With the bye week, the flow of information coming out of the WHAC has been a bit slower than normal, but Tressel did speak with the press on Thursday afternoon. As you might imagine, much of what he had to say was in response to questions about the offense or lack thereof.
Off an early question about the general state of the offense, he said that one of the luxuries of having the bye week was being able to actually study film on yourself and your own tendencies instead of spending the week watching footage of the opponent that weekend. Tressel audited every passing play from both Pryor and Boeckman this season looking at technique, footwork, decision-making and what might have worked better against the coverage. The topic of putting Boeckman into the game came up again and JT pretty much shot it down alluding to the fact that he wasn't sure Pryor could learn watching from the sidelines.
Though he pointed out that most offensive "gurus" he had heard of were selling insurance or doing commentary, his remarks on potential personnel changes or turning over the playcalling were encouraging if you count yourself in the 98% of all Buckeye fans wondering WTF is up with the offense:
"If you're willing to try to decide which players are in the right position, you had certainly better be willing to think about which coaches are in the right position and are you doing the right things. You always do self-critique and so forth -- you always look."
When pressed about possibly giving up playcalling duties, he opened the door to having the finest punt team in the country:
"I would have a hard time not having work to do. If the suggestion would be made that maybe I should find some different work to do, then I think you have to be willing to look in the mirror and say 'Well, maybe I should work more on the punt team since it's so important'."
After being asked again if he could live with someone else making the calls on offense, he offered that there's a little bit of that today:
"I'll give you a good example. We were 3rd and 12 at Michigan State. And you know, 3rd and 12, you want to score a touchdown and all that and I said, 'Bolls what do you want?' He said let's run a -- we call it a certain number -- which is a lead draw and I'm thinking 'A lead draw? If we were playing at home, the tomatoes would be coming out.' He said, 'Yeah, I think they're going to come with such-and-such and I know we'll pick it up,' and boom we run a lead draw. Beanie walks into the end zone and jumps sideways or whatever he did."
So here's another humble suggestion. The offense needs a spark. How about for one game -- the Northwestern game -- Bollman gets to call every play. If the line still underperforms, but the playcalling is diverse enough to create some points and overcome some of that, then we're one step closer to putting our finger on the problem. If it's just as anemic -- or worse -- then we have further proof that some changes are needed at the OC/OL spot.
It's cute that Earle is on record as saying that a coach not calling the plays might as well go behind the bench and smoke cigarettes, and I love Bruce, but frankly, he still thinks it's 1982 outside (and we have it on good authority that he's angry that lineman don't wear foam arm-guards anymore). It's not, but the Buckeye offense still believes it to be.
- Tress mentioned the need for better footwork more than once when discussing Pryor's progress, but also pointed out that he reminds him a little bit of Troy Smith when he was younger in the sense that he "doesn't put a lot of balls into harm's way", which is maybe a bit unusual for a young quarterback.
- The Vest said he plans to spend his weekend watching football and mentioned that he sometimes gets a little to into it when watching "his guys". He said when he watches Dantonio's games he feels like he's coaching and wondered aloud at what he was doing up at 11PM the other night watching Mark Snyder's Marshall play.
- The players had Monday off and watched film of the Penn State game on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday, the team held regular practice and then today they'll have a short session before getting Saturday off.