Head Games

By Jason Priestas on November 4, 2009 at 2:00 pm
Will homecoming be a happy one?

We're three days away from Pryor's first return home for the first time as a Buckeye. The good news, is that he appears to be healthy after having his leg "banged" against New Mexico State. We're going to assume the party line and assume having him padless in the second half last week was just an overly cautious move out of the Senator, though we have our lingering doubts.

From an emotional standpoint, you know this weekend is huge for him. Playing just two hours from Jeannette, he'll have a chance to play in front of his family. He's still thinking of the costly fumble from last season and if he isn't, a packed house geared up for a rare big game in Beaver Stadium will be there to remind him with clever attire.

His teammates are saying he's playing excited in practice this week, and you hope that he's starting to see what the little things like squaring the shoulders outside the pocket and running with a purpose can do to help dictate the flow of a game.

There's definite concern given his body of work in what could be considered big games during his tenure: Michigan, Texas and USC, and the Penn State defense will operate at a speed he hasn't seen since the tilt with the Trojans, but one of these days he's going to go off. 300/150 off. And wouldn't that be sweet if that day was Saturday?

Jordan Hall rising. The Silver Bullet asks if Jordan Hall is the best option at running back:

Herron runs like a power runner in a 5-10 195 pound body, and Saine has ran with authority this season but has not shown the ability to be a quick, decisive runner. This is where Hall really shines on film. He makes quicks decisions (because of his vision), and then hits the hole fast. Regardless of size, quick and decisive runners always have success.

Buckeye Football Analysis seems to agree:

generally trust the coaches as they see these guys everyday in practice. But at this point I'm pretty well convinced that Jordan Hall needs to be the primary tailback. He doesn't need to start or play every series, but he should be getting 15 carries a game and should not lose carries to the other two. Whether you want to call it vision or what have you, he a) finds the hole, b) hits it hard, and c) always manages to fall forward. He therefore gets 3 or 4 yd gains on plays where one of the other guys gets 0.

Hall is definitely all of those things, but what really stands out to me as well is the way he's always falling forward. He did have more touches than Saine last week, but with Boom returning to full health, I have to wonder if he'll get the ball 15 times a game anytime soon.

And now for something completely different. We get frustrated with Tressel's calm demeanor and ability to say a lot without really saying anything at his pressers, but Penn State fans sure get a show. Some examples of Joe's snark at his weekly presser:

Q. Ohio State closes with you guys and Iowa and Michigan, which would seem to be its toughest stretch of the season. Last week against New Mexico State they tried an onside kick early in the game, recovered it, and not long after they did a double reverse pass for a touchdown. Seems to me that if they had tricks in their trick bag they might have held them for this week or one of the last two games. Do you think maybe they were trying to give you something else to think about?
Well, when you start questions, "it seems to me," well, if it seems to you, that's fine, that it seems to you. That's not asking me a question. I don't have the slightest idea. I know that they tried an onside kick. I know they recovered an onside kick, I thought they did it very well. The kicker dribbled the ball and he got on top of it and obviously the New Mexico State kids weren't expecting it, all right? And they were successful with it. Whether that's trying to send a message or not, ask (Jim) Tressel when you get him on a press conference, all right? And you tell him "it seems to you" that he did a good thing.


Q. Can you compare and contrast your coaching style with Jim Tressel's?
My coaching style with Jim Tressel's? Come on. Jim has done a heck of a job everywhere he's been. He did a heck of a job at Youngstown State, won that division's championship several years, done a heck of a job at Ohio State, he's been the winner or co winners of the Big Ten for the last four or five years. No, I'm not going to compare myself. Heck, I'll compare your writing with somebody else's writing if you want me to do that, or something like that, but that's not...I think Tressel is a heck of a coach, and I think his staff is, he's done a great job out there.

Now, that's fun!