Tim from Varsity Blue is back with his assessment of Ohio State's performance against the Trojans. It's brutal, it's not for the faint of heart, and it's accurate. Sometimes, the truth hurts.
What I Saw
USC pounded on Ohio State from the opening kick. The Trojans manhandled the Buckeyes for the entire game. USC owned the offensive and defensive lines. Todd Boeckman looked lost, and Terrelle Pryor wasn't yet ready to handle the load for Ohio State.
Add that to the fact that the Trojans knew exactly what Ohio State was going to do, and you have a recipe for offensive disaster.
Defensively, the Buckeyes were outschemed by USC's offensive brain trust, and their star defenders were essentially non-factors.
What I Didn't See
Poise by OSU quarterbacks.
Blocking by OSU O-linemen.
Penetration by OSU D-linemen.
Any of James Laurinaitis or Malcolm Jenkins.
Beanie Wells in pads.
Who I Watched
Of course, the offensive line is starting to become a bit of a recurring theme in this category. Once again, they performed somewhere between "not good" and "pretty bad."
Of course, this is excusable against the hordes of five-stars USC can throw at you, but when that performance comes immediately after a similar egg laid against Ohio, you start to have something of a trend.
The quarterbacks were an item of interest as well. Todd Boeckman continued his streak of terrible games against good opponents. It would have been hard for Terrelle Pryor to look any worse than that, and he didn't.
Pryor looked like the (slightly) more poised and experienced of the two, despite being 700 years younger than Boeckman. Of course, he is blessed with more physical gifts, so he has much more talent to rely on than does Boeckman.
I didn't watch James Laurinaitis or Malcolm Jenkins, as they were pretty much nowhere to be found. I actually thought that Freeman outplayed Laurinaitis in this game.
What I Expect to See Next Week
I still don't think Beanie Wells will come back against the Trojans Part II (They're from Troy!). If he wasn't healthy enough to play against USC, there is no need to play him against a team that the Buckeyes should handle easily without him. He will get another week of rest and be ready for the Big Ten schedule.
I also think we'll see tons of Pryor in this game (may he start?). The national championship hopes are gone, and Todd Boeckman has proven he is not a big-game QB. It's time to start getting Pryor way more reps to prepare for the future.
If he can continue to outplay Boeckman when it matters most, Pryor might be the starter by the time the Big Ten schedule rolls around. Either way, this is a good chance to get him more game experience.
The Buckeyes will defeat the Trojans like they couldn't against their namesake just last weak. It shouldn't really be close, though the offensive line will ensure a bumpy ride at times for OSU fans.
What This Can Tell Us About The Game
USC gave us the blueprint for beating Ohio State: Play them when they don't have the services of their best player, and have more talent than them at nearly every position.
OK, so maybe that doesn't realistically tell the 2008 Michigan Wolverines how they can beat Ohio State, but it does show us that the Buckeyes can be beaten, and handily.
Several flaws with Ohio State's team were accentuated: the quarterback(s), the offensive line, and to a lesser extent, the play calling.
Of course, Jim Tressel always saves his most creative gameplan for the Wolverines, but if nothing else, this has given the Michigan coaching staff an idea of what buttons they can press to stress the weaknesses of Ohio State.
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