The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for September 24th, 2006

OSU vs Penn State quick hits

Posted by disappointmentzone on 24 September 2006

Antonio Pittman is still running into people far too often. On short yardage situations running into a linebacker or defensive lineman is expected, as is when running along the sideline. In the flats, up the middle of the field, occasionally even on the sideline—these are the places to avoid being tackled. Pittman needs to enroll in the Forrest Gump School of Running Away. Blindly running into defensive players is not aggressive. It’s stupid.

When Troy Smith stands flatfooted his passes sail. This happens to nearly every quarterback, but it never plagued Smith until yesterday. He has a rocket for an arm and can get away with throwing off of his back foot from time to time, but his accuracy suffers. When he steps into his passes he’s a much better quarterback.

For the first time in a long time Smith looked ordinary. Outside of the scrambling, 50-yard touchdown pass to Robiskie and the third-and-long scramble in the first half, Smith played more like a sophomore than a fifth-year senior. Fundamentally he was off (the flatfooted passing) but so were his reads.

Malcolm Jenkins spiked the ball before crossing the goal line. Penn State should have been rewarded the ball on the 20. Not that it wold have made a difference in the outcome, but nonetheless: it was a missed call on the replay.

AJ Trepasso was a difference-maker against PSU. He didn’t win the game for OSU—the defense did that. But OSU could very well have a lost had it not been for Trepasso.

The OSU secondary is quietly turning into a beast, although after two INTs returned for touchdowns in the final 2:50 “quietly” may no longer be the right adjective. It’ll be interesting to see how the secondary plays Iowa, a team that relies heavily on tight ends in the passing game.

The revolving door of place kickers would be frustrating were it not for the fact that OSU doesn’t have a reliable kicker, which is the most frustrating aspect of this team. The turf at the Horseshoe is poor-high-school bad and kicking off of soft, uneven, wet grass is exceedingly difficult. Replacing the field will help the kickers more than any other group of players. But I still miss Houston and Nugent. We have been spoiled over the last few seasons.

Alex Boone has improved since the Texas game. He’s moving his feet and has stopped helplessly grabbing jerseys as an attempt to block somebody. Meanwhile, the right side of the line has taken a step back. Fast defensive ends are still causing OSU problems.

OSU will not fall in the AP or USA Today polls, but they will lose first place votes to USC and this weekend they were not the best team in the country. If I did weekly power rankings I’d put OSU around #6.

Troy Smith needs to run more, or at least move laterally out of the pocket. Right now he’s waiting a beat too long after he steps up into the pocket before passing the ball or running. Rolling the pocket or even just rolling Smith outside of the tackles would put a lot of pressure on defenses. Maybe the coaches are saving this for Michigan.


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