After last week’s heartbreaking loss to the USC Trojans, the Ohio State fan base has cranked up the heat on the proverbial seat of head coach Jim Tressel.
Buckeye fans are complaining of six straight losses to top-ten ranked opponents, and an offense that has failed to match the level of teams like the Trojans, Florida and LSU.
Columbus’ Prodigal Son, sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor, failed to impress in the biggest game of his career to date in the loss. He did not play up to his capabilities for sure, but he does not have the help around him he deserves.
Tressel and Pryor are catching a lot of the blame for the offense’s struggles, despite the fact that the Buckeyes are replacing an All-American running back and their entire wide receiving corps. To be honest, it is remarkable Tressel’s bunch hung in with USC as long as they did.
All the complaining going on surrounding Tressel’s program is naïve and flat-out ridiculous. This is the coach that took over a storied program that had become an underachiever under John Cooper, and turned it into a perennial king of the Big Ten.
In his eight seasons at the helm, the man in the sweater vest has compiled an 84-20 record, has beaten Michigan seven times in eight tries, and has played for three national titles, winning one in 2003.
Under Tressel, the offense has always gotten the job done, while the defense has been the stamp of the program. A.J. Hawk, James Laurinaitis, Will Smith, Chris Gamble; the list of first-round NFL draft picks to play for Tressel goes on seemingly forever. The man can recruit, and the man can put together a whale of a defense.
Despite losing all three linebackers from last year’s team, the Buckeyes still look strong defensively. They did not give up a full-length scoring drive until the final minutes against USC, who has more athletes on their offensive two-deep than more than half of the Big Ten combined.
While the offenses are shifting to more of a spread attack, people have the misconception that Tressel is behind the times. In 2006, Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy while orchestrating the spread, handing off to Chris and Maurice Wells, as well as throwing to Brian Robiskie, Teddy Ginn, and Anthony Gonzalez.
When the talent is there, this offense can hang with anyone. This year’s edition of the Buckeyes just are not quite experienced enough to say they can do that. With no seniors on the two-deep at the skill positions, the Buckeyes are still a year or two away from being one of the nation’s elite again, and fans will just have to be patient, and calm down.