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To The Mats With Reader Comments!

Last week, we took an early look at the Ohio State matchup in Austin on September 9th. Clearly, during game week, after we?ve seen each team play once, we?ll have a more exhaustive preview, but this was your first introduction to the game, with some thoughts on how it might play out.

Well, one Buckeye reader decided the analysis was lacking. We?ll work through his critique bit by bit, as I?ll jump in when needed. It?s a bit jumbled, but the points are easy enough to work through.

While I understand the Burnt Orange glasses from which you see everything as ours are Scarlet all the time also but, give me a break!

First! Hardly ANY Buckeye fans are comparing Troy to Vince from a numbers standpoint. That is the media not us fans. I think the real comparison everyone is making is more the ability and opportunity for Troy to strap the team on his back much like Vince did.

I didn?t specify who was saying Troy Smith = Vince Young, but if it?s not directed at you, then don?t worry about it.

Now, like the poster above said. To be fair on your stat comparison you must state that Vince's 04 stats are more of a fair comparison to Troy's 05 stats based on starts and playing time based on Troy sitting his RS freshman year. I also didn't see any mention that your boy played out of the gun his ENTIRE career and that aids in the numbers a little don't you think? Nice try though!

Thanks ? I thought it was a nice try, too. But let?s get into what you're arguing here, which is about experience.

2003 ? Troy Smith sits. Vince gets experience (143 pass attempts)

2004 ? Troy Smith plays significant minutes (122 pass attempts), Vince Young plays full year (250 pass attempts).

2005 ? Vince Young and Troy Smith both play lots.

So Vince has about a season more experience than Smith. The stated argument is that as Smith catches Vince in playing time, he?ll continue to improve. But is that really true? First, Smith can?t run like Vince Young can, and no amount of playing time will change that.

Second, it?s entirely possible that the issue is age, not game snaps, and the numbers seem to suggest this. Looking at Smith?s 2005 season, expecting the same kind of improvement between Smith?s junior and upcoming senior year as we saw in Vince Young?s sophomore and junior years looks totally implausible. In fact, if Smith were to enjoy the same rate of improvement as Vince did, he?d set NCAA records in a LOT of passing categories. Looking at everything together, the much more plausible argument is that Troy Smith is already in peak form, and he took fewer snaps than Vince to get there. It doesn?t change the underlying argument in any way.

Second! If you all choose to rally around and hang onto how many defensive starts the Buckeyes lost fine! Hey, we hung onto the "Vince can't throw" theory last year and watched him thread the needle in the corner. Truth is, I loved our LBs last year but lets not forget who is back there. The Road Warrior played most of the minutes for Carp in two huge games, Freeman probably would have saw huge minutes last year and is more talented than any of them, and you can plug Kerr (Big 10 FOY), D'Andrea, or Homan in at the other and make a case that after N. Ill they will be ready. The front four is better and the secondary (while young) is MUCH faster. Forget hanging your hopes on our defense please!

I will do no such thing, sir! I watched ?The Road Warrior? fill in for Carpenter last season, and got giddy with visions of Jamaal Charles blowing past him on the corner. He wasn?t half the linebacker that those amazing seniors were. I?ll have a double serving of Road Warrior, with another serving in a doggie bag, to go, please. Those senior linebackers terrorized Texas last year; we were fortunate to escape Columbus with a win.

In any case, no one stated that there?s not talent coming in to replace Cerberus; only that they?re going to be far less experienced. Lack of experience on defense equals mistakes. I?ve noted on several occasions that the Buckeye defense will likely be a team strength by the end of the season. To say it will be on September 9th, however, seems like wishcasting.

Third! The Ginn debate. Sure he was down (UT game last year) and up (ND) but to say he wasn't there when the Bucks needed him. Again, lets be real. Go back and watch the Michigan and ND games and then come back and edit your statement. And I don't mean the huge plays against ND either. Ted made some huge catches on clean routes on the big drives of those games. Can Gonzo be Holmes? I have no idea. Can you replace Huff? The kid never really played the position and has done so on the Big Ten stage now for only two years. Again, sleep on Teddy and see what happens as The Greatest Coach in History did with his 4 weeks to prepare.

I beg your pardon, but the Greatest Coach of All Time was in Pasadena coaching USC, sir. Or so we were told. Look, you can bark all you want about Ginn in the Fiesta Bowl. When defensive backs that would have trouble beating me in a foot race are trying to cover someone like Ted Ginn, it?s gonna be ugly. But I?ll tell you something: the USC offense was a heck of a lot better than your Ohio State offense last year. That we held them under 50 points and won took a hell of an effort. Notre Dame?s defense was slow and outmatched. That will not be the case in Austin, no matter how much you want it to be.

Further, I can pick games in which our own wide receiver talent, Limas Sweed, looked like the second coming of Rocket Ismael. But I don?t cherry pick those games and call him a superstar. Why? Because he?s inconsistent. Like your boy Ginn.

Lastly, there will be no ?sleeping? on Ted Ginn, Jr. To the contrary, he?ll be the focal point of our coverage, wouldn?t you think? The problem I see for your Buckeyes is that there?s not a devastating talent like Santonio Holmes opposite Ginn. That?s part of what made Ginn so dangerous. You can?t afford to go man-to-man on Holmes too often ? he?s too good. That touchdown connection between Smith and Holmes against Texas last year was just unbelievably beautiful. With Holmes gone, the ability to cover Ginn becomes less problematic.

Fact of the matter is loosing Huff and Young is far bigger than any point you tried to make and your points of trying to explain this game reflect that. Your analysis is less about how you really feel and sounds more like you are trying to make yourself believe what you are writing. When you go back and watch the OSU/ND game it is just like UT/Mich the year before and that has you scared shitless in your own house as the are scarey similar!

The Fiesta Bowl was a mismatch. Tons of team speed versus no team speed. Smith went bonkers, Pittman went bonkers, the whole Buckeye offense went bonkers. In the case of the Rose Bowl against Michigan, it was just Vince Young running wild. In the Fiesta Bowl, the entire team was able to get open. Subtle, but important, different.

And speaking of the Fiesta Bowl, Vince Young would have run for 600 yards against that Notre Dame defense. You know that ridiculous Tecmo Bowl video circulating on YouTube where Bo Jackson runs around the defense for an entire quarter before scoring a touchdown? I think Vince could have done that to those Irish defenders.

Vince Young gets a shot at the 2005 Fighting Irish ?defense.?

Losing Vince Young is tremendously important, and no one?s downplayed that here. My critiques of the Buckeyes are quite independent of my concerns for the Longhorns. Nevertheless, I like our defense to do considerably better against your offense than Notre Dame. And despite losing Vince Young, we have enough talent returning on offense to make this a competitive game. I predicted an overtime game, with the home team winning. What more do you want?

Our defensive coordinator hasn?t lost in 28 games. Your offense stumbled against both Texas and Penn State last year. Why am I to believe that, with your best receiver gone to the NFL, your offense will be ?that- much better this year? I shouldn?t, and I won?t. Your defense will be full of talent, but it will be inexperienced. You add it all up, and one thing seems abundantly clear to me: for Ohio State to win, you?d better be right. It?s going to take a Vince Young like effort to beat us in Austin. Is Troy Smith Vince Young?