The biggest development on the injury front is the season-ending MCL injury to starting kicker Aaron Pettrey. Aaron Pettrey fell victim to a cheap shot during the New Mexico State game, though Tressel didn’t interpret it that way. Whatever the case, the MCL injury, while unfortunate, does mean that there’s a legitimate chance that Pettrey can be back in action for Ohio State’s bowl game, wherever and whenever that might be. In the meantime, this would be your opportunity to meet his backup: Devin Barclay. Barclay has an interesting backstory. I knew some of it, but this introduction to the backup kicker will be informative.
Also, Barclay will handle field goals, but it’s also likely that Brew Crew member Ben Buchanan, a redshirt freshman, will handle kickoffs.
Terrelle Pryor was the other injury story to develop from the last game. His loss would be a bigger blow than Pettrey for obvious reasons, but is not the story because I didn’t seem most thought he’d be out for the game. Pryor felt a little dinged up after taking a hit on a scramble in the second quarter. Surprisingly, he didn’t play the second half. It seems implausible at the moment that he’ll miss the Penn State game.
Also, Justin Boren will be back in action as will Dexter Larimore, our very good nose guard. It’ll be worth watching how productive Larimore can be after the extended time on the sideline.
All Eyes on Pryor
Terrelle Pryor will likely be the story of the week entering this game with Ohio State and none of it will involve the non-existent injury thing. Rather, this is Terrelle Pryor’s first visit to Happy Valley after eschewing Penn State in his college choice for it being “too country”. Second, this is Pryor’s chance to atone for the unfortunate 2008 game, where his inopportune fumble cost the Buckeyes the game. That victory, the first Penn State victory in Columbus since joining the Big Ten in 1993, and Pryor’s grief on the sideline has given Penn State fans much satisfaction over the past year. It’s also resulted in this shirt for Penn State fans to buy.
May it bring out the animal in Pryor.
Should Jordan Hall Start?
I hate saying that one player should play a lot and another should sit, because I’m not a coach and I don’t get to see the all too important work these players do in the film room and in practice. Still, it’s getting increasingly hard not to say that Jordan Hall should be starting over Brandon Saine. Our offensive line still leaves a lot to be desired. Tailbacks that don’t hit the hole hard, that aren’t running with momentum, that aren’t keeping their head ahead of their knees, that don’t push forward, that don’t have the vision (et cetera et cetera) make the problem worse. Jordan Hall won’t leave anyone in the dust, but his performance invites very real consideration of if he’s our best rushing option this season. But to start him? New Buckeye blog Buckeye Football Analysis is in the same bind I am. We know we shouldn’t say so, buuuut…
People that read my posts on Scout know I am not one to call for people who are not playing to play simply on the belief that they are somehow better. I generally trust the coaches as they see these guys everyday in practice. But at this point I’m pretty well convinced that Jordan Hall needs to be the primary tailback. He doesn’t need to start or play every series, but he should be getting 15 carries a game and should not lose carries to the other two. Whether you want to call it vision or what have you, he a) finds the hole, b) hits it hard, and c) always manages to fall forward. He therefore gets 3 or 4 yd gains on plays where one of the other guys gets 0. There was one play in particular-it was a zone left out of the shotgun and looked like nothing was there but he found a small crease hit it hard and picked up four yards. Now we’re 2d-6 instead of 2d-9: makes a big difference. He’s able to take a small crease and turn it into something positive, and more than anything else he is DECISIVE. It’s not to say that Boom and Saine do not offer something, but I just think for this team to consistently run the ball Hall needs to play, period. I also watched him pass blocking, btw, and he does a fine job with that, I don’t really see any problems, so I don’t think it is holding him back.
On that note, if you’re not reading this new Buckeye blog, Buckeye Football Analysis (BFA), I’m going to demand you hand in your badge and gun that you carry as Buckeye fans. This blog is great and long overdue.
“The New Border War”
Ohio State and Penn State have a long, storied series. Infrequent encounters between the two in the first half of the twentieth century establish a precedent for an important stretch of games between the two from 1975 to 1980. This ultimately sets up Penn State’s inclusion into the Big Ten and the series with Ohio State as a protected rivalry game. Still, this topic of rivalry with Penn State bores me. No, it’s not because they’re “not in our league”. They clearly are. They just aren’t Michigan. They’ll never get that same animosity because, well, they’re not Michigan. It’ll always be a game in a series for me, with salience of the matchup determined mostly by the fact that both teams are competitive in conference. This means that the Ohio State-Penn State series is not quite the Ohio State-Indiana series. Yet, Penn State will never elicit the antisocial thoughts I harbor for Michigan. I haven’t forgotten, Michigan.
Nonetheless, others are getting their hate on and Bucknuts has rehashed its old column on the history of the series. You can read it here. I hate promoting my crappy blog posts, but I think my coverage of the series leading up to the 1975 game is worth reading as well.