Congratulations Buckeye Fans. It's finally here.
USC week is officially upon us.
On Saturday, 364 days worth of build up will be unleashed in one sixty minute football battle.
But the Navy game did not go nearly as smoothly as hoped and left many fans worried.
Personally, I keep going back and forth. One second I'm worried and the next I'm just as confident as a week ago.
So here's five reasons Ohio State should be worried to play the mighty Trojans of USC and a rebuttal for each.
1. If Ohio State can only beat a service academy by four, then how can they expect to even compete against USC?
Navy's an OK team. They'll probably go to a bowl and might even get nine wins, but Ohio State should be in another league entirely. The fact that this game was this close, can't bode well.
Rebuttal: The game wasn't as close as the score indicated. Even when Navy was going for the two-point conversion, it still felt like OSU was in control. If the game went into overtime, Ohio State wins four out of five times. Plus, against a team like USC, Tressel kicks that field goal and the game's over.
2. The Offensive Line Sucked
There's really no other way to say it. Pryor was avoiding tacklers like level thirteen frogger dodges cars. Last year Pryor, simply held onto the ball too long, but there's no excuse this year. Pryor was much better getting rid of the ball, but he was still running for his life. I guarantee you the USC defensive line is a hec of a lot better than Navy's d-line.
Rebuttal: This is a tough one to dispute. Last year, USC killed OSU's o-line, but this is basically a completely different unit. They aren't used to playing with each other, and this was their first time playing against an actual team together. The experience can only help and make them better.
How can you not know what Navy's going to do? They have like three plays, and Ohio State still looked like they had never seen the triple option before. They got five yards whenever they wanted. A lot of this has to be on Jim Heacock.
Chris Spielman was calling every play from up in the booth, but the OSU coaching staff either couldn't figure it out or didn't prepare their players well enough. OSU's athletes are undoubtedly much better than Navy's, but Navy ran the ball at will. Without those turnovers, the game may have ended much differently.
Also, why couldn't the Buck's d-line get some penetration. The average weight of the Navy offensive line wasn't much over 260 pounds and they dominated the line of scrimmage. USC has the best offensive line in the country and if Navy can run the ball at will, then USC will have a field day.
Lastly, the defensive backs were not impressive. I get they were had man coverage all day, but Navy always seemed to have a receiver open.
Rebuttal: USC doesn't run the triple option! It's a gimmicky offense that OSU won't see the rest of the year. USC runs a pro-style offense that Ohio State can better simulate in practice.
The scout team can try to simulate a triple option, but the execution level of a team that runs that kind of offense day in and day out is leaps and bounds better than a group of guys that just learned it that week.
4. Where are the playmakers?
Ohio State's first drive looked great. It started out with a great kickoff reverse to speedster Brandon Saine and ended with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Dane Sanzenbacher.
But that was the only pass of the day over twenty yards. Either Pryor wasn't looking down-field, or receivers just weren't open because ten of Pryor's fourteen completions were to tight ends and running backs. To compete with USC, the OSU offense is going to have to show some explosiveness, and as of now, I just don't see it.
Rebuttal: The top two play makers at wide receiver for the Buckeye's should be Devier Posey and Ray Small. Well, Small was sick, and Posey came into the game with an ankle injury and left in the second quarter.
Even though there is no word as to the severity of the Posey injury, I think he'll find a way to play against USC. He's the best athlete Ohio State has at wide receiver and should be a force to be reckoned with.
Also, there's no way Tressel was going to show Pete Carroll anything. He kept the playbook very simple with the exception of the opening return. Expect things to open up a lot against USC with so much more on the line.
5. Where's the passion? I mean, you barely beat Navy!
These are quotes from after the game that I got from The Columbus Dispatch.
"They fought hard and we fought hard. It was a great game and it looks like we're going to have a great year." -Jon Thoma
"I thought we played good as a unit (offensive line) today, but we can only keep getting better." -Justin Boren
"We weren't surprised. They play everyone tough. They keep coming no matter what the score is and that is what they did today. We knew it would be a challenge."-Ross Homan
Why didn't anyone say, "Yeah Navy's a good team, but just straight up didn't play well."? Or "Navy fought hard, but it shouldn't have been that close. Allowing a comeback like that is unacceptable."
It seemed everyone kind of shrugged it off and said, "oh well, hope we do better next time."
Rebuttal: MEDIA TALK! No one schools there kids on how to talk to the media better than Tressel. They are taught to say three flavors of absolutely nothing. It's hard to gauge what a Tressel team is thinking and to their credit, a few guys mentioned the need to get better.
These kids aren't stupid. They know USC is on another level and if they're going to win they need to play better.
So what do you think? Should Ohio State be worried?
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