The Buckeye Factor?


Peyton Manning, two-time league MVP and, now, Super Bowl Champion, has diligently been working with new recruits in an effort to boost team unity and individual skill levels, even watching game film with rookies to get them acclimated to their target responsibilities and the extremely fast-paced and methodical execution of the most dangerous offense in the league.

Always the perfectionist, this is the time Manning lives for, honing his skills and working out the kinks in his game.
And as for the offense, Manning, Harrison, Wayne, Clark, Addai, and Saturday and the other linemen are still there, but a couple key players are missing in the 2007-2008 season: Dominic Rhodes (RB) and Brandon Stokely (WR).

But Manning has picked up two young targets, both from a team to play in this year’s NCAA Championship game. Anthony Gonzalez and Roy Hall, both receivers for Ohio State’s 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith. These guys give Manning great targets downfield.

Gonzalez can change a game being as fast and smart on the field as he’s proven in his career at Ohio State. At 6-foot, 193 pounds and second leading receiver at Ohio State, Gonzalez is a great fit for the team, poised to take over for Stokely (as the third receiver), as Stokely’s been traded to the Broncos on a one-year contract after missing all but four games (for the Colts) last year due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Hall is simply huge at 6-foot 3-inches and 240 pounds. His size and speed may be crucial on a two-minute drill as a big guy not afraid to move the ball across the middle – the most dangerous place and time for a receiver.

Manning, according to reports from the first “summer session” of training in June, has really been interested in these two guys as they might give Harrison and Wayne a healthy run for their positions. Granted, diehard Colts laugh at a couple of rookies actually taking these two hall-of-famers’ places in the huddle, but, as Manning said in so many words, any chance to push starters to work harder can only be good for the team.

The key factor this season may be the Buckeye factor for the Colts. Gator fan or Buckeye fan, these two guys are good and they know how to win, something the Colts know all too well.