Thursday, September 06, 2007

Buckeye recap/preview

Lost in all the "did you see what happened to Michigan" frenzy was any recognition that Ohio State also played a football game last weekend. Of course, I'm just as guilty as the next blogger because I jumped all over the Appy State bandwagon, to the detriment of my scheduled Buckeye recap.

Time to rectify that oversight.

I just got done watching the Ohio State/Youngstown State game, and I've gotta's exactly what I expected (channeling Dennis Green - "The Buckeyes are exactly who we thought they were").

With that many new players not yet battle-tested, I expected us to be rusty and searching for an identity. And that's exactly what I saw. Yes, there were a few surprises, but the basic look of the Buckeyes were that they were learning a lot about each other on the field. They were impressive at times, not so much at others.

First, the impressive - Todd Boeckman solidified his role as the starting QB. He has a nice arm, especially throwing deep downfield. Only six of his passes hit the ground, and he picked up 225 yards and 2 TDs in his first career start.

However, more of Boeckman's passes would have touched turf if not for the amazing hands of Brian Robiskie. Robo's fingers are like magic, and you'd swear he had stick'em on all day long. He has a great ability to catch the ball with his arms extended and pull it into his chest. Most players need their body to make a smooth catch...not Robo. I can't put into words how good his receiving was on Saturday.

Also getting positive reviews on offense was Antonio Henton and Brandon Saine. Neither player started, but both will for these Buckeyes someday. Saine has insane speed (not the first time you've heard that pun, certainly not the last) and makes cuts that are just plain sick. He's got so many positives, and I'm confident that Tressel will bring the best out in him. Same goes for Henton. I would presume that his feet will remind a lot of people of Troy Smith, and he's got a much better arm than #10 did at this point in his career. Hang on, he's no Troy...but he has the capability. Give him time.

Dane Sanzenbach also showed promise in his first ever game. I'm going to reserve judgment on him for a while, but he's got the best name since Wes Siegenthaler graced the field at Ohio Stadium.

The downsides of the game?

Beanie Wells was uninspiring, save for one run where he made two spin moves. But take away that 20-yard run and Wells only got 26 yards on 15 carries. Not good.

Rob Schoenhoft had his stock diminish by completing only 3 of 6 passes for 8 yards. One yard per attempt is not getting you anywhere, Rob. Gotta work on it fast.


Preview of the Akron game

Akron may have won their first game, but they're in a world of trouble come Saturday.

The Zips only went 5-7 last year, and lost 6 starters on offense, including QB Luke Getsy. Akron will counter in this weekend's game with platooning QBs Chris Jacquemain and Carlton Jackson. Neither have had enough experience to give a proper assessment yet, and I don't expect much out of them this weekend either.

The rushing game is supposed to be a strength for Akron, with Dennis Kennedy returning from a 900+ yard season in 2006. But Kennedy only picked up 72 yards against Army, who finished 2006 with the 115th-worst run defense in the NCAA. I'm going to expect a few nice runs out of Kennedy, but nothing worthy of an upset.

Defensively, the entire linebacking core returns for the Zips, and will be their biggest strength. The only problem with that is that they lost half their defensive line and half their secondary. The linebackers are going to have to cover a LOT of ground on Saturday to make up for the rest of the defensive weaknesses.

I know, I know....I'm being a total homer. But I am not concerned very much about this game. Appalachian State may have changed how the Davids approach their games against Goliath, but if your Goliath has a good head coach, they're better prepared for what David brings to the battle. Jim Tressel is a good coach, and I know that he won't allow his Buckeyes to fall victim like Lloyd Carr did to his Wolverines.

Ohio State 41
Akron 10

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