The Saine Option: Brandon Saine and The Option Take Key Rolls In Win

Nate WagnerContributor ISeptember 9, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 05:  Running back Brandon Saine #3 of the Ohio State Buckeyes fights off a tackle by the Navy Midshipmen at Ohio Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

For all the discussion about Ohio State squeaking by Navy I'll have to say I didn't walk away from the game feeling too bad. I for one have been of the opinion that this years Ohio State team was likely to loose two to three games as they break in new players and change schemes a bit and what have you.

Through three quarters of this game I have to say I was pleased with what I saw for the most part. Terrelle Pryor seemed more focused as a passer. Several times he stepped up in the pocket and made solid decisions. One time in particular was the first scoring strike. The play was essentially covered but he stayed calm, stepped up in the pocket and hit sanzenbacher who had broken back over the middle.

I also was pleased with the motor I saw from the linebackers. They seemed to run very well and as the game went on they were getting to the ball quicker. Thadeus Gibson is still a beast. I was also very impressed with the receivers particularly Duron Carer and Dane Sanzenbacher. Each of them made at least a pair of nice catches during the game. And the backs and tight ends didn't have a single drop that I can remember.

Also the team looked good on short passes and screen players which is something that I think will develop and get better as the year goes on. But I'll have to tell you what popped out at me most this first game was the overall play of Brandon Saine.

On the opening kickoff he took the reverse and, without being knocked out of bounds by the kicker who had the angle on him, he would have taken it for the score. That was impressive, but what impressed me more was the toughness he showed carrying the football. 

I was worried about his toughness last year despite him being injured and it seemed as though when he'd hit a wall his legs would stop moving and he'd go down. In the game against navy he ran hard between the tackles and on a couple occasions he actually moved the pile along with him. One play that comes to mind was the play on second and six where he was patient in the hole and then absorbed contact on his way to a fourteen yard gainer. 

Saine's always been fast, but he's also seemed to lack vision in the past. He was often like a receiver lined up in the backfield. In this game he was more patient and showed good vision. He also made several nice moves to pick up extra yards after contact. 

One thing he's always been good at is catching the ball out of the backfield and he didnt' disappoint in that department either with two catches for 21 yards. 

The second thing I liked about the game was the use of the option. I was very impressed all around with that package. I like how the line and receivers blocked it up and really loved how bot saine and herron accelerated after the pitch. On one particular pitch to the left saine really turned on the speed picking up thirteen yards in a big hurry before running into traffic. 

One thing i can say for sure is that if he keeps playing like he did agaisnt Navy. The Buckeye fans will be seeing a lot more of brandon Saine.