No breather on horizon for OSU

Published 12:54 pm Monday, September 15, 2008

What’s brewing today with the 2008 Ohio State Buckeyes …

BUCKEYES BUZZ: OK, now what?

The 35-3 bludgeoning at the hands of No. 1 USC is in the rearview mirror. Now what’s important for Ohio State fans is what the Buckeyes glean from it and how they respond.

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There weren’t any bright spots. First, the lines were absolutely manhandled. Todd Boeckman and all of those guys who were supposed to be Beanies-in-waiting had bad games. The receivers didn’t make plays, neither did special teams, and the defense missed tackle after tackle.

The next game for now No. 13 Ohio State may not be a breather, either. Granted, Troy rang up 65 points on Alcorn State to get to 2-0 yesterday. But is 65 on Alcorn State any less impressive than beating up on Youngstown State or sneaking past Ohio?

Here’s another bit of worrisome news: most foot injuries, especially when the foot is attached to a 238-pound athlete who depends on fast movement and quick cuts to succeed, take time to heal. If Chris “Beanie” Wells was unavailable for USC — and he wouldn’t have made that much difference if he were — then he may not be 100 percent for a while. So the Buckeyes are going to have to make do with what they’ve got.

After Troy comes the Big Ten opener against Minnesota, then a huge test at Wisconsin.

Maybe Wells will be full-go by then. It remains to be seen if the Buckeyes’ fragile psyches will heal so quickly.

QB CHANGE?@ Periscope knows exactly what you’re thinking: This was Boeckman’s fault! Play Terrelle Pryor all the time.

That’s highly unlikely to happen. Boeckman wasn’t perfect back there, but it’s hard to pin much on him because every time he took a snap he had two or three defenders bull-rushing him after scrambling over “blocks.” He was sacked four times and dumped on his back another dozen times. Pryor played relatively well, but was seldom in when the Buckeyes faced a critical third-down conversion and the Men of Troy knew a pass was called.

Boeckman finished 14-of-21 for 84 measly yards passing, no TDs and two interceptions. Pryor was 7-of-9 for 52 yards.

The reasonable approach is to continue to develop the freshman phenom, but Boeckman must remain the first-line QB. A switch now would be an act of desperation and might just alienate the 40-some seniors and fifth-year players who stuck around to make a run at a national title. Lose them, and the season could go south really fast.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:@ It didn’t take long for the critics to step forward. The game didn’t kick off until 8:22 p.m., but The (Columbus) Dispatch already had a letter to the sports editor in Sunday’s editions that blasted the coaching staff.

“Tressel is a great recruiter and OSU alums/fans like myself should be grateful for that,” wrote a fan from Chicago. “But the in-game decision-making of Tressel and his staff has always been shaky, and based on the last two BCS appearances, perhaps he isn’t the great handler/motivator of players many of us have long believed, either.”

UGLY NUMBERS:@ The Buckeyes had a streak of 141 consecutive games scoring at least one touchdown snapped, dating to Nov. 23, 1996, a 13-9 loss to Michigan. … USC TB Joe McKnight gained 105 yards on 12 carries, an average of 8.8 yards per tote. … Third-quarter yardage favored USC, 135-2.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:@ One of former OSU coach Earle Bruce’s favorite maxims is: “Ohio State is never as good as everybody thinks when it wins, and never as bad as everybody thinks when it loses.”