Ohio State’s offensive identity, or lack thereof, has been a big topic of discussion following the first two games this season. Following a 38-7 win over Army on Saturday, however, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the offense moving forward. The Buckeyes rushed for 270 yards, averaging 8.4 yards per carry, but also passed for 316 yards with an improved 8.5 yards per attempt.
Army did Army things, holding the ball for nearly 37 minutes, which included lopsided second and third quarters where Army possessed the ball for nearly 12 minutes each. What is important is the Buckeyes still managed 69 offensive plays and seemed to have an offensive game plan that showed progress in terms of merging Kevin Wilson and Urban Meyer’s philosophies effectively.
The triple-option of Army is heavily schemed around “sequential football.” One play is followed by a counter to that play, which is then followed by a counter to the counter and so on. In some ways the spread offense of Meyer is more like a double-option, but closely resembles the principles of sequential football in the grand scheme of things.
What has slowed the Buckeyes thus far, particularly against Oklahoma, is the lack of identity and a somewhat scattered approach. Against Army, the Buckeyes finally showed that the offense is trending in the right direction by providing a zone running scheme and limiting Barrett to a single read and manageable throw. The result is an offense that is playing ahead of the chains, facing manageable distances on second and third downs, and also playing fast.
In the clip below, the Buckeyes run the same play back-to-back but with different options by Barrett. The result is a large chunk of yards in a short amount of time.
More importantly, Urban Meyer stated this morning he needs to incorporate more RPO into the offense moving forward. This should leave Buckeye fans excited about the immediate future of the offense, as it provides better passing options for J.T. Barrett and should bring quicker decisions from the Buckeye quarterback.
At least for the short term, it appears Meyer and Wilson are reading from the same playbook.
Urban Meyer and Kevin Wilson are starting to figure this thing out on offense for the Buckeyes. pic.twitter.com/FKQWVCbtwU
— Kyle Morgan (@NoHuddleScouts) September 18, 2017