Five for Friday: Former Buckeyes That Would Have Thrived in Urban Meyer's Offense
By Tony Gerdeman
This is going to be the longest list of "five" in mathematical history, but you try keeping this list to just five. And yes,I realize that just about every former Buckeye offensive player would have thrived in Urban Meyer's offense.
Think about all of the great offensive players in Ohio State history. Now imagine them on the field in the Scarlet and Gray next season. Who would you like to see out there? Who would do the best under Urban Meyer's tutelage?
That was my basic criteria for coming to my selections, though I should warn you that I only went with players that I remember watching. As for when that timeframe is, I'll let you know that Vince Workman just missed the cut, and Keith Byars was never considered.
I feel like a Chic Harley inclusion would be like nominating Tom Hanks for an Oscar without even seeing the terrible movie that he was in. I don't doubt his greatness, but his inclusion by me would have been hollow. I do appreciate the stadium he built, however. When I do a 'Five for Friday: Greatest Football Architects', he'll be number one.
I hope I have provided enough warnings to keep you from getting upset. I apologize in advance it didn't work.
1. Terrelle Pryor
Photo by Jim Davidson
To be honest, when I first thought of this list, Pryor didn't immediately come to my mind. It seems he's been vacated from my memory as well. But I fear that if I don't put him first on this list, I will have many people complaining that I didn't have him first on this list. Though even putting him on this list, I'm assuming there will be some folks angry with me for even including him. That being said, there's no arguing that Pryor would have fit Meyer's offense very well. He would have used the threat of Pryor twice as much as it was used in reality. Playing in the shotgun, even on the most basic of handoffs, a defense would still have to be wary of Pryor keeping the ball. Thinking about the numbers that Tim Tebow put up through the air, Pryor would have likely matched those and exceeded his rushing statistics. How many Heismans would that have been worth? And then, subsequently, how much would those Heismans have been worth?
2. Joey Galloway
The entire idea of writing this piece came from wondering what it would have been like to see Joey Galloway in Meyer's offense. He was arguably the fastest Buckeye ever, certainly the strongest 5-foot-10 Buckeye receiver ever, and quite simply one of the most exciting players to ever wear the Scarlet and Gray. However, he was saddled with pre-1995 Bobby Hoying, so he was criminally under-used. It also didn't help that he got injured. In Meyer's offense, not only would he have 70 receptions, but he would carry the ball at least two or three times per game as well. He was an explosive offensive player, and Urban Meyer would have tried to get every ounce of that explosion out of him. It would have been something to see, because there was really nothing that Galloway couldn't do on the football field.
3. Chris Wells
Photo by Jim Davidson
Through the first half of this past season, Carlos Hyde had a bunch of two-yard carries that should have gone for many more. Most of those carries would have gone for at least 20 yards if it had been Beanie Wells with the ball. Wells had supreme cutback vision, and with so much pressure being put on a defense by Meyer's offense an Braxton Miller, there would be so much room for Beanie to run. Look at the season that he had in 2007, rushing for 1,609 yards and averaging 5.9 yards per carry. It was no secret that he was going to be getting the ball, and there wasn't anything deceptive about it. Just imagine what he could have done playing alongside the threat of Braxton Miller. Yes, he played a year with Terrelle Pryor, but that was a freshman Pryor in the most conservative offense of Jim Tressel's Ohio State career. With Wells and Miller in the same backfield, I'm not sure when the Buckeyes would have had time to even throw the ball.
4. Ted Ginn Jr.
Photo by Jim Davidson
I assume people immediately thought about Teddy Ginn when they read this topic, and for good reason. Urban Meyer always talks about speed, and maybe if Ginn had played for him, he'd finally stop talking about it. Like somebody lamenting never finding true love, and then one day they find it and they never cry about it again. I think Ted Ginn would have been true love for Urban Meyer. But I also think that he wasn't as explosive in tight spaces as a guy like Joey Galloway was, which would move him down on Meyer's list a bit. But for flat speed, running the nine route, you could go ahead and put that streak on a poster, slap a bikini on it, and Meyer would have thrown it up on his bedroom wall at home. I'm not sure there was a more enjoyable player to watch in Buckeye history, and it's a shame that he didn't get more touches.
5. Santonio Holmes
Photo by Jim Davidson
I think Holmes would have been pretty close to the perfect wide receiver in Meyer's offense. He was explosive, fast, tough, strong, caught everything, couldn't be covered, and he was one of the best run blockers the Buckeyes have had at receiver in a long, long time. He could take a quick screen pass and go the distance. He could run the streak and find himself lonely. He was tough to bring down, assuming a defender could actually get a hand on him. He would probably draw a personal foul penalty every single week when a cornerback would have to punch him to get free of his block, and by that time it would be too late anyway as Braxton Miller was already running by him. Everything that Ted Ginn couldn't do, Holmes excelled at. That's probably why they were such terrific complements.
Bonus: Michael Wiley
Urban Meyer likes having receivers who can carry the ball, especially ones who can carry the ball up the middle. Well, Michael Wiley proved so adept at it that he moved from receiver to running back, and excelled. I picture him being able to do everything in Meyer's offense, including motioning from the slot into the backfield and running in between the tackles. Imagine how difficult he would be to cover on the wheel route out of the backfield. And just think what Meyer could do with the greatest halfback-option passer in college football history.
Bonus: Troy Smith
You sort of have to find a place on this list for a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. I don't think Troy Smith would have been the runner that many would expect under Meyer because he was such a fantastic passer as a senior. However, he still would have run him, and it would have been effective, probably a more productive Alex Smith, who had nearly 3,600 yards of total offense and 42 total touchdowns.
Bonus: Eddie George
You sort of have to find a place on this list for a Heisman Trophy winning running back. If Carlos Hyde can dominate the Big Ten, we have to assume Eddie George would have as well. He also would have been dynamite out of the backfield as a receiver. Aw, who are we kidding — he'd be moved to linebacker halfway through the season.
Bonus: Roy Hall
Gotcha, didn't I? You were totally expect Rickey Dudley here. Just think, Aaron Hernandez could have been "The Next Roy Hall". I think Hall could have been a prototype flex guy in Meyer's offense.
Twitter Bonus: Bam Childress
You'd be surprised at the number of people who suggested Bam Childress when I brought this topic up on Twitter last night. I have to admit that it would be intriguing given that Bam was quick enough to make people miss in a sleeping bag.
Also receiving votes via Twitter: Maurice Wells, David Boston, Jaamal Berry, Ray Small, Kirk Herbstret, Steve Bellisari, Carlos Snow, Richard McNutt, Cris Carter, Chris Gamble, Chris Sanders, Butler By'not'e, Antonio Pittman, Allen Degraffenreid, Chic Harley, Ken-Yon Rambo, Lamaar Thomas, Brandon Saine, Robert Smith, Dee Miller, Dimitrious Stanley, Devier Posey, Anthony Gonzalez, Drew Carter, Joe Montgomery, Keith Byars, Jonathan Wells, Reggie Germany, Doug Datish, Erik Haw, Jake Stoneburner, Dareus Hiley, Bobby Olive, Terry Glenn, Cornelius Greene, Dane Sanzenbacher, Rickey Dudley, Lydell Ross, Stanley Jackson, James Louis, James Jackson.
Of note, nobody said Archie Griffin or Maurice Clarett, and more people said Maurice Wells than Chris Wells.
Who are your five?
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