As Chris mentioned in the previous post, the defense ruled in the jersey scrimmage on Saturday, taking home the 52-44 victory.
The score was closer than it seemed and the regular offense managed only 1 touchdown in the 120+ play practice. One other TD was scored on the day, when Rocco Pentello broke one loose for a 33 yard scamper when he lead an imitation of Navy's offense.
Leaving the scrimmage, there is no doubt some questions still linger regarding this offense, especially on the line, but there are a few bright spots that emerged Saturday morning.
Formations Of course the offense used vaious formations througout, but Tressel started the day with a lot of I-formation and 3-wides. I was interested to see the shotgun look with a RB and FB flanking Terrelle, especially since TP looked and hit a few passes to them in the flats. I only saw a 5-wide fromation about 3 or 4 times and I never saw the Pistol formation. Saine and Herron never lined up together in the backfield, as Tressel decided to get Adam Homan, Zack Boren and James Georgiades some reps at FB.
- QB: LiC
- RB: Boom (Saine rotated with the ones all day)
- WR: Posey, Sanzenbacher (Washington was 3rd receiver)
- TE: Ballard
- FB: Georgiades
- OL: Miller, Moses, Brewster, Browning, Cordle
Quarterbacks Terrelle played with a black no contact jersey the entire day, which limited his rushing attack. There were more than a few times he was touched and considered down, but if it was real live action, the defense probably wouldn't have tackled him. By my rough estimation, Pryor was 17 of 27 for around 126 yards and a touchdown. To me, he still looked hesitant at times and threw off his back foot when pressure was bearing down, causing him to under throw a couple. He did make nice use of the RB's in the flat, but only attempted 2 down field (one was under thrown into double coverage, with the wind) and it took him roughly 4 series before he completed a ball over 15 yards. While he has made strides in his passing mechanics, there is still a ways to go, but the level of excitement and competitiveness he brings is unmatched.
Bauserman has been dinged up lately and therefore didn't play that well. He had a nice throw to Duron Carter for about 17 yards in the second series, but didn't do much beyond that. Kenny Guiton struggled out there, but that is expected from a freshman and Justin Siems also got in for a few series.
Running Backs Boom looked good running the ball, carrying it 10 times for around 50 yards. He hits the hole with authority and doesn't dance around, which is why he has the lead at the position right now. There were a few time he made a nice cutback after the original hole was plugged and he was in the best collision of the day, when he and Devon Torrence knocked helmets. Both players were slow to get up and needed some time off after the hit. Saine has improved, but he still dances a little too much when he touches the ball. He only got about 5 touches on the day, but did have a couple of nice carries mixed in.
For me, the surpise of the morning was Jordan Hall. He got a lot of work with the 3rd team, breaking loose for close 42 yards on 5 carries and making a nice one handed snag out of the back field. He had the longest run of the day, with a 27 yard scamper as he cut back across the field and showed flashes of the Jeannette Stiff Arm that we grew to love last year. Berry didn't get much work and wasn't that impressive, but he too has been dinged up lately. Marcus Williams got some work with the 2nd group and I wouldn't be surprised if he's not the 3rd back to start the season.
Wide Receivers There weren't any members from this group that left me giddy from their performance, but one observation did strike me, Duron Carter is lanky and will be a great receiver here at Ohio State. T. Washington got plenty of reps as the #3 guy and lead the group with 6 catches. He seemed to be more in sync with TP than any other receiver, but none of his catches were longer than 11 yards. Posey caught 4 balls and had the longest reception of the day, when he hauled in a 22 yarder from TP on a crossing route. For what ever reason, Posey and Pryor seemed a little off in their timing and communication of routes. Dane had a couple of nice grabs and he is still the guy TP will look for when a tough first down is needed.
Carter made his debut on the 3rd team, but moved his way up the charts as the day went on. He only had 2 catches, but has the look of a great receiver with good routes, great hands and deceptive speed. There is no doubt he is going to see the field this year. Ray Small ran exclusively with the 3rd team, but played hard and hopefully will get out of the doghouse soon. Even though Ballard caught the touchdown, the TE's accounted for only 4 catches all day, with Reid Fragel playing in passing situations and Todd Denlinger getting more reps than I expected at TE. Stoneburner sat out with an injury.
Offensive Line It seems every year, this group is going to be the key to the season and there is still reason for concern heading into Navy. I know they are trying different groups in there and Boren missing really hurts, but pass protection was still an issue. As Chris mentioned, the defense was in the back field quickly and easily on passing plays, but the run blocking looked pretty solid. Left tackle is still a concern and according to Tressel in his post practice session, if the season were to start today "it would be Miller, Shugarts and Adams in the order." I recall only seeing Adams out there for a couple of series with the 3rd team, while Miller and Shugarts rotated equally. It looks like Jack Mehwort is going to be a good player, while Corey Linsey got some run with the first team, but was abused by Gibson and Heyward.
It has been fashionable to pile on the O-Line over the last few season and rightfully so, they haven't lived up to their expectations. I'm going to reserve judgement until I see Justin Boren back in there, he seems to be the glue for this unit. Boren did participate in warmups and was putting pressure on his knee, so he looks like he will be back for the opener, but either Miller or Shugarts needs to step up over the next two weeks to solidify that left tackle position.
All in all it was a struggle to watch this offense on Saturday. They did get 4 FG's, all over 40 yards, but 1 touchdown in 120 something plays is a little frightening. It could be a case of the defense being that much more ahead at this point and the no contact jersey on TP handcuffed him, but the same underlying problems still exist and I'm just warning you now, don't expect an offensive juggernaut to start the season. They are still progressing and trying to figure out the right combos.