Five Things: Indiana

By Chris Lauderback on October 11, 2010 at 5:00a
Saine reappeared via the passing game

An evolved gameplan

Though both Tressel and Brandon Saine indicated it wasn't totally by design, Saine recorded zero carries yesterday while hauling in four catches for 84 yards including a 60 yard TD off a well executed wheel route on 1st and 10 putting the Buckeyes in front 21-0 early in the 2nd quarter.

Tress and Saine can play coy but I think it's safe to assume that while maybe the intent wasn't to keep Saine from toting the rock at all, there was definitely an emphasis placed on getting him the ball in space, via the pass, to take advantage of Saine's straight line speed.

Saine lined up in multiple positions in an effort to exploit matchups, coming from the backfield on his 60 yard TD and from the slot on OSU's first play from scrimmage, hauling in a 13 yard quick screen as the Hoosier DB's gave 10 yard cushions for much of the half. The quick hitter out of the backfield would be attempted a few more times with varying degrees of success but there's little question through the air is the best way to get Saine touches and it was nice to see the staff work to get it accomplished.

Considering the spotty success of the run game coupled with the freak at the QB spot supposedly nursing a quad, it was also pleasing to see the Buckeye gameplan rely on Pryor's continued evolution as a passer in the pocket instead of sending running backs into giant piles of bodies at the line of scrimmage either due to a lack of push or the backs not finding the hole.

Looking at the numbers strictly when Pryor was on the field, the Buckeyes ran 46 total plays, an amazing 33 of which were intended pass plays. Three sacks kept the actual attempted passes total at 30 and pushed the rushing attempts to 16 but even though OSU supposedly strives for offensive balance, I enjoyed Tressel leaning on the overwhelming strength of his offensive unit exploiting a secondary giving enough cushion to make Sealy proud. The results, albeit against a pathetic defense, included a 38-0 lead and a Heisman showcase for Pryor. Good stuff from the staff. The pass heavy effort has me very curious as to how the plan might adapt on the road against a much better team in Madison this Saturday night.

So much for Indiana's vaunted aerial attack

I wasn't at all worried about Indiana putting up a ton of points Saturday, I think I guessed they would score 13, but I did expect Chappell would throw for over 200 yards, just because of the sheer number of attempts I expected combined with my respect for Tandon Doss and thinking maybe OSU would play off the receivers a bit more. Instead, the Buckeyes played much more press coverage than I figured and they completely locked down Doss.

Somewhat shockingly, Doss was held to one catch for 12 yards and two rushes for -1 yard. That is some impressive defense. Further, the Bullets held Chappell to 16/26 through the air (62%) for 106 yards yards, good for a dismal 6.62 yards per completion on the strength of a dominating first half in which they forced Chappell into 10/18 for 53 yards with two interceptions. Despite already relying on a lateral passing attack, Chappell struggled to find a rhythm thanks to consistent pressure from Nathan Willams and Cameron Heyward. For my money, Williams continues to be the defensive MVP thus far and not only did he disrupt the passing attack, he was a beast in run support recording a 2nd best five stops including 1.5 for loss. What continues to impress me about Williams is just how deadly he is on backside pursuit. He's making a living busting his ass down the line on plays away from his side to the point where he might be the best I've seen at this particular skill during Tressel's tenure.

As usual, he took the field playing like his hair's on fire having a hand in two plays on Indiana's first possession. He held Trea Burgess to a two yard gain on 1st down on one of his patented backside pursuit tackles before stopping Nick Turner on a three yard loss three plays later putting Indiana in a 2nd and 13 they couldn't get out of.

Shortly thereafter, on Indiana's fourth offensive possession following OSU's blocked field goal attempt, Williams was at it again lining up at right defensive end and using a nifty spin move after charging upfield to recover and stop Turner for no gain on 1st down. Even more impressive, from the Leo spot on the next snap, Williams completely snuffed out a Doss end around by rushing upfield, taking on the right tackle and a blocking back causing Doss to cut inside before assisting on the tackle with John Simon. The kid is having a first team all conference season, without question. I feel like I'm writing about him after every game as he continues to dominate thanks to extreme versatility and heady play.

In the secondary, Chimdi Chekwa turned in a solid performance with seven tackles and a pass break up while Jermale Hines added five stops. Orhian Johnson even got into the act with three tackles and a pass break up while Devon Torrence was active with a gift INT, a TFL and a pass break up. Nice work from the secondary as they imposed their will on Indiana's supposedly top flight group of receivers. The D-line must also get some credit here as they punished a banged up Hoosier front limiting the seconds needed to cover receivers.

Pryor's career day

I freely admit it. I didn't see Terrelle's career day coming. It wasn't a question of what he's capable of against a team like Indiana, but whether or not Tressel would let TP drop back 30 times despite the Vest's insistence all week that Pryor was healthy and wouldn't be limited by injury or the game plan. I just didn't buy it - not with Pryor's value to the team, Tressel's media savvy and a date with Wisconsin a week away. I thought this was the week Tressel would make sure TP was fully healed and try to give the rushing attack a boost of confidence in prep for the physical matchup expected in Madison but with the Badgers sporting the nation's 54th best pass defense statistically (22nd rushing defense), Tressel may have plans to once again air it out.

The Vest apparently asked Pryor to eliminate his scrambles while logically refusing to call TP's number on the ground even once in 46 snaps. The result was a clinic against an overmatched defense in which Pryor found eight different receivers in a first half that saw him complete 19/24 for 280 yards and three scores as the Bucks built a 31-0 lead. The 280 yards accounted for nearly 88% of OSU's first half production (320) and Pryor was so hot he hit 11 straight passes in the 2nd quarter. Minus 19 yards in sacks, Pryor's 315 yards of total offense, in 2.5 quarters, vaulted him into 4th place on OSU's all time total offense list.

Though he misfired on a couple including a one hopper to Posey on 3rd and 4 late in the half and a too late, too low quick out route intended for Zoom to start OSU's second possession, Pryor stood in the pocket all day running through his progressions, not once darting from it and he may have only rolled out by design once, to his left, in which he threw across his body to connect with Dane Sanzenbacher on a 14 yard gain to Indiana's 24, setting up a 36 yard FG and a 31-0 lead. Even taking into account the opponent, I continue to be amazed at how far Pryor has come with regard to his grasp of the offense and an improved ability to scan the field and accurately deliver a check down. If he's given proper time to throw, I don't see how this team can lose a conference game.

On the rushing attack...

Ross from AtO published an awesome piece last week discussing the issues with the running game at Illinois, however I think some fans took it a bit too far and totally shifted blame to the running backs not seeing holes. It's probably safe to say there are multiple factors negatively impacting the running game with an inconsistency by the offensive line to open holes and a lack of vision by the backs both causing problems. It's kind of like the chicken/egg dilemma. Personally, I wonder if the inconsistency up front has compromised the RB's faith in them contributing to missed holes and/or what appears to be suspect vision. This offense is currently lacking both an elite line and an elite running back so they'll have to find a way to make do.

With Tressel keeping Indiana's horrid defense off balance throwing on 1st down 17 times in 23 opportunities with Pryor still in the game, the rushing attack still struggled recording 71 yards on 13 carries, a solid 5.46 per carry, however that number shrinks to 32 yards on 12 carries, or 2.67 per, when you subtract Boom's 39 yard TD run. Trust me, I know that run counts in the grand scheme of things but shouldn't 12 for 32 against Indiana make you a little nervous? And are you prepared to say Boom's lack of vision on 11 of those carries (Hall had 1 for 3 yards) was the chief difference between a terrible or successful rushing effort? I don't pretend to be an o-line expert and I only rewatched the game once so I'm curious to see if anyone takes a deeper dive into the cause/effect surrounding this questionable piece of the offense against Indiana.

Spielman's flowin' prose

As usual, Chris Spielman saved ESPN's broadcast making up for Bob Griese's craptacular commentary ("Terrelle Pryor couldn't have made that throw three years ago") with some money soundbytes on a myriad of topics.

Following ESPN stroking their 3D coverage including a look inside the booth to see the announcers sporting 3D glasses, Spielman offered up an emphatic, "It's like robots are taking over the world, man!", causing my side to split just a tad.

Just before the half, ESPN ran a spot about, a site in which you can build your own college, prompting Dave Pasch to surmise Spielman would create a campus with zero academic buildings instead featuring nothing but football facilities. Unfazed, Spielman wryly responded, "I think that's a little unfair, David. I really do...I would have the best weight room in the country, I know that. I'd have a stadium that sat 500,000 and fill it every week." Comedy gold.

In the 2nd half, after explaining the difference between a three technique versus a five, Pasch asked, did you learn this in Jim Tressel's coaching class? Spielman's loving response? "I learned this out of the crib, my friend."

Finally, after Storm Klein was questionably penalized for "targeting the head", Spielman chimed in with the best solution to eliminate such calls, "let's put flags on everybody and call it a day." Good stuff. And to be clear, Spielman is far from a one trick pony in the booth. His old school one liners are classic but the guy is steadily becoming one of the best in the business.


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original buckeye's picture

That's why I'm glad the AP poll means nothing anymore, because they give votes to that guy. 

flipbuckeye's picture

Awful.  But don't worry, the world is letting him know:

Voter Rating:   
Good:    20
Bad:    425

Incidentally, he is currently the top rated "Bad Voter".  The top rated "Good Voter"?  Herbie.

Poe McKnoe's picture

Spielman is the man.  An announcer that is informative, interesting, and on topic?  He more than makes up for Greise's total suck in the booth.

builderofcoalitions's picture

I used to dread listening to Spielman call a game. He was really bad in the beginning. Then, ESPN did two things. First, they moved him to the sideline so that he was talking all the time. Second, they put him in the booth with Griese to balance out the senility. He has been the best color commentator this side of Herbie ever since.

Because we couldn't go for three.

BuckeyeChief's picture

And Spiels isn't a homer. Or a hater.

"2014 National with it!!!"

iball's picture

????.... well, at least one out of two aint bad

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

BuckeyeChief's picture

Hater as in hating other teams due to the conference, etc. He calls it like he sees it.

"2014 National with it!!!"

iball's picture

 LMMFAO, SMH, the media is baffled as to how Sparty stopped Denard, wow.

The Michigan State Spartans defense did the seemingly impossible on Saturday, containing Michigan's do-everything quarterback and Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson.

How successful Robinson can be the remainder of the season could depend on whether the Wolverines' future opponents take a page out of the Spartans' playbook. Michigan State allowed Robinson to throw for over 200 yards through the air, but kept him in check on the ground, holding him to only 81 yards and without any of his trademark breakaway rushes.

"We contained him," Spartans defensive tackle Kevin Pickelman said after the game. "We knew he couldn't throw the ball."

Robinson probably deserves more credit than that as a passer, but it's safe to say that Big Ten defensive coordinators who caught the Wolverines-Spartans matchup will put an emphasis on making Robinson throw the ball more during the latter half of the season.


- Jeff Dooley

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

slippy's picture

I didn't watch the whole game but he did have at least one WR drop a wide open TD.

iball's picture

Huber Heights Wayne (Braxton Miller), faces Dayton Centerville (Michael Bennet), Thursday night on ESPNU.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

slippy's picture

Can we talk about how terrible those two personal foul calls were?


Johnson hit forearm to shoulder and Klein came in with his head up as a guy went down.  I'm all for safety but those calls were bad.

btalbert25's picture

So, what's the secret to stopping Denard Robinson?  Have a defense that is in the top 50!  The guy has been terriffic, but maybe now we can stop hearing about "Shoelace" so much.  I also think that Ingram's Heisman campaign is over for this year.  I heard a radio person Saturday morning say he was number 3 on their Heisman list.  Missing 2 games and completely failing to show up Saturday probably disqualifies him at this point.

I think TP really improved his resume at this point, and hopefully he has another great game in Madison to put him toward the top of the list.

Denny's picture

I like that Spiels calls Pasch "David".


btalbert25's picture

Was Pasch the third announcer with Spiels and Greisie last year?  If so, I have a lot of respect for him.  When Spiels' wife passed last year, the not Greisie but Pasch or whoever the 3rd announcer was damn near cried on the air when they talked about it the week it happened and Spiels was away. 

Denny's picture

Pasch has been with Spielman for a few years now - going back as far as the greatest sideline stunt ever, Rob Stone eating the hottest pepper on earth. So odds are it was Pasch.


Johnny Ginter's picture

so of course i had to look this up


Is it Saturday Yet's picture

It was like someone tasered my mouth.

Denny's picture

Do they eat hot peppers in Japan -


Matt's picture

It wasn't Pasch and Griese, it was Matt Millen and Sean McDonough who choked up at the start of the second quarter during the 2009 Michigan-Ohio State game.  It was very heartfelt.

btalbert25's picture

Yeah Sean McDonough was the one.  I remember now.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Having McDonough and Millen for three of our most important games last year was golden. Loved those guys.

Keith's picture

I love Spiels' football terms/sayings/quotes that he uses to great effect:

"Bring your feet"

"See ball, get ball"

"Low man wins"

"You can't cover turf"

I'm sure I'm forgetting some...what are some others?

Abuck10's picture

"Hit what you see, see what you hit" something like that. Spiels and Hooley are great together.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

I have decided to not get too worked up over the running game anymore - this, of course, is subject to change after next week, we"ll see.  But after watching all the games this weekend, I have become convinced that we can win it all with a subpar running game.

I know it sounds ridiculous, and I am certainly not claiming we are going to win the MNC, but that we can win the MNC as our team is currently performing or underperforming.  I don't see a team in the country that would stomp us without a running game.  Mostly, beacuse if we have to run the ball we can with pryor.  we have seen texas be pretty damn good with only a running QB.

In most years, without a great running game, I would say we had no chance of going undefeated. But, the ability of Pryor to run, coupled with how mediocre the top teams in BCS confernces are, we can still win it all with a bad running game.

Also, props to JT for changing some things - Saine split-out, no tressel ball, etc. I have been critical in the past for his stubborn approach to coaching, so he deserves credit for his willingness to change 

Natty Light's picture

with TP's passing development and ability to roll out, we can get by.  it would definately help the game to throw in a reliable "Dave" like 5 times a game and a few fake Dave bootlegs.  I think that has been TP's most successful play call so far over his career, because it makes the D worry about the power I run game, TP scrambling, and the PA pass all in 1 play.  defenses normally just have the weakside LB or end stay off the play a little so they are in position to counter a bootleg...TP's ability to outrun that spy lets him stretch the corner and safety on that side into committing to the scramble or the pass. 

CliffordTheBRD's picture

On Spielman- I liked his take on the "world record" meatball, too.

On Michigan- I kind of figured Denard had some INTs in him. That said, I don't think MSU totally stopped him- other than the picks he had a decent day, it just wasn't crazy huge which they kind of need cause their d is so bad. And how about Rich Rod punting down 17 with 6 minutes left? Just pathetic.

btalbert25's picture

That was definitely a terrible coaching job.  I do think, though, that a team with a good D-line and linebackers will beat Michigan every time.  Their whole offense is Denard.  81 yards rushing is a good day, but holding him to 5-15 yard runs instead of 60 yard break away TD runs is all that matters when playing them.  I don't see anyway that he can run like that against Iowa and the Buckeyes.  Wisconsin and Illinois won't be easy tasks for him either.

KenK's picture

 "And how about Rich Rod punting down 17 with 6 minutes left?"

It's good to see RichRod have so much "give up" in him so early in the season.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

Matt's picture

To be fair, Rich Rod owned up to the fact that he made a mistake with the punt, and actually attempted to motion to his players to get them out of the punt formation (or to call a timeout), but the players punted before he could stop them.  Still, mistake on his part.

KenK's picture

Yes, I saw where RR fessed up to the bad call. Yet, he/staff should have been a couple moves ahead with "if we don't make 1st down, here is what we run", rather than punt.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

Matt's picture

Awesome ESPN Gameday ad, and I'm impressed that Herbie went along with it:

anchorman's picture

Apparently that San Jose writer is still upset over that beating we gave them in 2002.