Saturday, September 23, 2006

Penn State - What to Watch For

The start of Gameday is nearing, so I don't want to take too long on this (particularly since these posts should probably go up on Fridays). But here's some things to keep an eye on this afternoon:
  • The pressure on Anthony Morelli and how he reacts to it - I'm guessing OSU will try to take the run away from Penn State and try to make Morelli beat them. They'll try to confuse him and force him into mistakes. If OSU is able to pressure Penn State consistently, that'll be a good thing. If, however, Morelli can avoid the pressure and make plays, that's a very bad thing. He's made some big mistakes this season, and the Buckeyes will try to force him into some more. I'm betting they will succeed, and he will not respond well under pressure in this game.
  • Both team's running games - OSU will be going up against another good back, so that's bad. But he's not as fast as Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles, and he's not as shifty as Garrett Wolfe, so that's good. If the Buckeyes can contain a talented, yet more conventional runner in Tony Hunt, that bodes well for the rest of the season. On the other side of the ball, I'm looking for Antonio Pittman to get more work. Something over twenty carries would be nice. If he can be effective, I think he'll see the additional carries. At the same time, though, it seems to me that Pittman doesn't really begin to get effective until he gets into his tenth carry or so. I'm just throwing this out there, Tressel, do what you want with it: Get Pittman at least twenty carries, regardless of how effective he is early on.
  • Aaron Pettrey - He's been good of late, so he's probably getting some confidence. It will be tested in these conditions. A slippery field and wind are not good things for a kicker. If he can make kicks today, he can make them anytime.
  • The weather - I've heard a variety of theories on who will benefit from this. The one I buy is that it's good for the receivers, since they know when and where they are cutting, while the defensive backs do not. At the same time, the wind might cause trouble on the deep balls. As a result, receivers should be open downfield, but quarterbacks may miss them.
So that's that. I'm off to watch Gameday. After that, I'm headed to the game, where I will stand in the rain, jumping and yelling all afternoon. I'm looking forward to it.

Enjoy the game, everyone, and GO BUCKS!

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