It sounds like a broken record, but Ohio State lost another game on the big stage. The played hard and went toe to toe with the Trojans, but at the end of the day, anyone within the program will tell you that a program like Ohio State does not believe in moral victories.
The Bucks lost, plain and simple. After two games, here is what we have been able to discern about this edition of The Ohio State University:
1. Terrelle Pryor still has some major growth to go through-
Pryor is an unbelievable athlete to be sure. Still, he is merely a great athlete who just happens to moonlight as a quarterback. All the talk about the great strides that were made over the offseason have yet to show two games into the season.
There were times during the USC game in which his decision making was tedious at best. You could argue that a deer in headlights has a better suspicion of getting out of danger. At some point Pryor has to reach the point where is is a great quarterback that just happens to be a phenomenal athlete as well.
2. Terrelle Pryor is not a drop back quarterback-
Staying close to the same point, at some point the experiment of making Terrelle Pryor into a drop back quarterback has got to end. I know he came to Ohio State to become more of a pro style quarterback, but it is time to call a spade a spade. Pryor's gifts are with his feet, not his precision passing.
In order to give Ohio State the best chance to win, it may be time to start utilizing his running ability a bit more. I hope the guy proves me wrong, but from what I can tell thus far (and he is just a true sophomore), Pryor will never be an elite quarterback in the pros unless the NFL evolves away from the stereotypical drop back passer anyhow. Let's open it up and let the man play the way he knows how.
3. Ohio State is young but good-
This was not the debacle in the desert, or the slaughter in the Big Easy. Ohio State played better than good enough to win against probably the toughest team they will face all season.
This team will be just fine. There is still that nasty trip to take to Penn State, but you have to feel good about Ohio State's place among the college landscape this year. There is still plenty to play for the remainder of the season, and enough talent to do some pretty big things.
4. The offense is still searching for an identity-
Most championship caliber teams generally can go back to their bread and butter when a game is on the line. They can dial up what they do best when a big first down or touchdown ending nail in the coffin is needed.
Tell me what Ohio State would go to. In several instances in the game when a big play was needed, it was if both the coaching staff and Pryor were just going through plays hoping that something good would happen.
Both the running and passing game lacked any type of consistency to end the game. There were chances to seal a huge win, Ohio State just didn't know what method to use to do it.
5. "Carroll Ball" trumps "Tressel Ball"-
On several fourth and short opportunities, Pete Carroll did not show any inclination that he was going to settle for anything less than success. The confidence that he displayed to his team was rewarded with the desired outcome on each accord.
Tressel, on the other hand, waivered on a couple of key forth and short yardage situations. There was the thought to go for it on fourth and goal from the 1 before the nature of his personality got the best of him after a time out. The result: Ohio State settled for a field goal.
Then, there was the opportunity to kick a long field goal and go up by eight on fourth down. Again, the conservative side of the "sweatered one" decided to pin USC back and let the defense hold the fort. Almost everyone in Buckeye Nation in unison had the same collective thought: USC wins on a drive for the ages.
Carroll showed confidence to his team, while Tressel's second guessing has got to do nothing but reassure his team that he is not totally sold on the decision. If he is not totally sold, how do can you expect the team to reciprocate?
I usually rush to Tressel's defense, but the guy does need to learn from time to time that, all things being equal, the aggressor generally will get the best of the passive more times than not.
Nobody can argue that Tressel is a still a very good coach, but I would bet the farm that many fans wish he would grow a pair of Buckeye Nuts from time to time.
Alright, enough pining. It is time to move forward with the season. I only hope that these five lessons can be taken to heart. One thing is for certain: The lesson that Ohio State has unfortunately gotten used to is moving on after a big loss.