Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Injury Report

The Dayton Daily News has the Scarlet and Gray being black and blue:
Aaron Pettrey underwent successful, season-ending surgery to repair the medial collateral ligament in his right (kicking) knee Tuesday.

The rest of the Buckeyes are just bruised and beaten up.

QB Terrelle Pryor was held out of the second half of Saturday's 45-0 bludgeoning of New Mexico State, in part because he had taken a few hits and was limping. Several observers said he was noticeably favoring the leg as he left the field.

Coach Jim Tressel was asked how Pryor was doing Tuesday as preparations got under way for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. showdown at Penn State.

"He has ice bags everywhere. He's got one on his (finger and) all the way down his body with his knees and his ankles and foot and so forth," Tressel said. "We thought that he had been banged around enough and even when you don't design things for him to get banged around, he likes to make plays and he attracts a crowd. But he'll be ready to go."

The placekicker injury could be critical, given that most people feel this will be a low scoring, close game. It will all depend on how good the back-up kicker is, as to whether this will factor into Saturday's game.

The injury to Pryor is more interesting. Will it affect his play? Will it affect the playcalling? How anxious is Tressel to run his star QB into the teeth of this Penn State defense? If the roles were reversed, I'd know the answer . . . Paterno would change the game plan to avoid any plays that put the QB at risk. Tressel's philosophy seems very close to Joe's. Though his back is to the corner, and Pryor has a chip on his shoulder, the injury situation may affect how determined he is to avenge last year's loss. A healthy Pryor could be problematic. A wounded one . . . who knows?

I think the first couple of drives Saturday will be key in this game. I really don't think Pryor has matured to the level of team leader, and if he struggles early on, I think he will try to force things and make things happen--which usually leads to a mistake. On the other hand, if the Buckeyes score early and easily and he gets some confidence, things could get dicey for the home crowd. Note to Bradley: pressure him early and hit him when he runs--Penn State's speed should be able to catch him before he makes it out of bounds.

The same, though, could be said for Penn State. We did not fare well against the only good defensive team we have faced, albeit in a monsoon. And I think our O-line has progressed a lot since then. Early offensive success against the Buckeyes will set the tone for the whole game. Likewise, early struggles will bode poorly because I doubt we put up big play points in the fourth like we did against Northwestern.

And as an aside, what is up with Penn State's ranking? We lost ONE GAME to a team that is #4 in the BCS! There are three one-loss teams ahead of us--LSU, Georgia Tech and Orgeon. LSU lost to Florida (#1) so I can live with that. But Orgeon lost to Boise State who is 7th in the BCS and Tech lost to Miami (FL) who is now 17th. We should be ahead of both of those teams. (We have the better quality loss!) Of course, we are barely ahead of a two-loss USC team, which lost to Washington which is 3-5 on the season!

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