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Old 10-11-2005, 08:00 AM   #1
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Default Ohio State's problems...

This article sums it up nicely...and Terry Pluto is an excellent sports writer who knows what he's talking about...author of 19 books and nominated twice for the Pulitzer.

http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/sports/...printstory.jsp

Posted on Tue, Oct. 11, 2005

Smith not right for this offense

By Terry Pluto


This is intended for the Ohio State offensive coaches.

Defensive guys, you can go home from school early. You get it, just keep up the good work.

It's the offense...

Can anyone tell me exactly what the Buckeyes are doing on offense?

I know, not scoring.

Besides that, does anyone have a clue?

Certainly not quarterback Troy Smith, who seems about as comfortable as a cat dropped into the middle of the Westminster Dog Show. Sometimes, he tiptoes around. Other times, he runs for his life.

He continually looks left, looks right, peeks behind his shoulder.

This is not his offense.

Actually, when the Buckeyes are in the shotgun and using three receivers, it's similar to the system that backup Justin Zwick used when he was at Massillon. It's designed for a quarterback to throw the ball all over the field to several receivers, and it also gives the quarterback some freedom to change plays.

It's not a good offense for a quarterback who likes to run, and that's the quarterback whom the Buckeyes are using.

I'm not sure what should be the Buckeyes' offense. Maybe more of an option, maybe something else. Coach Jim Tressel and his staff must have several ideas for what is an athletically gifted but extremely underachieving offense.

OK, Antonio Pittman, I'm not talking about you.

The sophomore running back from Buchtel usually runs hard and runs well. He's averaging 92 yards a game, 5.0 per carry. His worst night was against Penn State, but that wasn't a disaster as he gained 58 yards in 15 carries.

Part of the problem for Pittman was Penn State stacked the line. The Nittany Lions could see that Smith's passing was erratic, that he was worried and that he was unsure what he wanted to do.

Smith was sacked five times!

This happened to a player who might be talented enough to be a Division I tailback, but Smith never seemed to know where the rush was coming from or where he should run.

The Buckeyes had only two plays gain more than 20 yards, and those came on their final drive when Smith finally completed a couple of decent passes. Then he was sacked and fumbled, ending OSU's attempt to tie the score.

OSU is 3-2. The Buckeyes dominated Iowa 31-6 in every aspect of the game three weeks ago. Their other victories have been against Miami (Ohio) and San Diego State. Neither are ranked teams.

When they lost 25-22 to Texas, fans dwelled on the pass that tight end Ryan Hamby dropped in the end zone. But that night, Tressel juggled his two quarterbacks. Then, neither was effective, both played cautiously.

That led Tressel to pick Smith, which makes sense.

The offense is still sputtering, though.

Has anyone seen Ted Ginn Jr. this year? Yes, the Ted Ginn of a year ago who was supposed to a Heisman Trophy candidate? This Ted Ginn is playing like just a track athlete still trying to transform himself into a football player.

Ginn has carried five times for seven yards. No one is fooled when he gets it on a reverse. He has caught 16 passes for an average of 12 yards per catch. He has one touchdown. His returns have been underwhelming.

Somehow, the Buckeyes have to set him loose.

Santonio Holmes is a big-time receiver, and there are times when he seems open, but he doesn't get the ball nearly enough. Smith has the arm with enough power to throw deep, but accuracy has been a problem.

Some fans might want to switch quarterbacks again, returning to Zwick.

That's not the answer, at least not yet.

You don't want to keep alternating quarterbacks.

But the offense?

Now that's where things have to change, and change this week before Michigan State comes in on Saturday.
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