One of the most common phrases and battle cries of the Urban Meyer Era is the term, “Nine Units Strong”.
This of course refers to each position on the field: defensive linemen, offensive linemen, running backs, corners, safeties, linebackers, quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends. This term emphasizes the goal of being a complete team and doing your respective job in order to help the player next to you do theirs.
For some reason, after Saturday night’s performance, I think it is time to include a new unit to this mantra — the tenth unit, also known as the coaches.
After the infamous 31-0 loss at the hands of Clemson in last season’s Fiesta Bowl, Urban Meyer and other coaches stood up, admitted defeat and promised there would be changes to the offense.
A new quarterbacks coach was brought in with Ryan Day, and Kevin Wilson was hired to change the culture of the OSU offense.
We expected an imaginative, fast-paced, pedal-to-the-metal offense that will leave Ohio State’s opponents shaking their head in disbelief. Against Oklahoma, we got the exact opposite.
It seemed as if no progress was made from January 1st to September 9th. The same play calls, the same dropped passes, and the same over/under thrown balls. It was shocking, especially since Meyer has such a strong record when he has an entire offseason to get things righted.
So why has there been no change? To me, it looks as if the Tenth Unit isn’t playing as a team.
It is clear this isn’t Kevin Wilson’s offense because it is the same mundane offensive approach we saw last year with Tim Beck and Ed Warinner. Meyer is known for doing things his way at Ohio State. Meyer wants Wilson to run Meyer’s offense, but we know that offense isn’t working right now.
Meyer preached of change and apparently he thought it would come just because he shook up his coaching staff.
He has been pampered with amazing players. I believe he thought everything would fall back in line and simply work itself out. Sadly, those players have been held back by poor coaching decisions and strategies. It has been a recurring theme of this offense.
Perhaps instead of promising change yet again, they should enact on it.
Even as I write of my doubts, however, I am confident that positive changes can occur.
Ohio State under Meyer has been in this position before. The 2014 season was over before it began after the Virginia Tech loss. We know how things turned out there.
And like that 2014 team, this team needs to embrace the adversity and find a way through it. To make sure this happens, the coaching staff needs to get on the same page, have a plan, and act like the Tenth Unit.
Hopefully this was a wake up call for Urban Meyer.
It’s just too bad he had to hit snooze after the Clemson game came calling last season.