The Firing Lines
On a day when Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett completed 75% of his passes, the questions posed to Urban Meyer after Saturday’s OSU 38-7 win over Army were the throws that Barrett didn‘t make.
Barrett completed 10-of-14 passes for 104 yards in the first quarter, but it was the misfires early on that Meyer was asked about.
“He misfires,” Meyer said. “He was 25 of 33. I was hoping he would be 33 for 33, I guess. But sometimes you misfire a little bit. I saw what you saw. He had a couple of misfires early.”
One quarterback who did not misfire, however, was redshirt freshman backup Dwayne Haskins. Haskins completed 4-of-4 pass attempts for 46 yards. It was his first action as a collegian and it went very well.
“I thought he performed well when he was in there,” Meyer said. “He was 4-for-4. I wanted to throw him more, but you just didn’t want to do something silly. And so, I thought he did very well when he got in there. Quick release too.”
For Whom the Booth Tolls
For the first time as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator, Greg Schiano was down on the sidelines for a game. Last season, Schiano stayed up in the press box while Luke Fickell was down on the field. For this game, however, Urban Meyer wanted Schiano downstairs, which bumped linebackers coach Bill Davis upstairs.
“He’s an energy guy,” Meyer said of Schiano. “He provides a lot of energy. He knows — he’s coached against this offense for many, many years. I wanted him on the sideline for energy and to make adjustments. And we’ll reevaluate if he’s going to stay down there.”
(There really is no end to the play on words possible with Ohio State middle linebacker Tuf Borland, and for that, the media will always be appreciative.)
Despite knowing that he was going to be rotating in at middle linebacker and preparing all week for it, it was still Borland’s first significant and sustained action since high school. And it came against a triple-option offense that requires the middle linebacker to make contact with someone on essentially every play.
“I knew I’d be rotating in,” Borland said. “I didn’t know to what extent, exactly. Obviously when Chris (Worley) went down, I was ready when my number was called.”
And as for the long day of full contact?
“It’s a little bit different,” he admitted. “I’m kind of feeling it right now. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
Ohio State Moved to 1-0
As Urban Meyer said after the game, there is nothing fun about losing, and as many others have said before him, the only way to get over it is to win. The Buckeyes did that on Saturday. It will take a while to forget the loss to Oklahoma, but this was a good first step for Ohio State.
“It was good just to get the bad taste out of your mouth,” linebacker Jerome Baker said. “That’s all that was. Great win. We’ve got to go back to work next week.”
The preparation for Army featured a new mindset for the team and a new pitch from the Buckeyes’ head coach.
“You just want to go every week 1-0,” Baker explained. “Coach Meyer, that was his thing this week is the season just started this week. So, win this week and go 1-0.”
Helpful Urban Meyer
Ohio State averaged 8.4 yards per carry against Army on Saturday, and it would have been 9.5 yards per carry if Parris Campbell’s 59-yard touchdown run hadn’t been cut short due to a questionable holding call.
Despite the success running the ball, the Buckeyes actually threw the ball (37 atts) more than they ran it (32 atts). Most coaches consider the screens that OSU ran as part of the running game, so don’t consider OSU a pass-happy offense just yet.
Still, Ohio State’s effectiveness running between the tackles might have some wondering why they just didn’t do it more.
“The reason the runs, just to help you a little bit — not that I’m an expert, I guess I’ve done this a long time, though — just to clarify a few things,” Meyer began. “What makes the inside run game open up is when you start hitting all those bubble screens and a lot of the horizontal pass plays, too, or eventually they just get in tighter and tighter.
So, you have to be very balanced, and I thought we were very balanced today, like 300-300. Yeah, 316 passing and 300, what was it, 270 rushing. That’s about what we need to be. But you do have to in the big games, you have to be balanced because they can stop the run.”
Can’t Trash Talk the Military
J.T. Barrett comes from a military family, so Saturday’s game was obviously a special one for him.
“Going against people in our service, thinking about when we played Navy back in 2014, Army today, just a lot of respect that you have for people in our service,” he said.
He was caught off guard by one thing, however.
“They were talking a little smack and I had nothing to say back to them,” he said. “Knowing that they’re going to fight and help keep our country safe, I have a lot of respect for those guys.”