Last Saturday against Maryland, the Buckeyes showed the latest wrinkle on offense by incorporating a tight end into the backfield with J.T. Barrett in the pistol with a running back behind him. The look essentially made the tight end a fullback. Ohio State has shown similar looks in past seasons, but this was a new one for the Buckeyes this year.
Where did it come from?
“We’re always looking for ways to make things better,” Urban Meyer said. “We studied a couple of offenses and obviously Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day brought this to my attention and what I thought.”
So will we continue to see more of it? And if so, what is next?
“We ran it 20 times in the game,” he said. “We’re still working on it. It’s a new play and obviously once you have a play you have to build off of it, play-action passing, etc. But it was very effective and we’re going to continue using it.”
Marcus Baugh is one of the tight ends being used in the play mentioned above. He’s being used in other areas as well.
As a recruit, however, there is no doubt he expected to have more than just the 37 career receptions he has as a fifth-year senior. Heck, he probably also never planned on being a fifth-year senior.
Baugh has 10 receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown this season, but has provided more than just what is seen in a box score. In fact, he has been named a champion following each of Ohio State’s last four games.
Baugh is playing very well right now, but he knows he can get better.
“I’m playing good. I can play better, I can execute better, I can still play harder,” he said. “I’ll probably always feel like I can play harder and execute better.”
Baugh came to Ohio State from California and had to grow up a lot in his time in Columbus. That is probably one of the reasons why it doesn’t bother him that he only has 37 receptions in his career.
“I wouldn’t take anything back,” he said. “I don’t regret anything.”
No Such Thing as Simple
It is rare for normal, every day citizens to have an arch-nemesis. For some Buckeye fans, however, their arch-nemesis is Urban Meyer’s practice of trying to pin kickoffs deep, rather than simply shooting for touchbacks.
Their distrust of the tactic was proven correct last week against Maryland as the Terps returned a kickoff for a touchdown and had success on a number of other returns as well.
On Tuesday, Meyer was asked if they are thinking about changing their strategy and maybe just considering kicking the ball through the end zone for a touchback.
“Sure, we’re always thinking,” he said. “We have trouble kicking it through the end zone too. If it was that simple, I’d do that. It’s more complicated than that, but absolutely, we’re always constantly [looking]. You don’t fit a square peg in a round hole. You do what you can do, and we’re still figuring out what we can do.”
Depth is Improving
For the first time under Urban Meyer at Ohio State, the Buckeyes have lost a starting offensive lineman for a significant amount of time. Fortunately for Ohio State, this is also the deepest they have probably been in his time as the OSU head coach.
To start fall camp, there were seven players vying for the starting right guard job. The competition was eventually won by Branden Bowen. With Bowen breaking his leg last week, however, that competition ramped back up this week.
The Buckeyes should be deep enough to find a replacement, but also deep enough to manage having their second-team weakened with a promotion to the starting five.
“There’s been a lot of questions about our offensive line depth in particular. I think that there is a lot of improvement that has happened,” senior center Billy Price said. “Guys still have a ways to go. We go and put our twos in mid-third quarter and we’re still able to score points. That’s a huge testament to those guys continuing to prepare for whenever a situation like today happened. The depth is continuing to grow, there’s still a lot of room for improvement, we’re just happy to have the ones go in there and execute at a high level and put those guys in a position to get some time.”