Sunday, September 19, 2010

Just Spit-Ballin': How Ohio State Can Alleviate Their Most Pressing Concerns

Three weeks into the 2010 season finds Ohio State undefeated as expected, and for the most part, they have proven to be worthy of their No. 2 ranking, but they do have a few flaws.

There is always room for improvement and the Bucks can ill-afford to become complacent if they want to truly be a legitimate BCS title game contender.

First off, the disturbingly obvious inefficiencies on special teams are still a huge concern.

Through their first three games, OSU has allowed a blocked field goal, a blocked PAT, and one punt and two kickoff returns for touchdowns, one of which ultimately didn't count, but still.

DeVier Posey's older brother Julian returned a kickoff 99 yards for an apparent touchdown for OU before an illegal block penalty negated the return.

Sure it didn't count, but just the fact that the Bobcats technically were the third straight Buckeye opponent to score a special teams touchdown against OSU is very disconcerting.

It is even more concerning considering that fixing this problem had to be a primary focus over the past week or two.

It may be as simple as just a personnel issue, or something bigger. That's up to Tressel and his staff to figure out. The bottom line is it has to be fixed, whatever it is, and whatever it takes.

The other challenge facing Tressel and company is a two-headed monster.

First, they need to find a consistent No. 3 wide receiver threat to help free up Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher.

The play of tight end Jake Stoneburner has helped with that cause somewhat, but with Terrelle Pryor really coming into his own as a passing QB, a true third option at receiver would greatly benefit the Buckeye passing game.

The second part of this equation is finding a way to get sophomore Jordan Hall, and especially redshirt freshmen Jaamal Berry more touches out of the backfield. As of now, each have returned kicks and punts, but have seen little action at tailback.

The solution—move Saine to wide receiver. This would kill two birds with one stone.

Tressel is loyal to his upperclassmen, almost to a fault, so Dan Herron could still technically be the "starter", but everyone, including Tressel, knows that he's not a guy that can carry the ball 25-plus times a game.

Making this move would give the Buckeyes a legit No. 3 wideout, a veteran starter at running back, and it would then allow Hall and Berry more opportunities to carry the rock.

As mentioned, Pryor continues to prove he's more than just a scrambler and the defense appears to be one of the best Tressel has ever had, having only allowed 17 points over these first three weeks.

Kicker Devin Barclay has been solid as well.

The offense is close and the defense is there.

Figuring out the special teams situation and finding that reliable third receiver could mean the difference between a good year, or a legendary one for the Buckeyes.

Better protection and blocking in the middle on field goals and PATs, as well as improved kick and punt return coverage, in addition to shifting Saine to [more of] a receiver role and thus allowing an increased role for Hall and/or Berry will increase the odds for Ohio State to win all of their games, and further establish and solidify their position as one of the best teams in the nation.

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  1. I agree HD. You have to find a way to get Berry and Hall on the field, and your suggestion of moving Saine to the wide receiver slot does that. Saine has great hands as well and is very quick in the open field. It almost seems like a no brainer. It caters to his strengths.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    Good to hear I'm not all alone on an island here.

    Now if we can just get Tressel on board with the plan!


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