While I am happy that Ohio State defeated Troy 28-10, I would be remiss if I did not make some critical as well as positive observations about the current status of Ohio State football. Perhaps some of you will agree with me on the below points, perhaps some will disagree. Feel free to post back your comments as you deem appropriate:
- Brian Robiskie is not 100%~ I realize Robiskie sustained an injury during fall camp, but it seems to me as though he has not fully recovered. The one pass down the middle of the field early in the game from Terrelle Pryor when Brian Robiskie seemed to give up on the play (highly uncharacteristic of Brian Robiskie) that could have been a touchdown makes me think his shoulder is still bothering him, and that Robiskie cannot fully extend himself as he normally would. Yes, I realize that Robiskie caught a touchdown pass late in the game, but again, Robiskie does not seem 100%. Why not rest Brian Robiskie and play Taurian Washington, DeVier Posey, and Lamaar Thomas more? Even better from an Ohio State offensive perspective, both Posey and Thomas have much better speed than Robiskie and would certainly open up the deeper passing routes for Terrelle Pryor better than Brian Robiskie can even if he is healthy.
- Brandon Saine is also not 100%~ For a player who holds the Ohio high school record for the 100 meters, Saine certainly does not appear to have tremendous acceleration. I do not know if the hamstring injury is still bothering Saine, but again, it makes me wonder if he is 100% healthy.
- Why is Ray Small not playing? ~ Small is the only Ohio State wide receiver with both experience and speed. Small is a major reason why Ohio State did not suffer a loss to Ohio University two weeks ago, and yet Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie were back fielding punts against Troy. Small only played one play, on a meaningless reverse play late in the game. Is he in Coach Tressel's doghouse again?
- The defensive line needs to get better in a hurry ~ If Ohio State's defensive line cannot apply pressure on Troy, what do you think will happen when they play other spread offenses such as Purdue, Penn State, Northwestern, Illinois, and Michigan?
- The offense still lacks a sense of urgency~ Yes, I am happy that Terrelle Pryor threw four touchdown passes today. Yes, Pryor's mobility is an added dimension that opposing defensive coordinators will need to prepare for when they play Ohio State. But am I the only Ohio State fan who felt that Ohio State's offensive units had kind of a "ho-hum" attitude when the game was 14-10 going into the 4th quarter? The collective attitude of Ohio State's offense this season seems to be content when the running game struggles, passes are dropped, and the offensive drives stall out.
- Jermale Hines should be singled out for his intensity ~ Yes, Hines will make some mistakes from time to time, but even when he is making mistakes, Hines is making them at 100% speed and intensity. Hines is the player the coaches should be singling out for how all of the players should be playing.
- Todd Boeckman is a class act ~ For anyone in Ohio Stadium that booed Boeckman when he threw incomplete to Brian Hartline, I am embarassed for you. Boeckman has taken his demotion with complete class and was the first person to greet Terrelle Pryor off the field after Pryor threw his first touchdown pass. Remember this - at some point this season, Ohio State will NEED Todd Boeckman to come in for Terrelle Pryor. Won't you be happy that the backup quarterback led the Big Ten in passing efficiency a season ago and was 13-3 as a starter?
Minnesota comes into Ohio Stadium next Saturday at 12pm EST with an undefeated record. While I believe Ohio State will defeat Minnesota, I can only hope Ohio State will address some, if not all, of the critical areas I listed above.