Andy Gottesman / The Lantern
Will Terrelle Pryor’s injury return the offense to ‘Tresselball?’
Following Pryor’s left quadriceps strain and his subsequent exit from the Illinois game, OSU reverted back to the offense featured during most of 2009: a heavy dose of the running game.
Coach Jim Tressel said Pryor “will be fine” and should be near 100 percent in practice.
As Pryor heals, expect Tressel to tone down the zone-reads and bootlegs and install more short passes and traditional hand-offs to the running backs. Even if Pryor is completely healthy come Saturday, presume OSU will dial back the offense a tad.
Is it time for another Jeannette, Pa., native to shine?
OSU’s running back situation is pretty transparent. Dan Herron is a solid but unspectacular between-the-tackles runner.
Although Brandon Saine has tremendous straight-ahead speed, he has difficulty cutting quickly and moving laterally.
Jordan Hall’s numbers aren’t mind-blowing (72 yards on 13 carries), but Pryor’s high school teammate has shown shiftiness and ability to burst through the hole and has some calling for him to see more playing time.
Despite saying he is a “Jordan Hall fan” and has “1 million percent faith” in the sophomore, Tressel gave the vibe that “Boom” and “Zoom” would continue to share most of the carries.
Can Christian Bryant fill Tyler Moeller’s shoes?
With Moeller out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, Tressel said the defense will most likely proceed with Bryant as the starter at the “star” position.
Bryant “got a good baptism Saturday and he’s going to get immersed [this Saturday],” Tressel said.
The former Cleveland-Glenville star played every offensive-skill position in high school in addition to being an All-Ohio defender while playing both cornerback and safety. That versatility, in addition to his football savvy, has ignited his rise up the depth chart.
Will the high-powered Hoosier attack exploit the banged-up Buckeye secondary?
In last Saturday’s loss to Michigan, Indiana senior quarterback Ben Chappell set school records with 45 completions, 64 attempts and 480 passing yards. He’s posted eight straight multi-touchdown games and leads the Big Ten with 342.5 passing yards per game.
Junior wide receiver Tandon Doss leads the Big Ten with almost 108 yards a game receiving and is second in the conference in receptions with nearly eight per contest. As a unit, the Hoosier pass offense ranks No. 4 in the nation.
Although the OSU defense ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten in pass defense, allowing about 161 yards per game, aside from Miami, it hasn’t faced as diverse a passing attack as it will see Saturday against IU. OSU has also lost two of its normal starters, Moeller and C.J. Barnett, to season-ending injuries.
Will the Buckeyes be caught looking ahead to their Oct. 16 showdown in Camp Randall against Wisconsin?
OSU’s first big road test was supposed to come next Saturday against Wisconsin, but instead it came last Saturday against the Illini. Tressel said that game was a bit of a reality check for some players.
“I think the fact that we played a Big Ten game and our guys see the difference between the non-conference and the Big Ten was great for us,” Tressel said. “We didn’t play our best and our guys would like to get to the point where we play our best, so I think they’ll be ready to go.”
Although Wisconsin lost its first game of the season Saturday at Michigan State, the showdown a week from Saturday could go a long way in determining the winner of the Big Ten.