OK, why did OSU lose to Texas, and why did Texas win?
At a first glance, Vince Young was the man. He came through early, and he came through late. Along the way he took a beating and still hung in there.
But OSU had many many chances to put this game away — 5 good field goals, 6 attempts. The offense wasn’t a disaster, but it was ultimately not productive enough. The defense and special teams gave the offense the ball in great position all night long, but the offense couldn’t get it in the endzone.
Why? You can point to Hamby’s bobble of a TD pass in the endzone, you can point to the field goal missed by feet. But these were single plays over the course of a whole game.
The consistent theme was lack of ball movement by the offense. The QBs weren’t bad, although some feel that settling on one would make a difference. The running game was adequate.
The real problem was failure to make use of the speed of Ted Ginn Jr. and Santonio Holmes. These guys showed on return plays that, when they have a few steps of open field, they can kill a team. But the offense rarely got them the ball with any kind of open field. Invariably they were catching the ball as they were going out of bounds or with a defender’s arms around them. As the Dispatch says(subscription):
bq. “Rather than worry about how to tackle the elusive Ginn once he had the ball, the Texas defense assigned one or two players to cover him on every down, denying him easy catches and making him run routes, which he doesn’t do that well.“
To be a great team, OSU needs to figure out how to use the speed of these players. Perhaps the staff needs better plays, perhaps a single QB needs time to settle into the game, but the speed receivers need to get themselves into positions to make big plays.