There are reasons that OSU is a professional bridesmaid.

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There are reasons that OSU is a professional bridesmaid.

By Bill Smith

Another bowl, another loss. Let me start off by saying that I have had a chance to meet Coach Tressel and he is an outstanding human being. but it still was not enough.

The Good

It was a great game that was fun to watch even for OSU fans except for the last 2 minutes. Tressel came up with more creative gameplan than in the previous big game losses. The teams played as hard as they could.

It was good to see Todd Boeckman get to play in the game. He is a great young man. He lost his job due to two factors out of his control. First, he is a pocket QB without a pocket to throw from. The O line played so badly all year that he was not given enough protection to allow his skills to produce points for the Bucks. The second factor was the arrival of Terrel Pryor. Pryor is a totally different level of athlete. He is the most athletic and polished freshman QB I have seen in 50 years of watching college football.

Prior was able to avoid the Texas rush despite less than optimal protection from the OSU line due to his pure speed and athleticism. He turned poor pass protection into broken field runs that helped set up two touchdowns. He was also able to escape while keeping his eyes down field and complete passes under duress. He needs to work on his footwork so that he can become a more efficient passer. But he has all the tools to be something really special.

The O line did a somewhat better job in both pass protection and sealing the edge on the run than it did in either of the championship games or the game at USC. The blocking scheme seemed to be changed to block the free rusher off the edge. While OSU was not able to keep pressure off its QBs but at least the blocking scheme was more appropriate.

The Bad

In my opinion, the loss to Texas 24-21 last night was due to critical mistakes made in offensive and defensive play calls and lack of second half adjustments.

Third and 2 at the 4—The illegal procedure was critical. I have no doubt that the change in cadence from Pryor to Boeckman had a lot to do with the fowl. That penalty prevented a touchdown on the drive and would have changed the entire game. Even if the game had gone along the same line, it would have at least forced Texas to go for 2 on their last second TD to tie. Rather than putting in Boeckman, a better option would have been to call a pass/run option for Pryor.

The Bucks had 0 luck running up the gut against Texas. The problem is exactly the same one that has stalled the OSU running game since game 1—the O line is not able to blow people off the ball. The OSU linemen were never able to get to the second level. The Texas linebackers were clean and able to collapse to the run and stuff it. Despite the lack of success, Tressel continued to run the ball up the gut again and again. Almost as an after thought, he called a couple of runs to the edge and that worked almost every time he tried it. The problem was that he called 4 or 5 runs up the gut for every run at the edge.

The next issue was the use of Boeckman. Texas knew every time he came in, it was to throw and usually throw deep. If OSU was going to use 2 QBs, they should have mixed up the playcalls to allow some runs with Todd in the game.

The final series of errors was frankly beyond explanation. Texas moved the ball like the OSU defense was back in Columbus. The Bucks played a loose zone with no effect. The worst part came on the final Texas pass. There were 34 seconds left with the ball in the red zone. For some reason, it looked like the Bucks were in a man coverage with no help deep. Texas didn’t have any time outs, and needed a touchdown to win. Even so, no deep help allowed WR Quan Cosby to break one tackle and get to the endzone.

Ohio State could have and should have won the game. But their failures inside the red zone killed their chances.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .


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  1. Ohio State Football
    on Jan 6th, 2009
    @ 10:34 pm

    Fairly certain it was Quan Cosby that scored the final touchdown and not Jordan Shipley. I like the article.

    Ohio State Football’s last blog post..Ohio State Can’t Stop McCoy and Texas

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