh) to play for all the roses a week after another two teams play for all the roses at a bowl game presented by Citi (do you think the Rose Bowl Floats will get TARP money)?
Scripted Play No. 1: Find a compatible replacement for Beanie Wells
We are all aware by now that Beanie Wells has stiff-armed his Senior and last possible season at Ohio State. I personally believe he made the right choice, but as a Buckeye fan, I not so secretly desired him to stay and finally have that full, healthy year to show everyone what a true talent he is.
Alas, he is off to the NFL riches leaving a hole at the prestigious tailback spot at a school well known for great tailbacks. Who will take his spot?
The logical choice is “Boom” Herron. We have seen flashes of brilliance from him in a limited role, and it will certainly be interesting to see how he does as “da man.”
It is easy to forget as well about the often injured, but very talented Brandon Saine. He gives options as a receiver out of the backfield to go with a slash and dash type of running style. He has fallen a bit out of the mix, but was a serious threat in 2007. Could he make an impactful return?
The wild card in all of this will soon be showing at a spring practice facility near you: Jaamal Berry out of Miami (FL) (Unless he gets in more legal troubles). He is rated by most recruiting experts as a top five back nationally with tons of speed.
With a still young quarterback developing, it will be imperative that Ohio State finds a game breaker out of these options. He may just be that. As is usually the case, the cupboard does not appear bear in the backfield in Columbus.
Scripted Play No, 2: Continue the development of Terrelle Pryor’s passing game
First and foremost, lest anyone have any doubts upon reading this: I believe that Mr. Pryor is an unbelievable talent and has more tools to get the job done than Mr. Goodwrench. However, he will never be the answer that Ohio State is looking for at quarterback unless his passing game develops.
Too often last year his passes fluttered and hung in the air for way too long. His decisions to pass and timing were also a bit off, but those are to be expected from a freshman.
From everything that we have heard, he is a student of the game and a tireless worker. If this is true, Buckeye Nation should have hope that Pryor progresses into one of the best quarterback talents to ever come through Ohio State. If he can get to the point where he is a serious threat to throw the ball, to go along with his running and play making abilities, then he will be nearly impossible to stop.
He looked the part in the annual Spring Game, but he wasn't exactly throwing against the '85 Bears, or the '09 USC Trojans for that matter. This will undoubtedly be key as the OSU 2009 edition breaks in some new faces.
Scripted Play No. 3: Let the offensive scheme evolve to suit Pryor’s talents
Didn’t we just talk about Terrelle Pryor? Can I emphasize how important he will be next year any more? Let’s face it, we are now a program that relies on defense, special teams, and field position. You may have heard of this philosophy before. Everyone in unison now…Tressel Ball!
It would be hard to argue that Tressel has failed because of conservative play calling by simply gazing at his record at the helm, but when you have a talent with superhero type of skills it may just be time to brew up an offense that is more like Starbucks than Folgers.
Tressel is a smart man and has always done the things that he feels will give his quarterbacks and team the best possible chance to win. All you need to look at for evidence is the difference between the Craig Krenzel led Ohio State teams, and the Troy Smith-led teams.
I may be getting ahead of myself here, but Troy Smith does not win the Heisman if the offensive game plan were not opened up as it was his Senior year. Terrelle Pryor will not win a Heis……Ah hem…Let’s get back on track.
Scripted Play No. 4: Find the defensive replacements for the likes of Jenkins, Laraunitis, Washington, et al
Okay, I am not going to get into too much depth here. It is Ohio State, roll out the four and five star recruits and re-load, baby.
While it may not be as easy as it sounds, the talent is there with Andre Amos and Chimdi Chekwa to replace the secondary perhaps, and the linebacking corps with ample replacements in Ross Homan, Austin Spitler, and Etienne Sabino. I have faith that the defensive line will be more than fine since it will be a veteran unit next year.
These kids were really starting to come into their own the latter half of the season. I cannot remember the last time Ohio State did not have a very good defense. They’ll need it again this year if they want to keep the train rolling.
Scripted Play No. 5: Find someway to ground all flights out of the Southern California area around September 12th
I say this tongue and cheek, but the Bucks have to find someway to get it done against USC at home. Any loss here will worsen the perception of the Big 10 and their flag-bearer.
It would also more than likely end any talk of a National Title before barely getting started. Let’s go through our wish list of how we would want USC to gallop in to town: New Quarterback (check), in Columbus (check), mass defensive losses (check), new coach (okay I have run out of ink). They are still USC, but you have to like the chances. Get ‘er done!
Scripted Play No. 6: Continue to pound on Michigan!!
I would like to say that it’s sad to see Michigan being in such disarray, and that college football is better off when Michigan is winning, but I would be lying out of my teeth.
Those winged helmets are starting to look more like the bad paint job that they are rather than an intimidating nuisance. I can honestly say that I hope that Michigan continues to lose to the likes of Appalachian State and Toledo. (Admit it Michigan Fans, no matter how many insults you try to come up with for Ohio State fans, you will never win an argument again because nothing exists in the annals of Ohio State Football as embarrassing as these. There will always be a Trump Card that we hold).
I also hope that Michigan continues to lose bowl games and look forward to swimming season. That reminds me; can Michael Phelps run the spread attack? Does he have any eligibility left? You might want to check that out just in case “Crazy Rod” sticks around.
I will not apologize for this view because we Ohio State fans took it on the chin in the 90’s from the same Wolverine fans that are so sullen now. Deal with it.
Well, that should about do it. The opening of Fall Camp is just around the corner, and my only hope is that these scripted plays don't get interuppted by a Trojan Horse and that most annoying Penn State student section. For all intents and purposes, I am crossing my fingers that this season is a script written in Hollywood.