Rebuild? Try Upgrade
You cannot say enough about the play of Todd, Beanie and the receivers -- even the tight ends.
As a result, many fans are today thinking what was unthinkable only two months prior: last season was actually the rebuilding year.
Not quite, but the way guys have been able to step into shoes left by NFL draftees is the single biggest story of this 2007 season.
Beanie gets 133 on the nation's 9th best rushing defense and Boeckman and the receivers go Mike Leach.
Of course, none of that would be possible without the line doing its thing. The Lions failed to get any type of real pressure after coming in leading the nation in sacks with 35. They got one. But it was meaningless and came pretty late in the game.
You could have driven Mark Mangino through the hole they created for the running game. That group, knocked perhaps the hardest following the Glendale Debacle, are getting it done. Their ability to power the way to scores on 7 of 9 opening drives this season and the number of 85+ yard drives they have churned out has been sick.
Since I refuse to believe that the Big Ten is the new Ivy, looks like Tressel's most complete team to date. And whenever you hear static from a Penn State fan in the future, just reply with "zero punts".
Who Is That Calling Plays?
Last week, I mentioned that I thought maybe the Vest decided to show more emotion as a lesson learned from the loss to Florida. Well, you can add playbook diversification to that list of lessons.
Tressel and the coaches have done a great job of repeatedly throwing the ball downfield to pull defenders out of the box against Beanie. What's been the pleasant surprise is just how many of those bombs are paying off.
In Boeckman, the coaches have a quarterback that is capable of dealing the ball to each of his options and they're taking advantage of this. Stack the box to take away Beanie and they'll throw over top of you. Try to take away Beanie and the receivers, one of the tight ends will come up huge.
Tight end Rory Nicol notched a career high six receptions while fellow tight end Jake Ballard scored a touchdown for the second consecutive week.
How slick has the playcalling been? Consider this quote from Penn State defensive back Lydell Sargeant:
"They pretty much ran everything that we did not see. They did not run anything we were used to or saw in tape. We adjusted to things in the second half, but they ran plays that we could not pick up on.""
Ammo for the Animal Haters
Yes, Laurinaitis only recorded two tackles and that will only further solidify the opinions of some that believe he's overrated.
As Chris pointed out, Animal was neutralized by well-executed blocking schemes. Luckily, Marcus Freeman had a career night with 14 stops.
Still, the success Penn State had running the football is cause for some mild alarm. Fans would no doubt be more stressed if the Buckeye offense didn't move the ball like some of Pete Carroll's 2004 units last night.
Terrell Pryor Impact
Penn State was probably on the verge of being crossed off of Terrelle Pryor's list before the events of last night. Consider them gone.
With rumors of Pryor having the Buckeyes at the top of his list and both Tressel and Matta flying in on a private jet to meet with Pryor Thursday night, the 37-17 thrashing of Penn State definitely didn't hurt the Buckeyes' efforts.
The flip side of that is maybe Pryor saw Boeckman looking like a guy Pryor would have to sit behind next season.
Totally Unrelated, But We Can't Stop Watching
You've probably already seen this a million times already, but we can't get enough of it: