The Buckeyes looked fine against Navy

Jim Tressel’s game management sucked, but fans shouldn’t worry much about that when evaluating the first game. The bottom line with Tressel is that he’s always learning about his teams early in the season, but despite the close scores he rarely loses games the Buckeyes are supposed to win. That said, his decision to pass on the field goal in the fourth quarter was stupid, and he should stop using his backup QB in the second quarter. Put the game away, and THEN start playing the backups.

As for the team, Terrelle Pryor looked great, and that’s the most important factor to consider when evaluating the prospects for the Buckeyes this season. Just as important, Tressel is using him properly. He ran numerous option plays, QB draws and roll-outs. They will need to ride Pryor’s legs if they want to make a splash this season. But Pryor did more than that. He threw the ball well and made completions when he also could have run the ball. This will make his running even more lethal if defenders have to respect the pass.

Brandon Saine also looked good splitting time with Dan Herron, giving the Buckeyes a solid rotation at tailback, and the young receivers also looked good.

On the downside, the offensive line doesn’t look very good. They had some good moments, but they were very inconsistent. Pryor obviously can avoid the rush so they can work around this, but the o-line has to improve if they want to beat USC.

As for the defense, they did fine, though it’s hard to learn much given that Navy was running the triple option. We’ll see how they do next week when the Trojans invade the Shoe.

Pryor is the key. If he develops as expected, the Buckeyes can beat anyone when he plays well. He seems ready to take on the challenge.

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Brandon Saine is still in the mix at tailback

The Ohio State Buckeyes will need to replace Chris “Beanie” Wells in the backfield next season, and the will hae plenty of candidates, including Dan Herron and a number of freshmen who were included in Ohio State’s steller 2009 recruiting class.

Doug Lesmerises has an excellent series on Cleveland.com reviewing each of the positions on the Buckeye roster for 2009. In his latest installment, running backs coach Dick Tressel reveals to Lesmerises that Brandon Saine is still in the mix, despite past injuries.

Is Brandon Saine a tailback or some combination of a fullback and receiver out of the backfield? Where does he fit it?

Tailback. The fact of the matter was he had a great spring last spring, so we came into this fall, we have all these good tailbacks, how are we going to get them on the field? So he can do these other things, so maybe he’s the guy you move around to do these other things. He had injury issues, so it all didn’t happen for him and us. Fortunately, we get to regroup and have him in a position to move forward.

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach has the Buckeyes ranked #7

Football season won’t be here for a while, but Mark Schlabach has updated his pre-season Top 25 now that national signing day has passed. He has the Buckeyes at #7, which seems about right.

7. Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeyes suffered heavy personnel losses from the team that lost to Texas 24-21 in the Fiesta Bowl. Linebackers James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, receiver Brian Robiskie and cornerback Malcolm Jenkins were seniors last season. Then tailback Chris “Beanie” Wells and receiver Brian Hartline decided to skip their senior seasons and enter the NFL draft. Terrelle Pryor should improve in his second season as a starting quarterback, and the Ohio State coaches feel confident about tailback Dan Herron, who filled in well when Wells was hurt in 2008. Pryor must become a better passer during the offseason, and the receiver corps will have to be rebuilt. There won’t be much time for the Buckeyes to jell, however, as USC will play in the Horseshoe on Sept. 12.

The Buckeyes are fortunate tha Mark Sanchez decided to leave USC for the NFL draft. It gives them a much better chance in the early-season showdown.

As a side note, what the heck is Brian Hartline thinking?