They say a man's best friend is a loyal, well-trained dog.
In baseball, a pitcher's best friend is a well-timed double play.
In football, a quarterback's best friend is an effective running game.
Think about it. If the thoroughbreds in the backfield are busting through the holes in the interior of the offensive line or hitting the corner, and advancing the ball up the sideline, the defense has to take notice.
Seven men in the box becomes eight or nine. The safeties start to cheat closer to the line of scrimmage. Linebackers become more vulnerable to the play-action pass.
It’s a recipe for success for the quarterback—which is why Ohio State’s running back tandem of Daniel “Boom” Herron and Brandon “Zoom” Saine is so important, not only to the success of the Ohio State offense, but to the development of quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
If Pryor is to take a step, or in some people’s eyes, a leap forward in 2010, Boom and Zoom have to be effective at running the rock.
There were times last season where OSU couldn’t really do anything right on offense. Some people blame it on:
B) The lack of a steady starting five on the offensive line.
C) Boom and Zoom
D) The play-calling of Tressel, and offensive coordinator Jim Bollman.
I like to think it’s a combination of, E), all the above. Here are my responses to the first four:
A) It’s no secret Pryor struggled at times last year. He was trying to find his place in the offense, and I like to think he finally got comfortable in the Rose Bowl.
B) The two unequivocal truths about the offense last year were that the offensive line was saddled with injuries, and they received inconsistent play from some of its members. That should not be an issue this year.
C) I’ll concede that even if one put Boom and Zoom together, they probably would not amount to Beanie Wells, and neither is as talented as Antonio Pittman. But combined, they keep defenses honest. Zoom is a tough-as-nails runner between the tackles, and is also a pretty gifted receiver out of the backfield.
D) I was a huge critic of The Vest post-USC. I couldn’t fathom why the offense wasn’t more aggressive in that game. But by the end of the season, Tressel had again silenced his critics. He always knows what he’s doing.
It won’t all be on Boom and Zoom this year. Jordan Hall, Jamaal Berry, Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith give the Buckeyes immeasurable depth at running back that they haven’t had in years, if ever.
Last year, Zoom had 145 carries for 739 yards, and four scores. Boom carried the ball 153 times for 600 yards, and seven touchdowns. I expect slightly increased production out of both this season.
That will take a lot of the pressure off of Pryor, allowing him to throw with confidence, which will in turn gives OSU a balanced offense—and a balanced offense is a play-caller’s best friend.
Who calls OSU’s plays? Tressel mainly—It ends with him.
But it starts with Boom and Zoom.
This Block-O-Nation Ohio State Football
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