I’m caught up on my sleep — mostly — and my voice is back to normal — mostly.
But there’s a big part of me that hasn’t recovered from Saturday night, and I don’t think I’ll have a chance to make those final repairs until early November.
After the game-winning touchdown by Texas in January’s Fiesta Bowl, I remember feeling a sense of relief — relief that we didn’t get blown out by a Top 10 opponent, relief that we didn’t have to endure another nationally televised beating. Despite the fact that Ohio State had just lost a game it should have won, I was oddly happy.Once I got past the shock of watching Texas score its last-second,
Maybe I should feel that way again this week. I don’t.
I have a few specific gripes about Saturday’s game, all of which have to do with Jim Tressel.
- Delays: A couple of the delay-of-game penalties were taken when Ohio State was looking for better field position before a punt; no problem there. The rest? Inexcusable. The play should be to the players, in the huddle, with 25 seconds on the play clock, every single time. The coaches must have the play ready, and the players cannot be milling around while they wait. Yes, it’s up to the quarterback to get the play called, get the team on the line and get the ball snapped. But if he’s not getting the play until there’s 15 seconds left on the play clock, the problem is with the coaches. Period.
- Kick it: Against Navy, Aaron Pettry kicked a 52-yard field goal. During the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game, we thumped USC into a three-and-out and set up on their 45 yard line. Our offense didn’t do much either, but with a fourth-and-1 on the SC 36 — and the wind at our backs — I thought Tressel would certainly give Pettry another chance at a kick that would be a single yard longer than the one he hit a week ago. Instead, we punted. A successful field goal at that point changes the rest of that game; even if SC puts on the same drive, the pressure to convert the two-pointer after is ratcheted up significantly, because they need it to tie the game. And if they make it, the worst we’re looking at is overtime.
- Makeover: I’m starting to wonder if we’re trying to make Terrelle Pryor into something he’s not. I’d love to see him as a dual-threat pro-style quarterback, and I think he can get there someday. But in the meantime, shouldn’t we be taking advantage of his talents right now? A few more designed keepers? A sneak when we have the ball on the goal line? Instill in him the knowledge that pulling the ball down and taking off isn’t the end of the world? We all want TP to become a complete quarterback; I just don’t think we should sacrifice half his skill-set, particularly when his legs can help us win games. And make no mistake — we were just a couple of offensive plays away from winning on Saturday. Two or three extra plays by TP really could have made the difference.
And then there’s the final point, which I stated shortly after we arrived at my folks’ house early Sunday morning. While I felt OK with the tight loss against Texas, I’m done with feeling happy about moral victories. The bottom line is this: The Fiesta Bowl and Saturday’s games should have been wins. Coach Tressel needs to make sure they are.