Buckeye Breakdown: ‘Did We Just Become Best Friends?’

Ohio State Football Buckeyes Run Pass Option

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.

4 Responses

  1. For years since the Cooper days we’ve seen Ohio State tams that could blow out cupcakes but lose the big ones. It might be blasphemy but I turned the Army game off at half time… nothing more to see here. Coaching basketball, I used to say, “Nothing creates more bad habits than blowing out an inferior team.”

    That being said, looking at the schedule there isn’t much to see until Oct.28. The question becomes,”How many bad habits will they have after playing all those teams that don’t push them. This year it’s pretty much a five game season and they are 0-1. Penn State, Iowa, Michigan State (and only because Dantonio knows how to push Meyer’s buttons) and Michigan. Penn State and Michigan are playing som defence this year. Let’s see how the team has improved after those games. Scoring 37 points on Army is not in my mind an indication of improvement in itself. Games lie this are part of the argument that the top 12 power conference schools should only be playing each other.

  2. Kyle, I know that you do your homework breaking down the Buckeyes but, what can anyone take away from doing basically anything you want to a completely overmatched opponent? Optimism is always good when it’s predicated on consistent progress that evolves into an identity. Coach Meyers offense is always going to be anchored by trap and inside power zone running with a consistent formation distraction to merge with short and short intermediate passing.

    I am fully convinced that had the staff not done what they ALWAYS do against a good opponent, JK Dobbins would have churned Oklahoma into a pile of babbling mush, with the Buckeyes winning easily. But true to Coach Meyers form he took the ball away from his own base ideal which allowed Oklahoma to quite simply………b*tch slap his program. He did that against Clemson, MSU, Virginia Tech. Those as we know ended in disaster just like this game against OU. I’m one of those who are sick to death of hearing about the receivers having to step up, they aren’t getting separation, blah blah blah. The Buckeyes have several highly sought out receivers on this roster who will do the job they are given to do. They HAVE done it, but their quarterback can’t deliver. Now we hear JT is being limited to gimmicky one read routes. The problem isn’t the routes, it’s the guy delivering the ball.

    I think it’s great that they could figure out something that would work against a team where the talent level is on the extreme side in favor of the Buckeyes. Let’s be real though. It’s just pretty tough to get excited by those exploits against such a weak opponent. Can they do that against a good team? Is the passing game really any different when Coach Meyer is suddenly confronted by a defense that fields equal levels of talent? Can he get beyond saddling up a quarterback as his 1 and only choice in the rushing game when the game is on the line? When is he going to start showing trust in his runningbacks and receivers? Most of those guys were more sought after than JT was coming in and have playmaking skills Coach Meyer appears to be afraid to use. If he wants THEM to have confidence in the scheme or gameplans, maybe he should give them a reason to feel like they are being utilized AS playmakers and not merely decoys or extensions of a rush game.

    When Meyer gets a passer behind center instead of a thrower, and a receiver coach who actually knows what he’s doing, maybe then he’ll realize he’s been sitting on a gold mine of next level talent at the other skill positions, rather than window dressing for teachers pet.

    Glad for the win and the effort from the guys on the field. We’ll see what the next couple weeks bring against 2 more completely outmatched rosters. He better seriously look at what’s really happening or Maryland will send this team into the bye week with a broken nose.

    1. Which is it? Not the receivers’ fault or is it? You’re willing to implicate Zach Smith but not his charges? Sorry, James, but doesn’t fly. Fact is that even Michael Thomas under-performed most of his tOSU career and only Devin Smith’s freakish ability bailed out tOSU’s “passing game”. You love blamin’ it all on Barrett and discount his B1G records but numbers don’t lie – the kid can play when the coaches and his teammates give him a fighting chance. We agree that nothing’s gonna be learned for weeks yet and that Coach Meyer has a peculiar habit of abandoning the tailback when it sure seems like he could ride him to victory. I’ll be keeping an eye on that, the OL and WR’s “development”, and whether the back seven continue to get gashed by offenses with a pulse in the passing game.

      1. I bring Smith into it because he’s shown no ability to scheme an intermediate or deep route with any cohesiveness. That doesn’t have anything to do with the players he has. Just go back and watch any one of the guys HS films. They run good intermediate and deep routes with no problem executing and making plays. Suddenly when they get to Ohio State they can’t? All those 4 star recruits who many top level programs went after, have come through at wideout and the Buckeyes passing game still sucks beyond 5 yards? At some point the stale coach speak about guys not getting separation or running good routes, or can’t catch smells an awful lot like blame shift. What happened after their HS years? Did they suddenly get slower, grow concrete hands, or develop an inability to learn and run routes? Sure the competition is better at the College level, but, routes are still routes, hands are still hands and in most cases they have gotten faster. As much success as they had in HS? Not going to happen. Success on a National curve? Should be expected. If that isn’t happening, why isn’t it happening? I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I don’t have to be to cut through butter. Only 2 real possibilities I can accept. The route tree or the techniques being taught suck, or the guy delivering the passes can’t pass. Why are our receivers have to cut off their routes, reach back or otherwise have to alter their progressions? Without good route timing complementing a quarterbacks accuracy things fall to crap in a hurry in the passing game. Even a HS coach knows that if the quarterback has release timing issues you have to adjust, even if it’s just 1 step further, the route tree to bring everything into synch so that plays can be successful without receivers becoming contortionists to make a play. It’s up to the position coach to see the problem and apply the corrections with the consent of the headcoach.

        JT Barrett is the quarterback. People rush out to shout his praise when the Buckeyes win and place rose wreaths around his neck in the winners circle. Yet they have a problem when he gets dipped in burning oil when “the team” loses. Ever notice that Meyer and everyone else says, “JT has won a lot of games.” “JT has set all these records.” You never hear the word team when he wins, but you do when he loses. Right or wrong that’s just the way it goes. I don’t think I’ve said anything that scouts talking about his skill set talks about in their evaluations. I give him credit for running hard against Army. Running the RO is JT’s best skill set. In pass pro? I’ll be torturously kind. He’s not any good at it.

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