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FLORIDA/OHIO STATE: POSTMORTEM ONE

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This is going to be all over the place. Beginning in no particular order...

--Did Tressel watch a single minute of game film on Florida's offense? Florida withers under blitz; him big ape, me call blitzes. Instead OSU opens each series with three down lineman, including some sets with a linebacker at the nose tackle position. They begged for the short-passing, highly accurate Leak to undo the sutures of their defense and let it bleed.


Coach Heacock, this space-age device could change your life.

This might not have been a disastrous strategy had Leak not been tossing the ball down hallways. The dbs seemed horrified of giving up anything over seven yards, playing miles off the ball on the snap and allowing Florida receivers to catch the ball in space. If this phrase sounds familiar to you, it's because it's in your pablum detector for announcers, who use this verbiage to describe any short passing attack. Like, say, Florida's. Who'd been called that all year.

A failure of imagination, gameplanning, and execution for Ohio State doomed them on defense. When they held soft zone, it was over. Next time, watch some tape. Or call someone. Or hell, pick up a controller and give NCAA 2007 a whirl. You'd think a team familiar with shattering Michigan's soft zones would be the last to allow a team to do this, or create a gameplan begging for such treatment. Bear, meet trap.

--On defense Florida needed no coaching accomplices. (Negative superlative coming! Cliche warning issued.) Troy Smith played the worst game of his life and any other Heisman Winner in a big game, dipping below the Toretta line with the damning evidence listed in agate type for all to see:

4-14 completions 35 yards 0 TDs/ 1 INT

We imagined his agent creaming cellphone batteries, bluetooth light in his ear accentuating the panic, wearing out blackberries and reaching for holstered backups in an attempt to counter the ugly reality unfolding in front of him with carefully leaked leads to sympathetic sportswriters.

Cancer. Can we fake cancer? Sure, Lance Armstrong did it, right? That's plan A, man. Then we go to dead relative--does he have a dead one? A really recently dead one? Or injury. He's got to have a few. It's gotta be something severe, like fractured ass, or cerebral ebola. Hell, cerebral ebola might actually up his signing bonus--what linebacker's gonna want to touch someone with something called cerebral ebola? Phyllis! Get me the number of the CDC...


Earl Everett needs no helmet, and does not fear your cerebral ebola.

Smith should have more attempts on the books, and in reality did--five became sacks, and one became a fumble to set up Tim Tebow's gotcha TD pass at the goal line. Ohio State's tackles redefined late on Monday night, with Derrick Harvey and Jarvis Moss blowing tight curves around the edges to pressure Smith every time he had the ball.


Jarvis Moss: walking and talking on Facebook. He likes Heisemens.

If Marcus Thomas had laid off the GHB and stayed with the team, the numbers--horror of horrors--could have been worse.

Joe Cohen in the middle did a superb job as malign speed bump, clogging two blockers on the decisive "Gamblin' Vest" call on the 29.

The rest of the gameplan stayed simple: vary your coverages, let the Heisemens flitter around the backfield. They dared Smith to pull a Mike Vick and make something out of nothing. He didn't. Who knows what Ohio State's gameplan was--they met superior athletes bent on annihilation at every turn. We'd love to fall into an old diagnostic rut--no adjustments, no gameplan, hang the offensive coordinator blah blah--but Florida's defense played with the mania of a suicide cult last night. Ohio State could have had Mike Leach pulling the levers for them on the sidelines in Glendale. Tears were an inevitability.

--Speaking of that call: we'll own up and say that despite our cool veneer, we're shitty at gambling. Horrible. Like, Nick-Leeson-bad gambling horrible. We bet out of turn at blackjack tables. We make ill-conceived, suicidal bluffs in Texas Hold-'em. We'll spare you any details of a late-blooming love affair with roulette (like your uncle, we've got a system that can't be beat!!!) Give us five hundred dollars, and we will perform a magic trick by turning it into eleven watery gin and tonics floating in the belly mixed with our own tears.

Thus, we sympathize with Jim Tressel, another bad gambler. Going for it on your own 29 does not necessarily indicate the presence of a hopelessly inexpert wagerer. Doing it on a straight up announced run into the teeth of an all-negating defense does. Tressel could have faked a punt, or run a trick play, or done something to indicate that if you're going to go crazy, you might as well get Houston Nutt-crazy with it. Instead: stodgy, wholesome run up the middle. High in vitamins and fiber; low in payoff.

Sweatervest, we await you at the two dollar tables in Tunica. We'll be the ones weeping.