Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cincinnati: What to Expect

I'm guessing not too many people are going to read this before the game, since kickoff is in two and a half hours, but here's a couple things to keep an eye out for:

  • Ohio State should win this easily, but that doesn't mean they will. The fans are taking the Bearcats lightly, as they should, but if the team does the same, Cinci can get the win. I trust that Jim Tressel and Troy Smith won't allow that to happen.
  • Look for Ohio State to look better both running the ball and stopping the run. This isn't necessarily because they've improved that much, but because they're playing Cincinnati. There's no Garrett Wolfe or Selvin Young on this team. They split the workload between three backs, none of whom have looked especially good this season. On offense, if things go as planned, OSU should throw away the play book and just start running left, right, and up the middle in the third quarter.
  • Expect a couple more big plays for Troy Smith and Ted Ginn. Cinci blitzes a lot (they're coached by Mark Dantonio, after all), which means that if the line can pick it up, or if Troy can escape the pressure, the big play will be there.
  • Cinci has one defensive tackle that's listed at 6'0" 235. Look for him just to see a defensive tackle that's the size of a running back. The dude, Tony Carvitti, does have two sacks (leading the Bearcats in the statistic), so he's apparently effective in the role, which is impressive.
  • Be prepared to get a little annoyed at Dustin Grutza, the Cincinnati QB. He can run a bit, so don't be surprised if he takes off and picks up a few first downs. He is willing to gamble a bit on his throws, so hopefully the D can grab a pick or two.
Let's end with a few questions that should get answered today:
  • Does James Laurinaitis turn in another good game? There was talk that his Texas performance wasn't quite as good as advertised, that he got lucky a couple times, made tackles eight yards downfield, and wasn't really playing that well. I don't know about that, but I look to see if we're watching a great linebacker emerge, or just seeing a guy put in the occasional good game.
  • How good is Aaron Pettrey? He's made his first field goal, so some pressure is off, but does he develop some consistency? Hopefully he gets some work today and impresses.
  • Who is Ohio State's #3 QB? Justin Zwick will get some work, hopefully without getting booed. C'mon people, you go crazy for a quarterback that broke NCAA rules and got suspended for two games, but you complain and boo a guy that did nothing but give this team his best, just for a couple onfield mistakes. If you can forgive an NCAA violation (and you should in this case, don't get me wrong), shouldn't you forgive a few turnovers? I just don't get some people.

    Sorry, I got distracted. If things go like they should, another QB should get work beyond Zwick and Smith. Will it be Todd Boeckman, or Rob Schoenhoft? Good things have been said about both, and you have to think that the one that gets mop-up duty has the inside track for the job next year.

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