Special thanks to Steve Spencer of The Columbus Dispatch for use of his "Mount Buckmore" artwork.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Silver Bullet Points

Picking up the pieces

Well, that didn't go the way I would have liked.

This is sure to be light on links, as there aren't too many articles I'd like to read again myself. A few stray observations while attempting to avoid anything too heavy:

  • Beanie will begin the season with a nice cushion in the Heisman race. That is to say, he'll start the race (more like a marathon, really) at about the same place Troy Smith did--remember he didn't become a legit contender until after the Texas game. He can afford a game or two with mediocre statistical output and still be in the thick of things but a strong showing against USC would be ideal.
  • Yes, that stiff arm was sweet, but will never achieve its legendary potential because of what proceeded. Much like this monster dunk attempt and the brick that followed.
  • Brandon Saine had a huge reception early...and then kind of disappeared, as offensive players have a tendency of doing during Tressel-era losses.
  • Unlike last year, the stats don't tell the story. Most disconcerting, to me, is 3-13 on 3rd downs. Eighty-three penalty yards comes in close second.
  • Give veterans Laurinaitis and Freeman the credit they deserve, posting 18 and 14 tackles respectively.
  • Between the well-intended motivational tape, all the hype about OSU needing to prove themselves, Tressel's "new" game plan that included these cutesy "Tiger Drills," Kirk Barton's "everyone hates us" spiel and about twenty other things, OSU looks pretty hapless after that game. Even though everyone tried to do it for them, with all this chatter and providing the trappings of a Disney-esque redemption, when it came time to play the Ohio State players couldn't do it for themselves. Maybe what got lost in the media mix was that this Buckeye team shouldn't have needed a single reason to win that game. The 'why?' to the equation is "because we're Ohio State" and, since it's not late November in Ann Arbor, the 'who?' doesn't really matter.
  • But, because this is still well within the two-month mourning period where irrational, harsh reasoning is welcome, let's not forget to point a finger in the direction of Coach Tressel. If you're the girl across the table from me at the bar on Monday night, you think he was to blame for each and every misstep and needs to be fired; no further explanation necessary (if you are this girl then you are also still hung over and tried to steal a pint glass, only to spill stale Bud Light in your purse in doing so.) In all seriousness, the man needs to crack some heads while the gun is still smoking and then take time for some soul searching of the college football variety. I would hope that a symbolic firing is in order; removing Jim Bollman would be a great start. If Tressel, bless his talented heart, can't bring himself to be the catalyst of change in this program then he must surround himself with people who will--regardless of how well the personalities line up.
  • The following excerpt from Stewart Mandel's (who shockingly picked OSU 2nd in his 2008 poll) post-game thoughts is what I believe to be the most disheartening news of the week and lies on the shoulders of both the coaches and the players:
Ohio State tackle Alex Boone did not mince words about when describing the state of the Buckeyes' huddle as Monday's game unraveled. "Everybody started pointing the finger at somebody," said Boone. "Guys were trying to fight each other, getting pissed because they didn't think people were helping them and all that stuff. Just selfishness."
  • The above quote hints that exodus to the draft may be more dramatic than previously expected. No chance on Laurinaitis, Jenkins and Gholston staying and now maybe say goodbye to Freeman (who stated before the game that he'd return), Boone and Robiskie. I may regret saying this later, but I imagine that this Jr. class has nothing left to prove. Wins over Michigan will never get old, but for guys like Little Animal who have suffered two embarrassing losses at the expense of their reputation, why hang around to have your gold pants tarnished once more?

But enough with the somber retrospective. Let us begin to look forward to that Sept. 13 date with USC...

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