I know this post won't mean jack shit for those of you that have made up your mind about this team/coach/whatever, but I want to preserve this for the hell of it. Our top 6 players on this young defense are either out or recovering from significant injuries this week, prior to playing a top 5 team on the road. In no particular order:
- Mike Martin - beast NT and most important player on D by a long shot. Big ankle injuries that have kept him out or at 25% effectiveness since MSU cheap-shotted him.
- Troy Woolfolk - as we all know, big ankle injury, out for the season. Very good and likely fringe All-B10 type of player this year.
- Kenny Demens - This guy has come on strong as a good to great MLB. He also has a concussion and will be out for OSU.
- Roh - Excellent on the DL as a DE. He is recovering from a concussion.
- Mouton - streaky but experienced OLB that is able to make some plays. Good size. Recovering from torn pectoral muscle.
- Floyd - Other starting CB and only other member of the CB corps with any experience
Rogers, the other CB, has also gone down several times in games with injuries. So what's left of the starters? RVB, Fitz, a former walk-on, and 2-4 true/RS freshmen. Oh, and a ton of their backups are injured, too.
Oh what the hell, let's do the offense too, shall we?
- QB - Denard is not 100% and hasn't been for a while. Gardner is also either injured or "injured."
- RB - Shaw has been injured most of the year and would have been option 1 or 2.
- RB - VSmith is coming off a bad concussion and would have been option 1 or 2.
- RB - Fitz is perpetually injured and has the potential to be a top back for us.
- WR/Slot - Odoms is out for the year. He is a great, tough, experienced receiver.
- WR Hemingway - Concussion, out. YAC wizard, big play guy.
- WR/KR Stonum - Injured, out. Deep threat and great KR.
- WR/KR/PR Gallon - Injured, out.
- LT Lewan - coming off injury. Young Jake Long.
- RT Dorrestein - coming off injury, not 100%. Reliable, experienced guy.
Look, I know some of you will say this is an excuse. Honestly, though, you are just kidding yourselves. Injuries clearly matter. There is a point at which any reasonable person will concede that a team has a greatly reduced chance at winning tough games due to injuries. If these lists don't do it for you, fine, but ask yourself - at what point do the injuries matter? Do we have to lose the entire fucking 2 deep on both sides of the ball before we can admit that injuries are a valid point/excuse/whatever?
Or just look at this the other way - where would OSU be if their top 6 defenders were either injured or coming off injuries? What if they lost their top 3 RBs, top 4 WRs, and top 2-3 choices for KR/PR? I bet you would then admit that OSU would be easier to beat. Some of you might even dismiss our victory as hollow or less meaningful if we did beat this injured OSU squad.
Meh. Either way I'm going to watch and cheer this weekend. I'm going to be proud of our players for gutting it out all year in difficult circumstances. Like always, you won't find me melting down after a loss if it happens. Perspective, people.