Good Start Vital For Buckeyes

Ohio State can't afford bad beginning to BCS Championship game

Jan. 6, 2008

By Trev Alberts

Special to CSTV.com

 



TREV ALBERTS

Trev Alberts is a football analyst for CSTV and CSTV.com.
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Ohio State's been told all along how it's not good enough, that it's not fast enough, and for those reasons, I think the beginning of the BCS Championship game is really important. You saw it in the Rose Bowl when Illinois finally got a turnover and went all the way down the field only to miss a field goal and before you knew it, they found themselves down 21. Those thoughts of doubt can quickly creep in. They really do. And sometimes as a player, you think to yourself about the other team, "Wow, they really are better than us." So it's really important for Ohio State to get off to a good start and build some confidence.

 

And then you always look for the game within the game. Monday, the matchup to watch is Craig Steltz vs. Beanie Wells. If Ohio State is going to win the game, I think Wells is going to have to rush for 125 yards. And Steltz has been that Bob Sanders, John Lynch kind of guy all season long for LSU and he'll be the eighth guy in the box. So that means Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline have got to win vertically. I think you'll see Todd Boeckman and Ohio State try to open up the passing game and if they have some success, they can move Steltz off the line of scrimmage and that's when Wells will have his yards. But I don't think Wells is going to have very many yards in the first quarter.


 

 

 

From LSU's perspective, you have to have the quarterback situation settled. We've seen Matt Flynn and we've seen Ryan Perrilloux. How are they going to be used properly? I'll be quite honest with you in saying that I want to see LSU's line protect whoever is behind center. Vernon Gholston is an outstanding player who can get pressure. And third down conversions are going to be hugely important for LSU. Flynn has struggled at times with converting on third down, missing open receivers.

 

I think LSU is going to be tested early in this game, just like Florida was, and I expect Brandon LaFell, Early Doucet and Trindon Holliday to get the ball in space. I'm looking for Ohio State to be great tacklers and not allow many yards after contact. I think LSU will challenge in space initially and see how the Buckeyes respond. If Ohio State plays well and is able to sneak in some man coverage periodically, I think that bodes well for the Buckeyes.

 

I'm also excited to see Les Miles' style of play vs. Jim Tressel's style of play. Historically, Tressel has been a little more conservative while Miles have done basically every fake you can think of and gone for it on fourth down all the time. Coaching is going to be hugely important because when it comes to talent, coaching can make a big difference. It's preparation and we've seen during bowl season that the teams that wanted to be there, that had something to prove, were largely winners. Ohio State has something to prove.

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