It’s been a year since OSU entered the Coliseum and got handled like a pit-bull playing with a rag doll. USC came away with the lopsided 35-3 victory. Beanie was out and Terrelle Pryor was not the starting QB yet. That’s still no excuse for them not showing up in the Coliseum. OSU and the Big Ten conference in general have looked like JV teams going up against Varsity when it comes to the big game. This is a chance not only for OSU but for the Big Ten overall to show the country that they can play and win vs. the big boys. This year’s game has a different feel to it. Here’s the breakdown.
USC – Coaching – Pete Carroll – 9th year (89-15)
There may not be a better coach in college football today. I love his laid back swagger he brings to the field which is contagious with his players and teams. He has fun and his teams have fun. Carroll get top recruits year after year and has built a power house of a program in USC.
Offense-Trojans have lost there top WR in Patrick Turner to injury, however Damian Williams is suppose to be the real deal. Turners injury gives Williams a chance to blossom with freshman QB Matt Barkley. The one thing USC can rely on is its running backs. No program in the country has the type of talent like the Trojans at the RB spot. They are six deep and each one of them has something different they bring to the table. Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson will give the Trojans the one two punch that will be similar to when they had Reggie Bush and Lendale White. USC’s Offensive line should help out with this running game as they return most of there starters from last year. USC’s starting a freshman QB in Matt Barkley for the first time in its schools history. Barkley had a nice showing in week one dumping the ball off and letting his play makers do the rest. It’s going to be in a little different situation when he comes to the Shoe and is the most hated player on the field. This game we will see his true colors good or bad.
Defense-Coming into the season defense is the biggest questions mark when it comes to USC. We know they have a man child at FS in Taylor Mays. Other than that I couldn’t name a USC defensive player mainly because they sent almost there entire defense to the draft last year. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before more of there defensive players become household names but for now it’s still a questionable.
Key to Trojans Victory-Offensively the Trojans need to run the ball effectively and Freshman QB Matt Barkley needs to play mistake free football.
Defensively the keys are containing Pryor and turning him into a passer. Keeping him in the pocket will be key.
OSU – Coaching – Jim Tressel – 9th year (84-19)
As a passionate OSU fan and being from Youngstown you will not find a bigger supporter of Tressel then myself. He got OSU to three National Championship games and winning one of them in 2002. On the other hand, his play calling is making me lose my mind. We have the talent and play makers to be one of the top offensive teams in the country yet Tressel wants to play Tressel ball and line up with double tight most the time and hand the ball off up the gut. The problem with this is, everyone watching the game knows what’s coming and the opposing defense sure the hell know its coming. Please keep your athletes on the field and let your sophomore freak of a QB and his talented young receivers take the game over.
Like USC, OSU has lost a significant amount of players to the draft. They lost their top two WR to the draft. This does not concern me as they are returning DeVier Posey, Ray Small and Dane Sanzenbacher. Added bonus is freshman Duron Carter who looked very comfortable being on the field in week one. OSU lost the “Black and Decker Helmet Wrecker” aka Bennie Wells to the draft but bring back “Boom” Herron, “Zoom” Saine and they also have freshman Jamal “Two Scoops” Berry who could step in if injuries should occur. This gives OSU a solid cast at the RB position. The O line for OSU is much improved since last year, Justin Boren has been the biggest addition to a cast of young and talented lineman. Now to Terrelle Pryor, speed, power, athletic ability, throwing power, he has it all. The only thing holding him back is one Jim Tressel. Let him take over the game and be special and I’m not talking about running a QB draw when everyone can clearly see your running a QB draw. Spread the offense out and give him a pass/run option. USC has trouble with scrambling QB’s as they did last year when Pryor was in.
Defense-No more James Laurinaitis, Freeman, Jenkins all gone. What OSU will bring back is its entire D-line. D tackles and linebacker are the two questionable spots on the OSU defense. OSU makes up for that with there D ends. I don’t know if there’s a school out there that has the depth at DE like OSU does. Thaddeus “Kill everything that moves” Gibson, “Iron Head” Heyward, Rose and Wilson make up in my opinion the best foursome at DE in the country. OSU also brings back its defense captain at FS Kurt Colman. With that being said the best move OSU has made on defense came this week by benching Anderson Russell!!! Russell got beat on both TD against Navy in week one and also gave up the game winning TD against Texas last year. Jermale Hines is taking Russell place and from what I hear this move should have happen a long time ago.
Keys to a Buckeye Victory-Offensively Tressel has to unleash his offence. Open up the playbook and don’t be so predictable with play calling.
Defensively the Buckeyes have to stop USC run game and tackle in the open field. Do whatever it takes to stop the run and make a Freshman QB beat you in the Shoe.