April 17, 2010

Long ways to go

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Saturday's jersey scrimmage can be looked at by many as either a 54 point loss if you favor the offense or as a 54 point win if defense is the game that you like to follow. Of course this contest was just a scripted scrimmage but you would have to go back to 1996 (and before the Jim Tressel) to find an Ohio State team that won by more than 54 points (72-0 over Pitt). Conversely you would have to go back much further to find a defeat of 54 or more points going to 1902 when Ohio State lost 86-0 to that school up north.

But Saturday's jersey scrimmage was not a full team game or even an indication of what this team is capable of doing so there should be no fears that dreams of a Big Ten title have gone up in smoke or even that the defense is on pace to eclipse exploits of years pass. It was just a scrimmage and both sides of the ball were quick to point out that how you are playing in mid-April has little bearing on what is going down in mid-October.

"I am bummed about it, but it is spring and there will be a lot of film to look at," wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said.

Unofficial stats had Ohio State's three scholarship quarterbacks (Terrelle Pryor, Joe Bauserman and Kenny Guiton) completing 33-perecnt of their passes (14-42) on the afternoon but the problems didn't even start when the ball got into the hands of the signal callers.

"I think offensively starts that we had some issues with the quarterback/center exchange," head coach Jim Tressel said. "When you have turnovers in our scoring system that can range from anywhere between three and 12 points, like the one was a 12 point mistake, you are going to have a tough time catching up."

After the game the defense was all smiles by maintaining the scarlet jerseys but as a unit the team knew that just because Saturday was their day that not every day may go as well during the spring practice season.

"We won't get a big head," defensive back Devon Torrence said. "If we were doing that against Miami (Fla.) or USC then we might get a big head if we beat those guys but this was only a scrimmage."

More years than not the defense seems to have an edge on the offense at this point of the year and even with Tressel occasionally being accused of cooking the scoring books in his scrimmages he has never had a game go down quite like this.

"The thing that I think is very normal about spring is when you go 15 practices there are always some highs and lows for every unit," Tressel said. "There are days where this group did better and then in two days you say that group did better and individually too. So I would hope that after a spring scrimmage that nobody would be deflated."

It was more than obvious however that the Ohio State wide receivers took the loss pretty hard after dropping several passes to put the offense in difficult situations. DeVier Posey dropped what should have been a sure touchdown while Taurian Washington missed an easy one as well late in the scrimmage.

"I would grade us as a C today," Washington said. "We had a couple of drops. Even thought it was more of a scrimmage drill, the couple of passes out there we should have caught."

But for all the bragging rights that may be associated with the scrimmage the team as a whole knows that they will have a lot of film to watch during the last week of spring practice and have to work better as an entire team to realize goals that have already be laid out for the 2010 season. But pride still stings the offense on some missed opportunities but there is no time for lamenting to come into play.

"Not a concern because we had ten practices that we did well in and maybe today we took a couple of steps back," offensive tackle Justin Boren said.

And as the old nautical quote says, "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors."

"It was not good and we need to come out and play better," Sanzenbacher said.

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