We conclude our look at the offense with the offensive line, a major, major reason to feel good on an otherwise gloomy evening.
Offensive Line Aside from Tony Hills two costly, maddening holding penalties, it was a stellar evening for the hogs in the offensive trenches. Texas rushed at will, and on the few plays where Colt was asked to look down the field, he had time. Ohio State ought to feel absolutely great about that win, but if I'm a Buckeye fan, I have to be more than a little bit nervous about the way their front seven was whipped by the Texas line.
Now, part of that was just running into what may be the nation's best line. So it's nothing to feel bad about. Still, last year's Texas squad would have dropped a 30 spot on Ohio State's front seven in the first half alone - the line play was that good.
This, of course, is not last year. Vince is long gone, and they were easily able to overcome the one area where they were thoroughly beat. When we get to the defense, we'll be talking about the terrific play of Ohio State's own offensive line, which was nothing to scoff at.
What's important here is to note how good this line is, and key in (again, I'm really sorry, broken records, and so on) on what Greg Davis needs to do to get the most out of this particular offensive group. You often hear that Greg Davis is "too conservative," but we should note what, exactly, we mean by that. In this case, it's not a "we're running too much" problem. With this line, and these tailbacks, it'd be hard to run "too much."
No, what we mean is that we need to pound that run and then (here's the key) use that team strength to open things up down the field. If McCoy's our man, and he should be right now, ditch the zone-read, get into some power running formations, stuff the ball down the overmatched opponents' throats, and then play action off that to try for some deep stuff. If you don't trust your quarterback to execute that, then try someone else. That's basic, fundamental stuff.
The zone-read scheme was perfectly suited for Vincent, and I've given (and will continue to give) Gregory his proper due for getting the most out of it and him. But this is a different quarterback, with a different skill set. At some point, you gotta admit that different skill set = different offensive scheme. That, or throw Jevan Snead in there and run the ball more. And I don't think Jevan's ready. So...
Anyway, this one's simple - we've got a great line, they did a great job Saturday evening, and we can only wonder what would have happened when a gassed Ohio State defense tried to stop the run in a close game late in the 4th quarter. Grade them we must, though: Grade: A-
Tomorrow: the defense. More bad grades!