Tressels, Fickells and Urbans,
Right, J.P. Barnett.
When I told my five-year-old son, Jakey, the news about Braxton he was devastated. I think he actually took the news worse than his father. Just devastated. He asked important questions like, "What happened to him?" "Will he play again?"...and "Can I still wear my #5 jersey?"
But, I've always found kids to be extremely resilient. I think that is universally true about children. They bounce back quickly from all the big setbacks - a best friend not coming to Sunday school, the wrong socks set out to wear with Crocs, apple juice poured in the blue cup instead of the green one, Heisman-candidate quarterbacks dislocating their shoulder, etc, etc. All of it...
By the next morning, Jakey-Jake had bounced back from Braxton's loss and put his full support behind "J.P. Barnett."
He had a cheer about "J.P. Barnett." He had conjecture about the quick rise of our next star, "J.P. Barnett." Suddenly, "J.P. Barnett" was a topic of conversation...and "J.P. Barnett" was able to perform heroic feats on the football field. Yup, you could say Jake was an immediate fan of "J.P. Barnett."
I was about to jump in and correct him, but...the more I thought about it, I decided Jake was right. I felt like I had a Fulghum-moment. :)
"J.P. Barnett" is a superhero simply because he plays for the Buckeyes and we are die-hard Buckeye fans. He is a part of the team and we root for the team; he just happens to be the most visible part of a bigger whole.
I could even start to see a shift with this whole thing. Over the past five seasons, Ohio State has been completely reliant on one player to dictate the performance of the entire team. You could tell from the first offensive series, if Terrelle or Braxton were off in their passing game, it was going to be a LONG game for everyone in Scarlet & Gray. The only way to move the ball would be broken-play scrambles. No consistency to the offense, no rhythm. Everyone in the stadium knew the key for the opposing defense was containing Terrelle or Braxton. No need to cover the middle of the field. Don't worry about the deep routes. Crowd the line and bring it. Fairly simple formula.
Now, everyone will need to be involved. And, I think the time is right for that shift.
We may not know their name yet :), but we will soon.
Keep your roster with player names/numbers handy on Saturday because most of the Ohio State players will be new to us. This is our first introduction. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the pressure of game action; we have no idea yet. But, there is more depth than past seasons; the roster is loaded with top-ranked recruits...big-time potential talent.
This roster is full of Urban recruits now. The "little speed" talent (i.e. WR, RB, DB) all look the part...all four and five star players! A few of these guys should rise up and be outstanding...we're just not sure which players will become household names yet.
I'm very interested to see all of this talent with a more-cerebral quarterback at the helm. I could see the entire offense being more engaged. Also, on the defensive side of the ball, the scheme has been completely overhauled...I'll take a pressing, attacking defense any day! Some of these elements remind me of 2002. (...and the last time Ohio State played a regular season game in a NFL stadium was...guess when? :))
***Sidebar: this season I will attempt to make subtle references to my favorite sports photographer, Walt Keys. It will be similar to finding goldbug on the pages of a Richard Scarry book.***
Make sure you are resilient and still paying attention even if the prognosticators already have Ohio State excluded from the national championship hunt. I can see this season being a shift from the past to the present. We may not know the names yet, but there are a lot of players that I think will be a better team collectively than the Buckeyes have fielded recently. We'll know these guys soon enough.
...and I did eventually correct Jake on "J.P. Barnett's" name because J.T. Barrett is one of our new heroes and we'll want to get to know the names of all our new stars.
Touchdowns: Vannett, Corey Smith, Rod Smith, Dontre, Michael Thomas
OSU 41 Navy 17
Go Bucks! Beat Navy! Michael Bennett for Heisman!