Spring Football: Success beyond the numbers

Having attended the Spring Game, here are a few observations. (For more information, there is a lot of good conversation over on Pure Orange and BeaverBlitz.)

1. Fun is the word
This spring game was fun. It wasn’t just the 12,000+ fans or the exciting new offense, but also the little things. Letting offensive players play defense, dance contests, scoring celebrations and choreographed routines, and the like all led to A LOT of fun. This is not just important to the fans who came to watch, but more importantly to the handful of recruits who attended the game. Everything you do as a team, when it comes to recruiting, is to try and send the message that “You, Mr. Great Future Beaver, really WANT to come to OSU. You don’t want to miss out on this!”

As a program that has a vision of excellence, everything you do has to convey that you are offering kids an opportunity to be a part of something great.  From the release of the new VFC renderings to turf angles in the endzone, the coaches, players, and administration did a great job showing those players that OSU is a fun place to be — and that you will come here and work hard and play hard.

2. Don’t read too much into the results of this game.
There should be no hand wringing or big celebrations about what happened this Saturday in terms of its reflection on the fall. Outside of showing you the massive overhaul of the offense and defense, you by and large had the ones going against the twos, players playing out of position, and an all-star game type atmosphere consisting of fun and games. The defense didn’t blitz or even change formations, and the offense showed about 1/10th of what it can do.

There were great, fun plays, but this was not an overly real game-day experience. It was a legit scrimmage with limited wrinkles. I hear people getting excited about player “A”” or lamenting defensive stand “B” and I want to say, “Don’t worry or get too excited.” We have playmakers for sure. We have a team that can win some games, and coaches who can maybe steal a few more wins than we should expect…

But when it comes game time, there is going to be a lot more to worry about, and don’t be surprised if the offense struggles more and the defense looks a heck of a lot more stout.

3. OSU is addressing the shortfalls of the past
One needs to only look at how the offensive line moved around or see the weights of players who are in the middle of their transformations, to realize that this strength and conditioning staff is a step up. I loved Coach Miller, but Coach Simon is a superstar in his industry and he is going to get more out of our players than we have in the past.

This will just be one of the noticeable differences, but as the players work and get stronger, you are going to see a lot of strides made and you are going to notice that some of these players are a heck of a lot better than you thought a year ago.

These “little” things that are not about Xs and Os are what’s going to separate OSU from its competition. OSU is working harder than in the past, but also smarter — and that smarter is going to be the biggest difference for this team!


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