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Beanie Wells should play...but does it really matter?

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If we are to trust in Pete Carroll and the USC coaching staff it won't really matter if Chris "Beanie" Wells plays on Saturday or not. Pete Carroll has stated numerous times that he thought Wells would play and that even if he didn't it wouldn't change how the team prepares for the BIG game. This really isn't dig controversy for USC, expect him to be on the field, prepare for it and execute the game plan on Saturday right?

Well, I guess it depends on where you are coming from. Some want Wells on the field so when SC wins there are no excuses. Others might be happy if he is not on the field as it might make things EASIER on the SC defense by not having to worry about such an outstanding player. The media is eating this up because of all the speculation that this causing and that only increases readership/viewership.

Here is an example:

However, things like this can play out in many ways.

  • USC could lose its focus upon hearing the news and become overconfident. The Trojans have been treated like overwhelming favorites all week and many are aware they are 10-point favorites. Pete Carroll is a master at keeping his teams focused for big games, but who knows? Maybe this is an exception.
  • Ohio State might be crushed emotionally by the news and get run out of the stadium.
  • Ohio State may be galvanized by the news and play an inspired game, with one of Wells' backups coming off the bench and becoming the day's Surprising Big Story. Buckeyes fans then would light up message boards with, "Just imagine how we'd have killed them if we had Beanie!"
  • Ohio State may be galvanized by the news and play an inspired game, but still get whipped by a superior team.

Sure any one of those scenarios could take place but we won't know until the game is over so I am not going to try to speculate there.

Others think that this could be a ploy by Tressel to try and keep everyone guessing in order to keep SC off balance, I am not buying it. As I explained on Monday, I simply can't believe that Tressle would go to so much trouble to set up an elaborate plan to play smoke and mirrors especially if he keeps his team in the dark.

This is just not in Tressel's nature.

What’s Tressel Got Up His Sleeve?

That’s the question posed by this story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I have the answer for you, but first an excerpt:

"I believe this was a perfect situation for a two-game setup," said Terry Bowden, who first broached the topic as a columnist for Yahoo! Sports. "I would have done it if I could have. I’ve done it as a coach, and if I had [Ohio State], I’d have said that we’re going to create some tendencies, and they’ll have studied us from last year, and we’ll play off those tendencies and that’s what we’ll show, and if there’s anything special we’ve worked on, we’ll not show it.

You would think this would make sense, right?

But the answer to the question posed in the title of this post is: Absolutely nothing .

Jim Tressel doesn’t believe in doing anything special in games. His team will play Tressel Ball and live or die by it.

How do I know this?

Because I stupidly thought that Ohio State would do something different against LSU in the BCS Championship game this past January. I mean, it’s the most important game of the year, right? Surely, Ohio State would have something up its sleeve offensively?

Nope. They ran their basic offense. Didn’t do anything different, no new wrinkle. And that was with 50 days to prepare. After getting shellacked by Florida the year before, Tressel took his troops to Arizona and said ‘Thank you sir, may I have another?’

HP is right!

Tressel had all the time in the world to mix things up for that game and he didn't do it so what makes anyone think that he is all of a sudden going to do that now less than two weeks to set that up after Wells' injury. It's just not Tressel's style, he is too buttoned down and methodic for that. He knows Beanie gives him the best chance to win but the kid is injured so he has to adjust accordingly. Tressel is also smart enough to know that SC will be prepared no matter what and their record and past performance bares that out.

I am just surprised at how much this is all getting. Frankly, it doesn't change a thing. The players probably don't care as their preparation wouldn't change regardless of who is in the backfield. It make for great theater but the substance will be on the field.